Freshwater fish are pets like other pets and you have to know what you're doing and I will try to help you with it.
First of all you have to buy a tank. Look for a tank that is big enough to store the fish you want
(keep note that some fish need bigger tanks as they need more place so do your homework !)
I'd suggest to go for a bigger tank cause having some extra room is a good idea.
When you're in the store make shure to take some extra equipment with you cause you'll need it.
I suggest getting:
The heater is the most important part of a tropical tank. For most freshwater fish, 25Cis a good average.
4 watts per gallon is ok, buteach heater will state the size aquaria it accommodate for.
For the larger aquaria, it is often best to have two smaller heaters for a couple of reasons, one because should one break,
u still have one to keep your tank going until u can replace it, and two should you have 1 big heater, and the thermostat got stuck on, it would raise the temp of the tank far more and in less time than a smaller one would.
All heaters now have a built in thermostat which turns the heater on and off when needed to keep the tank at a stable temperature, the heater should never be un-plugged.
Best to check if the filter fits your tank. this is very important !.The size of the filter depends upon 3 factors :
- tank size
- # freshwater fish
There are lots of different types of filters : internal filter,external filter,gravel filter and box filters (I advise to skip this one cause they are for small tanks).
The gravel is mainly for aesthetic purposes, but it also is vital if you are keeping live plants as they need a substrate of some sort to anchor them selves down with.
If you have a planted tank, then 2-3inches of gravel is advised, but if u have an unplanted tank, then u may use ½ - 2inches of gravel.
The gravel also holds some of the bacteria in the tank, and if the tank has an under gravel filter, then the gravel will contain nearly all of the bacteria in the tank.
Its best to start with the gravel and other decorative ornaments, place it in a bucket , stir the gravel ensuring that no dust is left. Once this has been done its probably a good idea to pour boiling water over the gravel and shake it in the container before straining it off, the boiling water will kill any bacteria or other nasty organisms and prevent them getting in your tank!
Use a clean cloth and a bucket of clean water and clean thoroughly the inside of the tank, look for any leaks or cracks (hopefully there will be none!) Then empty or sponge out the water you have left in there. Your aquarium should now have no nasty residues or dust in it! Position the tank in the place you want it remembering that once filled a tank can not easily be moved use a level to ensure the surface you place it is on is flat, if not then the glass will put under stress and may crack, also remembering how heavy the tank will be make sure the place you put it on is strong enough to hold it, and if on an upper floor that the floor is strong enough for it.
1) Add the gravel, place it evenly in the tank, do not waste too much time on a design as when you add the water it will get disturbed again.
2) Fill the aquarium half way with dechlorinated water, once half full you will be able to sculpt the gravel the way you want it to look. If you wish to have plants then they'll need at least 5cm of gravel in order to establish a root system. Also add plants and any decorations you wish to add now as they will be easier to plant and position now.
3) Install the equipment place the filter in and secure it using the suction caps which have been moistened with water from the tank. Keep them turned off till the tank is full of water, once securely in position proceed with step 4.
4) Finish adding the water use your hand or the side of the tank to prevent the water splashing heavily into the tank and potentially upsetting your gravel and plants, use your hand above the water to soften the impact when the water actually hits the water surface of the tank.
5) Turn the system on Make sure all the equipment is working, the heater will take a couple of hours to get your tank to the desired temperature. The filter should kick in immediately producing both bubbles and water movement.
Thats it you now have an aquarium set up and ready to go! Well not quite!! Leave the filter and heater running for two or three days before you purchase your first fish for cycling the tank, alternatively you could go for a fishless cycle in which case you will have to delay adding the fish for several weeks while adding pure ammonia every day in order to build up a decent colony of bacteria in the filter. When adding the fish float the fish bag in your aquarium to allow the water inside the bag to adjust to the temperature of the tank, so when you introduce the fish there is not a big temperature shock, for 15 minutes gradually introduce a bit of tank water at this time and after 5 minutes release them into the tank. Please note that for first fish you should only have a few freshwater fish, for a 20 gallon tank 6 platies is ample for cycling the tank, adding more will just lead to fish dying because the ammonia produced by their waste is toxic.