There is only so much you’re allowed to do decoration-wise in an apartment. And having pets in one? Forget it. Thankfully, I’ve come up with a few rent-friendly ways to add colour and personal touches to the apartment. Today though, I’m going to show how to set up a cute fish tank arrangement that adds a little something to your home. Unless you’re real estate agent is super strict (ours said as long as it can’t jump out/make a mess it’s fine!), this is suitable arrangement for most places.
Choosing a fish
When selecting a fish, consider how much space you can afford to spare, as well as how much time you have to maintain a set up. Goldfish are a common choice, but what a lot of people don’t realise is that they need alot more space than what they’re typically given, and are known for creating a lot of waste (poop).
If you want a fish that doesn’t take up a heap of room, and is pretty to watch, go for a betta (or siamese fighting fish). You can only house one to a tank though unless you’ve got a sturdy divider, so if you want multiple fish to a tank, leave these guys out and try neon tetras (need to have at least five as they like being in groups) or fancy guppies.
It’s really important to give your fishie-friend some hiding space, as they need somewhere to just chill in case they start to feel stressed out. I recommend silk plants, as you don’t have to worry about maintaining them like you would real plants, and they’re nice and gentle on your delicate fish’s fins (plastic plants can rip fins). You can use a pair of stockings and run it over the decor, and if it snags on the fabric, changes are it will do the same to a fish.
I’ve also got some fake pebbles to place on the bottom of the tank. These are nice and smooth so they’re perfect for the tank, and are a lot easier to move out when cleaning the tank. I’ve used tiny little crystal stones, but I find it’s too hard to rinse them under the sink to get rid of waste without loosing half of them.
If you’ve got a tropical fish, you’re going to need a heater and a thermometer. Make sure you place the thermometer away from the heater, so you’ll get a true idea of the water temperature.
It’s also important to have a filter, as this helps keep the tank clean (less work for you!). If you can, try purchasing a bundle, where the tank, filter and heater are sold together, as it usually works out a lot cheaper.
Lastly, don’t forget fish food and water conditioner/s. For food, I recommend little pellets, as they’re nice and easy for my fish to gobble up. You can purchase flakes, but check what kind of food your type of fish requires. With water conditioners, it depends on the size of the tank and the fish, so check with the store to make sure you’re buying the right stuff. Again, this all came with the tank, so go for a bundle if possible.
Give your tank a good wipe down with warm water, as well as the accessories and decor. Start off arranging the tank by placing the plants around the tank. If you’ve got a bigger tank, clump a few together in groups. If you’re dividing your tank, make sure you put that in now.
Next place the ‘floor’ in the tank. These pebbles ensure the plants stay in place, and stop my divider from moving around. Put the thermometer, heater and filter in/on the tank, and then move the tank to it’s location. It’s really difficult to move a tank full of water, so always empty it before moving it!
Fill up your tank with regular tap water, and to this gently, so the water doesn’t move around your beautiful little design set-up. Stop when the water is about an inch or so from the top of the tank.
Add the correct amount of water conditioner and give it a stir around. If you’ve got a divided tank, make sure you put the conditioner in both sides (even if there’s holes in the divider, you want to make sure each fish is swimming in the right dose.
Turn on the heater and the filter, remembering to follow instructions of how to get them running (filters usually need to have water run through them first to kick off the process). I keep my filter on the lowest flow setting, as bettas don’t like a heavy current, and I set my heater to about 24 degrees Celsius.
Adding the fish
Let your tank run for a while before adding the fish – you want it to be at the right temperature, otherwise your fish might go into shock. When the water is at the right temperature, place you fish into a bag with some of the water they are currently in, and place the bag into the tank. This will allow them to adjust to any temperature change. Once you’ve given them about 10-20 minutes to adjust, scoop them out of the bag with a fish net and add them to the tank.
Your tank set-up is now complete. Make sure you keep an eye on the fish to ensure they’re adjusting to their environment. Other than this, you’ll just need to get into a feeding and cleaning routine. And they’re job? Swim around and look pretty as a beautiful (rent-friendly) addition to your home.