How to Set Up Your First Tropical Fish Tank

Tropical fish tanks are truly beautiful.  They can be both an entertaining and a relaxing addition to your home.   


Are you ready to set up your first tank?  We want to make sure that you set your new aquarium up right the first time.  These steps will help set up your tank correctly and help you avoid common problems down the road.

How to Set Up Your Tank:

  1. Know What Type of Fish You Want - The first step in setting up your new tank is knowing what type of fish that you want in your aquarium.  Your tank needs to be large enough to hold enough water for your new fish.  As a general rule of thumb, you want one gallon of water for each inch of fish that you have in your tank.  However, keep in mind that larger fish will still need more than a gallon of water per inch.

  2. Purchase an Aquarium Stand - Once you know what size tank you will need, you will need an aquarium stand.  Buy a stand that is designed for your tank - don't underestimate the weight!  Full fish tanks can be very heavy, so you want to make sure that your stand will be able to handle the weight.  Furniture like dressers and TV stands actually aren't strong enough to hold your new tank.

  3. Choose the Right Location - Putting your tank too close to a window can cause excessive algae growth.  Choose a location near an outlet and keep in mind that you'll have to change the water each week for maintenance!

  4. Install Your Filter - Now that you have your tank and you've chosen your location, it's time to install your filter.  Choose whether you would like an under gravel or power filter, and pick a filter that is strong enough for the size of your tank.  Add water and turn it on to cycle the water!

  5. Add Gravel or Sand - Have about 2-3 inches of gravel or sand at the bottom of your tank to help keep your aquarium healthy.  Be sure to rinse it well before adding it to your aquarium!

  6. Add Water, Plants & Decorations - Add water to your tank and add any plants and decorations you want to include in your design.

  7. Add Your Heater - Add your heater near your filter so that the warm water will circulate throughout the tank.  

  8. Add Water Conditioner - Tap water contains chlorine and other chemicals that aren't good or healthy for your new fish.  It's important to add a water conditioner that dechlorinates.

  9. Cycle Your Tank - This is an important step in your new tank process.  You need to generate healthy bacteria for your new tank before you add any fish.  During the cycle, it's important to monitor your pH, Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate levels.  While you can cycle your tank with fish, you can also do a fishless cycle (instructions here).

If you have any questions about how to set up your first tank - we're here to help!  Give us a call or visit our store to learn more about what you need to do to get your new tank up and running.

You can also follow us on social media for more pet care tips and tricks!

LIKE us on Facebook

FOLLOW us on Twitter

ADD us on Google+