A good choice for anyone new to the hobby of fish keeping is to start off with a fifteen or twenty gallon glass aquarium. You may wish to compliment this aquarium with a simple filter, probably an undergravel filter, aquarium gravel, an air pump and a simple heater. For lighting, you would need to have a plastic hood for your aquarium and set up an incandescent light which is much cheaper than a fluorescent light.
For decoration, it would be best to start off with some plastic plants and small ceramic or stone objects, preferably ones with mini caves that the fish can swim into. Having live plants might not be a good idea at first if you’re not too sure of how to handle them, or you might get a tank of decaying weeds.
Most of these items can be purchased as a beginner set which would be great for anyone starting the hobby. If you’re deciding on the size, just keep in mind that a large tank is actually easier to maintain than a small tank but it would take up a lot of space so just find one that suits the location that you plan to place the tank.
Now let’s start setting up your brand new aquarium.
If you have started off with an undergravel filter, that would have to go in first. Make sure you rinse the parts that will be soaking later in the water, with plain water only. Never ever use any form of detergent or cleaning fluid to clean any of your tank equipment. Following the setup instructions that came with the filter, set it up. If however you are using any other type of filter, it will only be setup once you have place the other items.
Next comes the gravel. Again, rinse the gravel thoroughly in plain water before spreading it in the tank. Level the gravel out, having dips and slopes would make cleaning it a much more difficult chore.
Now set up your heater and air pump. If you’re not using an undergravel filter, you can also set up your filter now.
The next thing to do is to fill up the tank with water. Make sure that all your electrical equipment are unplugged when you’re filling in the water to prevent a short circuit. Fill in about half of the tank first.
You can now start adding in the decoration. Play around with the arrangement to get the maximum look. You would want to hide the equipment as much as possible while still giving you a clear look of your fish swimming around. Do not over decorate or you will have a handful when it comes to cleaning it later.
Top up the rest of the water to the level that you want. This should be about three quarters the depth of the aquarium. Once it is sufficient, add in your water treatment and allow the water to sit for an hour or two before turning on all the equipment.
Do not run out to get your fish yet. You will need to allow the water to remain in the tank for at least two days before you should introduce your fish in it. After two days of running the equipment, check the water temperature first then introduce your fish and begin the cycling process.