Freshwater Aquariums: Everything You Need to Know

An in-depth review of freshwater aquariums. Freshwater Aquariums: Everything You Need to Know

If you have considered getting into keeping an aquarium as a hobby, then you are going to want to do your research into which is the best option for you. For example, what type of fish are you going to keep? There are a few choices out there and which type determines what you need to know. In this case, we are going to be concentrating on freshwater aquariums, from what you should know about which type of fish to keep, to how to set up your aquarium and then onto how to keep it sparkling clean and your fish healthy, happy, and thriving. 

It’s important to note, that simply buying a fish tank, adding some water, and throwing in a hodge-podge of fish is not how this works. You need to know everything from what fish to buy to how to, and even where to set up your freshwater aquarium. Believe it or not, there are even place that you shouldn’t set up your aquarium, who would have thought that? Keeping that in mind, let’s go ahead and dive into this blog so you will be educated on freshwater aquariums by the time we get to the bottom.



Best Types of Fish for Your Freshwater Aquarium if You’re a Beginner

As previously stated, there are certain types of fish that go in freshwater aquariums, some better suited for the fish tank than others. Read on below for the fish that make the best pets in a freshwater environment.

  • Goldfish
  • White cloud fish
  • Guppies
  • Dwarf gourami fish
  • Zebra Danio
  • Convict cichlid
  • Cherry Barb
  • Mollies
  • Cory
  • Swordtail
  • Male beta
  • Chinese algae eater
  • Platy


These are just a few of the best freshwater fish for beginners. However, it is important to note that you don’t want to just throw a bunch of different varieties into your freshwater tank at once. As a matter of fact, it’s recommended that once you get your freshwater fish tank ready for a fish to move into, you only put one fish or one species in the tank for the first couple of weeks. This gives the water time to cycle and become fit for the fish and stops you from wasting your money if the fish doesn’t survive for some reason. Make sure to keep an eye on the fish and when a week or two has passed, add more fish to the aquarium as you see fit.

Tips for Choosing a Freshwater Fish

You don’t want to go to the local pet store and just swoop out any old freshwater fish. There is a process to this so that you get the best and healthiest fish to add your freshwater tank. We will give you some tips on how to choose a freshwater fish below.

  • You want the body color of any freshwater fish you choose to be rich in color, not faded or dull looking. The color should also be complete and have no color missing in any areas.
  • There should be no obvious sores, boils, blemishes or other skin problems noticeable on the fish. If you see these, it’s best not to buy a fish from that pet store at all, or at least not from that particular tank.
  • The fins on the fish should be short and erect or either long and flowing, according to the type of fish it is. None of the fish you are considering should have missing, torn, or ragged fins.
  • The entire body of the fish should be a normal size, not bloated or abnormally thin.
  • The scales of the fish should be flat and smooth, not protruding from the body in any way.
  • The stomach of the fish should be well-rounded and not concave and sunken.
  • Fish waste in the fish tank should be dark in color, not pale in color.
  • Make sure that all of the fins on the fish’s body are not clamped shut or collapsed in any way.
  • The eyes of the fish should be crystal clear, not cloudy and they should not be popping out of the sockets.
  • Make sure that there are no visible parasites on the fish as well.

These are the things that you should check completely when you’re looking to buy freshwater fish for your freshwater aquarium. Remember, if you take a sick fish back to your aquarium, it could not only die, but infect the water in your aquarium, and any other fish you have in the tank as well. It’s better to be safe and only buy fish that are 110-percent healthy to go in your fish tank. 


Top Things Needed to Set Up Your Freshwater Aquarium

As we said before, setting up a freshwater aquarium and starting a hobby as a fish collector is more than just putting water in the tank and choosing the right fish. When you commit to the hobby, you also commit to buying the equipment needed to set up your aquarium and keeping your fish healthy and thriving as well. Below, we will put a list of the equipment needed to set up your freshwater aquarium the right way, the first time around.

  • A tank
  • A stand
  • Air-line tubing
  • Plants
  • A hood
  • Decorations
  • Lighting
  • Gravel
  • Food
  • Net
  • Heater
  • Thermometer
  • A water test kit
  • Filter systems
  • A dechlorinator
  • An air pump

Once you have your fish tank set up, you’re ready to put your fish in. However, what happens if your fish gets sick. Below, we will put a few of the best medications you should know about, just in case.

