Setting up your first aquarium is exciting, but it must be done correctly to ensure the fish have healthy lives. Owning fish is a responsibility. By being aware of three major beginner mistakes when it comes to aquarium set up, you can work to carefully avoid them and the problems that result.

#1: Not picking the site carefully

Not every location of your home is the perfect place for the aquarium. Some obvious places to avoid are sites near windows that receive a lot of sunlight, or in areas next to a source of heat or cold, such as by air vents or large appliances. The tank should be able to maintain a fairly constant temperature. Another concern that is sometimes overlooked is accessibility. You need to be able to easily reach all corners of the inside of the tank to clean the glass and to maintenance any filters. If the tank is slipped into a tight niche, then consider placing it on a wheeled cart so you can easily and smoothly move it out for maintenance.

#2: Ignoring mature fish size

You can fit a lot of small fish in a tank, but if they aren't fully grown you will end up with an over-crowded tank and the sick fish that comes with that problem. Fortunately, most pet and aquarium stores can provide you not just with the expected mature size of the fish, but also how many fish are a good fit for a tank of your specific size. You should also find out this information for any live plants you want to introduce to the tank, since some of these can also become too large at maturity for smaller tanks.

#3: Skipping the maintenance schedule

Maintenance may seem like a no-brainer but you need to have a stronger plan in place than simply cleaning the tank when it gets dirty. First and foremost, schedule a specific day to check water quality. In a new tank, this may be daily or every other day just to make sure the filters are working properly and the fish-filtration balance is okay. A liquid test kit is more exacting than the test strips, but you can use either. Partial water changes should be scheduled weekly, with glass and substrate cleanings scheduled monthly. This may mean setting aside a specific day, such as Saturday mornings, as tank maintenance day.

For more help with your new aquarium, contact a dealer or pet store like Neptune's Tropical Fish in your area.