Have you always wanted a fish tank, but you’re not sure how to take care of one? Maintaining a freshwater aquarium is actually really easy and taking care of fish doesn’t require much work at all. Before you get started though, you need to know what to do to keep your tank healthy.
The first thing you should do is choose what size tank you want. If you are a beginner, I would recommend that you start with a small aquarium, preferably ten gallons or less. This will cut down on the cost considerably and help you decide if you really like taking care of an aquarium. If you don’t have any problems maintaining it and really like it, then you can upgrade to a larger tank later on.
Choose a good spot in your house to place the tank. Make sure that the table you put it on is able to support the weight of the aquarium. Water weighs around eight and a half pounds per gallon, so a 10-gallon tank would be at least 85 pounds, not counting everything you put in it and the aquarium itself.
The next thing you need to do is decide what type of equipment you want. You will need a fish tank filter. I recommend using an under-gravel filter because it’s not very expensive and keeps debris out. Another popular type of filter is a hang-on filter. Either type will work. You should get an air pump too.
You can also get gravel, plants, and decorations for your tank. Gravel comes in many colors, such as green, blue, pink, and natural colors. If you have a small tank, then get small gravel. For plants, you can use real ones or fake ones. Plastic plants don’t require extra care and come in many varieties. If you want to do real plants, I would wait until you are familiar with taking care of the tank. Decorations for tanks include castles, mushrooms, bubble wands, ships, and many other plastic things. Just make sure that whatever you put in your tank doesn’t clutter it up.
When you go to fill up the tank, there are several water options to choose from. You can use distilled water or tap water. If you decide to use tap water, you will need to purchase a product that removes chlorine and use it before adding the water to the tank. Add the water slowly so that everything in your tank doesn’t move around or float to the top.
You must make sure that the temperature of your tank stays around 80 degrees. Get a thermometer and see what the temperature is. If it is not acceptable, you may need to purchase a heater for the tank. Just don’t put the heater by any air bubbles. Another thing you will need is a hood and light for the aquarium. The hood will keep the fish in the tank while providing light at the same time.
The most important maintenance to do on the tank is water changes. Every month you should change about one-third of the water. Use a siphon hose with a suction tube and siphon out about one-third of the water into a bucket. Replace with clean fresh water. Just make sure that the water you replace with is the same temperature as the tank.
A major mistake many people make is adding too many fish. Fish need space! You can get three to four small fish per gallon, one to two medium fish per gallon, or one large fish per gallon. Make sure that the fish you get can be housed together so that you will not have any fish fighting. When you bring your fish home, float the bag in the tank for about twenty minutes so it will adjust to your tank’s temperature. After that, you can put them in the aquarium.
There are many different types of fish foods to choose from but flake foods seem to work the best. Just make sure you don’t overfeed because this can make your tank very dirty. Just feed like twice a day.
This is the basics of starting a freshwater tank. Once you have it going, it’s very easy to maintain as long as you remember to do water changes, feed the fish, and make sure the temperature is okay.