10 Essential Things you Need to Have to Keep Fish Pets! (Guide, FAQs & More)

You’ll agree with us when we say that starting fish-keeping as a hobby is not as simple as it sounds. 

Luckily for you, we’re bringing you this comprehensive guide that will list all the things you need in order to get started with your fish pets. 

In today’s post, we’ll be listing everything you or may not need depending on the type of fish you’re getting.

The essential things you’ll need in your arsenal in order to have an enjoyable fish-keeping experience are: 

1. Knowledge about the Fish you’re Getting

Before you get any equipment at all, you need to decide what fish you’re getting and what those fish’s needs are. 

It’s extremely important that you make this decision beforehand and then carefully research the fish you will get. This is because different fish have different needs and it is paramount for you to know what equipment you’re going to need in order for them to live a healthy and happy life. 

2. Fish Tank 

10 Essential Things you Need to Have to Keep Fish Pets

A Fish Tank is probably the first thing you want to get in the list of equipment you’ll need. 

Be sure to choose function over novelty. Those circular, spirally aquariums that come in fancy shapes might look pleasing to the eye but you’ll have a lot of trouble setting up equipment on them later. This is why we recommend that you just a solid, rectangular shaped aquarium. It will fulfill all the needs of your fish and then some. 

When you’re getting a fish tank, it is advisable that you get the biggest one that you can afford. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to have a small number of fish, if you can afford a big fish tank and have room in your home to keep it, you should get it. This will be useful for a number of reasons. Firstly, your fish will be extremely happy and will thank you for all the extra room they have to swim around. Secondly, you won’t have to invest in a bigger tank in case you want to expand and get more fish in the future.

3. Fish Food 

This is one of the things where what we said in the first heading comes into play. 

If you’ve done your research into what kind of food the fish you’re getting like to eat, this part won’t be a problem for you. 

Fish food comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and ingredients. Be sure to get food that is easy for them to eat. It is ideal if you can get food that is of a size that enables your fish to swallow it whole. While fish are able to break down larger pieces of food, it is less stressful for them if they can just swallow it in one go. 

Also be sure to know whether your fish are top or bottom-feeders and get floating or sinking food respectively. 

4. Fish Tank Filter

There’s a common misconception among fish-keepers that nano-sized/small fish tanks do not require a filter. 

We want to stress that this is a myth because no matter how small your tank is or how little fish you have, they are always going to produce waste that needs to be cleaned out. 

A fish tank filter is not a piece of equipment that you can skip and if you do, it will lead to a very nasty environment for your fish to live in and a very murky/cloudy tank for you to look at. 

A filter normally contains activated carbon. Water is pushed into this filter and the carbon is able to neutralize any dangerous toxins that the tank water might have. This water is then pushed back into your aquarium for your fish to breathe and swim in.

5. Fish Tank Heater (Optional) 

Again, this is where research is essential when deciding to buy this piece of equipment or not. The reason why a fish tank heater is optional is because some fish are cold-water fish that do not require the water temperature to be maintained, e.g., Goldfish, Koi, etc. If you have fish of this variety, you can skip getting a fish tank heater. 

However, if you have tropical fish that require a certain water temperature in order to thrive, you’ll have to invest in a fish tank heater. 

Some cheaper heaters only have an on/off button without a thermostat. In this case, you’ll have to turn the heater on and off yourself in order to maintain the water temperature. We’re sure you will agree that this is not feasible. Hence, we strongly suggest that you get a heater with a built-in thermostat that is able to maintain your tank’s water temperature consistently. 

6. Fish Tank Lighting 

Lighting is very necessary for a number of reasons. 

Firstly, the most obvious reason is that you need it for aesthetic purposes. Presentation is everything and a good lighting setup will help you bring out the colors of your aquarium and your fish in a very unique way. 

Secondly, both your fish and your aquarium plants need light in order to grow and stay healthy. European fish require about 8 hours of light every day whereas African fish require about 12 hours of light. We recommend that you get LED lights as they are able to mimic sunlight very well. 

7. Substrate 

Substrates refer to the gravel, grain and sand that is usually found at the bottom of aquariums. 

The substrate in your aquarium has a number of purposes. 

First of all, it makes for a natural environment for your fish. In the sea, the bottom is covered by sand, gravel or other natural materials. Having substrate in your aquarium will mimic this environment and make your fish feel at home and relaxed. 

Secondly, if you have live aquarium plants, you will need gravel in order to plant their roots into it. This is highly important as plants need something rigid and stable to cling to. 

Thirdly, you may have fish that are shy or like hiding. Substrates provide a great hiding place for these kinds of fish. This will give them happiness and provide them solace.

10 Essential Things you Need to Have to Keep Fish Pets!

8. Aquarium Plants 

Aquarium Plants not only make your aquarium more pleasing to look at. They also provide your fish with much-needed oxygen. They can also help keep your fish tank clean by utilizing the fish waste produced for their own growth and sustenance. 

Aquarium Plants can also play a role in hiding ugly equipment such as heaters and filters. When planting your plants, be sure to cover this equipment for a much more natural and pleasing look for your aquarium. 

9. Water Conditioner

Tap water is usually used to fill up a fish tank. However, it is important that you treat this water before adding any fish to it. 

Several types of water conditioners are available in the market. Usually these conditioners work as dechlorinating agents. Chlorine is good for us but it’s harmful for your fish. So it’s important that it is neutralized in the water before any fish are added. 

10. Fish

After making all of the important purchases and setting up all the equipment, it’s time for the fun part: bringing your fish home. 

We have to stress that it’s very important that you acclimate your fish before adding them into your aquarium. This can be done by floating the bag gently in the aquarium and slowly adding some of the water from your aquarium into the bag. This allows your fish to slowly become acquainted with the chemistry and temperature of your aquarium’s water without being shocked by it. Once you think your fish has fully-adjusted in the bag, you can open it and let your fish swim out into its new home. 


With all the different kinds of equipment that is needed by your fish, you can’t blame new fish-keepers for being overwhelmed when they first get into it. 

With that, we’ve reached the end of today’s post. We hope we’ve helped clear some of the confusions you may have had about starting your journey into fish-keeping. 

Give us feedback and let us know any fun stories you have about your fish.

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