Starting your first aquarium?

So you’re starting your first aquarium? There are some things you should know before going out and buying something that looks like it would be perfect. Below are some bullet points we are going to talk about that will help you start your first aquarium.

  • Picking the proper aquarium size
  • Picking the right filtration for the aquarium/tank
  • Selecting the right kind of fish and quantity for your tank
    • Avoiding over stocking
    • Fish Growth/Max size
  • Deciding whether or not to have decor in your tank

Picking Aquarium Size

So let us start out by picking the proper aquarium size. If you are first getting into the fish keeping hobby, it is a good idea to work small and work your way up from there. So for beginner aquarium keepers, we recommend either a 10-gallon, a 25-gallon, or a 30-gallon tank. Depending on what fish you end up picking, these size tanks might just end up being ideal for the long term. So let’s say that you want to get some Guppies. Any other previous mention tanks will do just fine for a pretty good size school of Guppies. However, if you wanted a pair or a school of Bala Sharks you would need at least a 30 gallon, we would recommend a 55 gallon at that point though!

Starting Your First Aquarium

An established 55-gallon freshwater aquarium.


Filtration is a crucial part of owning an aquarium. If you do not have the proper type of filtration or not enough of it, your water quality will be bad, and then your fish can get sick and eventually die. No one wants that. So what we would personally recommend for beginners is getting an H.O.B(Hang on back filter) as well as a bubble filter. The H.O.B will take care of most of the filtration, and the bubble filter will pick up the slack while also keeping the water column clean and the water oxygenated.

Starting Your First Aquarium

A bubble filter/sponge filter

Selecting Fish

So selecting the right kind of fish for your aquarium is very fun and exciting, there are some things to consider when choosing fish though. For example, you can get all the cool looking fish that you want, but you need to make sure they all get along, and you should also consider purchasing a cleanup crew of fish as well. So for the sake of examples, let’s say you decided you want your 25-gallon tank to have 15 fancy guppies. The guppies are the fish that you want for sure; they are your pride and joys. Now if you want help keeping your tank clean you should consider picking up a Bristlenose Pleco and maybe some Cory Cats as well. The Bristlenose Pleco will contribute to keeping your glass clean by eating the algae off of it, and the Cory Cats will eat any excess food you put in the tank.

Starting Your First Aquarium

A school of guppies.

You need to make sure you do not overstock your new aquarium! Before purchasing the fish, you like for your new tank you need to research how big the fish will get. You need to make sure there is extra wiggle room for your fish to grow into their adult sizes. For example, if you purchase a Bala Shark when it’s a baby it may only be an inch or two, but when it grows up it can be 6-8 inches and sometimes even bigger! So if you are not sure how big the fish you plan on purchasing will get, check the price tag at the fish store, these usually have that sort of information. If the store does not display that info, just do a quick Google search for that fish, and you can easily find out how big they get. If you have too many fish and not enough tank/water available for them, you will stress them out which will cause them to get sick and or die.

Aquarium Decorations

Last but not least, you need to decide if you want to have decorations in your tank. Personally, I have bare bottom tanks. Which means I do not have any gravel/substrate on the bottom of the aquarium. However, I do have fake plants as decorations and to me, that’s much easier to take care of. If you choose to have gravel in your tank, you will need to make sure you clean it/vacuum it when you do your cleaning. Having fish such as plecos or other catfish will help keep your decorations clean as well. Below are some images showing some hair algae and some normal green algae on the back glass panel of an aquarium. We will be releasing a guide in the future on how to get rid of the different types of algae.

If you need help picking the stock(fish) for your tank or if you need help picking out filtration systems, be sure to leave a comment below, and I will be more than happy to help you out! We hope you enjoyed our post and we hope it helped you when starting your first aquarium!

Also be sure to check our homepage on a regular basis as we plan on releasing more detailed posts on performing maintenance on your tanks, understanding fish aggression, fish breeding, clear water tips and product reviews. View our guides section here.