Starting a fish tank can be an exciting and rewarding new hobby. Fish tanks can help you create a beautiful focal point in any room of your house. However, setting up your tank can be tricky and it’s important to understand some of the dos and don’ts if you want a healthy and thriving environment for your fish.


  • Have your tap water tested for pH, alkalinity, nitrate and phosphate to make sure it is acceptable for aquarium use.
  • Buy the largest aquarium you can afford or have space for. Larger aquariums are more stable and easier to maintain.
  • Let a newly set up aquarium run for 2 to 3 days before purchasing your first fish.
  • Test the aquarium water for pH, ammonia and nitrite before adding new fish.
  • Always acclimate new fish purchases before introducing them to your aquarium.
  • Research all animals before purchasing to make sure you have the right food, environment and skills to maintain them.
  • Research all equipment before purchasing to make sure it is right for your setup and tank inhabitants.
  • Change 10% of your aquarium water every week or 25% every two weeks. Replacement water should be the same temperature as the aquarium water.
  • Always treat tap water with a water conditioner to neutralize chlorine and ammonia before adding it to the aquarium.
  • Change filter cartridges at least once a month. Check them weekly and rinse as needed.
  • Inspect your fish for health on a regular basis. A good time to do this is when you feed.
  • Feed your fish a variety of flake, pellet and frozen foods to make sure they are getting proper nutrition.
  • Always purchase schooling fish like tetras, barbs, rasboras and danios in groups of 6 or more to ensure their health and well-being.


  • Don’t completely tear down your aquarium to clean it. This will destroy the biological balance with disastrous results.
  • Avoid water changes of more than 25% as larger water changes can stress your fish and upset the balance in your aquarium.
  • Don’t leave the aquarium light on 24/7. This not only stresses your fish but can lead to excessive algae growth.
  • Don’t place your aquarium near a sunny window or in a drafty location.
  • Don’t buy fish the same day you purchase the aquarium. Instead, set the tank up and let it run for a few days before bringing your first fish home.
  • Don’t purchase fish on impulse. Make sure they won’t outgrow your tank, are compatible with existing tank inhabitants and you have the right food, equipment and skills to maintain them.
  • Don’t allow store water to enter your aquarium when adding new fish.
  • Don’t add too many fish at one time, especially in smaller or newly set up aquariums.
  • Don’t overstock your aquarium. Fish that are crowded may fight, and overstocking can lead to water quality problems.
  • Don’t feed more than your fish can consume in under 2 minutes. Uneaten food can pollute the water and stress your fish.
  • Don’t buy equipment based on price only. Make sure it will do the job you are asking it to do and will last.
  • Don’t use buckets, scrub pads or any other equipment on your aquarium that have been used with soap or other chemicals.

That’s it!

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