12 Top 55 Gallon Aquariums, Kits and Fish Tanks Shortlisted


A 55 gallon aquarium can provide years of enjoyment and house a variety of fish species. To help you make an educated decision, we’ve collected a list of the top 12 options available for 50 to 55 gallon aquarium setups.

Our Choice for the Best Top 3  55 Gallon Aquariums :

PreviewNamePriceMore Details
Aquatic Fundamentals 55 Gallon Upright Aquarium Stand $More details!
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Acrylic Rectangle Aquarium 55 Gallon Black$$$More details!
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Aqueon Trim/Slim Tank $$More details!
Click Here

Some of these are full kits, while others are bare tanks that allow you to customize your setup. No matter what you’re looking for, one of these is sure to fit your needs. Here’s the list (in no particular order):

 

#1: The MARINELAND® BioWheel LED Aquarium Kit

MarineLand LED 55 Gallon Aquarium in Packaging

The MARINELAND® BioWheel LED Aquarium Kit is a glass tank that measures 48” in length x 13″ wide x 20″ high and offers 55 gallons of water capacity. It’s a long, sleek looking tank that looks great on any wall.

This option is a full kit, and includes everything you need – right down to the fish food. The only thing not included is the actual fish. By using LED lights, you get the best combination of effective lighting, energy savings, and long life. The BioWheel filter ensures your fish have a clear, clean environment.

Click to read more about the Marineland BioWheel 55 Gallon Tank, detailed in our in depth guide.


#2: The Top Fin 55 Gallon Aquarium Starter Kit

55 Gallon Top Fin Fish Tank Kit

The Top Fin 55 Gallon Aquarium Starter Kit is a glass tank that measures 48.25” in length x 12.75″ wide x 20″ high and comes as part of a full kit with everything you need. The 200W heater keeps your fish comfortable no matter what temperature they prefer, as it can be dialed in to any one of a number of temperature settings.

Included documentation ensures you know how to assemble all of the included parts and can be on the fast track to introducing your first fish to their new aquatic home. This tank kit is an ideal choice for anyone who wants to keep it simple, yet still end up with an impressive aquarium to enjoy at the end of a long day.

Perfect for those looking to get started with a small budget, read more about the Top Fin 55 Gal Aquarium on MyAquarium here.


#3: The MARINELAND® 55 Gallon LED Hood Aquarium & Stand Ensemble

Marineland 55 Gallon Aquarium Complete with Stand.

The MARINELAND 55 Gallon LED Hood Aquarium & Stand Ensemble is a glass tank that measures 48” in length x 13″ wide x 20″ high and includes a stylish stand to support the actual tank. This is a great pair for anyone wanting to get up and running quick, without having to drive around town trying to find the perfect stand first.

It doesn’t include the internal components of an aquarium, so this is a great choice for anyone wanting to customize their own setup. You can choose your own filters, pump, and heating system. Lighting is, however, included via bright LED lights that will produce plenty of output for years to come. See our detailed product description and statistics for the Marineland 55 Gallon Ensemble here.


#4: The Clear-For-Life 55 Gallon Hexagon Aquarium

Clear-For-Life Hexagonal 55 Gallon Aquarium

The Clear-For-Life 55 Gallon Hexagon Aquarium is an acrylic tank that measures 29” in length x 25″ wide x 24″ high that provides a very different overall profile from the other options available.

It’s unique in that you can walk around the aquarium and enjoy a view of your fish from nearly any angle. As such, you could put this tank up against a wall, or place it closer to the center of the room to allow you to watch your fish wherever they may be hiding.

This is a tank only product rather than a kit, so you can still select your own components – making this tank equally suitable for freshwater or saltwater tanks. Coral reefs look amazing in the center of this hexagon. MyAquarium has collated further details on this Hexagon fish tank, read more…


#5: The Clear-For-Life 55 Gallon Rectangle Aquarium

Clear-For-Life 55 Gallon Freshwater Aquarium

The Clear-For-Life 55 Gallon Rectangle Aquarium is an acrylic tank that measures 48” in length x 13″ wide x 20″ high and is a perfect choice for anyone wanting a large capacity fish tank without the hassle of a heavy, fragile glass aquarium.

