What Is The Cost Of Starting A Freshwater Tank ? Things Needed Explained

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Having a fish tank inside your home is a wonderful hobby which will provide you entertainment. It’s also a good way to teach children about ecosystems, and allows you to have an outlet to relieve stress.

The cost of owning a freshwater tank depends on how big you want your tank is. For beginners, we suggest that you start with an average-size fish tank. Learn more about the real cost of starting a freshwater tank here.

Why You Should Start With A Small One?

It is better that you start with small one rather than the big one and regret the cost later. So, while you are still learning the ropes of the “trade”, better to begin with a reasonable amount. Click here to read our best nano aquariums reviews.

What Size Of A Fish Tank Is Ideal For Beginners?

To have a higher rate of success while you are still learning the basics of fish-caring, we propose you start with a 20-gallon capacity tank. This is the common practice for beginners. As you become seasoned, you may increase the size of your fish tank and add more fish later under your care.

Carefully planning is needed before you start this superb hobby. In this article, we will be able to teach you the basics on what is the cost of starting a fresh water tank.

Choose The Kind Of Fish

For starters, choosing the first fish might be a big question mark. Some novice aquarists usually start with a goldfish. This fish is easy to take care of and not really expensive. Goldfish are also not choosy about food, nor are they territorial.

Two goldfish is a good starting point. Goldfish are sociable creatures, they are mostly seen interacting with other fish, your kids will also love these pets. A pair is advisable to provide companionship and enhance activity.

Things You Will Need And Their Price Range

Tank: From $250 To $340

Since bigger is better, an ideal start up for a goldfish tank would be a 20-gallon tank, as we have said earlier. A single goldfish needs about 10 gallons of water. So you need about this tank size for 2 goldfish.

Stand: $80- $90

You can purchase a stand or make your own. The stand should be strong enough to hold the total weight of the tank when fully loaded. Find also a suitable place in your home where space is not limited to this size of a tank.

An ideal stand dimension would have the same length as your prepared fish tank. The height should be suitable so that you can touch the bottom of the tank when cleaning.

Goldfish (2): $35-$40 Each (4”-5” Long)

Goldfish is one of the most affordable aquarium fish. Purchasing 2 at the same time may not hurt your budget. They are also one of the longest life span fish, you can learn alot from taking care of them.

Hood/ Lighting: $35-$40

Night and day lighting is essential for the fish to thrive. Led (our review about best led lights for aquarium here) or fluorescent lighting is recommended. The hood or the cover of the fish tank provides ample protection to avoid the fish from jumping out as they grow.

The cover is also the perfect place to install the light. A good lighting is 1.5 watts of bulb power for every gallon of water in the tank.

Decorations/ Live Plants: $45- $55

The plants provide a hiding place for the fish. They also improve water quality, control algae growth, and supply oxygen to the fish. The plants also decorate the tank to look more attractive and beautiful.

You can also add rocks, bubble wands, airstone, driftwood, and other decorations, which also provide oxygen and add more beauty to the tank.

Air Filtration System: $35-$40

Air filtration system includes activated carbon to filter smell. A good filter also performs biological and mechanical filtration. The best example of this type of filter is the AquaClear Power Filter (by AquaClear) from Amazon.com.

Substrate (Gravel): $10-$15

Choose pea-size gravel as substrate. The fish will not able to swallow this size. Fish are safe with this type of substrate which also provides good filtration compared to smaller size substrates.

Water Conditioner: $8-$9

The water conditioner is used to dechlorinate tap water. You must have a ready dose of this chemical every time you change water from the tank. It is biodegradable and fish-friendly.

Food And Supplements: $10

Goldfish eat earthworms, brine shrimp, pellets, flake foods, freeze-dried foods, and other seafood. You can ask your pet store for other food conducive for this fish.

The Laguna Goldfish and Koi Food Small from Amazon is a brilliant example of fish feeds that can be ordered online. It contains multi-vitamins and minerals the fish need to be healthy.

Thermometer/ Heater: $3-$15

The thermometer is used to monitor the temperature of the water in the fish tank. Fish need the right temperature to thrive. Goldfish prefer water temperature ranging from 68 to 72F.

The heater is utilized when the water temperature goes down. A heater is advisable to be used in cold countries where ambient temperature largely affects the temperature of the water inside the tank.

PH Meter/Test Kit: $7- $9

A pH meter is used to measure the pH level of the water. The Test Kit is primarily used to measure ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.

Medication: $15

Nobody knows when your fish will be sick. You can ask your pet store’s vet for the right medication once you notice something odd about your fish.

Some Unsolicited Advice

  • If you want a complete starter kit, the Coralife Fish Tank LED BioCube Aquarium Starter Kit is a good choice from Amazon. This starter kit includes a hood with LED lighting, built-in filtration system, and other accessories. This product can be easily assembled, even by a beginner.
  • The best bet for a stand is the Aqua Culture De Luxe Aquarium 20/29 from Amazon.


Although prices may slightly vary from our above quotations, the message is very clear. You may need at least $558-$718 to start an aquarium hobby. This amount may be too much for some, but the happiness and the wonderful feeling it would entail is priceless. Also, this is only an initial investment, as we pointed out earlier. Subsequent expenses are surely much lower. You now have an idea on what is the cost of maintaining a freshwater tank. Please write us your comment if you have any question regarding this article.

2 thoughts on “What Is The Cost Of Starting A Freshwater Tank ? Things Needed Explained

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