10 Things You Need to Start a Freshwater Aquarium


Fish are considered to be a no-fuss pet, but I wish we could say the same about their aquarium. While setting up an aquarium can be an arduous task, it can also be great fun. I mean, who doesn't like creating an aquatic landscape with their own two hands, the possibilities are endless! So, here we will show you a quick guide involving the ten most important things you need to set up an aquarium.

1. Aquarium, duh

You can either have a large or a medium-size aquarium, depending on the space available. You should at least try to have a 20-gallon tank space in your home if this is the first time you're starting an aquarium (larger aquariums are more forgiving to beginners). It would be best to avoid tall but thin tanks and look for short but firm tanks. Such aquariums provide more space for your fishes to swim and better air availability due to the surface area.

2. Water Conditioners

You don't want Ammonia to kill your fishes, do you? That is why a water conditioner is used to inoculate harmful bacteria like Ammonia that in the future may cause toxic build-up in the tank. For beginners, buying a water conditioner early on protects the tank from future dangers and is required for the inevitable water changes you will need to do.

3. Filter System

To keep the freshwater aquarium's water clean and fish healthy, you ought to have a filter system installed in the tank. The rule of thumb is to have a filter with a flow rate of four times the tank's size. For instance, if you have a 30-gallon water tank, you should buy a filter having a flow rate of a minimum of 120 gallons per hour (GPH).

4. A Tank Stand

You should have an appropriate stand for your tank, no matter how small the aquarium is. Using a bookshelf as a stand is not a permanent solution, and the shelf will likely get damaged in the future.

5. An Aquarium Heater

If you think that your house is warm enough to protect your fishes from cold, then that's where you are wrong. Different species of fish have different temperature requirements.

Some may need the usual 75° F to 80° F, while others may require less than or even warmer water than this. So, depending on the type of fish you wish to keep, you can easily adjust the heater's temperature.

6. An Air Pump

No doubt, an air pump is a critical piece of equipment for setting up a freshwater aquarium. Air pumps increase the availability of oxygen in the tank by constantly pumping between water and air molecules. Thus, it aids in the breathing of fishes. It also helps to evenly distribute heat throughout the aquarium.

Tip: If you have a hang on filter which latches onto the outside of your aquarium, then often when the water falls into the aquarium it creates bubbles thus oxygenating the tank, and you may not even need an air pump! However it does no harm to have one.

7. Aquarium's Lid & Light

You should cover the top of the aquarium to prevent any fish from jumping out. This can take the form of a hood, a light and lid combination that sits on the top of the entire aquarium. Or for a budget friendly solution get a condensation tray and place an led light on top.

8. A Thermometer

It is always handy to have a thermometer by your side, especially when you have to constantly check the temperature of your aquarium. Moreover, they are cheap, easy to use, and accurate, so why not? We recommend getting one that can be stuck on the inside of the glass with suckers.

9. Substrate

The substrate is placed at the bottom of the tank to give the aquarium an aesthetic appeal and to help provide a base for plants to grow. It not only provides the aquarium with a marine charm but also improves the overall water quality, removes bacteria, and acts as an integral part of a freshwater aquarium. Usually, dark gravel is used.

10. Decorations

Decorative items like the plants and the lightings are what make the aquarium complete. These live plants not only serve as food for herbivores but also as a hiding place for fishes and a natural inoculate of nitrates and Ammonia.

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