How To Set A 50-Gallon Fish Tank?

A bigger aquarium is always the right choice to make. Experienced aquarists, and aquarium lovers, know how a bigger aquarium is more appealing in the case of visuals. I find a 50-gallon fish tank the best size to have in a house personally. It is not too huge or too hard to maintain. Moreover, it is the appropriate size for anyone who wants a beautiful aquarium in your house.

However, the question is how to set up a 50-gallon fish tank. I would say that it is easy to set up a 50-gallon fish tank even if you are a beginner. There are a lot of fish tanks out there, which gives you the option of getting a decorated tank beforehand. Though, nothing beats the pleasure of setting a fish tank with personalized uniqueness. For this, you might have to get that certain type of equipment and learn about the combination of fish you can use in the tank.

So today, I will help you out to set up a gorgeous fish tank that would make any aquarist jealous!

Types of equipment Features Price Link to amazon
SeaClear Acrylic Combo Aquarium
  • It can hold temperatures
  • Acrylic
  • Reasonable price
  • Durable
  • Comes with a lifetime guarantee
$637.51 buy amazon
Flipper Ollie & Hutch Wildwood 55 Gallon, Rustic Gray Aquarium Stand
  • Sturdy
  • Looks beautiful
  • Spacious shelves

buy amazon

LUYS Aquarium Heater, Upgraded 300W/500W Fish Tank Heater
  • Explosion Proof
  • Rapid Heating System
  • Simple as well as reliable for use
$42.99 buy amazon
Marineland Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel Power Filter
  • Quiet
  • Easy to fix
  • Affordable
$23.45 buy amazon
Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter
  • 360-degree rotation
  • Quick push button
  • Affordable price for canister filters
$65.21 buy amazon
Imagitarium 50-Gallon Terrarium Screen
  • Sturdy
  • Cat-proof
  • Well designed
$22.99 buy amazon
MingDak LED Aquarium Plant Light
  • Bright
  • Three light modes
  • Enhances the beauty of an aquarium
$22.99 buy amazon
TEEMO Aquarium Groot Air Bubbler Decorations
  • Makes air bubbles
  • Enhances the beauty of an aquarium
$10.40 buy amazon
Penn-Plax Reptology Shale Step Ledge for Aquariums & Terrariums
  • Perfect for small fish
  • Looks like realistic rocks
  • Natural hideout
$12.20 buy amazon

How Big Is A 50-Gallon Fish Tank: Concept Of Size and Weight

Firstly, let’s find out what a 50-gallon tank measures to be. With the appropriate knowledge of size and weight, you will enter a dimension where no mistakes are made.

Small mistakes in the size and weight of a tank can cause you to overestimate the number of fish you can keep in the tank. As a result, you will get a crowded tank that gets dirty fast and, in the worst case, can cause you the grief of losing a sick fish.

Our readers are also interested in ‘Why do fish tanks get dirty fast? How to clean and maintain tanks’.


Talking about the size of the fish tank, the tanks generally come in the dimension of 36″ x 18″ x 19″.


If you check out the weight of the tank before putting in water, the average weight is 100 lbs. Similarly, after filling up water, the weight can get up to 600 lbs.

As you might have guessed, there is extra weight if you put additional equipment in the tank. So, keeping a tank downstairs is the best idea! Also, saltwater is heavier than fresh water. Hence the weight might vary by five lbs+-.

The 8 Simple Step Process On How To Set Up a Fish Tank For Beginners gives you a shorter version of how to set up tanks in a generalized view.

How To Set A 50-Gallon Fish Tank?

To set up a 50-gallon water tank is not a difficult task. As long as you follow the steps correctly, you will not go wrong with it. That is why it is so easy for beginners to get the tank in place in no time and without confusion.

Many sites provide an answer to this question. However, I will be talking about some hidden tips that can make your task easier and your aquarium more attractive!

Although there are tanks that you can buy at Amazon where the decorations are already set, I prefer having an aquarium one of a kind! So, here are the steps to create your own heaven!

