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How to Set up a GoldFish Tank

When I was a kid I had goldfish. And I really enjoyed them. It was a hobby that was a lot of fun and not a whole lot of work.

And I remember very well a few things about the process including the smells when changing those old fashioned filters. And the smell of the fish food.

Well, they have made big improvements in the filters. And probably don't even sell those old filters any more. But the fish food is still the same :) Well, it still smells and looks the same anyway.

In this tutorial I set up a ten gallon tank and show you how to do it.


Will has a youtube channel with over 700 videos on projects you can make. Check it out right here



Will A note from Will first - It is such a rewarding pursuit and it is pretty inexpensive to get started. you can buy a complete kit for a very reasonable price. All you need to do is add water and the goldfish. For the money you get a few different experiences. First you get the experience of learning about caring for goldfish and setting them up. Second you get the fun of setting up your tank. And third you get the long term experience of having them :) Couldn't tell you which of those is my favorite.


New Video Tutorial: How to start a goldfish aquarium. I show you all the basics and take you through all the steps including setting up the tank, adding the water and chemicals and adding youir goldfish. How to Start a goldfish aquarium


More of my Goldfish Stuff :
Goldfish Supplies and Equipment - How to Care for Goldfish - About Goldfish Bowls


Why Goldfish?

If you are a beginner goldfish are a great place to start for a few different reasons. First off they are very hardy; they have wide tolerance levels. Some fish require very exacting conditions but goldfish don't. And they don't even need a heater in the tank. Your room temperature is quite ok for them.

Bad News and Good News - The thing about any kind of fish is that the water is important. That might sound obvious but water is not water. It is a bit complicated. And typically once you have set everything up and added the water and neutralizer it is recommended you wait 1- 2 weeks before actually adding your goldfish. That's the bad news, the waiting. But the good news is that you can buy a conditioner that makes it possible to add your goldfish right away. (Tetra SafeStart Water Treatment) More about the SafeStart at the bottom of the page.

Looking to buy supplies? I have links at the bottom of the page.


Here are my goldfish

Goldfish in a tank


Quick overview of the process:

  • Gathering materials
  • Cleaning up the stuff
  • Setting up the filter
  • Setting in the various accoutrements
  • Adding the water
  • Testing the water
  • Adding the fish
  • Questions and Answers


Let's Get Started

Clean The Glass

I received a tank from someone for free. And it was a bit dirty so I cleaned it inside and out. And I only used spring water when cleaning the inside. It is typically not a good idea to use any chemicals on the inside of the tank. Trace amounts of the chemicals can affect the fish.




Here are the supplies we need to set up the tank. Not shown is the water.

We have then tank and from left to right we have ten pounds of fishtank gravel, the filter, aquarium conditioning chemical, and some details for show in the tank (plastic plants).

The Supplies

Let's take a look at the individual supplies.

The Gravel

Here is one bag of the aquarium gravel that I bought for the tank. It is a 5 pound bag. A good rule of thumb is 1 pound of gravel per gallon of water in your tank.

This gravel comes in an amazing array of colors and types. You can really personalize your tank with the gravel you choose. Have some fun looking through the various aquarium gravels on amazon here: Aquarium Gravel





The Filter system

And here is the filter kit. It is complete and has everything needed. This kind of thing is quite easy. If you are new to aquariums and you don't understand the filter stuff no need to worry. I will explain it to you, show you it, and show you the easy steps to set it up.









Water Conditioner

Water conditioner to condition the water you use. It dechlorinates and removes chemicals that are harmful to your fish.











And finally the ornaments! Beside from the fish this is the most fun part of the process. They have so much fun stuff on amazon when it comes to ornaments. You have got to check it out. Marbles, coral, backgrounds, plastic plants and so much more. Aquarium Decor on Amazon

Ornamental bridge   Ornamental plant


NextThat's everything We need to get started. Let's continue and I will show you exactly how to set it all up and get it ready for your fish. Continue


Below are supplies


Tetra Aquarium Kit - 20 Gallon

  • Tetra Glass Aquariums are made in the USA and are built to last with scratch resistant glass
  • The Tetra Aquarium comes loaded with an LED hood, that provides a natural daytime effect and a Whisper Filter that is whisper quiet while providing powerful, dependable water flow
  • Artificial Plants add a unique, natural ocean feel while giving your fish a place to hide which reduces fish stress
  • The Tetra Kit includes: one 20 Gallon Glass Aquarium, one LED hood, one Tetra Mini UL Heater, one Tetra Whisper 20 Filter, one artificial Boxwood Plant Mat, four artificial plants. Add gravel and fish to complete your aquarium
  • Aquarium Dimensions: 24.2" L x 12.4" W x 16.7" H


Marina 10 Gallon Aquarium Kit -

Ideal for the beginning aquarist, the Marina 10G LED Aquarium Kits comes equipped with everything needed to make the novice fish hobbyist's first venture into the wonderful world of fish-keeping an easy and enjoyable experience. This 10 gallon all glass aquarium features a long-lasting, natural daylight effect LED lighting module incorporated into aquarium canopy and includes everything you need to get started! This kit includes fish food to keep fish healthy, Aqua Plus Water Conditioner to make tap water safe for fish and Cycle Biological Supplement to create a biologically well-balanced and healthy aquarium environment. It also comes with a net and an aquarium care guide that includes advice on how to set up and maintain your aquarium. You only have to pick your fish!



