Simple Tank Set Up | Shout out to JBJ

In this article, we will discuss the steps to set up a successful beginner fish tank using a 10-gallon tank. We will also explore the living components of the tank, including gravel, water, and fish. This guide is perfect for those looking to create a low-maintenance aquarium. So let's dive in!


Step 1: Choosing the Right Tank

The first step in setting up a beginner fish tank is selecting the right tank size. For this demonstration, we have chosen a 10-gallon tank, which is a good middle ground option. The tank we are using is manufactured by JBJ and is made of glass. Glass tanks are heavier than acrylic tanks but are easier to clean. It is important to note that if you have fish that are known to jump, such as hatchet fish or Pike cichlids, you will need to use a cover for the tank.

Step 2: Assembling the Tank

To assemble the tank, start by taking everything apart and laying out all the components. The tank should come with a stand, which keeps the tank off the table and provides stability. If you purchase the tank from an independent pet store, they will usually assemble it for you and provide instructions. However, if you are assembling it yourself, follow the instructions carefully.

The tank will also come with a filter system, which is essential for maintaining the water quality in the aquarium. The filter system contains a pump and a foam filter that removes impurities from the water. It is important to note that the filter system is where the biological processes of the aquarium occur, so it is crucial for maintaining a healthy environment for the fish.

The tank also comes with LED lighting, which is the latest technology in aquarium lighting. LED lights have been around for 20 years but continue to evolve in the aquarium hobby. If you have fish that are known to jump, it is important to use a cover to prevent them from escaping.

Step 3: Adding the Living Components

Now that the tank is assembled, it's time to add the living components. The first component is the gravel, which serves as the substrate for the tank. We recommend using crushed lava rock gravel, as it contains minerals and provides a dark background that makes bright fish stand out. This type of gravel also allows you to plant plants directly in it without the need for special soils or fertilizers. Add about two inches of gravel to the tank.

Next, add water to the tank. You can use tap water, but it is important to treat it with a dechlorinator to remove any harmful chemicals. Tap water usually has a pH of around 7.5, which is slightly on the hard side. If you live in an area with heavy limestone, the pH can be higher, and you may need to use a pH adjuster to lower it. It is important to keep the pH within a range that is suitable for the fish you plan to keep.

After adding the water, let it sit for a couple of days before adding any fish. This allows the water to stabilize and ensures that any chlorine or other chemicals have dissipated. During this time, you can also add a water conditioner, such as Weco de Chlor, to remove any remaining chlorine and make the water safe for the fish.

Step 4: Introducing the Fish and Plants

Once the water has stabilized, it's time to add the fish and plants to the tank. Before adding the fish, make sure to thoroughly rinse any rocks or decorations that you plan to include in the tank. This will remove any dirt or debris that could potentially harm the fish.

For this demonstration, we have selected zebra danios as the fish. Zebra danios are hardy fish that can tolerate a range of temperatures and water conditions, making them ideal for beginners. Before adding the fish to the tank, it is recommended to float the bag in the tank for about 30 minutes. This allows the temperature inside the bag to gradually adjust to the temperature of the tank, preventing any shock to the fish.

Once the fish have acclimated to the temperature, carefully release them into the tank. It is important not to overcrowd the tank, as this can lead to poor water quality and stress for the fish. As a general rule, it is recommended to have no more than 10 small fish in a 10-gallon tank.

Finally, add any plants you have selected to the tank. Hardy plants that do not require CO2 or extensive fertilization are recommended for beginners. These plants can be planted directly in the gravel and will help to create a natural and aesthetically pleasing environment for the fish.


Setting up a beginner fish tank can be an exciting and rewarding experience. By following these steps and selecting the right components, you can create a beautiful and low-maintenance aquarium for your fish. Remember to choose the appropriate tank size, assemble the tank properly, and add the necessary living components such as gravel, water, and fish. Taking the time to properly set up the tank and acclimate the fish will ensure a healthy and thriving environment for your aquatic pets.

In the next part of this series, we will discuss the importance of water quality and maintenance in a beginner fish tank. Stay tuned for more tips and advice on how to create the perfect home for your fish!
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