This is a step by step guide for anyone wishing to setup a home aquarium and enjoy fishkeeping in their home. In this article is a ist of basic products you will need to purchase to successfully setup a home aquarium. Following this list is a discussion on what each of these products are, what they do and why you need them in your home aquarium.
- Home Aquarium
- Backing Picture
- Gravel Filter (optional)
- Air pump and Air stone (optional)
- Water Pump/Filter
- Light Unit and Tube (if not already fitted)
- Plants and Ornaments
- Tropical Fish
Firstly and most importantly choose your aquarium carefully. If possible buy as big an aquarium as your budget and space in your home will allow. These can be brought from the internet, used or new, and also from your local pet/fish store. It is important if you buy a used aquarium to give it a thorough clean but do not use chemical cleaners. Also it is important to think about where in your home you are going to position your new home aquarium. A few tips, do not place aquariums in direct sunlight as this extra heat source increases algae production in the aquarium, do not place aquariums near a radiator as this is another unnecessary heat source and finally do not place aquariums near doors which may bang into them causing shock to the fish. Also talking of positioning if you dont want to see all the way through your home aquarium or if it is by a wall then putting a backing picture on the back glass panel of your aquarium is a good idea. These are simply cut to size and stuck on the outside of the back glass panel of your aquarium.
The next thing to purchase and install is a gravel filtration tray, which is an important feature of your home aquarium as it breaks down left over fish food and fish faeces, otherwise these things would simply sit in your gravel! There is differing opinions from pet/fish stores as to the need for a gravel filtration tray. For instance we were told that they were no longer recommended so we didn’t use one. But after losing some fish we decided to install a gravel tray and have not lost any fish since. This is a choice for you to make, this is why it is marked as optional in the purchases list. But if you do decide to use a gravel tray you will also need an airstone to go inside each lifter pipe, and and air pump which is connected to the lifter pipe. The purpose of the air pump which works with the air stone is to oxygenate the water.
Whether you use a gravel tray or not the next product you will need to buy is gravel. There are many colours and a few sizes to choose from and you can get advice on this from your local pet/fish store depending on the size of your home aquarium, as this will determine how much gravel you need to buy. Also please remember to wash gravel thoroughly before placing it in the aquarium. As fish need moving water to swim in a good quality water pump/filter is essential to filter the water and keep it moving. For more expert advice on this ask at your local pet/fish store or search online if you prefer.
Next as this is a home aquarium for tropical fish a heater is a must have to keep your fish at the correct temperature. There are lots of types available so again get specialist advice relating to your own home aquarium. As a general rule the majority of tropical fish enjoy a temperature of between 77 – 80F (25 – 27C). However when you buy your fish please check as there are some variations to this temperature rule. A good idea is to buy a thermometer to keep a check that your heater is maintaining the temperature that you set it to.
If your home aquarium does not come fitted with a light tube in the lid/hood then you will need to buy a light unit and light tube. Before buying one of these it’s a good idea to measure which size light tube will fit in your lid/hood. Also there are daylights and moonlights available but I would suggest starting off with a daylight. Then you can get a moonlight at a later date if you wish. As fish like to hide or sometimes breed in privacy, plants and ornaments are a good addition to your home aquarium as they can provide your fish with private spaces to do these things. Please note if you choose to use live plants over artificial ones then these require a daylight to thrive. As a generlal rule darker leaved plants require less light than the lighter leaved variety.
Once your home aquarium is set up please wait for about two weeks before introducing any tropical fish, as this gives the filter time to break down any additives which may be present in tap water. Alternatively you could use a water treatment which claims to get the water in your home aquarium ready for your fish much quicker. However I can not comment on how effective these treatments are as I have not used them before. This article has covered the basic equipment needed to set up your home aquarium and begin experiencing the joys of tropical fish keeping. If you follow the steps and advice given here then both you and your aquarium will be ready to start caring for tropical fish in your own home.