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55 Gallon Fish Tank Setup

Whether you’re just getting started with your first Cichlid tank or looking to upgrade to a 55 gallon tank, this page contains many useful resources to help you get your aquarium set up and running as smoothly as possible.


55 Gallons Aquarium Topics

We’ve divided our tips for 55 gallons fish tank setup into seven categories. Click on the category that best suits your needs below, or scroll down for a list of all of our latest articles.

Aquarium Basics

A 55 gallon aquarium is the lightest large fish tank size that is most often recommended for cichlid beginners. Due to its weight and dimensions, these tanks are economical and can accommodate a wide variety of cichlid species.

Find out more about the basics of 55 gallon fish tank in the following sections:


While it’s true that pet fish don’t require a lot of care as compared to other furry friends, they still need the proper aquarium equipment that is necessary for their continued good health.

Below you’ll find a handy checklist of 55 gallon fish tank equipment that will help insure your success as a fish keeper.

Stocking Ideas

When it comes to stocking your 55 gallons aquarium, there are endless possibilities. Here we have listed some ideas that are sure to make a splash!

Ongoing Maintenance

In addition to the initial setup and regular feedings, ongoing maintenance is essential to keeping your fish healthy and happy.

We have plenty of resources available to help you care for your aquarium.

Step-by-step Fish Tank Set up

Congratulations! Now that you have all the equipment and stocking ideas. Ready to get setup? Here’s a step-by-step guide to assembling and installing your new aquarium properly:

Step one: Learn About your Fish, Plants, water

Taking some time to learn about the fish and plants you are interested in and familiarizing yourself with the water in your area will help to create a safe and healthy environment for your fish.

Step Two: Choosing a location

A gallon of water is equal to 231 cubic inches, so a filled 55-gallon aquarium will weigh 625 lbs. Determining the best location before setting up an aquarium is your second step.

Step Three: Preparing the tank

Remove the tank from its box, rinse it with warm water, wipe down it with a damp cloth, add your aquarium background, place it on the stand (make sure it is level). Fill the tank about one-third full with water and check for leaks.

Step Four: Rinse Substrate & Decorations 

Thoroughly wash the substrate and all of the ornaments with some hot water (free of any chemicals), and place them into the aquarium.

Step Five: Install equipment

Install the filter, heater (if needed), and thermometer according to the directions, but do not plug anything in yet. If you want bubbles, add an air stone now.

Step Six: Fill your Tank

If no leak is detected, fill the tank with tap water. You may want to use a small bowl into the tank to protect the your delicate décor and avoid cloudiness.

Step Seven: Plug in your equipment & Add in treatments

Turn on your filtration system and heater, ensure everything is properly balanced, and then add the right dosage of water conditioner or additive per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step Eight: Let the Tank Cycle

Now that you have everything ready to go, but tank MUST be cycled for 3-4 weeks to establish a healthy biological filter. Additives can be used to “seed” the tank with bacteria, but nothing beats time. So just be patient and let nature take its course!

Step Nine: Add Fish!

Congratulations! Now that you have a fully cycled aquarium, it’s time to add some fish! It’s recommended that you add a small amount of fish at a time to allow your new cycle to properly adjust. By slowly adding fish, you’ll be giving your aquarium the best chance for success.