How to Set Up a 29 Gallon Aquarium


A finished aquarium is a complete ecosystem. Healthy water is the focus of proper setup. Fish waste and unfiltered particles in the water create a substance called ammonia, which is toxic to fish. A good filter and use of aquatic plants will reduce ammonia levels. Water balance is ultimately kept in check by the presence of healthy bacteria which eat ammonia. Radical changes, such as adding too many fish at one time, can kill these bacteria. In general, larger tanks are more stable. A 29-gallon tank is a good average-sized tank to start with.

Things You'll Need

  • 29 Gallon Fish Tank
  • Aquarium Light
  • 40 lbs Aquarium Gravel
  • Decorations
  • Filter
  • Heater
  • Thermometer
  • Air Pump
  • Air Stone
  • Aquarium Water Conditioner
  • Fish Net
  • Fish Food
  • Fish
  • Rinse the tank and supplies with water. Thoroughly rinse your gravel to remove any dust and dirt, and then add it to the tank.

  • Affix your filter, heater, thermometer, air pump, air stone and tank light to the tank following the manufacturer's instructions. Place your aquarium decorations in the tank.

  • Fill the tank with ordinary tap water. Use your water conditioner following the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Turn on your aquarium appliances. Set your heater to between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Buy your fish. It is best to start your aquarium with less fish than the recommended amount. This allows your ecosystem time to gradually stabilize. Wait three to four weeks after setting up your aquarium before buying your fish. This allows the aquarium time to grow helpful bacteria.

  • Introduce your fish into the tank gradually. Float the fish bag in the tank to acclimatize the fish to the new temperature. Do not allow the water from the bag to enter your aquarium. Use a clean cup to carefully scoop small amounts of water from your aquarium into the bag over the course of an hour.

  • Transfer your fish into the aquarium using a fish net.

Tips & Warnings

  • To calculate how much gravel you need, multiply the tank length by the width, then divide by 10. This gives you a depth of 2 inches of gravel. For a 29-gallon tank, you need 40 pounds of gravel to give you 2 inches in the tank.
  • Fully submerge your heater, filter, and air pump before turning them on, to prevent damage to your equipment.
  • Keep your hands and arms rinsed and free of soaps, lotions and oils any time they come in contact with the water.
  • Always make a "drip loop" with all electric cords. To make a drip loop, ensure the cord hangs below the electrical outlet before going back up to plug into the electrical source.

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  • Photo Credit Dwarf Gourami & Neon Tetras image by Ronnie from gravier image by philippev from water image by Zbigniew Nowak from feuer im wasser image by victoria p. from poisson rouge image by Pascal Péchard from
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