How to ensure good water quality in your new fish tank
Posted 19 Feb 2016
The first step is to decide what sort of fish and/or plants are intended to be kept once your fish tank is established (i.e. when water conditions and the nitrogen cycle has established and you're ready to add fish). Once you've decided what type of fish you want to keep, your aquarium set up can be tailored to suit their requirements and ensure optimum water quality.
When you buy fish in an aquatics store, they're often small and easily fit in your tank with acres of room to spare. However, some species can grow rapidly and quickly outgrow your tanks setup. Make sure that the tank is big enough to house the fully grown fishyou wish to keep. Check out our Fish Species Profile page for more info on popular breeds.
Small Fish Tank vs. Large Fish Tank
People often go for a small tank, thinking it would be easier to keep fish in to start out. However, this isn't necessarily the case - it is often easier to care for fish in larger tanks as changes in the water levels will be less concentrated and tolerated better than in a smaller one, allowing more acceptance for error. Having said that, maintenance i.e. water changes, filtering and tank cleaning will take up relatively more time in a larger tank.
You might hear that some species don't require a filter (Goldfish and Siamese Fighters, for instance), but we would always recommend you get a filter for your tank. Ensure the filter is the correct size and capacity for the finished and fully stocked aquarium setup. Different species require different filters i.e. Goldfish produce large amounts of waste so require a different filter setup. Ask your local aquatics retailer for advice.
The Heating System
You need to fit the correct heating system and install a suitable thermometer in a position that is easy to see on your tank. Check the thermometer daily to keep tabs on the water temperature.
Try to position the tank out of direct sunlight. Sunlight can quickly heat up your tank beyond the temperature at which your fish can cope and also encourage excess algae growth too!
Ornaments and Substrates
Double check that the substrate (i.e. gravel or sand) and fish tank ornaments are suitable as some can increase or decrease pH levels. Also, some ornaments can be too sharp for certain fish i.e. Fintail Goldfish. Remember that when you add new ornaments, they can bring in contaminants too so give them a clean before you add them!
Water Levels and Parameters
Different species require different water conditions to thrive, so make sure you know the specific water conditions the species you intend to keep requires.
Adding your First Fish
We wouldn't recommend you add too many fish at once. If you do, you can create an ammonia spike and even encourage behavioural problems.