First time fish keeping – top tips for setting up your new aquarium

As a parent I think it’s incredibly important for children to have a pet, I think it teaches them some responsibility, it’s a good learning tool for lots of life’s lessons and can give them some companionship. The small boy, like me, utterly adores dogs, but I don’t think he’s ready for the responsibility, so we’ve bought him a fish tank for his birthday instead.

When I was a teenager I suddenly developed an interest in fish keeping. Off my own back I saved for a decent tank and spent weeks lovingly setting it up and getting it acclimatised for my new fish. I then walked a mile and a half to my local pet shop and bought two goldfish, then walked the mile and a half home carrying them very carefully in their plastic bag. It was the start of a long, beautiful but quite silent friendship between me and those fish which lasted a good ten years.

Having just bought and set up a cold water fish tank (ably assisted by and) for the small boy, here are a few tips for practical fish keeping…

You will need…

  • An aquarium
  • Gravel
  • An Aquarium filter suitable for the size of tank
  • A heater – only if you’ve got tropical fish, you won’t need this for a cold water tank
  • Lighting – essential in a tropical tank, quite nice to have in a cold water tank, especially if it’s in a dark corner
  • Some decorations, such as real or plastic plants, castles, that kind of thing
  • Fish food – what kind you get depends on the kind of fish you’re keeping
  • A small fish net – to help scoop them up when you need to
  • Aquarium Glass Scrubber – this is essential, the glass can get murky pretty quickly
  • A big (clean) bucket

When you get home wash and wash and wash the gravel in plenty of clean water (no soap or detergent) until the water runs clear, give anything you’re putting in the tank a good wash too, again no soap or detergents.

Set the cold water tank up by putting your gravel in, placing your filter in position and starting to fill the tank with cold tap water, once you’ve filled it to the required level, place any weed or ornaments where you want the in your cold water tank, set the filter running and leave for a minimum of 48 hours for the tank to settle and the water to come up to a good ambient temperature.

Once the cold water tank has settled you can pop off to your local, reputable pet shop and choose your fish. Goldfish and Black Mollies make good fish to start off with. Don’t forget to give them suitable names like Bubble & Squeak and keep an especially close eye on them for the first few days at least.

Fish keeping

If you look after your tank, keep it clean and healthy, feed your fish regularly then you can have a happy tank for life. I love having an aquarium in the house, sitting and watching the fish is a pretty restful thing to do. Fish keeping is a lovely hobby, once you’ve bought all the kit (we got ours from allpondsolutions ) fish keeping is a fairly inexpensive pass-time. I can’t wait to populate our cold water tank and start teaching the small boy how to care for even smaller creatures.