Tropical Fish Tanks for Beginners

Tropical Fish TanksCaring for freshwater tropical fish is the best way for many beginners to get started. Tropical fish are easy to care for, are less expensive than saltwater fish, and most are less susceptible to slight changes in environmental conditions. Caring for most fish species is fairly easy and similar, except discus fish care which requires more attention to detail. Tropical fish tanks should be kept at a temperature between 70 and 80 degrees. A little over is better than a little under.


Your first step should be to decide on the size of your new aquarium. Don’t go more than 50 gallons for your first time. Large tanks require complicated filter systems that require a lot of maintenance. For smaller tanks all you need is an overflow filter sized for the new tank, and water. Of course, some form of rock or even sand should be spread on the bottom. Small rocks are best for beginners to the world of tropical fish tanks. Rocks are easy to clean with aquarium vacuums, sand not so much. There should also be plenty of structure for the fish to hide in and behind. They need this to feel secure; this lowers stress and enhances life span. Tropical fish tanks that stay on the warm side or have more than two fish should have an air pump and bubble stone installed.


Most tropical fish can eat tropical fish food flakes. Some larger fish, though, need feeder fish or frozen shrimp, these fish should be avoided by beginners. Be sure to only feed your fish what they can eat at once, leftover food will throw off ammonia and nitrate levels and cause algae blooms. Always ask the employee getting the fish for you what your new fish eats; never assume they will just eat flakes.

Temperature and Lighting

Unless you have a simple goldfish tank you will need to add lighting to your tank. Fluorescent UV lighting should be used at least 8 hours a day. This can help warm the tank. If it gets to warm, you’ll need to open a section of the lid to allow water to evaporate. If you have trouble keeping the temperature up, there are a number of tank heating products available for tropical fish tanks.