Did you know that keeping fish for a pet can actually help to improve your mental health by reducing the effects of stress? Keeping fish for pets make a great aesthetic and can help to boost your health, but providing your fish with a healthy place to live is essential for the longevity of your new pets.

With the vast amount of options that are available for fish owners to choose from, such as tank decorations, tank sizing, and deciding upon the right type of equipment, making sure that your initial fish tank setup is done properly can be overwhelming.

That’s why today, we’re going to talk you through how to properly set up your fish tank to make sure that you’ve got healthy and happy fish!

1. Plan Your Tank

Most people seem to skip over this part when working towards their initial fish tank setup, which is ironic, considering that this planning your fish tank is the most important step to take when looking to create a fish tank that thrives.

Before you start buying a tank or equipment, you need to decide the different types of species that you’re looking to have in your tank. Are you going to keep freshwater fish or saltwater fish in your tank?

A few other questions you should ask yourself are:

  • Do you want a large community tank where all of your fish can interact?
  • Do you want a small tank that only consists of fish that are one species?
  • Are you interested in breeding your fish?

All of these questions will be the biggest factor in helping you to decide the sizing of the tank you’re going to purchase, as well as the type of equipment you’re going to need to maintain the fish tank.

2. Clean Your Tank

After you’ve figured out what type of fish you’re going to purchase and you’ve bought the right tank size and equipment, you need to work on preparing your tank!

Before you start adding water, you need to take time to inspect the tank to make sure that it’s clean. If upon inspection you’ve noticed that the tank is covered in dust, take a damp cloth and make sure that you’ve wiped all of the dust out of the tank.

All of the equipment that you’re going to be using on your tank, such as buckets, should be brand new. This will ensure that no household chemicals have been in contact with the equipment, which could potentially make your fish sick.

3. Install Substrate

If you aren’t familiar with what substrate is, it’s the material that you put on the bottom of your fish tank. Some fish thrive better with a sandy substrate, while other fish may prefer a rocky substrate.

Once you’ve decided on what type of substrate you’ll be adding into your fish tank, you need to wash the substrate. The majority of the time, the substrate comes pre-washed, but it’s still very dusty and dirty. Rinsing your substrate before adding it into your tank will help to keep the water in your tank from clouding up.

After you’ve cleaned your substrate, you can add it to your fish tank! Once your substrate is installed in your tank, you can begin to add water.

To prevent the substrate from being disturbed when adding water, you can put a bowl or a plate in the bottom of the fish tank. Pour the water on top of the dishware and the substrate won’t cloud the water!

If there’s chlorine in the water that you’re using, make sure to use a de-chlorinator to the water.

4. Setup the Equipment

Once your fish tank is filled with water, you can begin to install your equipment. Even if you don’t have an extensive amount of equipment to get installed, you should at least have a working filter.

If you’ve decided that you wanted to purchase tropical or saltwater fish, installing a water heater should also be a top priority. The majority of water heaters come with instructions on how to install them, so check back with the instructions manual if you have any difficulty setting up your water heater.

5. Decorate Your Tank

Yay, you now have a fully functional tank! Now comes the fun part- you can start decorating your tank! Whether you’re looking to decorate your fish tank with a theme, just a few plants, or whimsical decorations, you need to make sure that you follow a cleansing process before installing each piece of decoration.

Before installing each piece, make sure that you wash off each piece with clean water to remove any dirt, dust, or debris. After washing, you can add them into your tank!

6. Work on Cycling The Tank

You have now completely finished setting up your fish tank! However, your tank isn’t ready for fish until after you’ve cycled it. The term ‘cycling’ refers to the process that your tank goes through to build up bacteria in the filter of your tank.

Making sure that you properly cycle your fish tank will help to ensure the biological health of any fish that you’ll be adding to your tank, which is why it’s recommended to cycle your tank without any fish in it!

7. Welcome Your Fish to Their New Home

Yay, you can now finally add your fish to your fish tank! Be careful to ensure that you don’t just dump your fish into the fish tank, but that you acclimatize the fish to make sure they aren’t shocked by the temperature of the water in the tank.

Mastering the Initial Fish Tank Setup

The initial fish tank setup can be tricky, but hopefully, this guide helped make setting up your fish tank a breeze!

Looking to learn more about how to properly care for your fish? Feel free to contact us with any questions!