Friday 29 September 2017

Amateur Aquatics - Keeping fish - Setting up your first fish tank - Part 2

Following on from Part 1 I will now go through the final steps in setting up your first fish tank. Click HERE for Part 1.  

Air pump & heater 

Technically, you don't really need either. In terms of oxygenation, placing the head of your filter above the water line will break the surface and oxygenate the tank far more than an air stone. However, if you want to operate a biological sponge filter an air pump is a necessity. The pump I use is a Interpet Nano which is both small and quiet.

Regarding heaters, the majority of the fish you will be able to keep in a small tank will be tropical so you would require one. There are however a couple of species that will go in a tepid tank and thrive at room temperature (it's important to have a thermometer as you can't rely on the heater to be completely accurate). Two examples of fish suited to tepid water are Zebra Danios and White Cloud Minnows.

Aquascape (decoration)

Again, this is mainly up to personal preference. However, your fish will likely appreciate somewhere to hide when stressed and it will be important for some species. 

Fill her up 

Time to fill your tank up. Fill it up until close to the top but not too close. Once full, I would suggest leaving it to cycle for a week or two to build up some good bacteria. You should also add some aqua safe to neutralise the chlorine. You can also add various other quick start liquids or meds to enable you to add fish faster. 


It's fish time! I cannot stress enough that you need to research no make sure you know what you want. However, if you are starting out it is easy to find lists of starter fish. I would suggest platys (as seen to the left), guppies, neon tetra's amongst other tetras.

It's important to acclimate the fish by placing the bag in the water for 40 mins or so depending on the size of the bag. Once acclimatised, place a net over a bucket, gently pour the fish into it no pop the fish in the tank. You don't want to release the bag water in the tank as it will likely have different parameters to your tank and you don't want to increase the chance of parasites.

And there we have it! Thank you for reading my first posts in this new series of fish tank care and set up posts. Please feel free to ask any questions or let me know any hints or tips to make any of the above better. Remember, we are all still learning.

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