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How to start a fish aquarium

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.


Having an aquarium is cool — and easy! Here’s how to start yours.



Pick starters. Starter fish are more able to adapt to a new tank. Zebra Danios, White Clouds, and Platys are great starters.

fishtank-2Pick fish that get along with each other. For example, don’t stick two male betas together; they will fight. Also, think twice if you want to add cichlids — they’re territorial. Labyrinth fish such as Gourami are calm.

Remove chlorine from the water. Buy water-cleaning drops at the pet store.

Regularly check the water temperature with an aquarium thermometer.

Do partial water changes to keep the water clean and your fish healthy. Don’t change all the water at once. Your fish might have trouble adapting in there is too much change.

Use the right equipment for cleaning — bucket, net, filter and siphon.


Don’t overfeed.

Don’t put things in the tank unless you are sure they are safe. Some woods and rocks can be bad for your fish. Never use meal. Shells aren’t safe for most tanks, either.


Don’t put your tank in a window or next to an air conditioner or heater.

Don’t buy fish from dirty tanks or ones that have sick or dead fish in them.

Don’t buy only one of a “schooling fish.” These like to be in groups. Neon Tetras, Zebra Danios and Tiger Barbs are schooling fish.

Don’t make stops when bringing your fish home. Get it home and into its new environment as quickly as possible.


Don’t put fish in the tank right away. Float the bag in the tank for about 10 minutes so the temperature matches better.

Don’t add too many fish at one time.

Don’t buy fish before you set up your tank.


How big will the fish grow?

How many fish can you keep in your aquarium? (This depends on the size and kind of fish you buy, and the size of your tank.)

What do the fish eat?

Do the fish need a heater?


The Shedd Aquarium:

The Monterey Bay Aquarium:

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25 Comments on How to start a fish aquarium

  1. Optimus Prime // October 20, 2008 at 8:25 pm // Reply

    to Sentraex, regarding the question you asked on March 19th, 2008 at 2:06 pm , “what does PH mean?” it means, “potential of hydrogen.Wich is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution, numerically equal to 7 for neutral solutions, increasing with increasing alkalinity and decreasing with increasing acidity. The pH scale commonly in use ranges from 0 to 14.

  2. to sentraex,

    ph is a measure of chemicals in the water that is bad for fish. You can buy gravel the elimanates ph for farily cheap

  3. Optimus Prime // April 27, 2008 at 4:15 pm // Reply

    If you plan on having small fish (especialy guppys) DO NOT get Platys, they will chase, bite the fins off then eat fish (especialy guppys) smaller then they are!!

  4. you should add ways to correct ph and other things. Also you should have a section on fish deseases and what to buy and how to tell.

  5. they need to do something with seamonkeys

  6. what does PH mean?

  7. I did what you said but my fish died 😦

  8. ghjtjgtijkyi // February 19, 2008 at 9:41 pm // Reply


  9. I enjoy this

  10. use yr common sense dear ,excitement never works jus bcoz d fis looks good does not mesn it will go wel with those in yr yank

  11. i wish i had read this i just lost $50 worth of fish because of no heat, clorine, and tons of other reasons.

  12. I will start mine today.

  13. Hi iIm in fifth grade! I am almost a profesinal fish breeder! I have six (6) tanks running.I have Mollies,guppys,swordtails,platies,an oscar that I feed western and eastern mosquito fish,two(2)gourimus,a giant apple snail and wild caught mollies.Need tips about breeding livebeares or any other type of fish?Just type it!!! I am ten(10) and I have three(3) years of breeding expierence.

  14. these are nice tips i have three tanks a 55 gallon a 10 gallon and a 5 gallon and im sure i will have more but you did not put anything in about an aquarium heater the type of starter fish you named require tempertures not atainable with out one also a quick paragraph about the land scape would be nice like that fish need shelter like pots plants castles and a filter system is need to keep the water clean oh well

  15. Fishies are cool. I am a scuba diver. I met a chick who was afraid of fish and she went scuba diving. She freaked out. I was funny.

  16. i have two boy betas and they get along fine……

  17. awsome!

  18. i do not have fish but i want to have a fish. time for dinner

  19. superspiderman // November 19, 2007 at 8:06 pm // Reply

    I used to have fish. They died. I’m planning to ask my parents if we can start another herd of fish. Most of the information will come from you! I’m in 2nd grade. Bye! Time for dinner!

  20. I have like 12 fish in my fish tank and I have a beta fish that has been living for 4 months. I am in the fourth grade.

  21. Very cool I am a scout who wants to start my own

  22. scuba dude 642 // November 11, 2007 at 8:32 pm // Reply

    Hey i’m scuba dude and this is about fish. haha.

  23. i have a 10 callon fish tank and i went to PetSmart and got some advice along with yours my fish tank is cool coolorfull and full of activity!! Get-A-Tank!! i did and it is cool!! 🙂

  24. i wish to play with the fishes in real life

  25. you rock. I am a boyscout to

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