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Aquarium Essentials Overview

Aquarium Essentials Overview: Enjoy Success with the Right Equipment

Would you like to have an aquarium but don't know what you need to get started? Behind every beautiful aquarium is a properly selected assembly of aquarium equipment. They work together to create a healthy, thriving aquatic environment. Simplify equipment selection with the following guide. We will help you through equipment selection so you can enjoy the beauty and tranquility of a successful aquarium setup.

Your filter is your most important piece of aquarium equipment. Filters help maintain aquarium water quality by efficiently removing harmful materials from your aquarium. Without proper filtration, your aquarium will not be able to sustain life. Your filter should offer three-stage mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. For convenient filter selection, filters are rated for a particular aquarium size, based on a light-to-average fish load, and have a gallon-per-hour (gph) rating. The gph rating determines how many gallons of aquarium water pass through the filter per hour. In general, the filter should turn over the total water volume at least three to five times an hour. For example, filters rated at least 60-100 gph provide efficient filtration for 20-gallon aquariums.

Coralife Digital Thermometer Stable water temperature is necessary for the health of your aquarium system. Aquarium heater manufacturers include suggested aquarium size for each heater. But as a general rule, you will need a heater that provides approximately 3 to 5 watts for each aquarium gallon. In addition to a heater, a thermometer is necessary for monitoring water temperature. Better yet, consider a digitial thermometer for convenient and easy-to-read daily monitoring of aquarium water temperature. Moreover, a digital heater controller provides accurate and reliable readings for stable aquarium water temperatures.

Aquarium lighting serves two fundamental purposes. It illuminates the aquarium for your aesthetic enjoyment of the inhabitants and decorations and provides functional light crucial for photosynthetic life in the aquarium. In general, a fish-only community aquarium requires 1 to 2 watts of lighting per gallon. For example, a 30-watt, 36" fluorescent light fixture is appropriate for aquariums from 15-30 gallons. If you plan to have plants, you'll need to use a light fixture that provides 2 to 5 watts of lighting per gallon.

Most tap water is not suitable for aquarium use without the addition of aquarium water conditioners. Tap water may contain chlorine, chloramine, or other chemicals harmful to aquarium fish. Before tap water is used for aquarium purposes, condition it with a chlorine or chloramine remover.

Tetra EasyStrips™ Aquarium Test Strips Test Kits are essential for monitoring important aquarium water parameters such as pH, ammonia, and nitrite. Regular routine testing lets you know if the aquarium water is within an acceptable range for healthy aquarium inhabitants. Some test strips measure multiple water parameters to provide fast and convenient test results for the beginning hobbyist.

In addition to decorative benefits, aquarium substrate assists aquarium filtration by providing microorganisms and beneficial bacteria a place to colonize. Establish a 1-2 inch layer of substrate or gravel in the aquarium for best results. For a 1 inch bed, you will need roughly 1 lb of aquarium substrate per gallon or 2 lbs per gallon for a 2 inch bed. For freshwater community aquariums, consider decorative, non-buffering substrate made of non-reacting material to minimize pH fluctuation. Don't forget decor such as driftwood, sunken ships, coral, and more, to personalize and add the finishing touches to your aquarium.

What is the easiest type of aquarium to set up & maintain?
The best bet for a beginner is the freshwater community aquarium. You'll find many colorful and hardy tropical fish that help create a lively and easy-to-care for aquarium.

Filter For water purity and quality Takes out visible particles, breaks down toxic substances, and removes harmful chemicals in aquariums
Heater To stabilize water temperature for the health of fish Warms water to maintain water temperatures preferred by tropical fish
Thermometer To monitor water temperature and heater accuracy "At a glance" temperature readings for convenient monitoring
Lighting For viewing aquarium inhabitants or for healthy live plants Brings out extraordinary colors in the aquarium and facilitates the growth of live plants
Chlorine & Chloramine Removers To eliminate harmful chemicals from tap water Neutralizes chlorine and chloramine to make tap water safe for aquarium use
Test Kits To monitor water quality Measures vital water parameters to help maintain ideal water quality
Substrate For decorative purposes and to help supplement aquarium filtration Improves the look of your aquarium and provides habitat for beneficial microorganisms
Decorations Optional, but improves appearance Gives your aquarium setup personality and enhances the aquarium experience


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