There are various types of tanks to explore, including plastic, acrylic and glass tanks. They are available in different sizes and shapes to suit your taste and your budget.



Whether they are artificial or real, aquatic plants will enhance the overall beauty of an aquarium and provide extra shelter for some fishes. It is best to choose real (living) plants as they not only add a natural essence to your tank but also help keep your aquarium water cleaner. Many aquatic plant species are easy to grow and allow you to develop your underwater-gardening skills!


To check the temperature of the water, you will need an aquarium thermometer. The ideal temperature range is 17-24°C (62-75°F) for aquarium goldfish and 24-26°C (75-79°F) for most tropical fish.


Use only aquarium gravel sold in a pet or aquatic retail store which contains stones that won’t alter the water chemistry or release harmful substances into the water. Rinse the new gravel in a clean (soap-free) bucket or colander under the cold tap water to remove any trapped dirt or dust before adding it to your aquarium. Some bottom dwelling fish, such as corydoras catfish prefer a fine substrate such as sand, so please consider the suitability for your fish, and ask for advice if unsure.

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A filter helps keep your aquarium water clean, and that means healthy, happy fish. It works by removing the fish’s solid and liquid wastes that would otherwise accumulate in the aquarium and pollute the water. The most popular type of filter is the electrically driven canister filter – some models are internal (i.e. submersed within the tank), others are external (they are positioned outside the tank – and must never be immersed). Air-driven sponge filters are sometimes used in very small tanks, and these require an electric air pump to operate them.


One difference between keeping goldfish and tropical fish is that tropical fish must be kept in warm water. Thermostatically controlled aquarium heaters are available for maintaining a constant water temperature. For most tropical fish, the temperature should be 24-26°C (75-79°F). Aquarium heaters come in different wattage ratings to suit the size of the aquarium. For example, a 45 litre aquarium requires a 75-100 watt heater, whereas a 68 litre aquarium requires a 100-150 watt heater. If the aquarium is to be sited in a very cool (unheated) room, then increase the wattage requirement by 50%. Consult your aquatic shop staff for further advice about heating your tank.

You will need a few additional things to help you keep your aquarium in good condition and your fish healthy and happy.



Tap water contains harmful chemicals like chlorine and chloramines, which make it safe for us to drink but which are harmful to fish. AQUARIAN® Tap Water Safe instantly removes chlorine and chloramines and must therefore be added to tap water, not only when you fill your aquarium but also whenever you do a partial water change.


To stay healthy, active and colourful, fish need a diet which is complete and balanced meeting all of their nutritional requirements. Fish food must containing the right balance of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, omega fatty acids and also colour enhancing pigments.



It is also important that the food is highly digestible and also palatable to your fish, so they readily eat it when fed. If they don’t, then much of the food you feed them will remain uneaten leading to pollution in your aquarium water.


A plastic bucket is ideal for water changing: to take the old water when you siphon it out, and to refill the aquarium with fresh tap water (always add a water conditioner). Ideally, choose a “measuring bucket” that has litre (or gallon) lines marked on the inside.


This will allow you to siphon out water when you are doing water changes. A siphon gravel cleaner is simply a wide plastic tube that attaches to flexible tubing that carries dirty water and detritus once the siphon has been started. Agitating the gravel with the wide tube and using the action of the water siphon to carry waste material that collects in the gravel to the plastic bucket will help you maintain a healthy environment for your fish.


The net will help you remove uneaten food and catch your fish.

Choose the best location for your aquarium



Choose the best location for your aquarium

It is best to avoid window positions or anywhere that receives direct sunlight, as this may encourage algae growth. You’ll need to have a mains electric socket nearby for plugging in the heater, lights and filter. Bear in mind that an aquarium filled with water may be very heavy, so ensure it is placed on a strong, level base.



Once your fish have been assimilated, you’ll want to provide them a wee amount of food to get them fully settled and comfortable in their new home.


Click on the below questions to reveal the answers.

Yes, switch it off only to clean or service it. If the filter is switched off for more than a few hours, the friendly bacteria may die.

The water in a newly set up aquarium may be cloudy for the first couple of days but should be clear after that time. If not, follow the steps outlined below.

If an established aquarium becomes cloudy, it may be a sign that the aquarium urgently needs to be cleaned. Perform a 50% partial water change and siphon off excess dirt from the gravel. As a last resort, you can purchase a special water cleaning agent from your aquarium or pet retailer.

Vallisneria (tall, grass-like leaves), dwarf Hygrophila (bushy, small leaves), Amazon swords (large broad leaves) and the more common Cryptocoryne species (medium to large broad leaves) are suitable plants for beginners.

Goldfish tend to nibble and uproot live plants, which is why artificial ones are popular. But if you want to try underwater gardening, the following two plants are recommended: Java fern (Microsorium pteropus) and Ludwigia (Ludwigia palustris).

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