Knowing what supplies you need to set up an aquarium is important. Discover the basic supplies for your aquarium.

Watching tropical fish gliding inside an aquarium makes your mind relax. Much more so if it’s designed well and looks like a real underworld habitat. Setting up an aquarium can be a great idea for your family, but it’s important to first know what supplies you will need.

An aquarium can be best fitted in any corner of your room, provided that it is unreachable by your kids unless with your supervision. It can add exquisiteness to your surroundings and a more soothing ambiance.

However, considering some important factors can be a much better experience while setting up an aquarium. You have to purchase an array of aquarium supplies in order to create a place for your fish to live in. You can purchase a complete integrated aquarium system such as Marineland Eclipse 12 to help you in setting up an aquarium.

Here are the basic considerations and supplies you will need.

Type of fish

This is an important consideration because it will determine the kind of aquarium you will setup whether freshwater or saltwater aquarium. Tropical and saltwater fish for instance need warm water that may require a heater, depending on where you live. Each type of aquarium setup has distinct needs and expenses. Saltwater fish are much harder to maintain, and I recommend if you are new to the hobby to start with freshwater fish and as you become more acquainted with freshwater fish you can consider your first saltwater tank. Fish compatibility is a big issue, do as much research as you can about the type of fish that are compatible with one another.

Decide on an aquarium size

It’s a good idea to have in mind what kind of fish you want to keep before you purchase an aquarium. Some fish only grow to be an inch or two, whereas other types of tropical fish can grow 12 or 13 inches or more in length! Knowing what kind of fish you want will help you decide the size of the tank they will need. If this is your first time with an aquarium, it may be a good idea to start with a 10 or 20 gallon aquarium setup for now and stock it with some smaller and hardier species. If you are novice, you can begin with a manageable size aquarium such as the Marineland Eclipse 12 aquarium.

Decide on the aquarium’s location

Place your aquarium in an area where the light and temperature of the tank won’t be affected by external sources such as windows and heater vents. Sunlight that enters the room through an unshaded window could affect the temperature of your tank. This could also lead to green algae problems for your tank down the road. You will want to place your aquarium on a stand that will be able to hold its total weight. You also want to be sure that the floor is able to support the total weight of the aquarium and stand. A good rule of thumb for determining the total weight of a full aquarium is 10 pounds per gallon of water. For example, a 55-gallon tank will weigh approximately 550 pounds when filled with water!

Buy your aquarium and equipment

Now is a good time to decide on the type of aquarium filter you will want to use. You will also need to purchase a heater capable of heating the tank size you have. Buy the gravel, plants, a power strip and other decorations. A good rule of thumb for the amount of gravel that you will need is 1 to 1.5 pounds of gravel per gallon of water.

Set up your aquarium and stand

Wash out your tank with water only! Do not use soap or detergents. Soap residue left behind will be harmful for your tropical fish. If you are going to use an under gravel filter (not recommended) now would be the time to set it up as well.

Wash Gravel, plants and decorations

Be sure to wash the gravel thoroughly before adding it to your tank. An easy way to do this is to put some of the rocks in a pasta strainer and wash them out in your bath tub. Then place the clean gravel in a clean 5-gallon bucket for transport to the aquarium. After adding the gravel you can place your plants and decorations.

Add water to the aquarium

To avoid messing up your gravel and plants, you can place a plate or saucer in the middle of your aquarium and direct the water flow onto the plate. Use room temperature water when filling. To remove the chlorine and chloramine, use something like Tetra AquaSafe or Prime by Seachem for Aquariums. Don’t completely fill up the aquarium until you are sure of the layout of your decorations. Otherwise, when you place your arm in to move stuff around water is going to spill over.

Set up equipment

Install your heater but don’t plug it in until the thermostat in the heater has adjusted to the water temperature. This usually takes about 15 minutes or so. Hook up your filter and any other equipment you have, then top off the aquarium water to just under the hood lip. Place your hood and tank light on the aquarium and then check your power cords to be sure that they are free of water. I would also recommend using a drip loop on all of the power cords to be extra cautious. Plug all of the equipment into a power strip and then “turn on” the aquarium.

Patience

I know, you want to add some fish. But, in order to do this right you must wait until your aquarium has cycled before adding any fish. Be sure to learn about the aquarium nitrogen cycle. Understanding about the nitrogen cycle will save your fish lives and must be done before adding new fish to your aquarium. If you must use fish to cycle, try to get a hardier species like the zebra danio or cherry barb. You may notice your fish tank cycle kicking in gear if you start to get some white cloudy aquarium water after a few days.

Add tropical fish

Only add one or two fish at a time. Adding a couple fish at a time gives your filtration system the time needed to take on the increased biological load that the new fish introduce. When you bring the fish home let the bag float in the tank for about 15 minutes so that the fish can become acclimated to the temperature and pH of the aquarium water. After 5 minutes of floating the bag you should add some of the aquarium water to the bag so that the fish can become acclimated to the pH level in the aquarium. This will help reduce the amount of stress imposed on the fish. Stressed fish often leads to dead or diseased fish! Don’t feed your fish on the first day. They probably wouldn’t eat any food on the first day anyway. Let them get acquainted with their new home.

Get ready for regular maintenance

Be prepared to spend some time once every week or two to clean your tank. Performing regular water changes will reduce the nitrate levels and keep your tropical fish happy and healthy. As you can see, the steps for setting up an aquarium are not that complex.

Have fun, take care of and enjoy your fish!