Tag Archives: beginners aquarium

The perfect beginner’s aquarium

30 Apr

Here is a recipe for the perfect beginner’s aquarium:

Get the basics. The tank, a light, a small heater, a filter. Decorate it how you want.


Get some Platies. Just a couple to begin. Do not get tetras, angelfish, catfish, bettas or anything else. This tank is to guarantee success. If you are setting up a tank for your kids, buy goldfish and watch them pollute the tank and die. Buy tetras and watch them die from poor water quality. But if you want your kids to enjoy their first tank BUY PLATIES.


Yes I know, that’s a Red Swordtail with the Platies!

Now here is the secret. Add a small amount of salt to the water. I would use salt that is made for a marine aquarium but you can use any non-iodized salt. For a ten-gallon aquarium use a couple of teaspoons for the entire tank. It’s not much salt. The reason for the salt is to suppress diseases like Ich and Fungus, etc.

After a few months and the tank is stable, add more Platies. Or maybe you won’t have to, your Platies might be making babies by then.


Do regular water changes. Change 25% of the water at least once a month. Once you are done adding new Platies discontinue the salt addition. If your tank is disease free you don’t need it. As you do regular water changes you’ll eventually have salt-free water.

You will be tempted to add Neon Tetras and Tiger Barbs and all that. DON’T DO IT! Look at all the color variation in Platies. Yellow, orange, red, black, blue, hi-fin, spotted, speckled.


A few months ago I put about 8 platies in a 10-gallon tank. In the morning when I turn on the lights I see babies. I scoop them out and now I have about 70 of all types and colors. Soon I’ll put them outside in a little pond. Once they are an inch long I’ll probably take them to the fish club meeting and give them away.


If you got Platies from me you wouldn’t need the salt at all! The whole idea is to avoid the diseases that come from store-bought fish which leads to all those aquariums being sold on Craigslist.


A 2 inch fish swimming along with 4 inches of poop makes for educational conversation with the kids.

Final note: This same idea will work with Mollies and Guppies.