Essential Items to Start an Aquarium
Besides a tank with proper lighting and filtration system, additional items are needed in starting a new tank and keeping it healthy.
Gravels. Colorful pebbles might look attractive, but fishes feel safer when the bottom is covered with a darker color substrate. For a planted tank, Flourite and Onyx by SeaChem are recommended, both of which can be used alone and provide all the essential nutrients.
Gravel siphon. A 10-15% water change should be done regularly to keep the environment safe for the tank inhabitants. The easiest way is with a vacuum which removes debris settled on the bottom.
Heaters. A well-sealed submersible aquarium heater will keep water at a desirable temperature in a tropical tank. Additional heater is optional, but it will keep the water temperature constant during water change to minimize any shock to the fish.
Thermometer. A floating thermometer with suction cup shows the temperature in the tank clearly.
Fish Nets. They are often used when transferring fishes into or out of the tank. A small brine shrimp net is particularly useful for invertebrates.
Timer. A photoperiod of 10-12 hours is recommended for most planted tanks. A timer can be used to maintain consistency.
Large buckets. Buckets are useful when transferring fishes and performing water change.
Test kits. Keep track of the level of chlorine, pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate in the water. If ammonia and nitrite levels are always zero, then the tank is in harmony.
Chemicals. De-chlorinators is essential in conditioning the tap water before being added to the tank. Regular household chlorine should be mixed with water as a bleach-bath for the plants before they are added to the tank.
Scissors & tweezers. For planted tanks, a pair of sharp, long-neck scissors and small-head tweezers are needed planting and pruning. Professional aquascaping tools are available at fish & bontanical stores but generally expensive. Try used dental tools from local dentist, $4 hair-cutting scissors at convenient stores or bead tweezers at hobby shops.