10 Step Guide to Small Budget Aquariums

People love to keep pet fish but fish keeping is super expensive hobby. I’ve been in the industry for decades and know the tricks to setup a small tank at low cost. It’s actually really easy to setup a tank for cheap. I’ve split up the tricks into 10 segments.


1. Buy a used fish tank


Most aquarium equipment is generally not that expensive. The price on a used aquarium is around 30% of the original cost. OR AT LEAST that’s what I shoot for on a good price. Around 80% of people quit this hobby within the same year of purchasing their aquarium. Crazy right?! Not really.. (Read #2 to find out why most fail).




Used tanks are such a BETTER DEAL. What usually happens is the tank and equipment might be a little dirty or have dried water stains but that stuff cleans up with a little elbow grease. There are tricks to cleaning it (using white vinegar, etc). Craigslist is a good place to search and facebook groups where they sell items for sale are good too.


2. Beneficial Bacteria


The number one fail that beginners make is setting up a brand new tank and tossing some fish in there. Even a small tank needs this. This is hands down the most important factor to a successful aquarium.


If your setting up a brand new tank, then you NEED TO obtain some filter paper from a different “established” aquarium. What you do is take a chunk of their filter paper and put it in your brand new filter. This jump starts what is known as the “cycle” of establishing a fish tank.


You need to be constantly running that filter with that used filter paper in it. Your tank will start to grow its own bacteria and you will then have an established setup. It is crucial to always have this beneficial bacteria because it makes the water safer for your fish.


3. Bigger is Better


I know most beginners want a small tank but guess what… larger tanks are ten times easier to care for. A 55 gallon tank is perfect because they make so many on them and they are super popular. I know some of you are only wanting a small tank for decoration in your living room or office but.. remember that you will be limited to fish selection.


I’m going to keep blabbing about buying a bigger tank because they are so so so much easier to care for than smaller sized tanks. Think of it this way, a fish is going to dilute the water with its waste load far less with more water. And once you let a larger body of water establish itself with bacteria… it really just takes care of itself.


4. Goldfish NEED Big Tanks


They hand out goldfish at the fair and people love the idea of keeping them as a pet. Just go buy a $2 goldfish bowl and your good to go right? WRONG. These fish are super messy and need 30 gallons of water per fish. The reason why is because the common goldfish grows to around 12 inches long! Crazy right?!


5. Water Changes


The water you put in your fish tank has oxygen in it. The fish use that oxygen to live. Because the fish also poops in the water.. that raises ammonia levels which also kills oxygen. So the water runs out of oxygen and your fish suffers without new oxygen. This is where adding new water comes in.


This is one of the most FAILS that beginners do. They remove all the water and just add all new water. The problem with that is that your fish was used to that old water and adding all new water puts extreme stress on their organs (Move to #6 for more Info).


6. Removing Water


With small tank I always see people changing the water wrong. With smaller Betta fish tanks and goldfish bowls what people usually do is just carry the bowl over to the sink and tip it in its side and pour out the water. BAD BAD BAD.


When you pour the entire tank on its side, the debris in the gravel gets everywhere and it stirs up everything in the water. This is not ideal and it puts tons of stress on the fish. It’s the equivalent of a human being in an earthquake or something  similar.. maybe like a car accident or something.


You need to use a small hose to siphon the water out. Learn to utilize gravity because it makes water changes so much easier. And only remove 60% of the water at a time. This is because the fish is use to that old water and mixing new water with it is a lot easier on their organs than completely new water would be. Hopefully I explained that properly.


7. Gravel Helps


When deciding if your smaller tank should have gravel or not… I would urge you to use it. It really helps make your water easier to care for. The reason being, gravel grows a good bacteria known as “beneficial bacteria” that also grows in filters too and the bacteria helps keep your water clean.


Without getting too scientific, your fish tank needs this beneficial bacteria to do well and gravel is a breeding ground for it. This bacteria will also grow on plants and decorations but gravel will host it easier.


*Side Note: With having gravel you will also need a gravel vacuum to clean it. Don’t fear it because they are super easy to use and very efficient for aquariums.


8. Surface Movement


This is one of those things that no one tells you but makes a world of difference. By the way, surface movement most commonly is created by an air stone (aka bubbler) or a filter. Most think it just “adds oxygen” to the tank but there are lots of great things that come from surface movement.


