Tips To Setting Up An Aquarium In Your Own Home

By Kate Boland on April 28 2020 in How to

Fish tanks can be affordable, but they can also be incredibly expensive. Photo by kazuend on Unsplash
Fish tanks can be affordable, but they can also be incredibly expensive. Photo by kazuend on Unsplash
  • Fish are music lovers! Researchers have trained goldfish to respond whenever they hear the music of classical composers Bach and Stravinsky.
  • Studies have shown that watching fish swim in an aquarium can lower blood pressure by up to 4%.
  • Chimelong Ocean Kingdom is the largest aquarium in the world.

Stressful job? Hyperactive house of kids? High blood pressure? The relief for all - temporarily at least - might sound a little fishy, but researchers have discovered that viewing aquariums reduces stress, calms children, and brings down blood pressure in the short term. It’s little wonder why so many dentists and counselors keep fish tanks in their offices, and by following these quick tips you can bring these calming waters to your home, too.


Before you begin, you’ll need to decide on how much you are able to spend on your wet pets. In addition to the tank, food, and the fish themselves, you’ll also need to invest in a filter, air pump, testing kits for nitrate, pH, and ammonia, not to mention decorative elements such as rocks, plants, and lamps. A modest starter kit can start at $50 while larger aquariums can reach into the thousands. 

To Salt or Not

Beginners should consider a freshwater aquarium, as they are easier to maintain and are less expensive to set up. While saltwater tanks allow for a more complex and diverse selection of marine life, they also require more specialized equipment, larger tanks, and expensive fish.

The Perfect Spot

Be sure to position your aquarium on a flat surface able to support its total weight of about 12lbs per gallon of water and gravel. Keep your aquarium away from sunlight, both direct and indirect, as it can cause unwanted algae growth. Finally, make sure your aquarium is close to an electrical outlet but not near the air conditioner, fan, or heat source.

Decorate and Wait

Never add tap water straight to your tank. Photo by Huy Phan on Unsplash

Once you find the ideal spot, add one to two pounds of coated or pre-washed gravel. Even when using pre-washed, rinse the gravel thoroughly in a colander until the rinse water runs clear. Next, pour room temperature, dechlorinated water to the halfway point. Never add tap water straight to your aquarium as this can kill your fish. Place real or artificial aquatic plants, ornaments, or large rocks, arranging large plants towards the back of the tank and smaller ones up front to give your fish room to swim and places to hide. Once your ornaments are inside, fill the rest of the tank within an inch of the top. Then wait for at least 24 hours before adding any finned friends.

Lights, Cameras, Inaction

If you have purchased lights, a heater, or any other electrical features for your tank including thermometers, underwater cameras, or filters, now is the time to install them. Be sure to leave at least 24 to 48 hours after you have placed these items before adding fish to be certain that the temperature and filtration systems are working effectively. 

Go Fishing

Consult the experts if you are having difficulty selecting a pet fish. Photo by Frederica Diamanta on Unsplash

The best tip of all is to consult the experts at your local pet shop to make sure the fish you select are healthy and compatible with the size of your tank.  Beginner freshwater tanks make great homes to neon tetras, serpae tetras, and danio zebras, although any peaceful fish requiring similar water conditions will cohabitate well in your tank. For saltwater aquariums choose the popular clownfish made famous in the Nemo movies, angelfish, tanks, or puffers. Don’t be surprised if your fish hide in the foliage for the first few days as they get used to their new surroundings.

Wet Pets

Whether you choose a fresh or saltwater aquarium, a big marine tank or a small goldfish bowl, if you think of your fish as pets, you are sure to provide them with the healthy food and safe environment they need. Regardless of the aquarium you choose, be sure to regularly change the water and clean the gravel, operate the filtration system, and choose the right - but not too much - food for your fishy friends. 

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