You are currently viewing 45 gallon tank setup | Beginner’s Guide

45 gallon tank setup | Beginner’s Guide

Having a 45-gallon tank is an excellent choice for a beginner or an experienced aquarium keeper or hobbyist.

This tank size is ideal because, with this size, you can harbor as many species of fish, decorations, or plants that you wish; it is durable and stands out as great value.

You might be wondering if this size of the tank is easy to maintain, especially if you are an aquarium newbie beginner and just starting your first set-up. This tank is easy to maintain if you purchase a high-quality, durable tank intending to serve you efficiently.

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With a 45-gallon tank, you can choose any time of great set-up to make the most out of your fish keeping.

Are you looking forward to starting up an aquarium with a 45-gallon tank and seeking information before venturing into? Then, keep reading, we will discuss all you need to know about owning and maintaining a 45-gallon tank.

45 Gallon Tank

SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium

A 45-gallon tank is simply a house set up for fish keeping. This tank size accommodates a large number of fish of several species and sizes; also, they are used for commercial purposes or large scale fishing.

You can see a 45-gallon tank in different unusual forms such as a rectangular or panoramic hexagon, so you can choose which shape you feel most appropriate.

However, whatever shape you decide to go for is all beautiful, high quality your fish will have access to all angles of the tank and swim without hindrances. The only difference between them is that some of the tank shapes are easier to maintain than others.

An example of a high-quality 45-gallon tank to keep is the rectangular-shaped tank; it is easier to maintain and most used by aquarists. Meanwhile, angle shaped tanks are best suited in the corners of a room.

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They are designed to fit into any corner; it comes with limitations and saves you a lot of space.

Not just about shapes, the 45-gallon tank is also specialized if you wish to keep your fish at home; this type is usually taller than the one used for commercial purposes to permit sufficient breeding.

With a 45-gallon tank, you can welcome medium and large-sized fish of both the saltwater and freshwater set-ups. It depends on what you want your aquarium to get stocked with.

Equipment for 45 Gallon Fish Tank

The aquarium environment is beautiful, yet a sensitive and tender one. If there is a little change in pH, chemical composition, or flow intensity, it will inevitably cause an immediate effect.

To ensure a safe and healthy aquarium environment, you have to provide the right equipment. Let us check out all the equipment you will need to set up a 45-gallon tank.

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Multi-stage Aquarium Fish Tank Filter

A filter is essential, and therefore it should be one of the first pieces of equipment you should think of having. It is necessary because it helps to keep the tank water aired and enhances water flow, aquatic plants and animals require this during their lifecycle.

If you choose the right filter for your tank set-up, you have set the right path to creating a healthy natural environment for your aquarium world. These are some essential things to consider ensuring your filter will work correctly for your tank.

These points are:

  • The size of your tank – You have to make sure that the filter can filter all the water contained in your tank at least 4-5 times per hour.
  • It also depends on the other type of inhabitants you want to include in the ecosystem. If you have all these in mind, you can now select which filter to meet your needs.


Aquarium Heater

You will need a heater to set up a successful aquarium because your tank’s temperature is a condition if it is suitable. All habitats can survive.

Therefore, it is essential as long as an aquarium habitat is concerned; they all need a specific range of temperatures to survive.

If a change in temperature occurs, it can lead to health complications and your habitats’ death. So, a heater is needed to maintain a certain level of temperature.

The heater is connected to the tank through a power circuit or source, and it performs its duty by keeping the tank water at a certain temperature level. Some heaters come with a thermostat, which will automatically turn on when the desired and required temperature is reached.


Marine LED Light Aquarium Fish Tank

Even as humans, we need light! The aquatic world needs lightning just like we do, so you must provide your tank with a light source.

Lightening determines the growth rate of your plants, fish, and healthy bacteria. Your live plants need light for photosynthesis, while the animals will also need light for daily growth.

If there is no light, then the sun will be absent; your fish will develop health problems. Also, your aquarium does not need much light, and excess light causes the growth and widespread of algae.

Other Equipment

Do not forget you are running a 45-gallon tank, so there are other items you will need for a successful set-up. - For all your creative needs!

An aquarium tank stand

This is a MUST because of the tank size you are dealing with. It will leave you with some space to fix in other equipment and install your plumbing and, also, offering increased stability.

Other equipment includes;

There is different equipment out there that will make your set-up a classic and beautiful one.

