Starting a fish tank for beginners

Fish tank for beginners. Now let’s look at how to properly install and run an aquarium without harming yourself and the fish. After all, launching an aquarium is at least half of a successful business. Errors made during this time can interfere with the normal balance for a long time.

Starting a fish tank for beginners

Setting up a fish tank stand

When the aquarium is already installed, filled with water, and fish are launched into it, it is very difficult and problematic to rearrange it. Therefore, it must be correctly installed from the very beginning.

Make sure that the place and stand where you are going to put it will support the weight of the aquarium, do not forget, the mass can reach large values. Be sure to check the imbalances with a level, even if it seems to you that everything is smooth.

Do not place the aquarium with the edges hanging from the stand. This is fraught with the fact that it simply crumbles. The aquarium should stand on a stand with all the bottom surface.

Be sure to glue the background before the aquarium is set up, the easiest way to do this is to smear a thin layer of glycerin on the background. Glycerin is sold at the pharmacy.

Do not forget that there should be free space behind the aquarium for servicing and routing the filter pipes. Finally, when a location is selected and secure, do not forget a substrate under the aquarium, which will smooth out any unevenness and help more evenly distribute the load on the bottom of the aquarium. As a rule, it comes with the aquarium, do not forget to check with the seller.

Soil arrangement and filling

All soils, except for the branded ones in the package, must be thoroughly cleaned before being put into the aquarium. A large amount of fine dirt and debris is present in all soils, and if not rinsed, it will seriously clog the water.

The soil flushing process is long and messy, but extremely necessary. The easiest method is to rinse a small amount of soil under running water. The strong pressure of water will wash away all light elements and leave the soil practically intact.

You can also just pour a small amount of soil into a bucket and put it under the tap, forgetting about it for a while. When you return it will be clean.

The soil can be laid unevenly, it is best to place the soil at an angle. The front glass has a smaller layer, the rear glass has a larger one. This creates a better visual appearance and makes it easier to clean up debris that accumulates on the front glass.

The thickness of the soil is important if you plan to plant live plants and should be at least 5-8 cm.

Before filling with water, check if the aquarium is leveled and stand on a flat surface. This can be done using a building level. The skew can increase the incorrect load on the walls, and it just does not look aesthetically pleasing.

Then it’s time to fill the jar, usually with tap water. Just let it drain slightly to avoid debris and stagnant water. If possible, fill slowly, being careful not to wash out the soil, it is better to use a hose for this.

Even a well-washed soil will give cloudiness at first. You can simply put a plate on the bottom and direct the stream of water to it, the water will not erode the soil and the turbidity will be minimal. You need to fill the aquarium to the top but leave a few cm underfilled. Don’t forget, plants and decorations will also take place.

After the aquarium is full, add a special conditioner to the water, it will help to quickly remove chlorine and other elements from the water.

You can add water from an old aquarium (if you already have one), but only after the fresh water in the aquarium has warmed up. You can also use a filter from an old aquarium.

Equipment check

After the aquarium is full, you can start installing and checking the equipment. The heater should be installed in a place with good flow, such as near a filter. This will allow the water to warm up more evenly.

Equipment check

Do not forget that the heater must be completely submerged under water! Modern heaters are hermetically sealed, they work completely under water. Do not try to bury it in the ground, or the heater will break or the bottom of the aquarium will crack!

Set the temperature to about 24-25C, how it warms up, check with a thermometer. Unfortunately, heaters can give a difference of 2-3 degrees. Most of them have a light bulb that lights up during operation, by which you can understand when it is turned on.

Internal filter – if aeration is not needed in the filter (for example, there is a compressor), then it should be placed on the very bottom since all the dirt accumulates there. If you sculpt it 10-20 cm above the ground, then there will be no sense from it, and the whole bottom will be littered with debris. The closer to the surface, the better aeration works, if necessary.

