Did you know that there are scientifically proven benefits to owning fish as pets? It’s true! Fish can calm you, reduce stress and anxiety, and even lower your heart rate by up to 6bpm. Fish keeping is more of a pleasurable hobby than hard work – and here’s how you can easily set up and maintain your very first aquarium!
Starting a first-time home aquarium is a lot easier than you might think; and before you know it, this fascinating hobby will have you hook, line and sinker! To help you get started, follow our handy steps below.
STEP 1: CHOOSING THE AQUARIUM
Yes, bigger is better.
Using the term “aquarium” could sound daunting, but ultimately, we’re simply referring to a fishbowl – and believe it or not, a larger tank is easier to maintain. An aquarium is all about a balanced environment for your fish, and having more water makes maintaining this balance easier.
MARLTONS TOP TIP: An ideal starting size would be a 75-litre (or larger) tank.
STEP 2: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
It matters more than you think.
Owning them as pets has positive health benefits for you, but did you know that fish can get stressed as well? Therefore, choosing the ideal location for your aquarium is so important: we recommend areas away from high foot traffic, windows, direct sunlight, and from heating or air vents.
STEP 3: GET THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
These are your must-have basics.
Fish make for wonderful, low maintenance pets; so, make sure you’ve got these aquarium basics covered:
- FILTER: A big part of maintaining a good balance in your aquarium is having clean, healthy water. Filters aren't reserved for the fish pros; it's the heart of any tank, keeping the water clean and your fish and plants healthy.
AIR PUMP: Like humans, fish also need oxygen – and the best way to give your aquarium a constant supply of fresh oxygen is with an air pump. It’s also great for helping to avoid the water stagnating; and there are literally dozens of air pump options available, so be sure to choose one well-suited to the size of your aquarium.
MARLTONS TOP TIP: If your aquarium is situated in a low-noise environment, be sure to choose a “silent” model air pump – Tetra’s Whisper series is a great option.
- GRAVEL: Gravel plays an important role in most freshwater aquariums. It promotes water-flow and good bacteria, preventing a buildup of bad bacteria in the substrate that could sicken your fish and even result in aquarium mold. Did we mention it adds an awesome aesthetic value to your tank?
Once you’re comfortable and ready to level up on your fish keeping game, look at expanding on your aquarium equipment with these great add-ons.
- WATER HEATER: Did you know that fish can’t produce their own body heat? Their wellbeing relies on a consistent water temperature, and a water heater is the best way to help your fish regulate their internal temperature, thus reducing stress.
- THERMOMETER: The ideal temperature for freshwater fish is 25°C, so if you’re adding on a water heater then a thermometer is essential for monitoring the temperature.
- LIGHTING: The recommended amount of daily light for an aquarium is 10 hours, depending on your natural light or time of the year. Good fish keepers always include aquarium lights in their setup, so look at adding a tank light to yours – and luckily, Tetra carries a great range.
STEP 4: THE WATER
Before you open that tap…
You’re forgiven for wanting to instinctively top up your new aquarium with tap water – but before you do, remember that tap water contains chlorine! Add a water conditioner to de-chlorinate and make it safe for your fish.
STEP 5: THE FISH
No need to overcomplicate it!
You’re only just starting out on your fish ownership journey, so keep things simple (and safe) by starting off with inexpensive fish. Goldfish, Mollies, and Plattys are some of the more popular choices.
Remember, you’re still figuring out how to cycle your tank properly (growing healthy bacteria on a new filtration system to filter out dangerous toxins), and mistakes could be made – so an inexpensive fish isn’t such a bad idea, after all.
MARLTONS TOP TIP: Not all fish make the best roommates – don’t just “mix and match”, different fish have different personalities, so chat with your local fish retailer before buying.
STEP 6: FISH HAVE EYES, SO ACCESSORIZE
The part we all love!
Decorating your aquarium is arguably one of the most fun parts of fish ownership, and here are some great tips to having a visually pleasing tank:
- Create a dramatic, striking focal point by using a larger single item
- Decorative caves and tunnels are a great way to give your fish a place to hide and feel safe
- Use a variety of smaller, medium, and large plants and accessories to add to the character of your aquarium.
As official suppliers of Tetra products, Marlton’s is proud to bring you the very best in fish care. With the help of these basics – and once you’ve established your aquarium maintenance and fish care routines – you’ll be set to have a swimmingly great time with your new pet fish!