How to set up a Freshwater Aquarium from scratch

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Hi there! If you’re reading this is because you want to set up an aquarium for the first time, and congratulations, you’re in the right place!

When I wanted to have my first freshwater aquarium I had so many questions that I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know the equipment I needed, which tank size was the best for me, what type of fish I wanted to have, how to take care of it, etc, etc, etc. So now I’m going to write a kind of “guide” for you with some questions and tips you may need to have in mind when you want to start a Freshwater aquarium from scratch.

I am not a professional but I do love and care for my fish and did a hell lot of research before setting up my aquarium, so I decided I will gather all the info I think is relevant.

First: Where do I put it?
Yes, I know this might be the most boring “first question” you would like to ask yourself when thinking about your future aquarium but it’s a key question. Why? Because it will lead to the size of the tank you can have which will lead to the type of fish you can actually have. So, as you see, it’s really important.
You can have your aquarium anywhere you like BUT you have to have in mind these things:

  • Never ever put your tank in front of a window. I know it might seem nice to have natural sunlight  but NO. This is a huge mistake. On one hand, direct sunlight might cause a sudden rise in your tank’s temperature which will stress your fish (and we don’t want that happening). On the other hand I know for a fact that algae loves sunlight and it will easily  grow and become a huge issue.
  • Do not put your tank in a place where it gets too hot or too cold. You should be able to control the temperature of the room where your tank is. Your tank’s temperature should be stable, if not it will stress your fish.
  • It’s not just about space, it’s about weight too! You have to be careful where you put it, you have to be sure that the furniture you’re setting up your aquarium on can hold  the weight! Don’t forget that a 10 gallon (38 liters) tank might weight up to 100 pounds (45 kilos) with everything in!

Alright then, you’ve decided where to put it. Now what? The next thing you have to think about is…

The shape and the size of the tank.
Here you can be as creative as you want. If you have found the place in your house to place your dream tank and you can afford it, go for it! I would recommend to buy something that is not too small because parameters (such  as pH, temperature, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, etc.) can vary a lot easier in smaller tanks. But taking care of a huge tank is also kind of a lot to take in for a first ride so I would personally recommend something between 5 to 15 gallons.

Find a pet store near you that you can trust
If you are going to buy fish from a pet store you better trust this pet store because they are the ones that you’re going to go for help or with any issues regarding your fish. What I recommend for this is that you visit several local pet stores or pets stores that are near you and you check out the fish they have. See the conditions they have them in: if they look healthy, if the water is clean, etc. Also, you should ask a question you already know the answer to, like: “I have a goldfish, can I buy a male betta and keep him in the same tank?” If they say yes, you better leave that place because they don’t care about the fish, they only care about selling them. This might seem stupid but if they are lying with something so simple, how are you going to trust them when they tell you a fish is captive bred when it might actually be wild caught?

Start buying all the accessories.
If it’s a tropical freshwater fish tank the things you would absolutely need are: a heater, a thermometer, a filter, an air pump and an air stone.  Decide what kind of gravel you want and start buying all your aquarium decoration (I do recommend you give your fish a place to hide, or if it’s possible, several). Also you would need a net, a water conditioner, a gravel cleaner and a kit to test your parameters! When I started I also bought Stability from Seachem which helps and speeds up the cycling process.

Find the type of fish you can and you want to have
Why do I say it in that order? Because first you have to do some research on what type of fish you can have according to the size of your tank. Then, of those you can actually have, you have to choose the type of fish you want to have. But it’s not as simple as it looks, you can’t put all the fish you want in the same tank. If you want to set up a community tank you have to find out what species get along. If you don’t do your homework you might end up having a lot of fights in your tank. But it’s not just the fights, this ain’t that easy. You have to find out if they have the same needs (same temperature, pH, etc.) or if they are schooling fish (and you have to find out the minimum: you don’t want your fish to stress out or to feel lonely but you don’t want to overpopulate the tank either).

Set up your aquarium and let it cycle
Ok, we are here! This is the moment you start setting your aquarium up! First, you have to clean the dirt out of your tank. Use a wet towel, DO NOT USE soap or anything! Then you gotta wash the gravel over and over again to get rid of all the dirt. Once that is done you can put the gravel in your tank and set up the filter, the decoration, the heater, the thermometer and the air pump. Once all is done you can start filling it with water (don’t forget to use a water conditioner!) and you let it cycle. The cycling process usually takes a month but like I said, using something like Stability (or anything like it) can easily speed up the process.

And that’s all folks! I hope this post was helpful and that you liked it. If you have any questions or want to say something about this don’t forget to leave a comment below! See you in my next blog post… bye!

What I got for Christmas!

Well, Christmas is over and even though that is really sad, presents are all what’s left to remember Christmas (and leftovers, of course). So I am going to show you what I got for Christmas this year! Before I start I would like to say that even though these are amazing gifts, I feel so lucky and thankful that a lot of my relatives thought of me when they were buying presents. Just the mere fact that they thought of me is more than enough to make me happy.

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First, I got this lovely blender! I broke mine last year and I am a huge fruit smoothie fan (also I enjoy a good drink from time to time) so not having one was killing me! Luckily for me, my dad and his girlfriend were so nice and got me one. I am so so so happy. When I first saw my present, I couldn’t believe how big it was, I had no idea what I was getting! I am kind of broke so I couldn’t afford a blender right now and since it’s summertime, fruit smoothies are so in order.

