Tropical Fish Tanks - The Basics

Tropical Fish Tank

Congratulations on choosing your new tropical fish tanks. You are now well on the way to having a beautiful and mesmerising fish aquarium in your home or office.

Setting up a tropical fish tank for the first time can be daunting, and you do need to check that the aquarium is correctly installed and operational before adding your new fish.

Here is a checklist which includes all the components for your first tank.

Enjoy your first exciting journey into the world of tropical fish - Lets get started!

 Essential Equipment Checklist.

We take a look at some of the main components and equipment required for these tropical fish tanks to operate:

Tropical Fish Tank

A Tropical fish tank will require more complex equipment than a cold water tank. When keeping this type of tank, so it is most important that you have your aquarium fitted and installed correctly and placed on a strong and sturdy stand or cabinet ready to use.

At least a 20 gallon fish tank is definately recommended for beginners, as this size is easier to set up than smaller fish tanks, and you can also add more fish later, as this size of tank can accomodate them. (Using the 1 inch of fish per gallon of water) rule.

Aquarium Filtration

Aquarium filtration is crucial since they function in ensuring that the environment in which your fish lives in is not only natural but healthy.

Without a good filtration system, you will not be able to nurture and sustain your tropical or marine fish.

One of the advantages of buying a starter fish tank kit, is that it comes complete with its very own filtration system, so you will not have to buy any extra equipment to set up your new tropical tank.

Aquarium Heater

Tank heaters are used to maintain the correct water temperature, and they are a vital piece of equipment used in any type of tropical fish aquarium.

 Wrong temperatures in the water can result in the fish dying - as they cannot regulate their own body temperature.As well as the heater, you should use an independent thermometer in your tank to ensure the water is the right temperature at all times.

For tropical fish this is normally considered to be 72-84º F/22-29º C.


Substrate refers to all the types of gravel and decoration that may be used in your new tropical fish tank.Gravel should be small enough to promote the growth of nitrifying bacteria (in the nitrogen cycle) which are micro-organisms which convert ammonia to nitrates, which plants use.

Live plants are essential to your new tank as they will help to remove harmful nitrates and phosphates which causes algae growth in the water. They use photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide gas to carbon for plant fertilizer, and oxygen which is vital for the fish.


Biomature aquarium filter starter is an essential piece of kit to help you activate the aquarium filter.It contains a mixture of bacterial nutrients, vitamins and mineral salts for the quick maturation of the bacterial filter, which is essential for a healthy aquarium tank.

Aquarium Water Testing Kit

An Aquarium Water Testing Kit is an absolute must-have with your new hobby. It will allow you to test the aquarium water before adding your fresh fish - (After the nitrogen cycle completes).

The test kit will alert for toxic water conditions that will help save your new fishy friends. The test kit comprises of different chemicals when added to aquarium water, will determine if the water is toxic or not. PH, nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia levels can be tested, thus giving confidence to you when adding your new fish safely to the fish tank.


Fish aquarium cycle


Fish tank set up

bEGINNER tropical Fish

Tropical plants

Plants for tropical fish

Tropical Fish Tanks Cleaning Material Checklist

These materials will help you with the process of cleaning your new tank, before you start the process of adding live plants, rocks, water and fish. They will also help with the ongoing maintenance and care of the tank and its fish too!. A clean tank is a healthy tank.

  • An Aquarium Algae scraper is a magnetic device that allows you to easily remove algae from the glass inside of the tank, without having to get your hands wet.It is a very useful tool to have when maintaining your fish aquarium.

A 5 gallon bucket - Vital for emptying aquarium water and for the purpose of rinsing new filter media in used aquarium water to promote good bacterial growth.

A fish net - Ideal for removing fish debris, dead plants, and the movement of your live fish.

A water syphon - Probably the most important cleansing tool you will use.Use this to remove fish faeces and debris from the gravel - to help keep your fish healthy.

Sponge filter media - These should be soaked in used aquarium water (during aquarium cleansing) to promote good bacteria.

Old bath towels - to keep the area around your aquarium tank dry and clean.

If you are serious about setting up a tropical fish aquarium it may be worth investing in the Which Fish Tank Book, which you will be able to refer to, if you need additional information.


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