Top Tips On How To Set Up and Care For a Tropical Fish Tank

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When I was a child I was fascinated by the tropical fish tank in our doctor’s surgery. The bright little fish swimming around would have me mesmerised. I remember asking my mum if we could have some pet fish! Keeping fish is very relaxing. I could watch our new fish tank for hours. Did you know that fishkeeping has been proven to reduce stress and improve mental health?

Top Tips On How To Set Up and Care For a Tropical Fish Tank

Luckily for us, we were kindly sent an aquarium and all the parts to set one up. As a complete novice to fishkeeping, it’s been a fantastic opportunity to learn more about fishcare. I took part in a zoom meeting with a top fishcare expert Gary Jones from API Fishcare who answered questions and explained how to set up and care for a freshwater community tropical fish tank. API Fishcare have been around for nearly 60 years developing products to make caring for your fish easier.

Here are my top tips on how to set up and care for a community tropical fish tank

L has loved getting involved with our new fish tank. It’s amazing to see children’s faces light up as they watch fish swimming around. I’ve applied what I learned from Gary to create our aquarium to be enjoyed by all of us. It’s a fantastic family project to get involved in.

What equipment you need for setting up a freshwater aquarium

  • Fish tank
  • Filter
  • Heater
  • Light
  • Gravel for the bottom
  • Plants – artificial or real
setting up a fish tank with decorations

Setting up the fish tank

  • Tank – You will need to choose your tank size, the one we received to set up our aquarium is 54 litres. I think this is the perfect size for starting off. Place a filter inside your tank to keep the water filtered.
  • Gravel and Decorations – Make sure you thoroughly rinse the gravel with clean water for the bottom of the tank to remove dust and dirt, this will help to keep the tank clear. If you go for artificial plants and decorative items as we have for the tank, please rinse with clean water before placing it in the tank. Fish love to explore and hide so rocks, bridges, and corals are great for decorations.
  • Water – We added in clean tap water with jugs very slowly to avoid disturbing the gravel. API Fishcare expert Gary recommends changes 25% of the water every 2 weeks and then adding in the API Stress Coat and API Aquarium Salt, API Accu Clear and API Zyme Stress.
Adding water into a fish tank
  • Temperature – For tropical fish, you need a heat source to keep the water temperature between 24 and 26 degrees.
  • Light – For your aquarium to flourish it will need to have a day/night cycle or light/dark. This is where the lights come in. Our tank came fully equipped with a built-in light that you can switch to blue light in the evenings. Fish need around 8-12 hours of daylight each day.
fish tank by night glowing blue

Getting your tank fish ready

Once you have got the tank full up with water, you will need to treat the tap water. Tap water contains minerals that are suitable for humans but can be toxic to fish. API Fishcare has manufactured products that can make your tank ready for fish the same day. We were sent these along with our fish tank.

setting up a fish tank with decorations
  • API Stress Coat – this is a water conditioner that makes tap water safe by removing chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals. It also helps to reduce fish stress and heal any damaged tissue.
  • API Quick Start – this is perfect if you are wanting to add your fish straight away.
API Fishcare products
  • API Stress Zyme – a bacterial cleaner that contains over 300million live bacteria per teaspoonful. This helps to consume sludge and reduce aquarium maintenance leaving better water quality. If you have a busy lifestyle this is great!
  • API Accu Clear – clarifies cloudy water.
  • API Aquarium Salt – promotes fish health by improving the gill function.
  • API 5 in 1 Test Strips – you need to keep tabs on the pH ,KH, GH, nitrate, and nitrite levels in the water. These are helpful strips to quickly tell you the water is safe for the fish.

What fish can you get for your aquarium?

We chose six neon tetras for our tank, to begin with. Other popular options for starter aquariums include mollies, guppies, and bottom feeder fish like a goby or catfish. It’s best to start off with a smaller number of fish, so your tank can get used to supporting these fish, then over a few weeks, you can build up your numbers. Along with the tank we received AQUARIAN Tropical Flake Food which is a nutrient-rich blend suitable for all community tropical fish.

tropical community fish tank

Now you have your fish tank set up it’s time to go get the fish! This is the exciting part! If you need any more information or help with setting up your fish tank, you can visit

Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.

rachel bustin

Thank you for sharing

4 thoughts on “Top Tips On How To Set Up and Care For a Tropical Fish Tank

  1. I have always wanted tropical fish but it sounds like a lot of work. Maybe when my kids are older. Very informative though.

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