A fifty five gallon freshwater aquarium is a good choice when purchasing a new tank, if nothing else, simply because of its size. These tanks are large enough to accommodative a variety of fish, but still small enough to keep in tight spaces in the home or office. Your local retailer can assist you with specifics in purchasing, but here are some suggestions for the basics. Purchase an acrylic tank, because they are lighter in weight and easier to care for than glass aquariums. Also the visibility is better in an acrylic tank. If you don't already have a stand or a suitable replacement, keep in mind that you will need to purchase one. You will need a heater for temperature control, and a thermometer for checking the water temperature. It will take approximately five bags of rock or other substrate to line the bottom of the tank. Choose a bright color to add some interest to the aquarium.
In addition, you will need to purchase a filter for the tank. Filters can be complicated. Do a lot a research to find out what type of filter is suggested for the fish that you choose. There are filters that go beneath the substrate in the bottom of the tank, as well as filters that attach to the side of the aquarium. They also vary greatly in price. It is not necessary to buy the most expensive filter when setting up a basic freshwater aquarium.
The aquarium will also need lighting. Again, based on personal preference you can keep it simple or get very technical. Most fish will respond nicely to a basic light that is simply turned on for a few hours each day. An aquarium should contain some form of plants for added interest. The plants serve a place for the fish to seek refuge and feel safe. There are many varieties of freshwater plants that would work nicely in a fifty five gallon aquarium. Just be sure to purchase an aquatic specific species. If you don't want the hassle of live plants, plastic is always an option. They have come along way with synthetic plants. In most cases the fish may not even notice the difference, unless of course they try to eat them.
Once your tank is established and you are ready to add fish, choose your fish carefully. Start with hardy fish, such as live bearers, gouramis, barbs, and danios. These fish are hardy enough to handle higher nitrate levels in the tank. Allow about thirty days for these fish to become acclimated to the tank, before adding any new fish. It usually takes about thirty days for the symptoms of ich or other fish illnesses to show up. It is important to make sure that all existing fish are healthy before adding any new species. The transportation of new fish itself is stressful enough, without having to add disease to the situation. When purchasing fish, it is important to remember that a fifty five gallon aquarium can handle about fifteen to twenty small fish total. This will allow plenty of growth room for the fish.