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Tropical Fish Equipment Checklist

Tropical fish are wonderful to look at. You can get hours of enjoyment watching them dart across the tank and in and out of plants and caves. But, they do require a great deal of care and attention to thrive.

This equipment checklist will help you get started. Let’s begin with the basics.

Aquarium – Which tank will you buy? What about a complete setup? You may be tempted to buy a small round bowl but that is not going to make your fish happy. Choose the biggest tank that you can afford. This prevents having to upgrade later when you get more fish. They will have to adjust to a new environment all over again.

Filtration system – Have you seem people with tanks that haven’t been cleaned in months? You can scrape the muck with a shovel. Without a proper filtering system there is no need to expect your fish to live long. Waste products from fish, plants and other aquarium life need to be regularly removed to maintain the proper balance of pH and water bacteria.

Heater – Tropical fish like it warm. We don’t want to boil them, but a heater can maintain a constant temperature for your fish so they are comfortable.

Thermometer – You can’t judge the temperature by sticking your finger in the water. A sturdy rust-resistant thermometer lets you know when the temperature goes too high or too low so you can adjust your heater.

Gravel – Most fish aquariums have some sort of substrate on the bottom of the tank. Gravel works for fish that like to swim and catch their food on the top of the tank. For bottom feeding tropical fish, a softer material will keep them from getting hurt when they dig for food.

Lights – Fish need light just like we do. For several hours a day, you will turn on the lights for your fish and any real plant life you have in the tank. Using fluorescent lights can simulate natural light without heating up the tank. Regular light bulbs get hot and also blow out easier.

Plants – Variety is the spice of life for fish too. You can choose from artificial or live plants. Live plants increase the oxygen in the tank, but need to be tended to so that they don’t get sick and die. Some fish like to swim through dark places or hide and plants can provide the cover that they need.

So you have a basic guide for what you will need in your tank to benefit your fish. There are other bells and whistles and extras you may find that you need, but this list will get you going with the right equipment.

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