Tropical fish aquarium setup is not the puzzle of equipment that it first appears to be. Create a simple plan and stick to it. After that, all that you need is a little patience...do you hear someone whistling?
And you just had to have him. The fish bowl was only $10 and he was another $6. A small bag of rock and some flake food later you were merrily driving home. Then it hit you, you forgot the plan!
That's ok. We have all been there. In my opinion, the guy at the fish store should have warned you that the Leopard Bush Fish (Ctenopoma acutirostre) he sold to you gets to be over 8 inches in the wild and up to 6 inches in an aquarium.
No problem, you were planning on buying a full size fish tank anyway. Now is a good time to think a little more about your plan. Your little buddy will be ok for a few days, while you get your equipment together. He has a rudimentary lung and can breathe air. Shew...close call.
So now you have your plan together and you are ready to buy everything you need. Wait a minute, what is it that you need?
Below are the basic pieces of tropical fish aquarium equipment that you are going to have to get so that your plucky little Leapord Bush Fish, or just about any freshwater tropical fish, will have a suitable home. Click on the links to take some of the mystery out of tropical fish aquarium setup.
Remember the Budget part of your tropical fish aquarium setup plan? You can research online how much these items are going to cost you. All this equipment runs in sizes ranging from very small to very large, so you can tailor your aquarium system to your specific needs.
So our little interesting, baby monster is getting cold swimming circles in that unheated fishbowl. You felt sorry for him, went all out, got a cozy little 10 gallon tank and all the right equipment for it. Ready to fill it up and put him in? Not so fast. We have a little work to do first. The core of your tropical fish aquarium setup process is about to start. So, Let's put your aquarium together.
Now, we have to do what is called "cycling the tank" first or our little buddy could get sick. But before we get into that, you should know why. Click this link to find out about The Nitrogen Cycle and why it will be important to you for the rest of your fishkeeping life.
Power Nap Pause
Ok, I hope all that science didn't put you off your tropical fish aquarium setup mission. We still have to get a new fish into a new aquarium.
It's time to get this tank cycled so our friend will have a home with warm water, just like his natural habitat in the Congo River. I hope you didn't try to put that aquarium heater in his fishbowl. It'll boil him.
We have two ways to get the correct bacteria that we need into your new aquarium. The first is a chemical process that is reasonably simple. It is called Fishless Cycling. Some say it is the preferred method.
The second way is to Cycle With Fish. And, no, we don't have to buy excercise equipment to do that. This process uses hardy species of fish to do the job. Expect casualties, soldier. Others say that this is the preferred method.
Either method you use will work. This tends to be a black art in the fishkeeping community, so everyone either feels like they are on their own and lost or they think that they are the Jedi Master of fish tanks.
I use a combo method. First, I do a fishless cycle. Then I add tough fish and test the water a whole lot. When I feel it is stable, I start the process of adding new fish. I know that sounds like i have a fence rail with a saddle on it right next to my new tanks, but it seems to work well for me.
So we have a new friend in his new home. He is the slow and steady kind of growing kid. Even at full size, if you have the right size equipment on your aquarium, the bio-load he puts on the system is still pretty low.
So, that means we can find him some new friends.
For more detailed information check out Wikipedia's Tropical Fish Aquarium page.
After days or weeks of work, you have a beautiful aquarium all set up. Why not share it with the world? Post a picture of your new aquarium and tell us about your experience of creating a new home for some new friends.