Starting My First Tropical Fish Tank Aquarium
Starting My First Tropical Fish Tank Aquarium

If you’re about to set up your first aquarium, here’s my blog and simple guide.

In May 2019, I redecorated my home and decided to get out an Aquarium starter tank by Interpet that had been in storage in the loft for a decade and put it back into use since it would make a nice addition. It came with an under gravel filter pump included.

Beginners typically begin with a fish tank with a capacity of 32 to 48 litres. These tanks are commonly produced by Interpet, Juwel, Fluval, or Tetra.

My first tank: Aquastart 320 – 28-litre. I added a PF1 water filter / Airator by Interpet.

How it All Started – My First Aquastart 320 – 28-litre Aquarium Fish tank (6th May 2019)

A heater with a built-in thermostat is an essential piece of kit to keep tropical fish. Also, add a thermometer to confirm the temperature is what it should be. Some advanced heaters have an LED display.

filter is considered essential hardware for all aquariums, as they are life support systems for fish. No aquarium should be set up without one, and they operate 24 hours per day, from day one.

My second Auaqrium picked up in a sale, the 48 Litre interpet Fish Pod tank

Before adding fish the tank must be cycled. Cycling is a process that allows development on good bacteria and can take up to 6 weeks. But there are ways to speed this up. Firstly by adding a filter and setting the temperature. A normal tank is usually 25 to 26 degrees C. When it is almost complete, the ‘Bacteria Bloom’ stage begins, which can visually be seen as slightly cloudy water. You will now need to start monitoring the condition of the water with test strips or a test kit

Also Read how in 2020, when the pandemic struck, people were selling their fish tanks on Facebook incredibly cheap and how I worked my way through Twenty Aquariums to get to 260 litres.

Popular Community Fish to start with

Getting Fish: Fish can be acquired conveniently from major pet stores such as Pets at Home, The Range, and World of Water, as they offer a wide range of fish supplies.

small tropical fish
Tropical Fish breeds

Pets at Home has developed a handy points system to help you choose the right combination of fish for your aquarium – just check the “fish point value” of the tank you want to buy, then tally up your “fish points” as you select your fish.

Neon tetra

Bright and beautiful, this tiny blue glowing “neon” effect and red fish swim around the upper levels of the tank and are happiest in groups of six or more. Feeding Fish

Filling your first tropical neon tetra fish tank aquarium setup. Wayne's AquaWorld
The Neon Tetra fish in the tank.

These small fish are omnivores. They can eat a variety of fine flake food, small granules, live or frozen brine shrimp or freeze-dried bloodworms.


Also known as million fish and rainbow fish, is one of the world’s most popular freshwater aquarium fish species and you can see why.the world's most popular freshwater aquarium fish species. Wayne's AquaWorld Guppy fish in the tank.

Platy / Platie

With many different varieties of colours and markings available, a small group of four or five platies makes a good first choice for your tank.Filling your first tropical platy fish tank aquarium setup. Wayne's AquaWorldPlaty fish in the tank.

Honey Gourami – Trichogaster chuna

Ideally suited in a well-planted aquarium.Gouramis, or gouramies, are a group of freshwater anabantiform fishes that comprise the family Osphronemidae. Wayne's AquaWorldThe Red Honey Gourami fish in the tank.

Betta fish

Native to Asia, where they live in the shallow water of marshes, ponds, or slow-moving streams.

Betta fish are native to Asia, where they live in the shallow water of marshes, ponds, or slow-moving streams. Wayne's AquaWorld

Betta fish prefer small pellet type foods. Also brine shrimp, worms, and mosquito larvae. Twice a day.

Black Widow / Skirt Tetra – (Characidae) … Quite nippy.

Black Widow / Skirt Tetra Gymnocorymbus ternetzi Characiformes Characidae Wayne's AquaWorld

Note: In a new fish tank that has not been fully cycled, feeding should be kept to a minimum. Otherwise, bad ammonia can build up and kill off the fish inside. A tank takes about 6 weeks to fully cycle.


angelfish pair aquarium

Angelfish love cichlid flakes and brine that float on the surface of the water. They will also eat some pellets that fall in their path, and even scavenge for food that falls to the bottom.

Adding an algae cleaning pleco

Algae is always appearing on the glass and tank ornaments. Getting one of these should mean you never have to clean the inside of the glass again.

Bristlenose Ancistrus catfish, which has a sucker mouth. Wayne's AquaWorld

The next morning I could not believe how much of the brown algae had gone, the fish even went up leaves and the glass was spotless.

Feed them sinking algae wafers or pellets, and the great thing is they will also clean algae in the tank. Many owners treat them to a slice of cucumber or zucchini once a week.

Keeping driftwood in the tank is very important.


firemouth cichlid

These are carnivorous and require Larger pellets labelled for Chichlid. Although they will eat other fish food such as algae wafers or flakes as seen in my videos.

When Fish fall Sick

2nd June – My Fish has come back to life 🙂

31st May – My fish is hiding, and jerky and goes into spasms. The fish was also not eating and had picked up a disease.

What I used:

25th May – TANK CYCLING – My Aquarium is spiking Nitrate and nitrites after going for 6 weeks, it is now in the final stage of cycling. So I am currently doing a 15% water change on a daily basis. Along with water tests using test strips.

Unfortunately, I woke up to find one of my first fish was lying still on the gravel floor, sadly it had passed away :

I then carried out a 5 in 1 water test which measures pH, Nitrite, Nitrate, Carbonate & general hardness. It showed all levels were higher and confirms it is in the final stage of Cycling an Aquarium. Buy a test kit here

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