If you’re keen on getting fish as your first pet but aren’t too well versed with proper fish care, it’s necessary to educate yourself on this subject as fish can be difficult to take care of. But once you’re aware of the entire procedure, it’s relatively easy and enjoyable. An important aspect among many is the essential items required to set up an aquarium. While there are numerous tools and accessories, we’ve put together five of the most necessary items.
Aquarium Light and Hood
A lighting instrument is required in your aquarium to keep freshwater plants healthy. It also adds to the aesthetic appeal of your tank by highlighting the shiny colors of your fish. Make sure you purchase fluorescent lights over any other kind as they tend to be cooler and use less power, making it an inexpensive and low-maintenance option. Also, you need to be careful with the temperature of your aquarium water as it can overheat during summer. Other types of aquarium lights include halogen, LED, incandescent, mercury vapor, and metal halide. You can start off with fluorescent lights and go for LED lights later on; they are also an excellent choice for aquariums as they are cool and cheap to maintain.
Hoods are an important element for your aquarium as well. As the name suggests, a hood covers the top of the tank and prevents the fish from hopping out. It also keeps the inner assembly intact. Often, you can get a lid and light combined in one unit. You can find a plastic or glass lids that have their own benefits.
Since fish cannot produce their own body heat, they require a stable temperature of 72 to 84°F to thrive. A heater can regulate the water at this temperature, making the environment suitable for the fish. It is extremely necessary for the fish as it keeps them healthy and prolongs their life. You shouldn’t avoid the idea of installing a heater even if your home thermostat is set at this temperature constantly, because it’s simply not the same.
You can do some research on the breed of fish you’re planning to keep and the ideal temperature they require. Also, you need to choose a heater that’s appropriately sized to avoid overheating or under-heating of the tank water. It’s wise to invest in a branded heater as it has a longer lifespan and works better than the cheaper ones.
One of the most crucial tools in setting up an aquarium, a water filter is necessary to keep the water clean by removing toxic waste from fish feces or leftover food. You need to keep the filter running all the time to keep the tank water fresh and avoid pollution. The most common types of filters for a 10-gallon tank are hang-on-back filters, canister filters, and internal filters. While the hang-on-back pick is the most common, this type of filter is manufactured by a number of brands. You can compare and choose the best type for your aquarium based on numerous reviews. The best filter should be easy to assemble, not too expensive, silent, and easy to clean and replace. Also, be sure to choose a filter that provides slower currents for your fish to move easily.
Don’t confuse a filter with a water pump as they are significantly different. An air pump is used to oxygenate the water, making it easier for the fish to survive. It basically helps in exchanging gases between the air and the water, stabilizing the oxygen balance. It also pumps the water and produces bubbles, maintaining proper flow. Again, choose an air pump that is appropriately sized for your tank and produces less noise.
Gravel or Substrate
Usually found at the bottom of the tank, gravel or substrate is the colorful, stone-like substance that stores the useful bacteria necessary for breaking down fish waste. It helps in keeping the tank water clean. The preferred quantity should be one pound per gallon of water. You can choose from a wide variety of colors and sizes of gravel depending on the breed of fish. Certain types of substrate, such as bioactive gravel, help cover plant roots if you’re planning to get freshwater plants.
These are the first items on your list that you need to purchase for setting up an aquarium. Once you’re all set, you can slowly fetch other items like a water conditioner, algae scrubber, in-tank testing monitors, and accessories like tunnels and caves to complete the setup. Lastly, don’t forget to buy some fish food!