With 50% less weight than a comparable glass aquarium, you’ll be able to move, install, and transport this tank with ease, and have minimal worries about leakage or cracks. This product is the tank itself, so you’ll need to select the other necessary components manually. Continued…

PreviewNamePriceMore Details
Perfecto Manufacturing APF97003 Aquarium Tank$$$More details!
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Aquatic Fundamentals 55 Gallon Upright Aquarium Stand $More details!
Click Here
Acrylic Rectangle Aquarium 55 Gallon Black$$$More details!
Click Here
Eshopps RS-75 Reef Sump - Up to 75 gallons $$More details!
Click Here

#6: The Clear-For-Life 55 Gallon Rectangle UniQuarium

55 Gallon Clear-For-Life UniQuarium

The Clear-For-Life 55 Gallon Rectangle UniQuarium is an acrylic tank that measures 36” in length x 18″ wide x 20″ high and could be called a partial kit. In addition to the tank itself, you’ll get an integrated filtration system designed to keep the water crystal clear at all times.

The top hood is setup to make wiring your lighting an easy job, so you can cross that task off your list quickly. As a non-conventionally shaped acrylic tank, this option offers a unique combination of aquarium features. For further details of the UniQuarium design the article continues here.


#7: The Perfecto Manufacturing APF10556 55-Gallon Aquarium Tank

Perfecto Marineland 55 Gallon Glass Aquarium

The Perfecto Manufacturing APF10556 55-Gallon Aquarium Tank is a glass tank that measures 48” in length x 13″ wide x 20″ high. By keeping to a sleek, long profile, your fish end up with plenty of room to dash from one end of the tank to the other, creating a captivating show that anyone would love to watch. Albeit a simple tank we have further information, read more by clicking here.


#8: The Aqueon LED 55 Gal Aquarium Kit

Aqueon 55 Gal LED Tank Complete Kit

The Aqueon 55 LED Aquarium Kit is a glass tank that measures 48.25” in length x 12.75″ wide x 23.75″ high and comes from their premium range. Everything you need to get started is neatly packaged and easily accessible, while the clearly written instructions ensure you’re off to a quick start, even if this is your very first aquarium project including a 200w heater, quietflow heater and slimline LED hood.

LED lighting ensures your fish are easy to see at all times, generating less heat and using less electricity thank fluorescent counterparts. The high light transmission properties of the Aqueon glass afford a better view of your aquarium than most would be able to offer. Further details of the complete kit continue….


#9: The Clear-For-Life 50 Gallon Pentagon Aquarium

Clear-for-life 50 Gallon Pentagon Aquarium

The Clear-For-Life 50 Gallon Pentagon Aquarium is an acrylic tank that measures 24” in length x 24″ wide x 24″ high and offers an untraditional shape.

The triangle-like design awards a better view of the internal composition of your aquarium, allowing you to see more of your fish. Since this is a unique tank design, it’s not part of a kit, allowing anyone to find the right components for their needs. This is a great option for both saltwater, freshwater, marine, plant, and coral based aquatic environments. At MyAquarium we have taken time to detail further, find out more information about the 50 Gallon Pentagon Aquarium here.


#10: The SeaClear Rectangular Aquarium Combo in Cobalt Blue 50 Gallon

SeaClear 50 Gallon Fish Tank

The SeaClear 50 Gallon Rectangular Aquarium Combo in Cobalt Blue is an acrylic tank that measures 36” in length x 15″ wide x 20″ high and features a nice shade of cobalt blue on the backdrop, creating a peaceful waterscape for your fish to swim against. The clear acrylic allows more light through, enhancing the serenity of your tank.

Molecular bonding is used to join the seams, ensuring a leak-proof experience from the factory, and a manufacturer warranty ensures you can enjoy your aquarium for years without experiencing any leaking issues. Find further research into the SeaClear Cobalt blue aquarium here….


