A 7-Step Beginner’s Guide To Set Up A Fish Aquarium

August 1, 2021

For first-time pet owners, you can never go wrong with choosing fish as your pets. Aside from being fantastic pets, fish are low maintenance, attractive to look at, and easy to care for.

However, whether you prefer the all-time favorite goldfish or other tropical fish like danios, you need to give them a perfect place to thrive. In this case, you need to learn how to set up a fish aquarium properly before you decide to shop around for the best beginner aquarium plants.

If you don’t know where to get started, below are the steps you should take into consideration:

1. Choose The Best And Right Tank

Whether or not it’s your first time setting up a fish aquarium, you should know that there are various types of fish tanks you can choose from in the market. The one you decide on will depend on what fish you plan to get.

The golden rule when choosing a fish tank is to settle with a bigger size. This is particularly true if you want to take care of goldfish. If you’re not sure what size is best suited for your preferred fish, get ideas from pet care blogging or ask the experts to avoid any inconvenience over time.

2. Select Your Fish

While reef fish or saltwater marine species can be beautiful with unique environments and vivid colors, they require special care, which may overwhelm any first-time aquarium owner.

Beginners are suited to freshwater fish that’s known for their adaptable personalities such as loaches, tetras, and goldfish. However, if you love the challenge involved in maintaining a fish aquarium, you can consider barbs and angelfish.

Regardless of the fish you select, research the available selections for you before you finalize your decision. Take note that other species are more aggressive or antisocial than others while some just enjoy swimming around in the background, mingling with whoever they meet.

If you don’t know what fish is right for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to some pet fish experts to answer your concerns or queries.

3. Decide Where To Place Your Fish Aquarium

Before filling your aquarium, you must have a clue of where to place it in your home. It’s because a fish tank that’s full of water can be heavy and uncomfortable to lift.

When you’re deciding about the best possible location of your fish aquarium, consider the following:

  • Surface. If you prefer a shelf or table for your fish aquarium, be sure that it’s level and secure before placing it there. It’ll help you avoid any possible accident with your aquarium breaking or slipping off.
  • Light. Don’t place your fish tank near a window, direct light source, or radiator as they can alter the water quality and may cause it to evaporate faster.
  • Heat. To keep your fish healthy and happy, it’s crucial to keep your tank in an area with a constant temperature. So, avoid placing it near radiators or some heat sources.
  • Noise. Fish can be sensitive to loud sounds. Therefore, don’t place your fish aquarium near a radio or television.

4. Fill Your Tank

Now that you’ve finalized the location of your fish aquarium, it’s time to get your fish tank ready and fill it up. It doesn’t mean you should just put water only as fish also requires a good underwater plant life and your tank’s bottom part must be lined with gravel or stones. Any ornaments or plants must be added to avoid stressing them whenever you add something.

5. Attach The Heater Or Filter

In terms of filter and heater, there are countless options you can choose from. But you have to take note that not all of them are the same and you should choose the ones with sizes suited to your fish tank.

Depending on the models of your filter or heater, there are some ways to install them, so ensure you follow the directions properly. You must also clean the filter material as dust may have settled in its packaging.

6. Cycle The Water

It’s a crucial step because it can make your fish aquarium a perfect place for fish to live a happier and longer life.

Generally, cycling helps produce denitrifying bacteria. Keep in mind that the excess fish food or waste of your fish produces ammonia, which can be dangerous to fish. The bacteria living in your filter can help transform this ammonia into nitrite, which is also harmful to fish. Fortunately, proper cycling can help generate good bacteria, which can transform nitrate into non-toxic nitrate. This may result in happy fish and clean water.

But even if cycling sounds stressful or hard to pull off, the process of cycling is automated and requires patience. You may approach the cycling process in some ways. You can either add hardy fish like barbs to produce waste during the process or you can do a fishless cycle that may require adding ammonia by yourself. Just make sure to use a water testing kit to know if the nitrite level has reduced or not.

7. Introduce Your Fish To Its New Home

When you’re done setting up your fish aquarium, it’s time to introduce your fish to its new home with incredible pet amenities. However, before you do that, make sure to turn on the filter and leave your fish tank overnight until everything’s settled down. This process will ensure that the treatments will work well. For example, you could be using de-chlorinators and filter boosts to increase the number of good bacteria in your fish tank. Often, it may take a few days to take full effect.

Depending on your preferences when it comes to the number of fish you want to take care of, start with one first or a small group. Then, add more after a few months.


Learning how to set up a fish aquarium isn’t easy, especially for first-timers. However, there’s nothing you should worry about because the above steps will help set up your preferred fish aquarium in your home. To get great results, make sure to invest in quality supplies and equipment. If you’re confused with the options available for you, never hesitate to ask for help.


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