So you’ve decided on which aquarium to buy, been and purchased it, and set it up in a prominent location in your home – what next? Before you rush out and buy your freshwater tropical fish, you need to make sure you have all the equipment necessary. At the very least you need a lid for the aquarium, lighting, heating and a filtration system. It is very important you buy the correct size for your aquarium.
For instance, the lighting needs to be sufficient to light the entire aquarium, likewise the filter must be able to cope with the amount of water you will have, or it will not work to optimum efficiency. Buying a heater which will have to work hard to keep your aquarium at the correct temperature may be cheaper, but will end up a false economy, as it will soon break. If you are in any doubt as to what to buy to go with your aquarium, check with a reputable aquatic dealer.
You will now need to decorate your aquarium. For this you need gravel, and by this I mean special gravel you buy from an aquatic dealer, the quality is important. You also need a lot of it, because you need to cover the base of the aquarium by at least 2-3 inches (5-7.5cm). This will allow the plants to root properly, and if you have an under-gravel filtration system you will need this much to cover the filter.
To complete the decoration you will need some plants, either real or artificial, and you may want to consider some bogwood, which looks attractive in an aquarium, and as it has been treated it is suitable. Do not add shells or coral, as these can hurt your fish, and can also change the balance of the water, as well as be sharp and may hurt the fish. Aquatic dealers also sell other artificial decorations that you may want to purchase. Ensure that whatever you do you give your fish some hiding places.
Next, purchase a net, a bucket, a gravel cleaner and a glass cleaner – these are essential tools of the trade, and will be used often. I would also recommend buying de-chlorinator – tap water may be great for people, but it was not made for tropical fish. All the chemicals which are put in the water are not good for freshwater tropical fish, so the water will either need to be left standing for a couple of days, and be subjected to strong aeration, or have a de-chlorinator added to it.
Finally, purchase some fish food, so that when you bring your new freshwater tropical fish home you have something to feed them.