#11: Starfie Rimless 50 Gallon Aquarium with Central Overflow

Rimless Starfire 50 Gallon Glass Aquarium

This 50 Gallon Starfire Aquarium with Center Overflow doubles up as both a fish tank and a piece of beauty. Standing at 24x24x20″with made from sturdy 10mm glass is a cubic design perfect for a fresh or saltwater setup. This allows you to hold the full 50 gallons of water in a much smaller footprint than other tanks, so this is a great tank option for smaller spaces.

This is a tank rather than a kit, so be prepared to buy the filter, heater, and lighting. See further details here.


#12: The Marineland 56 Gallon Column Aquarium Ensemble

56 Gallon Marineland Fish Tank with Stand

The Marineland 56 Gallon Column Aquarium Ensemble is a glass tank that measures 48.25” in length x 12.75″ Width x 20.187″ high and comes with a 30 inch tall stand. The stand itself is stylish and minimalistic, with storage compartments hidden by doors.

This tank is a great start to your aquarium. It’s not a full kit, so you can pick out the internal components individually, based on your needs. Read more for a detailed product description and specifics here.

PreviewNamePriceMore Details
Marineland (Aquaria) AML29038 Biowheel Aquarium Kit with LED Light$$$More details!
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All Glass Aquarium AAG10037 Tank, 37-Gallon $$More details!
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Aquatic Fundamentals 20/29/37 Gallon Aquarium Stand with Shelf $$More details!
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Making Your Decision

These tanks are our top recommendations for a 50 to 55 gallon aquarium. Choosing the best one for you will depend on your space requirements, desire to pick out your own components or simply stick with an all-in-one kit, and your budget. No matter what you’re looking for, one of these tanks is sure to fit the bill.

If you’ve a slightly bigger budget and would a slightly more challenging aquarium try reading our 75 Gallon Aquarium top list.


Marineland 55 Gallon Aquarium, Stand and Lighting – Review


This Marineland 55 Gallon aquarium and stand combination creates a stylish foundation for your fish tank setup. With 55 gallons of water capacity, you’ll have plenty of room to house numerous fish species.

Marineland 55 Gallon LED Hood Aquarium & Stand Ensemble

Capacity55 Gallons
DimensionsTank: 48" Wide x 13" Length x 20" High Stand: 49.4" Wide x 14.9" Lengthx 30" High
Type of HabitatAquatic
ShapeRectangle
MaterialGlass
Warranty1 Year.
What's included?LED lighting and stand.
Price$ - Very Good Value.
SupplierPetSmart. Click here to check availability.

Tank dimensions are nicely balanced, at 48” wide, 14.9” long and 30” high. This low, wide profile creates a low center of gravity for enhanced tank stability should it get bumped into. The stand provides a solid foundation to support this weight, and the dark wood finish matches a wide range of furniture. Two shelves help provide room for storage or decoration to further enhance your living space.

Starting off with these core components still leaves you plenty of room for customization. You can pick out your own preferred pump and filter, select a heating system ideal for your needs, and tailor your equipment to support either saltwater or freshwater fish. The 55 gallon capacity even provides plenty of room for a coral reef, should you choose to go this route.

In addition to the tank and stand, there’s one additional piece of equipment included – an integrated LED lighting setup built into the tank’s hood. These low energy, environmentally friendly lights are engineered to illuminate this specific tank, so you won’t have to worry about bothersome dark spots that make it hard to find your fish. They also last longer than regular bulbs.

If you want a stylish aquarium foundation, while still having plenty of room to customize the details of your equipment, this Marineland tank is a great place to start. Check availability at PetSmart by clicking here.


Aquarium FAQs: Answers to Your Biggest Questions


There’s a lot to learn when setting up a fish tank. Here’s a list of some of the more frequently asked questions – hopefully these answers will help you get started on the right foot.

When should I run my tank’s lights?

A lot of new owners leave their tank lighting switched on 24/7, or otherwise don’t pay much attention to when they are turned on. Constant or inconsistent lighting can be detrimental to the health of your fish. Around 10 hours per day of light followed by 14 hours of darkness is preferable.