9. Overfeeding Fish


Giving our fish some food is really the only interaction we have with our fish so it’s easy to want to do it a lot. Most of us don’t understand how much food to give to our fish. When you over feed your fish it’s TERRIBLE on your water because the food just sits on the bottom and has to break down. It raises ammonia levels very fast which in turn steals oxygen from the water.


Not to mention it’s bad for your fish. I know some species like the Betta that have issues with bloating and for all the time from over feeding. A general rule of thumb is to look at the fish’s eyeball and think of it in comparison to the size of their stomach. How much food would fill that stomach?


10. Procrastination


Having a pet fish is super cool for like 3 months and then the excitement starts to fade. That’s when you start putting off things like cleaning the tank and doing water changes. Even though your setup isn’t new and shiny… that fish is still relying on you to make it’s living parameters suitable.



How to breed Guppies in a 10 gallon fish tank

Guppies are an immensely popular fish and breeding guppies is a hobby more and more people are enjoying each year. Even if you eventually want to breed other types of fish, breeding guppies is one of the best ways to start out. On the other hand, some people are just plain guppy lovers and they are very into breeding guppies and showing them. Yes, you heard right, showing guppies!




If you are going to start breeding guppies, you need to begin with some quality guppies. In most cases, that is going to mean going beyond the local pet store to find guppies to breed. While store guppies make wonderful pets, breeding guppies is best done by starting out with a pair of high quality guppies. You can purchase these from local fish breeders or from companies who sell guppies online. Get a young male and female.


Develop a plan for breeding your guppies before you start the actual breeding. Some people breed for size and others for color. If your goal is to grow the biggest guppies in the world, you won’t start out well if you begin with guppies which are too small. Make sure too that you set up separate aquariums for breeding, and that your aquariums are large enough.


If you have a 10 gallon fish tank, it is only meant to keep eight to twelve fish. And you need to take proper care of the aquarium. You don’t want the water quality or temperature to ever change too much. When you change water, do it a little every week rather than waiting longer and making a big change at once.




Keep your guppies healthy. They normally need a temperature of around 65 degrees, but when breeding, guppies need to be ten degrees warmer. Maintain a steady temperature of 73-78 degrees in your aquarium.


When it comes to breeding, don’t let your guppies choose their own mate. You want to continue to mate the female guppy who breeds the best male guppy. The best way to go about the task is to breed different females to the same male. Raise the guppies and see which offspring develop into the best males. There is no need to take more than two pair out to keep from any generation of guppies.


Guppies are livebearers and prolific breeders. Every thirty days (that’s once a month!) a female guppy will drop a new litter. They are completely formed when they are born. If you don’t separate your guppies into a separate breeding tank, larger fish will have some good meals out of your baby guppies.




Once you have put together the right couple, the female will literally always be pregnant. Guppies multiply like crazy. Every time the female is pregnant, she will likely have between twenty and fifty more babies. Sexual maturity is reached in just a couple of months.


Start out small and gradually obtain several ten gallon aquariums. These need to be set up with proper heat, lighting, and filtering. Your guppies need to be fed high quality food if you want them to breed. This means feeding live or frozen worms, mosquito larvae, and brine shrimp. Additionally, they should be given dry food every day. Baby guppies are known as fry, and you can get special fry food at pet stores and online shops.


Breeding guppies shouldn’t be done simply because it’s fun. You need to have enough financial resources to set up several different aquariums. You also need to have people to whom you can give or sell guppies. Remember that each guppy is a life--a living, breathing being which deserves the best care possible.


Best aquarium air pump for your fish tank and choosing guide

Using an aquarium air pump in your aquarium will increase your water circulation and the surface area for proper gas exchange. Aquarium air pumps are used to power other aquarium filter, such as undergravel filters, corner (box) filters, sponge filters and protein skimmers to name a few. They will also create a dynamic look when used with such items as a bubbling air stone or an action ornaments. Always choose a fish tank air pump that's a bit more powerful than you think you need as in future you can add additional tank accessories later.

Choosing the Right Air Pump

There is no fixed rules to selecting an aquarium air pump. Some air pumps are rated for different sizes of tanks, but these ratings are quite irrelevant for choosing the correct air pump for your fish tank.

If you are using the air pump only to operate an under gravel filter, and your tank is a standard size, then the tank size ratings on an air pump are probably relevant. However, if you are doing anything else with the air pump the rating is irrelevant.

