Welcome to starting a fish tank for beginners guide 2023

Starting a fish tank for beginners can seem daunting task however it's a lot of fun. Keeping aquarium fish in the home can be one of the most rewarding pastimes, as I've found, over the years of keeping aquariums.

Depending on what fish you keep you can create a tranquil ambience suited to what ever room your fish are placed.

starting a fish tank for beginners

Engaging and restful

Watching your fish can help reduce stress levels which is why we often see them in doctor's waiting rooms and offices.

With so many fish to choose from it is difficult to know where to start.

Whilst keeping fish appears to be the easiest pet to keep you need to be aware that setting up your tank and choosing the correct environment and fish is pivotal to the success of your aquarium.
You will need to create, for some fish, a
complex ecosystem that would require careful maintenance for the first six weeks or so along with low stock levels.

When starting a fish tank for beginners choosing what fish to keep

Keeping any type of fish is rewarding.  What fish you choice is generally determined by the time you have to spend on setting up and maintenance.  Affordability is also a consideration when making your choices.

Cold water fish

starting a fish tank for beginners

The most straightforward for setup and maintenance.

Cold water fish themselves are also more reasonably priced. Therefore, this type of fish is highly recommended you are new to keeping fish.

This will allow you to understand the ecosystem requirements and help you gauge how much time and money will be required.  The result of this is that you are best placed should you choose to move into the more complex fish keeping of tropical or marine fish.
I would recommend cold water fish such as goldfish, Corey Karp, blood thin Tetris or 
white cloud mountain minnow.

Cold water fish do not require heated water which can keep running costs to a minimum.  This is often a consideration when choosing which fish to keep.

Tropical fish

tropical fish for beginners

Warm blooded fish which come in spectacular colours and in all shapes and sizes often described as mesmerising to watch. Keeping tropical fish can be very rewarding. Guppys are very popular.

Care and attention will need to be given to initially set up your tank for keeping tropical fish.
Water filtration and temperature play a significant part the success of your tank. You will need to start with a tank. A 
20 to 50 gallon tank is a good starter size. You will then need to set it up with gravel and plants and cycling fluid.
The key stage is the tank left for at least a week to age.  A light, heater and filter are essentials for keeping tropical fish. This is because fish are warm blooded and so you you will need to ensure the water temperature is kept to the level the fish enjoy.
Be prepared to test and change the water regularly this avoids any bad bacteria building up.
A water change does not mean changing all the water in the tank.  You will only be required to removed some of the water and replaced with tap water. This will make sure the PH and temperature are not affected significantly.

Marine fish

By far the most colourful and attractive fish to have in your home. Marine fish are warm blooded and so the water temperature is very important. Temperatures varying between 73°F and 82°F are need so a good aquarium heater would be required depending on your location.

The main element to consider is the salt content of the water referred to as salinity.
You are trying to replicate the salinity of the ocean for your fish so this needs to be 34 – 37 parts sold per 1000 units of water.

Keeping marine fish at home was traditionally considered difficult.  However, it has been made easier nowadays with advances in technology and new equipment. The result is many people are turning to keeping marine fish and enjoying the truly magnificent colours and choice that this area provides.
Therefore, if you decide on marine fish please be aware that keeping a functional marine tank is not simple.
It is the most expensive way to keep fish in the home however it is by far the most rewarding.

Selecting the right equipment when starting a fish tank for beginners

Let's get right into it! When it comes to setting up your first aquarium and selecting the right equipment to buy it can be a bit overwhelming. As a result, I'm going to try to keep things very simple in this guide.

First of all, I'm going to provide my recommendations for the things you should have and will try to keep it simple.  Let's not make it over complicated! I'm assuming that you've already decided what type of fish that you want by reading the article on choosing the right fish to keepThis decision should determine what size tank you should purchase.  For the purposes of this article, I'm going to keep things simple. I will provide information on what I believe is the best aquarium.

