Having a fish tank might seem like the easiest way of having a pet that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. While pets, like dogs and cats are always on their feet and are difficult to feed and manage, fishes are limited to the aquarium. Quite contradictory to how it feels, it is not just the fish bowl/tank and the fish that you need. In fact, even considering that is all you need, it would be more hard work than ever without other stuff that we are going to talk about.
There are certain things that go into having an aquarium setup at your place. This needs a considerable amount of research and a checklist. Despite the hard work, having a fish tank is a good idea for both pet lovers and people who’d want to make their room look aesthetic. As you read this article till the end, you would be ready to go fish tank shopping and installing a fish tank at your home. Here’s a list of stuff to answer the question “what do you need for a fish tank.”
What do you need for a fish tank?
As obvious as it is, first up, what you need for a fish tank is a fish tank. One thing to know would be- a smaller fish tank would mean having to clean it more often and change the water more frequently. This is why; it would be a good idea to get a considerably bigger tank. Also, if you plan to keep more fishes, a small fish tank wouldn’t be very accommodating.
With all of that being said, when you look for a tank or anything that can serve as a fish tank, make sure about a few things. The container/tank should be watertight. A leaky fish tank keeps disturbing the right environment for fishes. As you come to think of it, even you wouldn’t want a leaky fish tank that keeps wetting the floor of your room. The fish tank should be made of a non-toxic material; something fishes don’t chew. It should also be waterproof and should be sturdy so that it doesn’t fall easily under any circumstance.
Unless you really plan to settle down on a fish bowl, fish tanks or aquariums are quite heavy. While hunting for a sturdy fish tank is one thing, making sure the entire system is really sturdy means getting the right stand for your fish tank. What you need for a fish tank to be stable is an aquarium stand. Stands might seem to be expensive, but are worth it. Even so, you can get a stand built or build it yourself. A number of DIY videos on YouTube should be helpful enough, if you are good with tools.
Next to a fish tank, what you really need is a filtration system for your aquarium. A fish tank in itself has no outlet. This means all that goes in (like food particles) stays there. A filtration system would help getting rid of food particles, fish excreta, chemicals, and dust if it enters the tank. If all of what have been mentioned stay in the fish tank for a long time, they can contaminate the water and accumulate and prove toxic for the fishes. This is exactly why you need a filter for your fish tank.
Since there are different kinds of filters, you can talk about it with the fish tank seller. The kind of fish tank filter you get depends on the number of fishes you plan to keep and the size of your fish tank. So, make sure you get the right kind of filter. A lot of people nowadays are buying bio-wheel system for its efficiency.
It is a common assumption that gravel makes the fish tank look more fancy. While that is one of the reasons, there’s a lot more to it than bare aesthetic purpose. For big fish tanks or anything besides fish bowl, having a layer of gravel or substrate is highly recommended. Gravel layer is actually what you need for a fish tank to stay clean. Gravel is home to the flora, like bacteria that carries the process of biological filtration. In simpler words, these bacteria take care of the waste products that the fishes would excrete. And whatever remains is taken care of by the filtration system. A base layer of gravel means less frequent water changing.
Gravel also gives a nice and calm environment for the fishes. As gravels come in different colors, you should make sure you don’t buy too bright or bold colored ones. Given you get pleasant colored gravel, your fishes would live longer, stress-free, and healthier in the fish tank. Besides that, a layer of gravel is also helpful when fishes lay eggs. In fact, choosing the right kind of substrate, you can also improve the quality of water to what would ideally suit your fishes.
One important thing to remember is that you should not line gravel in your fish tank if the fish tank houses newly born fishes. In fact, fish tanks with tiny ones need to be crystal clear since gravel would make it hard to differentiate.
A cover or a lid is yet another element that you need to get for your fish tank. Lid or cover ensures that your fishes stay safe in the aquarium without jumping off of it. It also ensures that the water doesn’t get evaporated. Not a lot of dust and unwanted particles enter your fish tank when it is covered with lid. Covers also come with lights fixed on them, which are called hood. So, if you don’t want to separately buy a light, you can get a hood.
If you buy a hood, you don’t really need to buy aquarium lighting. However, if not, you should be buying a light to keep the fish tank illuminated. There are many kinds of fish tank lights that you’d be able to find in stores. You can buy based on what your budget is. Also, if you wish to naturally keep your fish tank illuminated, you can buy a glass cover/lid, which would allow a fair amount of natural light enter the fish tank.
