Starting an Aquarium

An aquarium is an ecosystem that you can keep in your home. It's a great way to observe and learn about nature, as well as enjoy the beauty of aquatic life.

If you've ever been fascinated by fish tanks at PetsWarehouse or aquariums at zoos and museums, setting up your own aquarium might be right for you!

Choosing the Right Tank

The first thing you need to decide is what size tank you want. The shape of your tank depends on how much space you have available in your home or apartment; rectangular or square tanks are easier to fit into corners than round ones (which take up more space). If possible, try looking at some pictures before buying one so that you can see what kind of effect different shapes might have on an area's decorating scheme.

Gathering the Supplies

The next step is to gather all of your supplies. You will need:

  • Filter - This will be the heart of your aquarium, keeping it clean and healthy by removing waste from the water. There are many different kinds of filters available, we recommend a hang-on back filter or canister filter (which sits inside an aquarium cabinet).
  • Heater - A heater keeps the water at a consistent temperature so that fish won't get too cold or too hot.
  • Lighting – Light is essential for the healthy growth for fish, plants, corals and bacteria. It also illuminates the underwater world for your viewing pleasure! Make sure you research what kind would work best for your tank setup.

Cycling the Tank

Cycling the tank is the process of adding beneficial bacteria to your aquarium. These bacteria break down ammonia and nitrite into nitrate, which is less harmful to fish. In order to cycle a tank, you can add beneficial bacteria to your aquarium (like Fluval Cycle) with a few fish and wait for them to produce waste. The beneficial bacteria will grow on their waste products, helping establish the tanks bacteria!

Choosing Fish

The first step in setting up a freshwater aquarium is choosing the fish. This can be a daunting task, especially if you're new to the hobby. There are many factors to consider when selecting your first fish:

  • Number - How many do you want? The typical recommendation for how many fish can be put in a tank is 1 inch of fish per gallon of water. (A 10 gallon tank can hold 10 one inch fish) How big and how long will it take for them all to grow?
  • Size – Is the tank sized correctly for the fish?
  • Type - Are there any special requirements for feeding or water quality that may affect which species are right for your tank?
  • Compatibility - Will other species coexist peacefully with these ones (and vice versa)?
    Acclimation is also important; if possible, introduce new arrivals into an established aquarium rather than placing them directly into new water from their bag or container.

Maintaining the Tank

  • Regular water changes
  • Cleaning the filter
  • Testing the water (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate)
  • Monitoring levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate

Feeding the Fish

The first thing you'll want to do is figure out what kind of food your fish will eat. Fish come in all shapes and sizes, so there are many different types of food available for them. You can buy frozen or freeze-dried pellets (which are small, round pieces), flakes (which look like little pieces of shredded paper), and live foods such as worms or brine shrimp. The type of food you choose depends on the type of fish you want to keep!
If you're not sure which one would be best suited for your aquarium inhabitants, ask us for advice on what's best suited for them based on their size and age.
Once you've decided which type(s) of food would work best with your aquarium inhabitants' needs/wants/desires (and budget), it's time to figure out how much they need each day - this varies depending on whether they're omnivores or carnivores; herbivores vs omnivorous etc...

Common Problems

  • Ich (white spot disease)
  • Fin rot
  • Cloudiness, especially in the water column
  • Algae blooms

Disease Prevention

  • Quarantine new fish. This is not mandatory, but definitely the best way to stop new fish from introducing disease to your tank. The first step in preventing disease is to quarantine any new fish you bring home. This can be done by placing the new fish in a separate aquarium for 2-3 weeks, during which time they'll be checked for signs of illness and treated if necessary.
  • Perform regular water changes. A healthy aquarium should have good filtration that keeps the water clean and clear, with regular partial water changes being part of this process (about 25% every two weeks). If you don't perform these regularly enough, nitrates and bacteria will build up and once there they can spread quickly to other parts of your tank when disturbed by movement from feeding times or other disturbances like cleaning out filters/sponge filters!
  • Feed them properly! It's important not only what kind but how much food goes into our tanks too - remember that overfeeding causes waste production which leads directly back into poor water quality issues such as algae growth so try not go overboard with those pellets ;)


Congratulations! You have now set up your aquarium and are ready to start enjoying it. There are many things that you can do to keep your tank healthy and thriving, including regular water changes and proper feeding of your fish. If you have any questions about how to maintain your freshwater aquarium, please feel free to contact us at

Mar 11th 2023 Petswarehouse

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