Aquarium Essentials Overview
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Aquarium Essentials Overview: Enjoy Success with the Right Equipment
Aquarium Essentials Overview: Enjoy Success with the Right Equipment Would you like to have an aquarium but don't know what you need to get started? Behind every beautiful aquarium is a properly selected assembly of aquarium equipment. They work together to create a
healthy, thriving aquatic environment. Simplify equipment selection with the following guide. We will help you through equipment selection so you can enjoy the beauty and tranquility of a successful aquarium setup.

What is the
easiest type
of aquarium
to set up &
maintain?
A: The best bet for a beginner is the freshwater community aquarium. You'll find many colorful and hardy tropical fish that help create a lively and easy-to-care for aquarium.
FILTER
Your filter is your most important piece of aquarium equipment. Filters help maintain aquarium water quality by efficiently removing harmful materials from your aquarium. Without proper filtration, your aquarium will not be able to sustain life. Your filter should offer three-stage mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. For convenient filter selection, filters are rated for a particular aquarium size, based on a light-to-average fish load, and have a gallon-per-hour (gph) rating. The gph rating determines how many gallons of aquarium water pass through the filter per hour. In general, the filter should turn over the total water volume at least three to five times an hour. For example, a 20-gallon aquarium should be equipped with a filter rated at least 60-100 gph. The Penguin BIO-Wheel Series are excellent filters that provide efficient biological filtration.

HEATER
Coralife Digital Thermometer Stable water temperature is necessary for the health of your aquarium system. Aquarium heater manufacturers include suggested aquarium size for each heater. But as a general rule, you will need a heater that provides approximately 3 to 5 watts for each aquarium gallon. Therefore, a 50-watt heater will suffice for aquariums between 10 to 15 gallons. The Eheim Jager Thermostat Heater is a great choice for accurate and reliable performance. In addition to a heater, a thermometer such as the ATI Thermometer is necessary for monitoring water temperature. Better yet, consider the Coralife Digital Thermometer for convenient and easy-to-read daily monitoring of aquarium water temperature.

LIGHTING
Aquarium lighting serves two fundamental purposes. It illuminates the aquarium for your aesthetic enjoyment of the inhabitants and decorations and provides functional light crucial for photosynthetic life in the aquarium. In general, a fish-only community aquarium requires 1 to 2 watts of lighting per gallon. For example, a 30-watt, 36" fluorescent light fixture is appropriate for aquariums from 15-30 gallons. If you plan to have plants, you'll need to use a light fixture that provides 2 to 5 watts of lighting per gallon.

CHLORINE REMOVER
Most tap water is not suitable for aquarium use without the addition of aquarium water conditioners. Tap water may contain chlorine, chloramine, or other chemicals harmful to aquarium fish. Before tap water is used for aquarium purposes, condition it with a chlorine or chloramine remover like Drs. Foster and Smith Chlorine Neutralizer.

Tetra EasyStrips™ Aquarium Test StripsTEST KITS
Test Kits are essential for monitoring important aquarium water parameters such as pH, ammonia, and nitrite. Regular routine testing lets you know if the aquarium water is within an acceptable range for healthy aquarium inhabitants. Test strips like the Tetra EasyStrips™ Aquarium Test Strips measure multiple water parameters to provide fast and convenient test results for the beginning hobbyist.

SUBSTRATE AND DECORATIONS
In addition to decorative benefits, aquarium substrate assists aquarium filtration by providing microorganisms and beneficial bacteria a place to colonize. Establish a 1-2 inch layer of substrate or gravel in the aquarium for best results. For a 1 inch bed, you will need roughly 1 lb of aquarium substrate per gallon or 2 lbs per gallon for a 2 inch bed. For freshwater community aquariums, consider decorative, non-buffering substrate made of non-reacting material to minimize pH fluctuation. Don't forget decorations such as driftwood, sunken ships, artificial coral, and more, to personalize and add the finishing touches to your aquarium.

THE FRESHWATER COMMUNITY AQUARIUM
AQUARIUM ESSENTIAL WHY YOU NEED IT WHAT IT DOES
Filter For water purity and quality Takes out visible particles, breaks down toxic substances, and removes harmful chemicals in aquariums
Heater To stabilize water temperature for the health of fish Warms water to maintain water temperatures preferred by tropical fish
Thermometer To monitor water temperature and heater accuracy "At a glance" temperature readings for convenient monitoring
Lighting For viewing aquarium inhabitants or for healthy live plants Brings out extraordinary colors in the aquarium and facilitates the growth of live plants
Chlorine & Chloramine Removers To eliminate harmful chemicals from tap water Neutralizes chlorine and chloramine to make tap water safe for aquarium use
Test Kits To monitor water quality Measures vital water parameters to help maintain ideal water quality
Substrate For decorative purposes and to help supplement aquarium filtration Improves the look of your aquarium and provides habitat for beneficial microorganisms
Decorations Optional, but improves appearance Gives your aquarium setup personality and enhances the aquarium experience
  
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