Starting Your First Fish Tank? Josh to the Rescue!

Find someone knowledgeable

When someone is starting their first aquarium, the most important thing to do is to find a knowledgeable source to help you out. The clerk who has to read tags at the pet store to figure out what fish you want doesn’t count. This is where I come in.

When I started working at a family owned pet store in Colorado, my boss was my mentor. While I had kept several tanks before working there and dabbled with breeding, I quickly learned there is a lot more to fish keeping than sticking a few fish in a tank. I also found out that I really enjoy helping people with their animals, providing advice and troubleshooting their problems. So please, use me as a source for information.

Build a good relationship with your local pet or fish stores

Before you buy a tank, it’s always a good idea to build a relationship with your local pet or fish stores. Hang out and get a feel for your locals. Volunteer to clean tanks. This will let you know if you’re ready. If it’s your child wanting a tank, a few hours of cleaning tanks builds character and helps stop the “I wants”.

Things to know about your local pet or fish stores:

  • When they get new stock
  • The return and refund policies
  • Where to find the best deals
  • If they can special order
  • Which employees can properly identify fish by sight

These tips will make it easier to get good prices, healthy animals, and to avoid the clerk that might give misinformation.

 More space equals happier and healthier fish

 Bigger is always better when it comes to starting a tank. Larger tanks are more forgiving when it comes to mistakes. The larger the volumes of water, the more stable the environment. If you have to go away for a weekend or two, and forget a water change, your tank won’t turn green or smell like your local pond from a buildup of waste. More space equals happier and healthier fish. They need the room to spread out and get some exercise, (yes, even fish need exercise) claim territory, or hide from their unruly neighbors. Plus, it’s just fun decorating a big tank.

Once you do these things, setting up a tank won’t seem so difficult or like such a daunting task. You won’t have to struggle alone to set up your tank. There will be someone, like me, to offer advice and answer any questions that may come up. You won’t have to go searching for quality fish or equipment, because you already know where to go. Maintenance will be second nature if you spend a little time volunteering to help clean your local stores tanks. Plus, the big payoff is when somebody says, “Wow. That’s a cool tank!”

Photo credits: Danielle Cochrane


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