One of the most important tasks for any aquarist is correctly setting up a new fish tank. Before introducing any fish to their new habitat, it must be fully stocked with everything they will need. This will include a fish tank filter, aquarium lights, fish tank pumps, hiding places, water of the right temperature and pH as well as enough room for them to swim comfortably. Even aquarium kits that are marketed as complete with all the fish tank accessories you need will often neglect to include adequate hiding space for your fish, so be sure that each item is present and set up before buying your first fish. Every species of fish has unique space and temperature requirements, and the requirements for your fish of choice must be researched before a tank is purchased. Well-planned fish tanks are not only beautiful, they promote healthy fish.
The ideal size for an aquarium fish tank will vary based on the number of fish it will house and how big they will be when fully grown. It is important to choose a tank not based on the size the fish are when purchased but how big they will be when they have reached maturity. The dimensions of the tank should be generous enough to allow ample room for swimming. At the very least, a tank’s length should be 4 times the length of an adult fish, though 10 times the length is truly ideal. The height and width of the tank should be at least 2 times higher and wider than the length of the fish at its adult size. If the fish you are selecting are active, their tank size requirements will fall on the higher end of these guidelines, while less active fish will be perfectly content in smaller accommodations. When purchasing your tank, do not forget to find a fish tank stand that is sturdy enough to support the weight of the tank plus the weight of the water (unless of course, you decide to purchase wall fish tanks). All aquarium stands are built to support a lot of weight since tanks are so heavy, so this shouldn't be an issue. A fish tank filter that is equipped to handle the volume of a given aquarium is vital to maintaining the cleanliness of the water. A good filter will help to break down fish waste products, transforming them into nitrates that will not harm fish. They will clean the water to remove floating particulate as well as any trace elements that might be dangerous. The three main types of filters are air-powered, under-gravel and internal power-head filters. Air-powered filters use air to force water to cycle through the filter. These are by far the least expensive option, but many aquarium enthusiasts dislike the high amount of maintenance they require and their perceived unreliability. Under-gravel filters pull water across the gravel at the bottom of the tank to remove large particles, leaving the filter to remove smaller debris and waste products. The third, and most popular, option is the internal power-head filter. These are the filters that hang from the side of a tank and circulate water with an internal propellor. They are easy to remove for cleaning and filter maintenance. One of the most popular fish tank filters is the Eheim 2213 Classic or the Fluval FX5.
After you have purchased all the necessary components, it is time to fill a tank with water. Tap water can be used if it is filtered to remove chlorine, but it must be stabilized and tested before fish tank fish are added. A water test kit must be used to make sure that the chlorine, ammonia, pH and other chemicals present in the water are within acceptable ranges to support life. Take a few days to allow the water temperature to stabilize and ensure that your aquarium lights will not raise the temperature significantly. Aquarists will find it much easier to maintain near constant water temperatures in larger aquariums than it is in those with fewer gallons of water.
Even after a fish tank is well-established, one must carefully research any fish they hope to introduce to the environment. All fish in one tank should thrive in water that is within the same temperature and pH range. Those with a tropical fish tank should confine the species within it to only those that naturally live in the same geographical area. A marine fish tank can be designed to hold fish from different regions as long as the climates are similar and the fish are not aggressive.
Fish tanks may be purchased from almost any major pet store and a number of online retailers offer fish tanks for sale as well. You may also want to look into purchasing a BiOrb Fish Tank if you are interested in a more modern look. In addition to any research you do on your own, feel free to speak to senior employees at your retailer of choice and solicit their personal experiences with various tanks and filters, as well as general tips on caring for fish. Good luck on setting up your first fish tank!