For a tropical set-up, you will need an aquarium, filter, heater and air pump if necessary.


  • Fill the tank up with tap water and dechlorinate.


  • Bring the tank up to the temperature required.


  • It is best to add a small group of fish to start with. This is to allow the tank to mature. The filter will take around 2 months to mature and during this time there can be surges in ammonia and nitrate. The more fish added early on the more likely these surges are and the harder they will be to control. If you do get a high level of ammonia or nitrite then a partial water change is the quickest solution to help the fish. Added bacteria can be put in the tank to help the filter mature more quickly.


  • After 2-3 weeks another group of fish can be added and this can continue until your tank is stocked.


  • It is a good idea during this time to do regular water changes and to keep an eye on your water parameters.


  • Do not be tempted to fully stock your tank too early; high levels of ammonia and nitrite can cause numerous problems for your fish. The most likely would be a bacterial infection due to the high ammonia levels burning the fish causing fin rot and fungus.


  • Always dechlorinate during water changes.


  • Be sure to research the fish you are adding to your tank to check suitability and compatibility with your other fish.