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Setting Up Your New Aquarium
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Many new aquarium owners jump right into the hobby without considering the steps of setting one up correctly. It really does pay to do a bit of planning before you take th plunge into the wonderful world of fish keeping. Take some time to plan just where the aquarium will be placed. You want to place the aqurium where you can enjoy it easily. Avoid drafty and sunny window locations as well as heating vents and radiators.

Consider also the base or stand that the aquarium will be placed on. It needs to be strong and even. Water weighs approximately 8.5 pounds per gallon. So a 20 gallon tank contains 170 pounds of just water in it. The tank should fit evenly on the base. Any rocking or twisting will sooner or later cause the tank to begin leaking.

Aquarium tanks have been around since the earlyl 1900's. The early ones were primitive, some had steel or wooden sides on three sides and glass on only on the front. Then came along the totallyl glass tank with the metal corners followed by the new acrylic tanks. These new tanks have a lot more advantages than disadvantages. The only disadvanatge I know of is how easily they can be scratched. However, there are materials available that can remove or disguise these scratches. The biggest advantage to the acrylic tank I see is the many shapes they come in. Anywhere from a gold fish bowl to a coffee table aquarium.

So, again before you head out to your favorite pet store and begin buying those beautiful pet fish, stop and take a look at setting up your aquarium the right way. You can order online or from a pet store 3 important items before you begin putting the water and fish in your aquarium.

1. Pump/Filter: Try to buy the best filter/pump combination you can afford for the size tank you are buying. The filter/pump is the heart and circulation of you new aquarium. It, like your heart circulatesthe water while also aerating it at the same time. The filter acts like the kidney of the human body in that it removes foreign materials and impurities from the water and returns clean water back into the ecosystem. It is very important you get proper advice on this, if not you could be dealing with dead pets, frustration and wasted money. All of which lead to an early retirement from this wonderful hobby.

2. Lighting: Again try to buy the best you can afford. Make sure the lighting you are purchasing is UL approved for aquariums. Safety demands that you make sure of this. Fire, electrical shock can be two results of buying lighting that was not meant for aquariums. Two types of lighting are available. The one I recommend is the flourescent lighting. It will cost a bit more initially but will last longer and be cheaper to operate.

3. Gravel: I won't mention sand here because I find it too hard to maintain and keep clean. Buy aquatic gravel at the pet store. The various colors add to the beauty of the aquarium. Before adding the gravel to the aquarium take and rinse in throughly in a collander. This will remove any impure production residues that could still be on the gravel. Slope the grave from slightly higher in the back towards the front of the tank. This will allow unwanted materials to be easily seen and scooped out.

Well, there you have it. These are the steps i recommend even before you buy a fish or add water to your aquarium. Remember if done right the aquarium will be a long term source of joy and beauty. Hurrying can be a source of anxiety, frustration and a lot of wasted money. You can visit my site at for most of the resources you will need to find long term enjoyment of this wonderful hobby. Larry Pitts is a long time aquariest and promotes help and products at

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