Fish Stocking Ideas

A tank as large as this tank has a wide selection of species of fish. Some of the fish you may want to consider are;


They are suitable for beginners, and you can house up to 30-35 of them in a 45-gallon tank. They are active fish that love to stay in a group of 5-6.

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Cory Catfish

They are a good set of fish to keep. They don’t only add value to your stock; they are also good tank cleaners because they are algae eaters and feed on any algae trying to infect the tank. You can take in up to 15 of them in a 45-gallon tank.

Banggi Cardinalfish

They are peaceful species of fish with a rare kind of shape. You can have at least 10-12 of them in your tank.

Betta fish

These fish are stout and aggressive species of fish, so this size of aquarium is best for them. They need a lot of attention, and you should not be kept together with their male kind.

Zebra Fish

They have a mild appearance and are diverse. You can house at least 20-25 of them in a 45-gallon tank.

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For a 45-gallon tank, you should go for this fish! They are valuable, and you can have up to 15 of them in this tank.

45 Gallon Tank Set-up Ideas

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A 45-gallon tank has the significant advantage of allowing you to style your aquarium in whichever way you decide.

This is a choice of community chance to keep colorful fish and live plants of a different kind. You can also decide to include aquarium decorations.

For a community tank set-up with this tank size, see the list below for a unique example;

  • 5 Guppies
  • 1 Dwarf Gourami
  • 5 Zebra Danio
  • 5 Neon Tetra
  • 1 Bristlenose Pleco

Another set-up you may want to go for is a cichlid. This, however, should be kept alone.

Putting in your fish may be exciting, but you should have in mind that the best way to maintain your tank is to keep a few fish, so your tank doesn’t look too overstocked and untidy.

Also, you can include some dwarf cichlids, fire mouth Cichlids, or peacock Cichlids.

Setting Up a 45 Gallon Fish Tank

I explained three solid steps in detail below; it will go a long way in putting you through.

Step 1 – Tank Installation & Decoration

Setting up a tank is quite simple if you take on these steps.

First, place your substrate into the tank. A substrate forms the sea bed of your shell, and it is the foundation of whatever is going into the container. Before placing the substrate into your tank, ensure you clean thoroughly and remove all the dust that may have trapped itself inside the container.

After washing and drying, spread the substrate throughout the aquarium. You can also create a slope for your plants to have a firm grip to adapt faster. (Depending on the type of plants).

Installing your equipment

Next, you should start putting all your equipment. In place, make sure your water is clean and free from germs. You must ensure you have good water circulation- this is one of the top tips for owning a healthy ecosystem.

The process of installation depends on the type of equipment you are using example; heaters, external or internal filters. If you have your equipment ready, you can process filling in the tank with water.



Decorations to add to your tank include plants, rocks, and any other thing you feel is appropriate. However, while decorating your tank, you mustn’t get your tank to overstock with just decorations.

Excessive decoration can stress your fish. Your fish should be given enough room to swim without hindrances or hitting live rocks. At least 30% of your tank can be filled with decorations and 70% as enough space for swimming.

Step 2 – Cycling Process

Water cycling is vital though it can vary at the beginning of your set-up. Your plants and fish need a stable cycle to stay healthy and grow. Tank cycling is a process that takes up to 4-8 weeks; it is a natural process and serves as an energy bed for bacteria.

These bacteria will diminish unwanted and toxic substances such as nitrates and ammonia.

You can check the cycling process of your tank by purchasing a test kit. With the aid and instructions given, you can see the drop of each toxic compound present in your tank.

If you see the parameters of these compounds drop down to zero, your tank is now safe, and then you can add your fish.

Step 3 – Introducing your Fish

Yes, it is normal to get excited at this stage. But, amidst your excitement, you should be careful, so you don’t have a bad experience. As your fish arrives, they are already stressed due to transportation from distant places. Give your fish a transition that is as smooth as possible to avoid adding more stress for them.

To do this, allow the bag containing your new fish to float in the tank water for about 30miutes. Start adding a cup of water into the bag every 5-10 minutes. If the bag gets filled up, use a clean net to move the fish from the bag into the tank. After the transition, you can get rid of the water in the bag.


Selecting the right tank for your set-up can be challenging, yet there is a wide selection. You may be confused about the exact size to pick if you are starting up your first aquarium.

However, the 45-gallon aquarium is an incredible medium-sized tank that will welcome a lot of fish species. You can also use this set-up for your home or if you want to go commercial. Even at home, they don’t occupy a lot of space, as you think.