So the attachment of the filter is the choice of the optimal depth – you need it to be as low as possible but at the same time the aeration works … And this is already determined empirically. But for starting a fish tank for beginners you better read the instructions for the model that you purchased.

When you turn on the filter for the first time, air will come out of it, possibly more than once. Do not be alarmed, it will take several hours before all the air is washed out with water.

Connecting an external filter is a little more difficult, but again – read the instructions. Be sure to place the pipes for the intake and release of water at different ends of the aquarium. This will eliminate dead spots, places where the water in the aquarium stagnates.

It is better to place the water intake near the bottom, and do not forget to put on protection – a prefilter – so that you do not accidentally suck in fish or large debris. The external filter must be filled before use. That is, before plugging into the network, using a manual pump, it is filled with water.

I’ll tell you that on some models it’s not so easy, I had to suffer. As in the internal filter, in the external one, there is the same air that will be released over time. But at first, the filter can work quite loudly, do not be alarmed. If you want to speed up the process, gently tilt the filter at different angles or shake slightly.

Decor installation

Be sure to rinse the driftwood thoroughly and then boil it. This applies to both branded and those that you found yourself or bought on the market. Sometimes driftwood is dry and float, in which case they need to be soaked in water.

The process is slow, so remember to change the water in the driftwood container. How, where, and how many elements to put this is a matter of your taste and not to me to advise. The only thing is to make sure that everything is firmly installed, and will not fall, breaking your glass.

If large stones are installed in the aquarium – 5 kg or more, it will not interfere with the ground, put foam plastic under it. This will ensure that such a large cobblestone will not break the bottom.

Launching fish and planting plants

After completing all other tasks of starting a fish tank for beginners you got to the last part, but don’t rush? After the water is poured, the decor is installed and the equipment is connected, wait 2-3 days (even better 4-5) before planting the fish. During this time, the water will warm up and clear. You will make sure that the equipment is working as it should, the temperature is stable and as you need it, hazardous elements (chlorine) have disappeared.

At this time, it is good to add special preparations to help balance the aquarium. These are liquids or powders that contain beneficial bacteria that live in the soil and filter and purify water from harmful substances.

Plants can be planted a little faster before the fish are planted, but not before the water warms up to 24 C.

Plant the plants, wait a couple of days for the raised dregs to settle, and start your new pets.

Tips for starting a fish tank for beginners

The aquarium is not difficult if you do not take very demanding types of fish. There are many nuances that an experienced aquarist needs to know, but you will get to them. What should a beginner do?

You say to yourself: I want an aquarium! Where to begin? We have prepared for you 10 golden rules that will help you get everything right in your aquarium from the very beginning.

The main thing is not to overfeed the fish. In a new aquarium, it is better to feed the fish once a day, but over time you can increase the amount, guided by the rule – little and often.

I recommend you to watch this fantastic video about starting your awn fish tank:

How to set up a FRESHWATER AQUARIUM: Beginners guide to your 1st Fish Tank

Don’t overfeed your fish

The main cause of problems for novice aquascapers (often even experienced ones) is over-feeding. The aquarium is a closed environment so that it does not get into it, it will become part of the water in which the fish live.

The food gets into the soil, where it rots, releases toxic phosphates, accelerates the growth of harmful algae, and makes the aquarium look unhealthy. Overfeed the fish and the water will become cloudy, the fish will get sick, and the glass will be covered with disgusting algae.

How do you know if you are overfeeding your fish? Everything that you put into the fish tank should be eaten within a minute, if the food fell to the bottom or was not eaten in a minute, this is wrong!

The exception to this rule is catfish, they need sinking food, such as pills, and even if they fall to the bottom, the catfish will quickly destroy them.

If you just started a fish tank as a beginner, it is better to feed the fish once a day, but over time you can increase the amount, guided by the rule – little by little and often.

Have a fasting day once a week – do not feed the fish, this will allow them to stay healthy and search for food on their own.

