How to Add Fish to a New Freshwater Aquarium! – Big Al’s (Video)

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Thomas shows us how to safely introduce fish into a new freshwater aquarium! If you need to know how to set up a freshwater aquarium, check out the video here:


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Have you always wanted to set up a basic freshwater aquarium, but you just aren’t sure how? Your days of uncertainty are over– our resident Fish Geek, Thomas, guides you through the fun process!

If you have any questions, ask us in the comments below!

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How to Add Fish to a New Freshwater Aquarium! – Big Al’s (Video)

  1. Jack Auston

    Hi I had a 29 gallon tank and a tank with my betta in it. My 29 gallon tank recently started leaking so I quickly moved my 17 fish to my betta tank and my betta to a bowl. I then went out and bough a 36 gallon tank. I want to put the fish in ASAP because the betta is on a bowl and the tank they are in is pretty small for them. How should I add them into my new tank the fastest? Thanks and great vids

    1. Dire Crusader

      +blahblahblah hahaha Or 1 or 2 gouramis. The smallest species only grow 3-4 inches and are pretty sociable in my experience.

    2. wxt64

      +The Legendary Koroha no it's true!!! But when your fish grows you should put him in a bigger tank!!! So calm the fuck down

  2. Roberto J Ramirez

    Question : I noticed you took water from the tank to acclimate the fish. my question is…how do you replenish the small amount of water you took out of the tank? would you just add water with ratio of conditioner back in or just wait a few days before adding more water back in?

    1. Thomas B

      You can top up with conditioned tap water, the same way you would from evaporation. The water you remove is quite minimal.

    1. Thomas B

      There isn't much point in quarantining the first fish to a newly set up aquarium; although we do advocate quarantine (see our quarantine episode).

    1. Rainbow Mustachio

      Brookey Saugat I Recommend Mollies, Platys, Swordtails, Guppies, Tetras (Any Kind). You Can Keep Goldfish But They'e Really Messy.

    2. kanga

      How big is your tank?

      How much time and effort are you willing to put into these fish?

      What do you find attractive in a fish?

      Then we can help you, otherwise people will just suggest what they like…

    1. Waffle Man Cordova

      +JJ Aquariums yeah your probably right it's to small for a fish I should get like a 5 or 10 gallon

  3. Joseph Jones

    I have 2 Electric Blue Cichlids. I was wondering how to tell the difference between the male and female?

    1. JJ Aquariums

      most of the time cichlids will have two holes under them and the female will have one hole bigger than the other and both of the males holes will be the same size

    2. Joseph Jones

      +JJ Aquariums how would I check? Do I just get them in the net and look from the bottom? I'm new to this hobby.

    3. JJ Aquariums

      +Joseph Jones yes but just don't have them out of the tank to long or sometime when they swim you can under them but when you bought them you could've ask that's just a tip for next time you get a fish

    1. Potato :D

      You should not put any other fish in a 2 gallon tank. It's completely overstocked with your betta. You need a 10 gallon tank of you want to add guppies.

  4. Rick Barg

    Some fish store aquarium water is not the best, so is it not a good idea to add that water to your tank .

    1. Big Al's

      Biological media is the backbone of your filtration system; it is responsible for the breakdown of harmful ammonia into less harmful nitrates. If you don't currently have biological filtration, you should get it asap!

    2. Brandon Pan

      J's CLIPS Yup. Lava rock works very well also. Almost all porous rocks. But make sure they are inert so they don't affect the water chemistry.

  5. I'm WWinning

    Hi there, great video! My question is: I am cycling a 10 gallon tank for one male Betta fish; at what point do I add the beneficial bacterial supplement ? For example, do I wait until an ammonia spike, so that it feeds the beneficial bacterial supplement? Also, can I effectively use Betta fish pellets and/or frozen blood worms to start up the ammonia spike, through food decomposition? Thank you 🙂

    1. Thomas B

      You can add the beneficial bacteria supplement at any time during startup. We usually recommend at least an hour after the water conditioner, or the next day.

