How to set up a Home Aquarium? - - Singapore Lifestyle Portal

How to set up a Home Aquarium?


With Covid19, hobbies have taken a different twist.

With more time at home, people are looking at other kinds of interest. Some would have considered getting a dog, others have set up a home aquarium in Singapore.

Goldfish and Koi are common types of aquarium fishes one would consider. The former is a hardy fish to the rear while the latter is more interesting due to the intriguing pattern on the body. Before you decide that maybe an aquarium is a good idea to entertain the kids, do note that there are factors to consider before taking the plunge. Here are the basics for setting up a home aquarium

Size matters

There is a stark difference between getting a tank for goldfish and a tank for koi. Koi tends to grow much faster and bigger than goldfish. They may look similar size when they are young, but can easily grow up to 30 cm or more within a year. The 60 cm tank you are getting as a starter tank would not fit a koi. 

On the other hand, a 60 cm could accommodate some small size goldfishes for quite a while. As a gauge, choose a 90cm (3ft) tank for Goldfish and at least a 150cm (5ft) tank for Koi. For the latter, it would be better to choose a fibreglass tank than a glass tank as it can get quite large in a short time.

Filter Filter Filter

Many beginners would think it is easy to set up a tank. To many, buying an air pump with occasional water change would be sufficient. However, the filter is the most important aspect of the tank. With proper filtration, the fish would have a good environment to stay in.  For goldfish, either can a hanging filter with decent water flow rate ( we recommend Seachem Tidal) or a canister.

For Koi, as they produce a bigger waste load, it would mean you would need bigger filters. For home aquariums, most would use an overhead filter that would be filled with Bio-media. Bio Media are necessary to house good bacteria so that it would break down the ammonia and nitrites generated by the koi to harmless nitrates.  If the water quality is bad, chances are the koi would not survive very long.

Best Bio Filter for Aquarium

BioHome - Get it here

SeaChem Martix - Get it here

Heart of the Tank

They say the heart of the tank is the pump. If you are using an Overhead Filter housing, you would need a pump rated to turnover your tank. Each pump comes rated for xxx litres per hour. That means that it will cycle the tank by how many litres per hour. Get a pump that can cycle at least twice an hour.

Breath Easy

Fishes need to breathe. Have a water feature such as a waterfall to create bubbles for them to breath. Additionally, add in an air pump or aerator. This is specifically used for creating bubbles in the tank for the fish.

Clean Clean Clean

Having all the equipment is not enough. You would need to change the water regularly. Think of the tank as a toilet. Fishes poo in them every day. You would need to change water to replenish the minerals and make it clean. After all, you do flush your toilet every day!


After reading this and you intend to set up your own aquarium, do take note of the following

Don't Overstock

It is always tempting to get more fish after you get your first one. Get the number of fish that is suitable for your tank size and filtration. Do not overstock. By overstocking, the water will get dirty easily due to the fish waste (bioload). Moreover, it will mean less space for the fishes to swim freely.

Feed Quality Food

Quality Food will bring out the colour and protect the fishes intestines and liver. Feed quality food if you intend to keep the fish in tip-top condition.


Interact with your fish. Goldfish and Koi can be trained to be hand-fed.  Fishes are pets too and should be treated like one instead of just another ornament in the house. Interacting with them will create a bond.

It's a long term commitment.

Similar to keeping a dog in the house, keeping fishes are long term commitments. Goldfish and Koi live up to 15-20 years. Do not get one just because the child ask for one as chances are you would probably be the one taking care of it. The last thing we want is to abandon our pets illegally.


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