Mom Life

How to Set Up a Fish Tank: Perfect First Pet

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We have several pets in our home. We have a dog, a cat, and several fish! But even with 5 kids and a few creatures in our home, we have room for more. So we got a new fish tank! And it was a wonderful opportunity to learn the best practices for how to set up a fish tank! Even though I’ve had a fish tank for decades, I learned a lot from our friends at Mars Fish Care.

This post is sponsored by on behalf of Mars Fish Care and the API brand.

How to Set Up a Fish Tank Basics

We all need some new hobbies these days! And if you’re looking for something new to bring some life to your home, consider bringing home a new fish tank. This is a great gateway pet for young children! Helping them learn how to set up a fish tank is a great learning process for the whole family.

how to set up a fish tank

Did you know that you need a water heater for tropical fish? Now that it’s been explained to me, it totally makes sense! But I’ve had fish tanks for nearly my entire life, and I actually never knew that before. The fish that you have in a tropical fish tank are from near the Equator. That’s why they are called tropical. 76-78 degrees is the ideal temperature. The water should not be below 72-74. And be sure to always put your tank on a flat level surface!

What are some other essentials for your fish tank? The tank, lid, light, filter, gravel, heater, and decorations! And then, of course, you need fish. How much gravel do you need? A good general rule is 1-1.5 inches of gravel for a 10 gallon tank. This would mean you need to get about 15 pounds of gravel for a 10 gallon tank.

How to Keep Your Fish Safe

Something new that I learned from Mars and API Fish care was that you need to rinse everything before putting it in the tank. It’s also important to rinse the gravel with a colander in the sink. This is really important in order to keep the water free from outside chemicals and particles.

Did you know that tap water is not safe for fish? The chlorine in our water makes it unsafe for fish. API Stress Coat makes the tap water safe instantly. 1 teaspoon for 10 gallons will treat the tap water. And conveniently, the lid is a dosing cap! If you use API Stress Coat, the water is instantly ready for fish. You DON’T need to wait hours to put your fish inside.

After we add the fish, add more API Stress Coat. It heals damaged tissue on the fish from all of that damage when being moved. It fixes the tap water, but it’s also the absolute best for the overall health of the fish. I certainly never knew this!

You should also add API Aquarium Salt, which may seem weird for freshwater fish, but are very needed for the fish to get the needed electrolytes. 2 Tablespoons for a 10 gallon tank is a good measurement. Add API Quick Start to reduce waste when you start the fish tank.

how to set up a fish tank

How to Feed Fish

The best way to feed your new fish is with API Tropical Flake Food. This product provides all of the amino acids and nutrients that fish need. Many people overfeed fish, and this is especially true for kids! It’s best to feed the amount the fish will eat in about 3-5 minutes. They always look hungry, but it’s important to feed them twice a day the amount they will eat in a short amount of time.

API Tropical Flake Food creates less waste than competitors so that the tank stays cleaner longer. When allowing kids to feed the fish, use the cap to help them provide the correct dosage. And store the fish food in a safe place, away from little hands.

How to Set up Your Tank and Keep It Clean

Once you have your tank set up, how do you keep the tank clean? API Stress Zyme will chew up waste and debris. It will help keep gravel clean and reduce the amount of maintenance. Add this weekly to help keep aquarium cleaner! Once every two weeks, drain some 25% of the water down, and fill it back up. Giving the fish a breath of fresh air by adding fresh water. When you add more water, add more API Stress Coat and API Aquarium Salt.

API Accu Clear will help cloudy water and clear the water. It will make the particles bunch together and make it easier to clean and help it become caught by the filter.

API AlgaeFix is an algaecide and want to be sure to not overdose. Use once a day for three days if you have a build up of algae.

Enjoy Your Fish for Years to Come

It’s a good idea to get community fish that will get along with each other. Ask the aquarium employee for help in creating the perfect community. And then it’s up to us to meet their needs!

Tetras and Neons are great fish. Tetra want to school together. Buy 4-6 so that they can school together as they naturally want to do. Watch for males and females mixing together may create more fish, so be careful what type you choose.

You always need a tank cleaner or scavengers that go across the bottom and will help keep your tank cleaner. They won’t be as colorful but will be very helpful.

My daughter loves her new fish tank! We have a glow in the dark tank and the fish are also very bright in the light. It’s a beautiful and calming addition to her room. She has a lot of energy. And watching her fish is something she can enjoy during quiet time. Consider adding a fish tank to your home and with these easy steps on how to set up a fish tank, you’ll have a thriving fish community!

Be sure to visit for lots more information!

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