Since it can be difficult to remember to turn your lights on or off at the appropriate time (or you may simply not be home to do so), a timer is highly recommended. They run on a 24 hour schedule, so you can set them to turn on and off at specific intervals. For more detail on using lighting with a marine / reef aquarium take a look at our Planted Tank lighting here.

Are plants just for aesthetics?

Although the addition of plant life to your tank can provide something extra to look at and give your fish a more interesting environment, they also serve an additional purpose. Just like plant life helps supply oxygen to us humans, it also helps regulate the aquatic environment of your fish.

These plants reduce the amount of free waste floating around with your fish. Remember, their toilet is their tank, so it helps to have something to process this waste matter. As a bonus, they produce oxygen within the water, helping to balance out any problems in this area.

By providing these benefits, the presence of plants actually help correct any errors you might have with the chemistry of the water. They can help drastically improve the odds of fish survival.

What’s the deal with adding fish gradually?

For a new tank, it’s important to introduce no more than three fish at once. That means that when the tank is initially setup, the chlorine has been removed, and the ideal temperature has been reached, only a few fish should be added.

This will prompt the nitrogen cycle to begin, and it can take several weeks for this cycle to conclude. Adding too many fish at once can stop this cycle from properly taking place. After a few fish have had time to seed the nitrogen regulation process, you can begin to add more fish gradually.

Does an algae eater clean my tank for me?

Absolutely not, although this is a very common misconception. They will help clean your tank by consuming algae, but they produce waste of their own that they can’t remove. Adding an algae eater means your total fish population has increased, and you should clean the tank more often – not less often.

With that in mind, an algae eater can be fun to watch, and they do help keep the algae population under control – they just don’t technically clean the tank.

Does the maximum size of my fish depend on my tank?

Not at all. A fish will reach its maximum size based only on its type. A fish in a smaller tank will not reach a smaller size as a result. Based on that, it’s important to carefully select your fish based on the size of your aquarium, or you risk having to upgrade to a larger tank as they grow. Fish need plenty of room to move around to be happy, and you shouldn’t risk overpopulating your water with the wrong type of fish for your aquarium size.

What temperature is best for my water?

You should always look up your specific type of fish to determine what temperatures they are best suited for, but a general rule of thumb is around 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Most fish will be comfortable within a few degrees in either direction of this range.


75 Gallon Aquarium Setup Guide


When it comes to big aquariums there are quite a few things to know, but luckily, once you have finished with the setup, and buying all of the accessories, the maintenance is fairly straightforward. You’re going to need a list of items to get your 75 gallon (or larger) aquarium outfitted, so we may as well start with your shopping list.

  • Your 75 gallon tank (not a kit but an actual, physical tank) that comes with a hood and a light, otherwise you’ll have to do the complicated setup and matching yourself.
  • A filtration system that is minimum 350 GPH (gallons per hour) and allows for the growth of that helpful bacteria we talked about earlier.
  • A heater that is made out of pretty much anything but glass and has 300w of power. Also, an important note for changing the water (in the section below): Turn the heater off or you’ll probably crack the glass.
  • A solid stand that will hold the fish tank, the water and other accessories that go with your aquarium. That means that you’re going to need something that holds at least 500 pounds, and preferably tested for larger.
  • Gravel – go with a neutral color instead of hot pink or neon green. Your fish will appreciate it. It is also called “substrate” if you want to sound like you know what your talking about at the pet store.
  • A thermometer like the ones that float in the water or stick to the side and have a red substance inside to tell you the temperature. Don’ t get fancy because simplest is best here.
  • An air pump that is battery operated or has a battery backup (in case the power goes out.) You’ll also need tubing and you’ll need an air stone.
  • A dechlorination solution is vital because the water from your sink is chlorinated for you to drink, but your fish require it to be clean of chlorine and other chemicals.
  • A chemical test kit. You’ll need to test quite a few things, some more than others: ammonia levels, nitrite and nitrate levels, water hardness and pH.
  • Live plants (unless you are planning to get fish that eat plants) that are specifically designed for use in a fish rank. You’ll understand why after you read the next section.
  • You’re going to need cleaning tools. At the very least, you’re going to need a scrubbing tool that you can reach far into the tank with.
  • Decorations are optional, but can be good for fish so that they don’t get bored. Don’t go overboard and crowd the tank however, because your fish won’t appreciate that.