Regular small maintenance of the aquarium

Keeping the aquarium tidy seems like a daunting task for beginners. Some beginners that start considere that you need to change all the water in the aquarium.

But the main things are a partial water change, removing dirt from the soil, removing algae, and cleaning the filter. All this is enough to do once a week. And for a new aquarium, water changes are not necessary!

Only after a few months you need to start regularly changing up to 30% of the water.

Create the right conditions for your fish

If your fish is sick – does not eat, hides, has lost color, or behaves strangely, and the water quality and conditions in the aquarium are normal, then it is often difficult to understand why the fish got sick.

One important factor when starting a fish tank for beginners is the environment in which the fish live. Everything, for example – rocks, plants, decor, even other fish affects your pets. If you take a small fish that naturally lives in densely overgrown, shady ponds and streams and put it in your aquarium with bright soil, light, and no plants….

Then it will experience stress, get sick or die. Take the same fish, put it in an aquarium with plants, soft light and it will feed and grow well.

When you buy fish, do not take whatever you like. Now there is a lot of information, read, think, find out the compatibility of different types and you will not have to be disappointed.

Choose good equipment

Filters, lights, soil can directly affect how well your aquarium looks. It is unlikely that you will put a filter that will arrange a whirlpool, but a weak filter is a common mistake.

As a result, a gradual deterioration in water quality, poisoning of fish and plants. Small internal filters are great for beginners, but they often fail and ruin your aquarium.

For aquariums longer than 60 cm, consider an internal filter that filters much better.

As for the soil, you need to understand if you want to keep live plants in the aquarium. If so, fine gravel is a good choice. It is well filtered, does not accumulate, unlike sand.

But if you want an aquarium with beautiful plants, look towards branded soil mixes. They are not cheap, but they give excellent results.

Wash the filter in fish tank water

It is a very common mistake that fishkeepers wash the filter and its contents under running water and soap. Washing this way harms both the fish and the bacteria that live inside your filter and helps balance. Always wash the filter only with water that you have drawn from the aquarium.

Find out more about your fish

There are hundreds of types of fish that you can buy and they are all different. Some grow big, some are aggressive, others fight their own kind, or territorial, some are predators.

Choosing incompatible fish you create problems for yourself, suffering for the fish, and all this is easy to get around if you first study the fish a little. Instead of buying at random, read about them, look in the store, ask around about fish.

Launch new fish gradually

When you are starting a fish tank as a beginner it is not stable, it needs time for the bacteria that decompose waste to multiply and take root. If you run your tank too quickly, add too many fish, you can get a bacterial outbreak, cloudy water, and fish death. Start your new aquarium slowly. Add fish a little, once a week.

Check water quality

The main problem in an fish tank is water quality. Therefore, it is important that you know everything about the water in the aquarium and regularly conduct tests. Water testing is very simple and does not require a degree in chemistry.

In most cases, you can find a simple kit at your nearest pet store. Buy it, it will help you avoid serious problems.


Find a good seller

Although you can find the answer to almost any question online, it is still better to communicate with a person. Meet a passionate aquascaper who already went through the process of starting a fish tank for beginners – he will always give you good advice, help you in difficult situations, and you can avoid mistakes and disappointments in your new hobby. Now there are many thematic forums, do not hesitate to ask questions, they will be happy to answer them there.

Enjoy your passion

The most important thing is to enjoy and spend a lot of time with your aquarium and fish. Aquarium is a vacation, part of the real nature in our home, and it is not difficult as it seems. Try it, make mistakes, but don’t give up and after a while, you will already be helping newcomers.

Feed your fish correctly – moderately and infrequently

After completing all previous tasks of starting a fish tank for beginners you probably want to know how to properly feed your fish. You may think this is a simple question, but it is far from the case. Please keep reading.

Of course, if you don’t want to bother yourself, you can just throw a few flakes into the aquarium, but if you want your fish to be healthy, play with all the colors of the rainbow and delight you, then we will show you how to properly feed your aquarium fish.

