How to Set Up a Goldfish Tank

Updated April 17, 2017

Setting up a goldfish tank is not as simple as pouring water into the tank and placing your goldfish inside. To raise a tank of healthy and long-living goldfish, you will need have the knowledge of properly setting up a goldfish tank. With the correct cleaning methods, tank accessories and water temperature, you can sustain a clean and healthy tank.

Clean the inside lining of the fish tank and gravel pellets with warm water. Place the gravel in a bucket or strainer and stir the pellets vigorously while running it over warm water.

Pour the gravel pellets into the fish tank and shape the slope of the gravel to your preference. You can add any plastic plants or ornaments at this time, but be sure to secure them in the gravel so they do not reposition when you fill the tank with water.

Attach any accessories, such as a thermometer, filter and heater. The filter will help keep the water clean by removing debris, such as uneaten food or algae. The thermometer helps monitor a healthy and safe temperature for your goldfish, which should be between 15.6 to 21.1 degrees Celsius. Although a heater is not necessary, it is a good accessory to have if the temperature of the water falls below 15.6 degrees Celsius.

Fill the tank with water that has a temperature between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If you do not have a thermometer to monitor water temperature, fill the tank with cold water and allow it to sit for thirty minutes. Make sure you pour the water slowly so you do not disturb the gravel and the position of the items in the tank.

Add water treatment solution to remove any chlorine and other harmful chemicals that may be present in the tap water. The amount of solution needed depends on the size of your tank, which should be listed on the label of your solution. You can add any live plants once the tank is filled with water.


Adding salt pellets can reduce stress for displaced goldfish. Salt pellets can be purchased from your local pet store.


Avoid soap and other chemical detergents when cleaning the gravel pellets and tank, as this will contaminate your tank and potentially kill your fish.

Things You'll Need

  • Fish tank
  • Decorations
  • Gravel
  • Tank water filter
  • Water treatment solution
  • Bucket or strainer
  • Sponge
  • Thermometer (optional)
  • Heater (optional)
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About the Author

Chang Lin has been writing professionally since 2010. He has written scripts for the National Science Foundation and short films that have won awards at film festivals. Lin holds a Bachelor of Arts in scriptwriting from the University of North Texas.