Best size aquarium for beginners

Smaller tanks can be a lot harder to keep than bigger tanks. A 55-gallon aquarium it's great for the home because it won't overpower a room.  It also is big enough to give you plenty of options.  Why a 55-gallon aquarium? Well, it's not too big but also big enough for the future.  This means that you won't be going back out to buy another tank because the first one you bought wasn't big enough.

Now for this article, I'm going to talk about the bare-bones essentials.  The things that you must have in order when setting up your first aquarium.  This includes the tank, stand, filtration, lids, lights, a heater and an air pump.  There's plenty of other gadgets and things that you can put in the aquarium, but we're just talking about what I believe is the most important things that you need.

Individual items for your first aquarium when starting out.

Before we break those things down, I do want to mention that there are some really nice starter kits available.  As a result you can buy everything in one box with the exception of the stand. Therefore, with the all in one package, you can even save a couple of dollars doing it that way these are great systems.

If I was going to recommend the one that I think is best I would refer you to the marineland LED systems.  It has great lights which come with the penguin filter, which I love!  It comes with everything you need.  It's not just the starter kit for a beginner, its a complete kit for someone who really knows what they're doing. If you're going to go for one of those starter kits I'd go for one of those and get as big a tank as you can.

Aquarium water changes the basics

The single most valuable in maintaining a modified balanced aquarium is frequent water changes.

If possible a 10-15%  of the water twice a week are recommended. Or 25% once a week if you can't do two water changes a week which is just as effective.

When removing the old water from the aquarium, if there is any debris lying on top of the gravel, siphon is off along with the old water.

When you add the new water to the aquarium, be sure it's at the right temperature or slightly warmer than the tank water itself. Always use a water conditioner to remove chlorine from the water.

Add the water slowly to be sure not it doesn't uproot any plans or disturb the gravel. Any type of filter (except undergravel) you which you have in the aquarium must also to be cleaned on a regular basis.

Depending upon the fish load, it will need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Remove the old carbon and throw it away, and replace it with the material. (rinse the carbon before use)

If you are making frequent water changes, the water quality in your aquarium should not deteriorate. To be on the safe side, make semi-weekly pH readings just before charging the water. Should you find that the water has become to acid , it is important to make larger water change to bring the pH back within acceptable range. For the average community tank this range is 6.6 to 7.2

Tanks acrylic or glass.

The first thing we're going to talk about is the tank.  You really only have a couple of options which are glass and acrylicWe're not going to talk about building your own aquarium because we're beginners here.

We're just going to go for what's readily available and those are going to be either glass or acrylic. If you want my recommendation on what is best for the beginner I would tell you to go for a glass aquarium.  This is because they are less prone to scratching and tend to be a bit cheaper than acrylic. There are so many different tank sizes to choose from from little 5 gallon nano tanks we've got some reviews on 10 gallon tanks 20 gallon aquariums 40 gallon-tanks 75 aquariums

The next thing to talk about is the stand I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time on this because stands are everywhere and people even use furniture. You can purchase all different types of materials as aquarium stands.

Ensure that you pick something nice and something that you think is going to fit in your room.

Aquarium Filtration

starting a fish tank for beginners filtration

The next thing to talk about is your aquariums life support system, the filter. This is one of the most important decisions that you're going to make when you're setting up your aquarium. My advice is, do not go cheap!

We're going to go over each one which all work well.  It just depends on how far you want to go with it.

Your first option is a sponge filter these are very simple filters. They run off of an air pump and are very easy to set up and maintain.  I don't know if I would use them in larger tanks but if you have a very limited budget you can use a couple of sponge filters and it will do the job.

Filters that hang on the back of the aquarium.

Let's look into a better option. The next is hang on the back filters.  These are pretty self-explanatory they hang off of the back of your tank and they have a tube that goes down into the tank.  This sucks the water up into it filter and then through gravity, it dumps over the side into your aquarium.