This is the exact filter that I bought for my goldfish aquarium: It works great and is very easy to set up.



Tetra Whisper Aquarium Filter 5-10 Gallons -

Size: 5 to 10-Gallons

  • Designed for Use in Smaller Aquariums Up to 10-GallonUses Medium Whisper Bio-Bag Cartridges
  • Uses Medium Whisper Bio-Bag Cartridges
  • Three filters in one for cleaner water and healthier fish


Aqua Safe for Goldfish -

All-in-One Formula Keeps Water Safe:

AquaSafe for Goldfish Water Care is an all-in-one formula that works to keep your aquarium water safe and healthy for your Goldfish. This easy-to-use conditioner detoxifies harmful ammonia in tap water, neutralizes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals, and features stress reducing slime.

How it Works:

Tap water and well water contain dangerous substances like chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals that must be neutralized for the health and safety of your Goldfish. AquaSafe works to create a safe environment and maintain optimum balance between water changes by neutralizing chloramine and turning chlorine into harmless salt. AquaSafe for Goldfish also binds to heavy metals to create a large, safe molecule that can be physically removed by your filter.


Tetra SafeStart Water Treatment -

  • Treats up to 100 gallons as maintenance to boost bacteria (use during filter cartridge changes or when treating your aquarium)
  • For new aquariums, it will fully cycle a 20 gallon aquarium
  • Patented live bacteria allow immediate addion of fish in newly set-up freshwater aquariums
  • SafeStart acceleratesthe establishment of the bio-filter in newly set-up freshwater aquariums
  • The live bacteria start working immediately to provide a safe and healthy environment for your fish without a long wait


Tetra Fin Goldfish Flakes -

  • This Special Procure Formula Meets All Nutritional Requirements Of Cold-Water Fish And Will Stay Firm When Fish Strike.
  • Procure Is A Health-Enhancing Blend Containing Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Does not cloud the water
  • A Scientifically-Developed Blend That's Easily Digested
  • This special ProCare formula meets all nutritional requirements of cold-water fish and will stay firm when fish strike.
  • ProCare is a health-enhancing blend containing Omega-3 fatty acids


Aqueon Goldfish Granules -

  • Provides balanced nutrition for daily feeding of goldfish and other ornamental pond fish
  • Formulated with natural ingredients and colors with added vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients for a healthy diet
  • Helps support a healthy immune system and bring out the true colors of your fish
  • Specially formulated so that fish utilize more of what they eat, creating less waste
  • Will not cloud water



Barron's Complete Guide to Goldfish -

This manual describes a species of hardy fish that can be kept indoors or in outdoor pools. Original goldfish are yellow, but as this book of advice for aquarium hobbyists explains, selective breeding produces goldfish in several colors, as well as with a variety of exotic features. Titles in Barron's wide-ranging and heavily illustrated selection of Complete Pet Owner's Manuals present reliable and useful information for pet owners. High-quality photos are in color and line drawings are anatomically accurate. These fact-filled books instruct owners on how to care for dogs, cats, birds, fish, caged pets, reptiles, and virtually every other animal that people are likely to keep as a pet. Books in this series are written by breeders, trainers, veterinarians, and other pet-care specialists. They advise on purchasing, feeding, health care, training, grooming, and all other aspects of responsible pet ownership.


Goldie's Guide to Caring for Your Goldfish -

The Pets Guides series teach young readers how to care responsibly for their chosen pet. However, in a unique spin, each book is written from the point of view of one of the animals themselves, thus also allowing the books to be used to teach perspective. In this book, Goldie the Goldfish reveals how readers should go about choosing a pet fish, what supplies they will need, how to make a new goldfish feel at home, and how to properly care for a pet goldfish, including feeding and keeping a goldfish tank clean. Text in the book is accompanied by clear, labeled photographs to further reinforce key concepts.



The Cardboard Box Aquarium

This project absolutely tickles me pink!! I love this little aquarium. It is fun to look at and it was a whole lot of fun to make. You can make one too. How to make the Cardboard Box Aquarium





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