5 Tips for Starting a Freshwater Aquarium

As a wise shark once taught us: fish are friends.

Starting a freshwater aquarium can look easier than it is. In truth, there are some classic mistakes new fish owners tend to make in the early days of starting an aquarium.

Luckily, a little knowledge goes a long way. Here are 5 tips for starting a freshwater aquarium.

1. Prep Your Tank

You’ve decided to start an aquarium. In a whirlwind of inspiration, you might head to the pet store to buy a tank, tank paraphernalia, and fish all in the same day.

However, getting your tank up and running before you introduce your fish is a crucial step. The water in your tank needs time to adjust to the needs of your fish, and you’ll need to prep it with some basic aquarium starter techniques.

Skipping this step can cause new fish to die of shock, so it’s essential that you cycle your tank before bringing fish home.

2. Know Your Fish

Humans often take a simplistic view of fish, thinking them all alike. The truth is that there is a huge amount of behavioral variety between different species of fish.

So don’t expect a random assortment of fish to get along or thrive in your tank. Take time to research your preferred species and work out which do well in a shared living space.

Some species of fish will clash, fighting for territory or food. Other species of fish will live well together, being socially “invisible” to each other.

3. Make It Home

Like all animals, fish need a stimulating environment that speaks to their instincts. Fish love to explore nooks and crannies, and many won’t feel truly at home unless they have somewhere to hide.

So be sure to provide an interesting environment with complex decorations, including freshwater aquarium plants. Try to match your level of decoration to the number of fish—otherwise, your new fish will have to compete for territory with the old ones.

4. Social Distancing

Your new fish have likely been through a lot already and such small creatures are vulnerable to stress. So take your time introducing new fish by spacing out your purchases.

This will give your old fish time to adjust, allow you to maintain water quality, and ensure your new fish can slowly acclimatize. Together, these things will reduce the likelihood of fish becoming stressed and dying shortly after introduction.

5. Food for Thought

Feeding your fish should be simple, but there are a couple of things to consider. The first is to avoid overfeeding. Any uneaten food can risk causing blooms of bacteria or algae that might upset the balance of your tank.

Second, there are more options for food available than you might think. For a little variety, you might consider using daphnia as aquarium food. These tiny creatures provide a stimulating hunt for fish and make a change from processed fish food.

Starting Your Freshwater Aquarium Made Easy

These 5 simple tips will make starting your freshwater aquarium easy, leading to happy fish, a happy owner, and a beautiful aquarium.

Looking for more tips? Be sure to check back often.