Setting Up Your Tropical Fish Tank If you’ve ever considered having fish, you might need help in starting a tropical fish tank. The following article will give you some information you need to start your own fish tank, and save you a few headache along the way. You may want to approach your new fish tank from two viewpoints – either you start with a tank and put fish into it after you set it up, or you have a fish in mind that you want, and get a tank according to that. I recommend the latter. The fact of the matter is each fish requires different set ups, from filters to foliage. And fish can either thrive in a community or are best in a species only tank, if not left to themselves. So if you saw an eel that you fell in love with, you’ll need to research the size recommendations. Not only that, but for some fish, like eels, they are renowned escape artists, and if you have a tank with any openings, you’re bound to come home to a dead eel on the ground near his tank. Not a situation you want to put yourself or your new pet in. If you already have your tank, the next important step before you buy any fish is to go through the nitrification process. Your tank will be a tiny ecosystem, in some ways, and the break down of particles is going to produce harmful chemicals in your water that can kill of your fish. No fish should live through this cycle, and it’s best to cycle your tank before hand. Alone, the process can take up to two months, and you will need a test kit to monitor the nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia levels until your water is showing none of these chemicals. By then, beneficial bacteria will have formed to help break down these chemicals. A way to speed up the process would be to add gravel or use a filter from an existing tank, putting in fish food or a piece of raw fish into the water, or buying commercial product to help add bacteria. No matter what, you should monitor your aquarium water to make sure the process has come full circle. After this comes stocking your tank. And depending on what you want to achieve with your tank, it depends on you to do the research. Never count on what a pet store clerk says – they are in the business of selling fish, not providing the best health for them, and often times will sell you fish that do not live well together or that will not bode well in your size tank. So research is key. Impulse buying, then, unless you know about the species already, is not recommended.