A fish tank heater is needed in a fish tank so that you can maintain sustainable temperature for the fishes. You can find out if you need a heater in your fish tank or not by figuring out if your fishes are tropical ones. Generally, tropical fishes require heaters while temperate ones don’t. As you visit the stores, you would find many kinds of fish tanks. Out of all the kinds that you find, hanging heaters are cheapest of all and are also the most common ones. When you buy a heater, make sure you have all your doubts cleared regarding how to use it.
8 Water Conditioner
You might not be very sure about what the water at your place is composed of. Chances are- there might be traces of chlorine, ammonia, etc. in the water. If so, the water strictly needs to be conditioned so that it does not prove toxic for the fishes.
To find out if the water in the fish tank is good enough, you can make use of various fish tank water testing kits that come. These test kits would come in strips with manufacturer’s instructions about using them. Make sure you definitely test the water for chlorine, ammonia, pH value of the water, nitrate, etc.
For anyone who would want to go an extra mile to ensure the water quality, you can find in-tank water monitors. These monitors would keep displaying the composition of the water in the fish tank, which would make it quite easy for you to know about the water chemistry. However, you should replace the monitor every one or two months, since they only last for a couple of months.
For any standard fish tank or aquarium where you use gravel to layer the bottom of the tank, you need a siphon tool. A siphon is a fish tank cleaner-like tool using which you would vacuum the substrate and use it while you change water. Siphon works on the principle of gravity. In siphons, you would be able to find both basic ones and ones that are easier to use. Based on your budget, you can buy what suits you.
10 Water pump
Water pumps have two functionalities. First of all, if you have a filtration system in your aquarium, it helps in moving the water in and out of the filter. However, another reason for having a water pump would be to create water currents. Based on how big your fish tank is and how much water your fish tank has, you go about choosing the right kind of water pump.
11 Algae scraper
As the fishes excrete organic material and there is so much of organic activity in the fish tank, algae would definitely start growing in your fish tank. Using an algae scraper, you can get rid of the algae that otherwise can colonize in your fish tank and ruin it.
Algae scrapers come in different forms and you can buy what you would be comfortable in using. However, make sure you buy the kind of scraper that is meant for your aquarium. An aquarium made of acrylic needs an acrylic scraper and an aquarium made of glass needs a glass scraper.
There are two kinds of scrapers that you would find in the market. One is the normal one and other is the magnetic one. While the normal algae scraper would need you to get your hands inside the tank, you can clean your fish tank without wetting your hands using a magnetic scraper. Normal scrapers also come with handles to make the cleaning task easy for you.
Timers are not an absolute requirement for your fish tank. However, they come in handy for various purposes. Basically, timers are used to turn the light on and off at certain intervals. If you want to ensure a definite photoperiod for your fishes and plants (if any), timers are a good idea. Timers help you keep a check on the psychological health of the fishes, plants, and also curb unwanted algae growth.
13 Fish net
A fish net is really useful every time you change water in your fish tank. With a fish net or two, you can catch the fishes easily and replace them for as long as you plan to clean your fish tank. Once you are done with cleaning the fish tank, you can again put them back in the aquarium. Having two fish nets is a also a good idea since you should have a back up in case the one you use tears.
Having at least two buckets dedicated just for your fishes is something you should do. This is because the buckets that you use for your fishes should be clean and free of any toxins. A bucket is what you need for a fish tank when you plan to clean it or displace a bigger fish. As you siphon your fish tank, you can transfer the dirty water to the bucket and get rid of it.
While decorating your fish tank is just an option, if you’ve come this far, it would be a nice idea to decorate your fish tank as well. There are a number of things you can do to decorate your fish tank based on the amount of space your fish tank has. You can get a toy, stone with holes, aquatic plants, a castle, colorful gravel at intervals, and other fish tank accessories. however, make sure whatever material you use is non-toxic for your fishes. At the end of the day what matters is the health of your fishes.
These are the supplies that you need if you are planning to have a fish tank. As you get the fishes, it is also recommended that you get to know about the fishes at the pet store and do a good amount of research. This will help you give the best kind of living conditions to your fishes.