Surprisingly, many people that buy 75 gallon aquariums are people that have never owned fish before. As the saying goes, go big or go home, and these fish owners are taking it to heart. For that reason, we’ll cover some basics of care in this article along with the specifics that come with having a tank that large. A lot of people make beginner mistakes that cost time and money, and that’s exactly what we’re going to help you avoid.

go big or go home

A Note To New Fish Owners

While it might seem simple to care for fish, there are a few things that you should keep in mind, and that doesn’t include all of the decisions that you have to make about choosing fish (i.e. freshwater vs. saltwater, how many, what kind and all that.) What you need to keep in mind is that fish are living creatures who have evolved with some pretty specific needs. You need to keep their needs in mind, and most of all, don’t forget them for long periods of time. This is a common problem with new fish owners. Unlike dogs and cats, fish aren’t going to be nosing their food dish across the floor or waking you up in the morning with their claws to demand food, a change of tank water or any of the other needs that they have.

Your Fish, Ammonia, Nitrites and Bacteria

The first thing that you need to understand about taking care of fish is that you’re going to have to change the water. There is a complex explanation as to the reason why, which we’ll get to in a minute, but if you read nothing else in this section, please remember: you need to change the water regularly.

You see, fish suffer from what is known in fish keeping circles (yes, that’s really a thing) as The Nitrogen Cycle. Fish product ammonia. (Also, any food that you leave in the tank that doesn’t get eaten decays and produces ammonia which is also a good argument for not overfeeding.) You have probably opened a bottle of ammonia before and had it sting your eyes. Fish don’t like it any better than you do, but luckily, there are bacteria that will eat ammonia.

Unfortunately, the by-product of this bacteria are nitrites, which is harmful to fish as well, and the bacteria that consumes nitrites produces nitrates, which are less harmful for fish, but still cannot be allowed to accumulate. So, you have two options when it comes to getting rid of the final product: change out part of the water regularly and/or use plants to consume the nitrates and produce the oxygen that fish need. The rub is – some fish will eat live plants, and for those fish, you’ll have to do all the work yourself, and that involves changing out a portion of the water regularly. The best option is to get fish that don’t eat the plant life and change out water less often.

Step-by-Step Directions for Getting Started

Once you have everything that you have purchased assembled correctly then it’s time to go over some basics step-by-step. However, one note regarding putting everything together correctly: If you are building your aquarium stand from a kit (which many of them come in) then you’ll want to be absolutely sure that you get every screw and piece correct.

The result of a stand that isn’t put together correctly is 75 gallons of water all over your carpet.

Step One: Basic Electrical Safety

The only thing that you have to remember is that on anything that is inside the water as well as plugged in, you can’t let the water reach your electrical outlet, so the cord’s lowest point has to be lower than the plug, so that the water can’t run down the cord to the socket.

Step Two: Tank Assembly

First, rinse the gravel using a strainer, a new one not the one you use for spaghetti and put it in something clean afterward. Then, put the aquarium on the stand and put the gravel in (gently so you don’t scratch the glass) and spread it out evenly on the bottom so that it is a couple of inches thick. Now, set up your filters (the user manuals are your friend; Google too) and attach all necessary equipment. Try to set it up so that you won’t have to move anything around when you do maintenance.

Step Three: Add The Water

Now, you can fill your tank with water. Try to use a small plate or bowl so that you don’t splash into the gravel and make it uneven. Make sure that there are no leaks as you fill it, and try to make sure that it is sitting as level as you can.

