A lot of people tend to underestimate the time and care you need to put in while caring for a fish as a pet. Most people think they just need a tank, food, lights, gravel, plants, some decorations, and maybe a filter. Yes, you do need those things but you also need a bubbler, a heater, chemical tests, and chemicals to use to help maintain the fish tank. That’s just the bare minimum of what you need; proper fish care tends to be expensive and time-consuming but it’s worth it to have neat little pets to look at.
The first things that you need to think about before you set up your fish tank is the size of the tank, the shape of it, and the fish that you’d want in that tank. Fish tanks come in a variety of different sizes and shapes. The most standard shape is a rectangle tank, and the average beginner fish tank size tends to be one to ten gallon. With fish, in my opinion, you should not get a fishbowl. With a fishbowl, most of them don’t have a filter that takes the debris out of your tank. The size and amount of fish matter because in order to prevent overcrowding the rule is one inch of fish per gallon.
The next thing that you need to think about is the type of filtration system and how you will oxidize your fish tank. There are multiple different types of filters you might want to use, but if you’re just starting out, I recommend either an outside filter/hang-on back filter or an in-the-water filter. I would recommend an outside filter over an inside filter because they will not suck up your fish. The next step is oxidizing your tank by using an aquarium bubbler. Bubblers are used to agitate surface tension, add oxygen to the water, and increase water movement. Not every fish tank needs a bubbler; some have tanks that have really good flow from their filters and some don’t. Like my two-gallon fish tank doesn’t have the greatest flow from the filter, so I have a small bubbler in there to break that surface tension. Breaking surface tension allows fish to reach their food, as well as prevents the growth of bacteria. My five-gallon fish tank has great flow from its filter so I don’t need a bubbler in that tank.
The next thing you need to worry about is lighting and decoration/plants. You need a light for your fish tank so you can see your fish and the activities in the tank. You also might want to invest in a fish tank with blue light because blue light helps good bacteria grow and you need healthy bacteria in your tank. I recommend looking on Amazon for some cheap fish tank lights. The ones in stores tend to be extremely expensive, and the cheaper ones on Amazon work just the same. You also need to think about whether your fish needs places to hide or relax. Like my favorite fish, the pea puffer, likes to hide in huts/homes and gets really territorial over them. Whereas my other favorite, the betta, likes to have a spot to relax, so you want to get them a “betta bed,” which is like a floating leaf you suction cup to the fish tank. If you are breeding fish, you also need some plants for the babies to hide in. Whether you want real plants or fake plants is up to the caretaker. I prefer fake plants because there’s less of a risk of them dying and making nitrate; a toxic chemical produced from dead fish and plants. On the other hand, my dad prefers live plants over his fake ones; it just depends on the person.
The next thing you need is chemicals. For a starting tank, the chemicals you should get are a de-chlorinator, stress coat, and stress zyme, which are used to have a safe and easy start to your tank. A de-chlorinator or tap water conditioner, which takes all the chemicals that might be in your tap water out, makes it safer for fish. Stress coat makes sure your fish aren’t stressed out while being introduced to a new environment. Another way to make sure your fish isn’t stressed out while being introduced to your tank is by acclimating them slowly by letting the bag with your fish in it sit in your water for around 15 minutes. Stress zyme helps introduce good bacteria into your tank, and again, that’s something you need to have to have a healthy tank.
Fish care sometimes can be hard, time-consuming, and expensive, but it’s all worth it to see them swim around. Fish are neat little pets and should be treated like how you would treat any other pet: with kindness, care, and love.