Planning your first aquarium can be difficult, especially making sure you’ve got exactly what you need. There’s a lot of different information out there for the different types of aquariums; freshwater, marine, large or nano tanks etc. This list is the all encompassing freshwater check list. Copy the check list below to ensure that you’ve got it all covered, you probably won't need everything from the list but it's always worth double checking for your own situation.

I cannot stress the importance of really planning out your aquarium before hand to really work out what you will need. This will save you a lot of time, money and stress!

  1. Tank - pretty obvious one here

  2. Stand - if using your own stand make sure that it can hold the weight (aquariums are heavier than most realize)

  3. Leveling Mat - typically a foam mat underneath the aquarium

  4. Hood - usually comes with the tank, if not a condensation tray or glass cover is helpful

  5. Filter - research which type works for you: hang on back, external, internal, sponge

  6. Light - lots of options here, most aquarium hoods will have one built in so make sure to double check

  7. Heater - check what power you need for your tank size

  8. CO2 - if you're interested in growing plants then CO2 is a must

  9. Substrate - if you want plants make sure to buy a substrate that helps them

  10. Test Kit - for starting out strip tests will be good enough

  11. Thermometer - just to keep an eye on things

  12. Algae Scrubber - magnetic cleaners save you a tonne of hassle

  13. Net - useful for picking out debris and transferring fish

  14. Food - flake or pellets

  15. Siphon - you will need this for your water changes (you can always use a hose / tube of any kind)

  16. Hardscape - rocks or wood

  17. Decorations - anything; as long as it is aquarium safe

  18. Water Conditioner - to treat your tap water

  19. Starter Bacteria - this will help cycle your aquarium so it's ready for fish

  20. Background - make your life easy and do this early on

  21. Plants - make sure these are the last things you buy so they can go straight into the tank

  22. Air Pumps - helps keep your tank oxygenated, you will also need one of these for a sponge filter.

I recommend writing down the list into a spreadsheet and ticking off each as you go. There's nothing worse than getting prepared to setup the tank and then to find out you're missing something. No-one wants to wait another week to setup their aquarium!

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