 

 

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Then I got a perfume (that smells so nice), a towel for my hair and a facial cream. A girl needs her beauty accessories. I might not show you my face guys, but I need to feel pretty anyway!

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And then I received a book to plan the perfect vacation to Tokyo (I’m not going any time soon but It’s a trip a intend to do in the future). The book is really  good and it’s really nice quality. Also I got a nice navy style purse  and a beautiful Christmas cookie. And when I say the cookie is beautiful, I’m not doing it any justice: it’s GORGEOUS. Check this girl’s Instagram, please! And also: The cookie is DELICIOUS (Yes, caps locks and italic delicious).

And that’s all. I hope you liked my presents, I sure did!

So, what did you get for Christmas? I wanna know so let me know in the comments below!

Merry Christmas, see you next time, bye…!

 

Christmas Tour around my house

Welcome to my blog!

I’ve been wondering what my first entry should be about, and I came to the conclusion that since it’s December I should do a Christmas Tour around my house and that’s exactly what I am going to do. On Christmas I get a little carried away and I tend to decorate EVERYTHING. I have a ton of Christmas decor for my house and I love to see every inch of it with a little Christmas touch.


When you come to my house the first thing your are going to see is a little snowman sitting on my wreath, greeting you. This is a handmade wreath made by my mom.  That I’ve had for YEARS. I don’t know how many, but I’m pretty sure I’ve had it for over 20 years. I was the one that added that little snowman later.

Then, when you enter my house and you close the door behind you, you’ll find a little Santa guarding the door. He will keep the Grinch out of the house. That’s what he does, it’s kinda his job.

Next, when you go into my living room you’ll encounter Christmas land. First, on top of my TV there is a handmade garland with little letters that spell “Christmas” in Spanish (which is Navidad).  Since I made that garland, let me know in the comments if you would like to see a tutorial on how to do one, it’s really easy and it looks really cool! Next year I think I’m going to add some lights alongside the garland, I think It would look nice. Besides, I love Christmas lights!

 

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If you keep looking around you’ll encounter a lot of Santas on my furniture, like this one:

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From left to right you’ll find this little guy over here. He is one of this year’s new additions. Yes, I keep buying Christmas decor, I buy something new every year. I know, it’s a little crazy but I can’t fight  Christmas, it always wins!

Also I like how he has a red nose and how funny it looks right next to that old photo of me with my clown nose! We are match made in heaven.

And here is one of my absolute favorites: my Santa cookie jar.

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He is big, heavy and really breakable, but I LOVE HIM. I bought him last year and I couldn’t stop staring at it for weeks. Every time I look at it, it makes me smile. I don’t know why, but I find him so adorable with his tiny hands and his big fat belly.

Then, we have these two guys: One is a tall Santa that holds a sign telling me how many days are left until Christmas (I took these pictures a few days ago, that’s why it says “12” instead of the real number).
The other one is this lovely raccoon in a stocking with a Santa hat. It’s so beautiful and also sooo soft. And you can put things in it! I think I’m going to fill it with candy canes or something, I haven’t made up my mind yet.

Here there is a little bit of door decorthe one on the left is my kitchen door and the one on the right is a hallway door.

Here you have a bit more of random decor that hangs here and there. Both have signs that says “Merry Christmas” in Spanish (which is Feliz Navidad). The one on the left is the other  new addition to my decor and the one on the right is a beautiful Minnie that guards my room and greets everyone with her sign. I remember the moment I saw that Minnie at the store I knew I had to buy it.

Here we have something that I always wanted to do and this year I was finally able to do it! I think it looks soooo good with the city lights in the background and it makes your home look really nice at night. This is on top of my balcony door and I am very happy with the results.

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Even my 10 gallon freshwater fish tank has a Santa in it! Look at it: it’s so funny! It’s a Santa on top of a Rudolph-ish dolphin! When I saw it I knew I had to have it. Like, my fish deserve a little bit of Christmas too. It’s unfair that my cats get to mess around the tree and play with the ornaments and these little guys have no idea it’s Christmas time! So, I bought them a little Santa. They really like it, look how happy Pinky (my female betta) looks! My fish really liked it, there were all over it the moment I put it in the tank.

Well, and last, but not least… My Christmas Tree!
This tree is really old, well it’s my own age, so I’m not going to say it’s “really old” because that would mean that I’m really old. But let’s just say that it’s quite old for a Christmas tree and it’s probably gonna be his last Christmas because I’m saving for a huge new really bushy Christmas tree that I’m gonna get next Christmas.

 

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This Christmas tree looks tall but that’s because is on top of a coffee table, it’s not that tall.

My mom used to tell this story about how my mom and dad bought this tree for my first Christmas ever. They were all excited about how I was going to react the moment I saw the tree with all the lights and ornaments in it. They were really excited about it and the moment they brought me to see it… I couldn’t care less about it! Like all I did was yawn and look at everything else but the tree.  That was really mean and sometimes I feel terrible for crushing my mom’s illusions like that. But I like to think that even thought I showed no excitement or whatsoever, the love and excitement for Christmas that my mom had got to me somehow and that’s why now I love Christmas and I love everything related to it.

Well, this is it. I hope you that you liked this tour and how I decorated my house. I would love to hear all about it, so please let me know what you think in the comments below!  Until next time… bye!

This is a lifestyle blog where I share things that I think are worth sharing and where I ramble about society and life itself!