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Basic guide to start a fish tank

Starting a fish tank

Keeping fish for many of us can be very rewarding, there’s no doubt that some are easier than others to look after. Before starting a new tank a little bit of research will go a long way.

Choosing what type of fish

Fresh water fish are easier to look after than (marine salt water), fresh water fish have two basic groups’, warm water and cold water. An example of Cold water fish are goldfish, the most popular fish for many people starting out. Tropical fish are also still kept by many beginners, a little more research is needed and slightly higher upfront cost in equipment. Whichever you decide is right for you, they all require owners to maintain the water quality and feed them.

Fish tanks

There are various tanks available, tanks can be built up by adding equipment such as lights & filtration, and alternatively you may want a tank that has a built in filter & light already, the choice is yours. Finding the correct location for your new tank is important. Your fish should be kept in a quiet, low traffic location. Keeping it away from vibration, direct sunlight, heaters and air conditioners will prevent fluctuations in temperature, stress and possibly algae problems. Having a suitable stand or bench that is capable of carrying the weight of the tank with the water, gravel and rocks or ornaments is essential.


Tropical fish come in a wide variety, community fish are species that can coexist peacefully with other variety`s. Temperament and water quality will determine if fish can coexist, if a fish is peaceful and prefer a certain type of water quality e.g. pH or general hardness, water temperature and feeding requirements then those are usually best kept together. With so many species available there a lot of combination`s that work well.

Basic water quality

Basic understanding of water quality, fish eat food and produce ammonia as a waste by-product which is harmful to fish if it isn’t removed. Nitrification is the process of converting ammonia into nitrite then into nitrate via bacteria. A filtration system that has space dedicated to this process is highly beneficial in your fish keeping. With regular water changes using a gravel vacuum this will usually keep the waste under control. Prevention is better than cure, testing your water keeps parameter’s in check then if necessary corrections can then be done gradually.

Adding Fish

Before adding your fish make sure the water is safe for them to live in. Fish secret a natural slime when shipping and handling, a good quality water conditioner will reduce stress by removing the chlorine and chloramine, neutralize metal toxins and promote a protective coating for scales & fins. Our recommendation is API Stress coat or Fluval water conditioner total protection. New tanks take time to establish the beneficial bacteria needed to keep up with ammonia that is produced by fish.  Fluval Biological enhancer will help add millions of live bacteria to your tank, improve filtration and reduce stress.  Go slow with the amount of fish that are added to the tank over the next 4 to 6 weeks, feeding fish every second day for the first few days. Feeding can gradually increase, any leftover food not consumed will add to ammonia. Weekly water changes of 10-20% are recommended as regular maintenance removing any debris and organic waste in your tank.