Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Freshwater Aquariums 2023

You’ve decided you want to keep freshwater fish as pets. But where do you start? What kind of fish should you get? How do you set up their home?

Follow this step-by-step guide and you’ll have your fish tank set up in no time. From 100 gallon fish tank to nano fish tanks, we have something for every budget and space. 

Step 1: Decided on the type of fish

First, you’ll need to decide what kind of inhabitants you want to keep. Do you want a community tank with a variety of different species? A single-species tank? Or something in between?

Browse our popular section on freshwater fish, shrimp and snail. Not sure what kind of fish you want to keep? Check out our guide on the best freshwater fish for beginners.

freshwater shrimp



Betta fish, goldfish, tetra, molly, and guppies are some of the most popular fish for freshwater aquariums. Each type has its own unique needs and characteristics, so it’s important to get familiar with them before deciding which type to choose.

Some of the things that should be taken into consideration when choosing a fish include size, coloration, and diet.

Additionally, you must take into account the temperament of the species, look for compatible tank mates that share similar temperament and size as it can help create a balanced tank environment.

Step 2: Shopping for Supplies

Once you’ve decided on the type of fish you want, it’s time to start setting up their home. You’ll need a tank, of course. The size of the tank will depend on the number and type of fish you’re keeping.

You’ll also need a filter to keep the water clean, a heater to maintain the proper temperature and a few other key items that you need to keep your fish healthy and happy.


Aquarium Live Plants


Check out our full list of equipment recommendations here to get your freshwater fish tank set up perfectly.

Step 3: Setting up your tank

When setting up your tank, it’s important to take your time and do it right. If you rush, you might make mistakes that could be harmful to your fish.

Start by cleaning the tank and all of your equipment. You’ll also need to cycle the tank and test it to make sure the conditions are just right before adding any fish or other inhabitants.

Once you have a cycled and tested tank, it’s time to decorate! Choose decorations that fit with what type of fish you have, and make sure they’re aquarium-safe.

Be sure to also include areas of hiding and live plant to provide your fish with a natural environment.

Finally, you’ll need to introduce your fish carefully into their new home. Take time to monitor the water parameters and make sure they stay within the acceptable range.

Final Step: Maintenance

It may take some time and patience to get your tank up and running, but if you follow all of these steps it will be worth it in the end.

Here are five tips for keeping your fish tank clean and healthy:

  1. Perform regular water changes. Water changes are essential for maintaining a healthy environment for your fish. You should replace about one-third of the water in your tank every week with fresh, clean water.
  2. Clean the filter regularly. Filters help keep the water in your tank clean by removing debris and other particles from the water. It’s important to clean or replace the filter as needed to ensure that it is functioning properly and not clogging up with debris.
  3. Clean the glass inside and out. Algae can build up on the glass walls of your aquarium, so it’s important to wipe them down regularly with an algae scraper or sponge to keep them looking their best.
  4. Prune plants and decorations as needed. Plants and decorations can become overgrown or covered in algae over time, so it’s important to prune them regularly to keep them looking their best and prevent any buildup of waste or debris in your tank.
  5. Vacuum the gravel periodically. Gravel can accumulate waste over time, so it’s important to vacuum it periodically using a gravel vacuum cleaner to remove any built-up debris from the bottom of your aquarium and maintain good water quality in your tank overall.
EpicFishTank Note:

Having quality fish food is essential in providing your finned friends with the sustenance they need to stay healthy and happy. Fish vary greatly in what suits their dietary preferences, so it’s important to research the specific needs of your type of fish.

Troubleshooting Problems with Your Tank

If something seems wrong with your tank, it’s important to take appropriate steps to troubleshoot the problem.

  1. Firstly, check the water quality, temperature, and pH levels as these are often indicators of an unhealthy environment for your fish.
  2. Secondly, look out for signs that indicate diseases in your fish such as loss of appetite or visible damage on the skin.

As a leading authority in the aquarium hobby, we invite you to collaborate with us on EpicFishTank.com. Our publication is dedicated to providing the latest information and best advice for all aquarium enthusiasts, from beginner to expert.

With its ever-growing reach, EpicFishTank.com is the go-to source for anyone looking to advertise their fish-related products or services. Don’t wait any longer, contact us today and begin promoting through EpicFishTank.com!