Setting Up a Goldfish Tank for Beginners in 2023

setting up a goldfish tank

When you’re first setting up a goldfish tank and doing your research, you may find it’s a trend. It’s because goldfish are a great buy for new aquarists, especially those who are busy.

Aside from the fact that they are cheap and simple to care for, observing goldfish may improve your appetite and inspire you in your creative process.

Many people believe that making a miniature goldfish aquarium requires almost no effort, and they are actually right. Now, move to the goldfish aquarium set up!

How To Do The Goldfish Tank Set Up

What to prepare

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  • A tank
  • A filter (with filter media)
  • Substrate
  • Plants and decorations
  • A thermometer
  • Tank’s lid/Aquarium hood
  • Lighting system


Step 1: Pick The Best Tank Based On Your Need


When selecting a goldfish tank, pay attention to the piece’s dimensions and material (glass or acrylic).

First of all, the location of the tank affects the lighting condition, which can lead to overly-grown algae or the persistence of the temperature inside. Yet, the problem can be solved with a lighting system.

The goldfish tank size is also important for your entire aquarium setup effort since it allows you to house more fish. With a 10-gallon tank, you can keep a regular-sized goldfish, yet, you will need a 50-gallon tank for a comet.

Besides, goldfish can become stressed if it stays alone, so you should have at least 2 of the same type at once. Thankfully, the larger tank size offers a few advantages over the smaller ones since the large volume of water can dilute fish waste better.

About the material, acrylic is often lighter than regular glass and is 10 times more shatter-resistant. On the contrary, it costs more and can be scratched more easily. However, both are excellent, and you may select either based on your interests.

Step 2: Install The Filter


You should choose a filtration system with a filter rated double the volume of your tank. For example, with a 10 gallons tank, a filter rated 20 gallons will work. You can keep the tank clean for longer because it effectively reduces the harmful nitrite and ammonia.

Indeed, without a filter, your goldfish and other fish in the tank might suffer from various diseases related to these substances, such as a decrease in oxygen obtained.

Step 3: Add in The Substrate

One of the other goldfish tank requirements is the substrate. This supplementary component is quite varied. It is advisable to use aquarium sand rather than aquarium gravel (which might make your goldies choke).

Here’re some ideas for goldfish substrates:

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  • Crystal river sand (natural beach sand alike)
  • Silver pearl aquarium gravel (not too granular nor too coarse like sand or gravel)
  • Black aquarium sand (be a beautiful background)


Considering these three options, you will no longer need to ponder how to begin an aquarium setup for goldfish.

Step 4: Do The Decorating And Put The Tank’s Lid On


This step should include lighting, plants, and decorations, and it’s now time to do anything you want. Everything, from vibrant plants to arid sand or rocks, can make excellent decorations.

For beginners, to prevent making your fish tanks for goldfish becomes a mess with numerous kinds of decorating things, use a few multi-purpose ornaments only.

The most recommended are marine salt, seashells, or crushed coral. They can assist you in maintaining the pH level inside your mini aquarium while still giving it a nice look.

Including living plants and minimizing plastic ornaments in your aquarium are excellent setup ideas. It’s because lush greenery help to make your fish healthy. This is also why you must have a good lighting system to assist your plant in developing appropriately.

Next, always remember the lid when setting up the goldfish tank! The lid can stop your problems (fish jumping, water evaporation, etc.) before it happens.

Step 5: Prepare Water For Your Goldfish Tank


Another thing you should be mindful of when you are a beginner is the pH level of the water. If you don’t want your beloved fish to become ugly with burnt gills or frequently have severe health issues, see the recommendations right below.

The ideal pH level for goldfish is 7.2, but you can keep it around 7 to 7.5. Due to that, to maintain this factor at a safe rate for your fish, use the pH test kit more often.

Besides, the water temperature of your tank is also crucial, and it will work best between 68 degrees F (20 degrees C) and 74 degrees F (23 degrees C).

Therefore, using a thermometer to track the water temperature is truly helpful.

Additional Tips: What should you know when feeding your goldfish?

While keeping goldfish is simple, feeding them inappropriately can harm their health. As a result, here are some things to keep in mind:

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  • Goldfish’s diet should include both plant-based and meat-based nutrition.
  • Only feed your goldfish 6 days a week and leave a spare day for them to rest.
  • Frozen foods, like daphnia and bloodworms, are highly recommended. Once feeding your fish, throw the frozen cubes into the tank. The tank-raised fish will surely love them.
  • Fresh or live foods are also good. You can consider tiny worms, insect larvae, or water-bound insects. However, they’re better for garden pond-kept
  • Don’t overfeed your pets! The unused foods can pollute the water and make the ammonia rate inside the tank too high, killing your fish.
  • Giving your fish two/three separate, smaller meals a day is better than offering them a whole big portion at once.
  • Lastly, the fish foods need to sink since the “floating meals” can cause severe swimming problems for your beloved pets later. Therefore, soak the whole portion in tank water if the food is dry before serving your pets.


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  • Notes: Remember to check your goldfish’s condition daily to ensure that your pets are eating well and have no signs of diseases.



Should you use the goldfish tank starter kit instead of buying all the equipment piece by piece?

My response is an emphatic yes. It will be far more convenient and less expensive than gathering everything separately. Although most kits include a light, filter, tank, and lid, they often come with something other than the fish food or decorations you desire.

However, there is a significant likelihood that you may select such items depending on your interests and build your unique fish tank.

How long should you wait to put goldfish in a new tank?

The answer is “it depends.” For example, if you wish to put goldfish in a completely new tank, you should wait 3 to 6 weeks for the tank to complete its first-ever nitrogen cycle.

On the contrary, if you use the nitrifying bacteria, the time for the full cycle can be shortened, and you only need to wait for a day (24 hours) or 2 days after.

What do goldfish need in their tank?

To set up a goldfish tank for healthy goldies, you should include a filter, gravel substrate, good lighting, plants, food, safe decoration, and proper water condition.

Can you put goldfish in tap water?

Yes, surprisingly. However, only some kinds of tap water work. You should only use the conditioned water with no nitrate or anything harmful included, or you will kill your beloved goldfish.


After reading my article, you might now know that setting up a goldfish tank is not that daunting, and all you need is to be aware of the small details. The preparation is also important since your fish will need them to support their lives.

From the pH level, the filtration or light system to the goldfish tank decor, each factor contributes to the success of your first-ever aquarium. Don’t hesitate and start a goldfish tank as soon as possible!