    1. Slimy Stuff

      slickpaw07 Aj It's not illegal in either of those countries

      Btw, most of the advice you have given in the comments is pretty bad

  6. Gaming Outdoorsman

    i have a native fish tank to north caroilna,but i have an african chiclid with a small bass do u know any other options

  7. Frosty Television

    I want to keep 1 or 2 platies and swordtails and a betta in my 10 gallon tank. Is that too much for the size tank I have?

  8. Kjetil Jakobsen

    I think this method is wrong. It takes weeks to get used to new ph etc, so it's no point adding and mixing in water. But is right to float the bag in the aquarium to adjust temperature. After you open it you should get the fish out of it within a minute. Thats because when fresh air comes in contact with the water, you will have a high ammonia peak. And as you said you should not use the water the fish comes in.

    1. Thomas B

      Hey, Kjetil. The method certainly isn't wrong; but you do have a valid concern. The slow acclimation method I prefer to use is for locally purchased fish, rather than fish that have had to travel for days in a bag. The ammonia spike you refer to is most certainly a concern for any fish that have been in a bag for a long period of time; you don't have the same sort of ammonia buildup when the fish has been in the bag for an hour or less, and most folks won't have to travel that far with their fish from the store to their home aquarium.

      The practice for acclimating fish after a long transport is much more rapid, but given those circumstances, it is the safest.
      Keep in mind that the information provided in this video is for the new aquarium owner, rather than someone who is importing or having fish shipped to them.

      Thanks for the feedback!

  9. galaxy star

    How much time to cycle for a 10 gallon adding a mystery snail, 4 guppys, Marimo Moss Ball, java fern and Anubias Nana?
    Also do they all fit?

    1. galaxy star

      I have a mystery snail, 3 guppies and moss ball and I suddenly had a ammonia spike and idk how to get it down!

  10. Ivan Villanueva

    Tiger barbs aren't even aggressive only when you have as much tigers suited for them to be happy I have tigers with guppies for 1 and a half years you think that's aggresive?

  11. Local Frother

    Let's say I just added three swordfin fish in to my freshwater tank, and i want to add a couple of mollies to my tank also. How long should i wait to put more fish into my tank? Thanks!

    1. Charlotte Burley

      Only put in up to 2 a week because then your biological filter can adjust to the new fish, and I would quarantine new fish before putting them in with healthy fish.

    1. whale lover

      omfg a nooooooooooooo. no salt either if your tank is not properly cycled theyd die also mabye high ammonia

  12. Sean Ford

    I had a high fin neon swordtail but it died because my new aquarium has high amounts of ammonia and nitrate.

  13. whale lover

    that doesnt work with long distance as if you open the bag all that waste will react with the atmosphere and it'll make an ammonia spike but a 5 minute trip its fine

  14. sumit Biswas

    Brother which is the best filter for fresh water aquarium hang on filter or power head filter ???

    1. Big Al's

      We'd love to, but the tank was temporary– for the video only. The fish were re-homed to new aquariums, and the tank has been used on a bunch of other videos since.

  15. 23roymnist

    Don't swordtails get big (4-5 inches) and aren't they kinda aggressive? Mine are territorial, and the males fight every now and then. Also, they are like 4 inches long

    1. wolfblitz 4

      23roymnist They aren’t usually known to be aggressive. Sometimes to each other, but usually not to other fish.

  16. Avery Turow

    hi! my name is avery and i have a freshwater 30 gallon tank. i know its a late comment and i don't know if you guys will respond or not but i need some help! can you give me some suggestions on non – aggressive fish for my freshwater tank? thanks. (also keep is small!) -avery 🙂

    1. wolfblitz 4

      Avery Turow I know I’m not them, but a good bottom feeders would be Bristlenose Plecos. Also Kribensis cichlids, zebra danios and Neon Tetras. I’m not sure about all of them combined, but if you do some more research I’m sure you’ll find one of them interesting. My personal favourites are the bristlenose and kribensis cichlids, and neon tetras. They have good compatibility. Mostly because the Tetras stay at the top Cichlids in the middle and Bristlenose at the bottom. It makes it look really nice. They also don’t fight each other.

  17. Makeup Mobster

    All joking aside, this is a great video! Very detailed and I like the part about acclimating the fish at the beginning.

  18. mike mcguinness

    What is the max amount of fish that can be added at once to brand new tank? 36 gall bow front / freshwater


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