Freshwater Fish Medications You Might Need

  • Salt tablets
  • Malachite green
  • Methylene blue
  • Penicillin
  • Formalin
  • Tetracycline
  • Acriflavine

These are a few of the most common freshwater fish medications that you might need as a fish owner. However, if you’re not sure what is wrong with your fish, it’s best to head to the local pet store and ask the owner for help and what you need to give and use on your fish to hopefully help them get better.

What to Look for in a Fish Dealer

One of the first things you want to do after you set up your freshwater aquarium is a reputable fish dealer that is close to you. Key things to look for in your search is a fish supplier that sells the healthiest of fish and is there when you need him to answer questions and be of assistance. Below are a few of the other things that you should look for when searching for a reputable fish dealer to buy not only your freshwater fish but any saltwater fish you might decide to get in the future from.


  • The shop and tanks are very, very clean
  • A friendly, helpful staff that knows what they are talking about, can answer your questions, and address any concerns you might have
  • A staff that is able to explain and put together the equipment you need if they need to
  • The shop should have a large selection of not only fish but medications, tanks, equipment and accessories needed by fish hobbyists everywhere
  • The shop should offer free services, such as water testing to its customers
  • Make sure that the shop offers a guarantee not only the fish and any equipment they sell
  • They should have no problem helping you find something that they don’t sell themselves
  • They should offer autopsy services on dead fish and the medication to keep fish from needing an autopsy, to begin with
  • The staff of the shop should have a very genuine interest in you, your fish, and the aquarium you’re trying to start

These are a few of the things that you should be looking for when you’re looking to get into freshwater fish and freshwater aquariums as a hobby. If you find this in a fish dealer, then you need to stick with them for a very long time to come.

Now that we know about everything there is to know about purchasing your freshwater fish and setting up your freshwater aquarium, it’s important to figure out where you’re going to put that aquarium as well. Believe it or not, there are places where you don’t need to set up a fish tank. We will go into a few of those places below for your consideration.

Places NOT to Set Up Your Freshwater Aquarium

Before you can even begin to set up your freshwater aquarium, you must first know where you are going to set it up in your home. There are places that you can set up that will be bad for your fish, the tank itself and could even cause the fish themselves to perish. Read on below for a few places you shouldn’t set up your new tank.

In Direct Sunlight or Excessive Strong Daylight

You should never, ever place your fish tank where it can be exposed to strong, excessive or direct sunlight. Having an aquarium in direct sunlight can cause algae to build up and cause overheating of the water in the tank. Both of these things can be deadly to your fish. Though you are going to have to deal with algae no matter what, the extensive algae can be avoided by keeping your fish out of the direct sun.

Close to the Air Conditioner, Radiator, or Fireplace

A fish tank requires a stable temperature in order for your fish to be healthy and thrive. Extreme shifts in temperature, such as cold air from the air conditioner or extreme heat from a radiator or fireplace can result in your fish getting sick and dying. If you want your fish to remain healthy and the water in the tank to remain even, then you need to put the fish tank away from these appliances.

On Top of an Unstable Surface

We all know that water is very heavy. Even a small 10-gallon tank can hold up to 70 pounds of water, meaning that putting it on an unstable surface could end in disaster. It’s a much better idea to use a strong stand that is intended to hold the size of the fish tank you have, instead of putting it on a piece of furniture. If the furniture breaks, you are putting yourself, your fish tank, your fish, and your family at risk during the ensuing flood and glass breakage.

Set the Fish Tank on the Floor

This one might seem to be a no-brainer, but it has been known to happen. You never want to set your fish tank in the floor. Not only does it have you enjoying your fish from the wrong position, but it also runs the risk of someone walking across the floor and accidentally kicking the fish tank and breaking it. It also makes it easier for something to fall in the fish tank and leaves it open for dogs and cats to get at the little fish inside, something you certainly don’t want to happen.

It takes quite a bit of time and some research and looking around to determine where you want to put a freshwater fish tank in your home. You want the fish to be safe and the tank not to be a danger to anyone, yet you still want it where it can be enjoyed. After all, there is little more relaxing than coming in from a long day at the office, than sitting down on the couch and letting the sight of the fish and the sounds of the fish tank melt the stress away.

This concludes our blog on freshwater aquariums, the fish, and everything else you should know. Until next time, enjoy your fish and be safe with them, everyone!


  1. Pet Fish Club: Top 10 Places (NOT) to put a Fish Tank
  2. Dummies: Freshwater Aquariums for Dummies: Cheat Sheet
  3. Marineland: Beginner’s Guide to Successful Fish Keeping