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New to the Hobby


December 13, 2018 | By Tom Sarac

Nothing quite beats the clarity and visual beauty of a well-kept aquarium. But that clarity is the result of a number of essential pieces of equipment, without which your fish will not thrive, and your aquarium will always be lacklustre and murky.

Remember, your aquarium must provide a complete environment for your fish, one that needs to be effectively maintained at all times. So, here’s a list of the basic equipment you’ll need to get you started.


Aquariums can be made of glass or acrylic and come in many shapes, sizes and dimensions. Glass is preferable, due to its ability to resist scratches. In general, select the largest size aquarium possible and you will get a more stable environment and a greater choice of fish and plants.


The surface of the water in your aquarium plays a vital part in the lives of your fish. It is where many of them find their food, and where carbon dioxide is exchanged. It is important to protect it carefully. Canopies provide a secure, stable cover that reduces evaporation and contamination. It also provides safe and suitable housing for lighting, essential for natural plants to grow and fish to thrive.


Aquariums weigh a lot more than you’d think. Water is extremely heavy – roughly 3.78 L (8.3 lbs) per US Gal. Add to that the weight of the tank itself and other contents like gravel, rocks and ornaments and you have an item which needs careful planning as to its position in a room and the furniture used to support it.

A strong base is vital as any uneven support across the base of the tank can prove disastrous. Note: Fluval aquariums should only be used with the correct Fluval stand. Wrought iron and angle stands, together with hi-fi video, TV cabinets, other articles of furniture and self-assembly furniture are NOT suitable for use with Fluval aquariums. To do so will automatically invalidate your warranty.


The only way that waste products can be removed from the water in your aquarium is through filtration. Efficient filtration is essential to make sure your aquarium stays clear, clean and free from toxins, without the bother of continually changing the water.


Most fish are cold-blooded, which means their bodies are the same temperature as the water around them. Coldwater fish, like goldfish, do not need a heated environment, but tropical fish need the constant correct temperature provided by a submersible heater. This is important as sudden changes can cause stress and disease.


You’ll need to keep a close eye on the temperature of your water. Choose a thermometer that is easy to read and suits your aquarium.


Ensure your water is perfect by using water treatments to remove and neutralize any chemicals in your tap water that may be harmless to humans, but deadly for fish.

Water conditioner is specifically formulated to condition water as soon as it is added to the tank.

Biological enhancer helps prepare the filter for your fish, and establishes and maintains the aquarium’s natural biological balance.

Biological cleaner breaks down organic waste, which provides clean healthy aquarium conditions for fish and other essential life within your aquarium.

At the start and once established, you will need to test your water regularly with test kits.


It is advisable to buy rocks, ornaments, and gravel that have been specifically selected for use in an aquarium, and there is a large variety to choose from. You can make your aquarium truly unique by combining textures, shapes, colors and arrangements. Always rinse everything thoroughly before you place it in your aquarium. Calcareous sand is only recommended for species of fish that enjoy harder more mineralized water conditions.


Healthily growing natural plants are dynamic, look great and enhance the quality of your water, aiding filtration while absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Fluval’s sister brand, Nutrafin, offers a range of supplements, plant fertilizer and a natural C02 system which all help to make looking after live plants easy. For more information on Nutrafin products, visit www.hagen.com.

Like any pets, keeping fish requires planning, patience and care. Decide on the kind of aquarium you want before you acquire your first fish. Consult our TOP 5 TIPS to help you make the right decision for the specific habitat you want to create.


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