How much to feed the fish?

I would say that the bulk of fishkeepers feed their fish right, but too often you see overfeeding turning the jar into a swamp or fish so overweight that they forget how to swim.

And it’s easy to understand why this is happening. There is no specific standard, and feeding your fish can be challenging for a beginner. The fact is that with fish, we most of all interact during feeding. And so I want to feed them a little more.

And the beginner feeds the fish, every time he sees that they are lonely asking for food from the front glass. And most fish will ask for food even when they are about to burst (this is especially true for cichlids), and it is so difficult to understand when there is already enough.

And yet – how often and how many times should you feed your aquarium fish?

Fish need to be fed 1-2 times a day (for adult fish, fry and adolescents, they need to be fed much more often), and with such an amount of food that they eat in 2-3 minutes.

Ideally, so that no food gets to the bottom (but do not forget to feed the catfish separately). Let’s agree right away that we are not talking about herbivores – for example, ancistrus or brocade catfish. These feed almost around the clock, scraping algae. And do not worry, you should not carefully monitor whether they ate every time, just look closely a couple of times a week.

Why is it so important not to overfeed the fish?

The fact is that overfeeding negatively affects the condition of the aquarium. The food falls to the bottom, falls into the ground, rots, and begins to spoil the water while serving as a nutritious basis for harmful algae.

At the same time, nitrates and ammonia accumulate in the water, which poison fish and plants.

Dirty, algae-covered aquariums with sick fish are often the result of overfeeding and dirty water.

What to feed?

So, we figured out how to feed correctly … And now what to feed aquarium fish?
All food for aquarium fish can be divided into four groups – branded food, frozen food, live food, and plant food.

If you want to keep healthy fish with beautiful coloration, it is best to feed all types of these foods. Of course, some fish can only eat live food, others only plant food.

But for ordinary fish, the ideal diet consists of branded food, regular feeding with live food, and not regular vegetable food.

Artificial food – as long as you buy real and not fake, can be the main diet for most fish. Modern branded fish food contains all the necessary substances, vitamins, and minerals to keep the fish healthy. Buying such food is no longer a problem, and the choice is huge.

Separately, I will note the so-called dry food – dried gammarus, cyclops, and daphnia.

An extremely poor feeding option for any fish. Does not contain nutrients, is difficult to digest, allergen for humans.

But do not use dry food – dried daphnia, there are almost no nutrients in it, fish suffer from stomach diseases from it, grow poorly!

Feed your fish correctly

Live food is one of the best food for fish that needs to be fed regularly. It is not necessary to feed the same species all the time, alternate because the fish loves variety.

The most common live feeds are bloodworms, tubifex, glassworm. But it also has serious drawbacks – you can bring diseases, poison the fish with poor-quality food, and feeding with bloodworms cannot be done too often, it does not digest well with fish.

The simplest disinfection of live food is freezing, which kills some of the nasty stuff in it.

Frozen food – for some, live food can be unpleasant, and people do not welcome swarming worms in the refrigerator … Therefore, there is an excellent alternative – frozen live fish food.

I choose them for feeding since they are easy to dose, they are easy to store, do not deteriorate, and contain all those substances that are alive.

And you can often buy a mix of live food, which will contain several species – bloodworms, brine shrimp and glassworm together.

Vegetable food – you will rarely find a fish that does not eat plants in nature from time to time. And for most fish species, plant-based foods are desirable.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and predators will not eat grass. Be sure to read what type of food the fish living in your aquarium prefer.

Plant food can be purchased as branded, in tablets or flakes, or added to the aquarium on your own. For example, ancistrus are happy to eat zucchini, cucumbers, and cabbage.


If you follow these tips of starting a fish tank for beginners, you will not overfeed the fish, give them a complete diet rich in nutrients, and the result will be beautiful, healthy fish that will live long.

Feeding your fish is the backbone of their maintenance, and you won’t regret wasting time if you get it right from the start.