Before you go purchasing some fish, there are some things you will need to buy and do first. For your first trip to the store, you won’t be buying any fish. Feel free to look, but resist buying. The chance that they will die is great if they are put into a tank that has not been cycled properly.

The following is a list of what you will be shopping for, or you can purchase one of the Eclipse Systems from this site, and it has all of the basics to get started:

  • Fish Tank
  • Heater
  • Filter
  • De-chlorinating Drops
  • Thermometer

Choosing a Fish Tank

The first time you go to purchase your first fish tank, it can be quite over whelming. There are so many choices; glass, acrylic, 10 gallon, 110 gallon, and various shapes: Which one should you get?

First, consider how serious you are about having fish. A tank that sits on your desk at the office will be quite different than the one that sits at home on it’s own stand complete with aquatic plants, bottom feeders and a myriad of colorful fish. Also, how many fish do you want? If you want more fish, and big ones too, you’ll need a bigger tank. You also need to consider how big the fish you want will grow; Silver Dollars and Plecos fish will grow to be about 12 or 14 inches! As a general rule, you should have one gallon of water for every inch of fish, but fish are always in favor of more water per inch of fish. Remember, they are bound in the tank, they can’t leave when they feel like it, so make it roomy and nice, decorate and put plants and objects in there to keep them occupied.

Another consideration is space, not in the tank, but in your house. And remember, once you fill the tank with water, it will be hard to move so pick your space with thought! Be sure the tank is not in direct sunlight or drafts. Sunlight will promote algae growth and drafts will cause large temperature changes for your fish.

The final consideration is whether to buy acrylic or glass. Acrylic weighs less, has smooth rounded edges, and is more durable. However, acrylic is more expensive than glass and will also scratch easier. Glass is heavy, may leak around the silicone seals after a few years, breaks easily, is less expensive, but it doesn’t scratch. You will have to consider these aspects and make the choice that is comfortable for you.

Buying a Heater

Most heaters use a nickel-chromium alloy element placed inside a glass tube with some electronics. Submersible heaters are placed completely underwater, and tend to hold the temperature better than non-submersible heaters, but they are usually more expensive. Non-submersible heaters have a large knob at the top, are the least expensive, and hold the temperature adequately. Buy the simplest heater you can find: The least expensive heaters tend to work just as good as the more pricey models.

Buying a Filter
There is a lot of information on filters, so we have given the subject of filters it’s own page.