Step Four: Turn it On

When you have everything plugged in, the tank full of water and it is all ready to go, turn it on and let it run for three days to make sure that everything is working properly. Your heater should be set to about 78 degrees Fahrenheit for most freshwater fish.

Step Five: Check the Water Quality

Now, you’re going to want to test your water with the test strips you bought. You’ll want to make sure that it fits the parameters of the fish that you’re planning to get. Choosing fish is complex and requires a completely different discussion that we’re not going to have here. However, your local fish store will be able to tell you what you need for the type of fish that you are planning to get.

Step Six: Performing Maintenance

Once your fish tank is mature (meaning it is running like it is supposed to) you won’t have to worry about nitrite and ammonia. However, you”ll have to monitor nitrite levels, water softness or hardness and the pH of the water. Regarding the water changing instructions discussed earlier, remember that you’ll want to change water whenever your nitrate levels start getting close to 40ppm. At that point, change 45-50% of the water. You’ll also want to remember that you should take your filter out and clean it manually with a toothbrush and replace carbon (other other materials depending upon your manual) as necessary. Then, you’ll be all set to go buy your fish and put them in the tank!


Planning your 75 Gallon Aquarium


An aquarium of this size (75 gallons or larger) is a big commitment, requiring careful planning of both the individual components and the overall setup. By the time you finish this guide, you’ll be ready to purchase your aquarium and prepare it for use.

There’s a lot to consider when setting up your aquarium, but if you follow these steps, you’ll minimize your risk of making any rookie mistakes.

Before Buying Your 75+ Gallon Aquarium Setup

To ensure your project is a success, it’s best to thoroughly plan your setup before making any purchasing decisions. Careful planning in this area will help you avoid many common mistakes that plague beginners, and give your first batch of fish a fighting chance at longevity.

  • Research the type of fish you’re planning to house. Different fish have widely varying requirements in terms of necessary space, environmental conditions, and compatible equipment. This will be the long-term home for these creatures, so you want to make sure they are as happy and healthy as possible.
  • Buy a book aimed at your specific fish species. An entire book for the care of one type of fish might seem like overkill – but it’s not. Once you decide on the type of fish you will house, it’s worth at least a quick read on the caretaking of their type.Among other things, you’ll want to research the maximum size of your fish and the water volume requirements. This will allow you to purchase the right number of fish, without under or overpopulation issues. Another point to consider, if you’re planning to keep multiple types of fish, is how those types interact with one another. Some types of fish simply aren’t compatible with one another, and can cause major issues upon introduction.
  • Select the location that will house your aquarium. This might sound like an obvious point, but it’s often overlooked until it’s too late. You’ll want to make sure the tank will fit nicely in the designated area, filling the height and width in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Also take into consideration the need for distance around the electrical equipment, providing adequate airflow to ensure long life. Simply planning to push everything up against the wall is never an ideal situation.
  • Establish your budget. Once you realize the extensive equipment involved in fish care, it’s clear that the tank itself is only a small part of the overall cost. Aquariums can get expensive very quickly, and it’s easy to nickel and dime your way into a very costly project. Setup your budget ahead of time, and plan out a sample list of equipment so you know what to expect. If possible, try to keep your expenses at 10% or so below your budget, because unforeseen expenditures always seem to pop up before the project is fully completed.
  • Plan your components. In the past, the best way to pick out your equipment was to visit your local pet store and browse around. While still a viable option, the internet has become the best place to find everything you could possibly need. There are a lot of unique components available only online, and the price savings tends to outweigh the cost of shipping – even for large components. Plus, eyeing your setup online gives you the ability to do more research on your own before pulling the trigger.This is where a book with information specific to your fish type comes in handy. You can continue referencing it as you go, ensuring you stay on track to an effective setup.