Here are a few guidelines for choosing an air pump for your aquarium:

  1. Choosing one rated for your aquarium size.
  2. The more things you are running from your air pump, the larger air pump.
  3. If you tank is more than 18-20" (46-51cm) tall, you should look for a special deep water air pump designed to push air that far below the water surface.
  4. The more resistance the things you are pushing air through the larger an air pump you will need

Best aquarium air pump for your fish tank


Tetra Whisper air pumps: there are various sizes for different aquarium sizes up to 100 gallons. These air pump the best and cheapest one on the market today.


If you have many filter to run with an air pump, you may need one with many outlet like the previous.


If you have a large fish tank, the Fluval air pumps may be the best ones for your choice. They are designed to perform best on large aquariums.


Fluval 06 series - the best canister filters for your fish

Fluval 06 series filters are the best canister filters on the market today. While Eheim filters operate very quiet, the Fluval 06 series canister filters own a high flow rate and smart design to keep your aquarium clean for a long time.

Fluval 06 series canister filter features

The Fluval 06 Series filters offer several state-of-the-art features to ensure reliable operation and trouble-free maintenance for you aquarium. The Fluval canister filters provides 35-55% more volume than would be possible with round canisters of the same outer dimensions by the increased volume resulting in a greater mass of filter material and a larger filtration area.


The Fluval motor is hermetically sealed to ensure reliable operation and it does not require coolant. Besides the impeller, there are no moving parts.

  • Advanced filtration system providing maximum versatility and premium performance for aquariums up to 100 gallons
  • Instant priming for convenient, simple and quick filter start up; No manual siphoning
  • High output motor is sealed in epoxy to resist high temperatures for performance and safety
  • AquaStop Valve offers an air- and water-tight seal permitting hosing to be disconnected without breaking the vacuum
  • High pump output
  • 3-year warranty

There are four models for aquariums from medium to large, up to 100 gallons.


Fluval 06 series setup and maintenance

Pre-assembled components and pre-packed media for easy set up. Twin foam prefilters efficiently trap waste and debris. Increase flow and reduce maintenance. The chemical and biological media are housed in different modules, allowing maximum versatility. Use different filter media and media configurations. Change just what you want when you want to change it.


Quick and trouble-free maintenance. Fulval's Aqua-Stop feature stops the water flow without the need to disconnect the hoses, which means no mess. The ribbed, opaque hosing bends and turns easily without kinking and makes installation and removal easier while supporting better water flow. New hose rim connector and clog-free intake strainers. Lift-lock clamps securely lock the cover in place and are easy-one-motion connections.

All you need for setup and maintenance are included, easy-to-follow DVD instructions also come with the product ensuring even a beginner can install their filter easily.

Whether you have a 20 gallon aquarium (Fluval 106) or up to a 100 gallon one (Fluval 406), these filters are going to really satisfy your needs with the easy to clean filters and quiet operation. They are easy to assemble and install as well as allow for easy cleaning.

Read more about these powerful filters: https://lovefishtank.com/fluval-106-206-306-406-canister-filter/


Caring baby Guppies and best fish tank, filter, foods for them

Baby guppies are a great project for anyone that loves keeping fish especially if your new to it. Keeping and caring for baby is pretty simple but you have to keep a few things in mind; like where are you going to keep them when their born, will they stay in the main community fish tank or will you put them into a separate tank?




If your going to keep them in that main fish tank there are a few things that you need to do to help your new baby guppies survive, you need to make sure there are plenty of places for the babies to hide in, things like rocks, caves and plenty of aquarium plants like java moss. Another thing that you can do to help is if you notice the expecting female hiding and acting strange, this could mean she is ready to give birth to her babies and you should put some food in the tank to keep the other fish occupied and turn off the lights to keep her stress levels down and protect the babies a little more.




If you are going the other route with your baby guppies and going to keep them in a separate fish tank then the main problem with this is getting the female before she gives birth otherwise you will have to try and catch the babies with a net once they are born, sure this is can be a pain but over all the survival rate tends to be higher than just in the main tank.


Both way have pros and cons and there isn’t a perfect way, it all depends on your own needs and space. Keeping more than one fish tank is a lot more work which some people are happy to do (like me!). You may need an a good aquarium filter for less maintenance.




Feeding is the other big thing that needs to be kept in mind when it comes to raising healthy baby guppies, things such as what you feed them and how often can really affect how quick or slow they grow. Live micro freshwater aquarium fish foods are the best for all baby fish especially baby guppies, foods such as infusoria, microworms, baby brine shrimp and daphnia. There are also some very good, highly nutritional powdered foods that guppies love. The main think that should be remembered when it comes to feeding your baby guppies is little and often and make sure you remove all uneaten food before it starts to rot and pollute the water.