These are very efficient and probably the most common filters in the hobby.  You can pick them up just about anywhere so for the beginner I think this is a good choice.

Canister filter.

setting up filtration

canister filter now these in my opinion unless you're going to go with the last option they're the most efficient way to go they are absolutely silent, you have a lots of options of things that you can put into these filters to help keep the water cleaner and just filter it better so canister filters they're great but they are a little bit more expensive so if you're on a limited budget let's stick with the second option a hang over the side filter. but if you have the money a canister filter is the way to go. we have reviewed a number of canister filter. Fluval 406 canister filter and the fluval FX6 aquarium filter  Sunsun HW704B 

Sump filters

The last option when it comes to filters that we're going to talk about is a sump now this is a massive system that will sit underneath your aquarium and let me tell you they're extremely efficient but I would keep it more for the advanced hobbyist because of all the different things that you can do now there are endless options of things that you can do with the sump system.

Aquarium heater.

lighting for when starting a fish tank for beginners

To get the hang of this hobby first let us understand what we're doing a little better before we move into that. One of the main items you are going to need is a heater. This is pretty simple folks, it's usually a glass cylinder that goes down into the aquarium.  It can attach to the glass with suction cups.

The heater is going to keep your water at the temperature that's ideal for your fish and you will need around five watts per gallon of water in your aquarium.  This is a key calculation, so when you purchase your heater make sure you get one that is the proper wattage for your size tank. You don't want to use one that's too small as the result will be it working way too hard to keep the water at the right temperature. So at 5 watts per gallon a 40 gallon tank will require a 200-watt heater.

I don't have any particular allegiance to a brand I like the heaters from Fluval I like the heaters from Tetra but there are lots of brands out there, now something to add to the heater that I didn't mention in the beginning is a thermometer again common sense if you're going to buy a starter kit it should come with one but you're going to want to keep an eye on what your tanks temperature is most of the heaters out there won't tell you so get yourself a nice good thermometer.

Aquarium Hoods/lids

The next thing to talk about is lids/hoods you've only a couple of different options here you've got plastic aquarium hoods they have a built-in little slot for your light and then you also have what I like which is the glass canopies made of glass. and two pieces they fold back and forth they're nice and heavy to keep some of your fish from popping them open and jumping out I like these they are a little bit more expensive but when it comes to lids you want your aquarium covered so that the fish don't jump out and it also helps to control humidity in the room.so just get it covered it really doesn't matter what it is as long as light can shine through it.

Aquarium Lighting.

led fish tank lights

while we're on the topic of lighting let's talk about that for a minute you have an unbelievable amount of options when it comes to lights.

The most popular light out there right now is the LEDs lighting for the freshwater and saltwater hobby they're coming down in price they are still a little bit more expensive than some of your basic aquarium lights but the thing is when you are just starting in this hobby you want your aquarium lit so find the best way to do it whatever you can afford lighting is really important and it's something that's going to stand out if you have a bad lighting.

just make sure your aquarium has plenty of light in it.

Air pumps.

Now air pumps are not just to make bubbles come out of the pirate's chest or skull. They actually do serve a purpose and that is helping water flow through your tank.  This helps to increase the flow of the water.  The more your water moves the more oxygen is created so pumps are very important. They are not essential and you don't absolutely have to have one.  This is especially true if your filter is already circulating the water well.

You can put a fancy air stone in there make some bubbles which decorates your tank.  It also oxygenates the water.

I hope that this article has helped you to understand a little bit more about the essential equipment that you're going to need to set up your first aquarium.

1 thought on “Starting a fish tank for beginners”

  1. Thank you so much for talking about heaters, lights, and other important things you need for your tank. I knew that being a part of this hobby meant a lot more than just filling a tank with water and leaving it be, so knowing about this equipment really helps. I’ll go and look for any pet supply stores that offer aquariums and these kinds of attachments for sure.

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