Once you’ve considered these points and done adequate research into the requirements of your individual fish, you should have greater insight into making an informed decision. As you list off your components, you’ll likely end up with some of the following:

  • The aquarium tank itself
  • A solid stand for the tank
  • A canopy / “top” for aquarium
  • Substrate material (gravel)
  • Heating system
  • Lights
  • Filtration and pump setup
  • Multi-use chemical test system
  • Various necessary chemical additives (which will depend on your specific fish)

This doesn’t include the optional (but highly recommended) extras, like decoration for your tank’s interior. You can always add these touches later, but an interesting décor arrangement that mimics what would be found in a natural environment will help ensure your fish are happy and healthy. Additionally, they provide a nice aesthetic touch that makes any tank vastly more beautiful.

These examples also assume you will be using a freshwater aquarium – which is still the most common type, even among larger tanks. If you’re using a saltwater setup, you’ll need to take additional steps to achieve the desired salinity before introducing your fish.

As you plan the overall size of your tank, remember to check any details in your lease (if applicable), as some terms will prohibit very large aquariums on the premises. Ensure the floor is solid enough to support a large tank as well. A 75 gallon aquarium can weigh over 700 lbs when full, so it will place a heavy strain on the floor.

Once you have your equipment, it’s time to move on to setup. This can be an intimidating process for a first-timer, but there’s no need to stress out. While care must be taken to follow setup instructions closely, once you do, you’ll be on the fast track to being operational.

One thing to mention before we begin – don’t plan on being able to add your fish the same day you fill the tank. It takes time for the water to stabilize, for initial chemical additives to do their job in prepping the water, and for the water to be adjusted to the appropriate temperature (this alone can take some time).

With that in mind, it’s easiest not to purchase your fish until you’ve finished setting up your tank. That way, when you bring them home, their home will be all ready for them. You can just plop them in and watch them become accustomed to their new environment.

Setting Up Your 75+ Gallon Aquarium

With all of the planning and purchasing out of the way, it’s time to get to the fun part – putting it all together. Here’s what the process looks like, in an ordered step-by-step manner:

  • Setup the actual aquarium. This involves placing the tank on top of the stand. Ideally, your stand will be made specifically for the aquarium to ensure adequate size and support. These large tanks are heavy, and needless to say very fragile if they are dropped. Enlist the help of at least one other person (preferably two, to be safe) to ensure nothing goes wrong. There’s nothing more frustrating than a cracked or broken tank.Before continuing, be sure to remove all packaging material, such as protective films or stickers.
  • Fill the tank. First, you’ll want to lay down an ample layer of gravel. Before adding gravel to the tank, thoroughly rinse it off with clean water. Lay the gravel in a gradual slope that is thinner at the front and thicker at the rear of the tank.Next, fill the tank with water. This is usually done with a simple garden hose. Unless you have well water or are using a special chlorine-free water source, you’ll want to immediately use a chlorine neutralizing chemical. These additives make even basic tap water suitable for aquarium use. Follow the package instructions, which dictate the amount to add based on your aquarium’s capacity.
  • Optional: Add décor. As stated before, you don’t necessarily have to add decorations right away, but they do create a more appealing tank and give your fish something to enjoy in their environment. Don’t over-do it, however – your fish will still need plenty of free space to swim around.Always rinse off new decorations before adding them to the water. Basic décor usually includes some branches with faux leaves, some larger pieces of wood, some large rocks, and preferably something that gives your fish a cozy place to nest.
  • Setup the pump, filtration system, and heater. The individual steps for this process will vary depending upon your individual equipment models, so make sure to read the setup instruction manuals before continuing. Never plug in your equipment until you’ve finished setting up everything. The external pump motor will typically hang off the rear of your aquarium’s glass. Also take this opportunity to install the light fixture. Dial the heater in to the desired temperature, and when finished, plug it in and turn everything on.
  • Adding your fish. You’ll need to allow at least a full day (24 hours) for your water to reach the appropriate temperature before you can consider adding fish. It’s best to add fish gradually, if possible. After four weeks have gone by, you should do a test for ammonia and nitrite levels. It’s best to only have a few fish in the tank before taking this reading. Ideally, you’ll add the rest of the fish after that ammonia and nitrite balancing process has taken place.

There’s a lot to consider when setting up your aquarium, but if you follow these steps, you’ll minimize your risk of making any beginner mistakes.