Choose A 50-Gallon Fish Tank

The first step of setting up a tank is obviously getting a tank. But, you have to get the correct tank to be able to move on to the further steps. There are tanks that would only disappoint you after being set!

Some tanks are not even the ideal size and weight. Moreover, some companies only provide the approximate value making you regret throwing your bucks away into space for nothing. I have been there as a beginner, but I would like to help you out now!

Besides, a 50-gallon tank can hold any fish you like, from reefs to freshwater fish, and your dream aquarium might just come true. I shortlist the following aquariums to be my favorite, and to be honest, these aquariums will not disappoint you!

SeaClear Acrylic Combo Aquarium

The SeaClear Acrylic Combo set is the most affordable piece you will ever come across. You get a tank, a light fixture, and a reflector for the cheapest price.

I would suggest you get an acrylic tank even if you choose another brand. It is because they are stronger than glass and also weigh less compared to others.

So, whenever you get a bigger tank, weight matters the most!

Next, there are fewer scratches and cracks in acrylics, making it easier to maintain as well as safe. It seemed unbelievable to me when I saw the lifetime guarantee! After this, what else would you want as a consumer?

It comes in various colors ranging from black, blue, or colorless. You will need to purchase filters and heaters, but it still makes it easy with the lighting and reflector on hand!

Placing A Stand For The 50-Gallon Fish Tank

Choosing a stand for the 50-gallon tank is a difficult task to do. It requires a lot of research and time. The stand decides the durability of the tank that you choose.

All tanks do not come in the same size and breadth. So, it makes the task even more complex. However, some of the companies will provide a combo set with the stand itself.

And some others require you to choose a stand yourself. Besides, the features of stand differ from company to company. The major things to seek are cabinets, durability, waterproofing, material, and the shape of the stand.

Flipper Ollie & Hutch Wildwood 55 Gallon, Rustic Gray Aquarium Stand is a good option in such a case. It is sturdy and slightly bigger than the actual aquarium.

Where To Place A 50 Gallon Fish Tank?

If you are an aquarist, you already know the golden rule of placing a tank. The LNH, that is no heat, low light, and low noise.

You have to place the aquarium in low light to avoid any algae growth or overheating. Frequent changes in temperature are not good for the fish as well.

Similarly, a place with low noise is also a good decision as fishes are easily scared, and they might even jump out of the tank if you have no lids in the tank.

In addition, you have to place it with low heat as the aquarium heat can cause the fish to die prematurely.

For a tank with such a weight, keep it in the basement. If you keep it upstairs, you have to think about the placement precisely as there will be a problem of light, heat and not forget to balance the weight of the tank!

Types Of Equipment Required For 50-Gallon Fish Tank

After placing the tank, the next thing to do is to put different types of equipment into place. The quality of the equipment decides whether your tank will sustain the fishes beautifully or not. So, be very careful while choosing them.

Here is some equipment you should not miss while setting up a tank.


Buying a heater depends on the type of fish you want to add to your aquarium. So, first, you have to decide which fish you want to view peacefully in the aquarium. After that, you can check the tank conditions for the fish you want and act accordingly.

The only thing I discovered that most sites would not tell you is that it is better to get two heaters instead of one by breaking down the temperature. Suppose you want a heater of 300 watts. Then, you should buy heaters of 150watt each to avoid any malfunctions.

If one does not operate, the other one will cover up for a certain time until you can replace it.

I recommend LUYS Aquarium Heater, Upgraded 300W/500W Fish Tank Heater as it is explosion-proof. Also, it has a rapid heating system and is simple as well as reliable for use.


You need filters to make sure your tank has clear water and the correct current the fish requires. Besides, an appropriate filter for the 50-gallon fish tank is the one that can cycle the water from 3 to 4 times in an hour. You can choose both external and internal filters as per your liking!

Just make sure you choose the right one! If you are installing a freshwater aquarium, make sure you check out Beginners Guide To Installing Freshwater Sump Filter And Media To Add-In.

I have two options for the filters. The first one is Marineland Penguin 350 BIO-Wheel Power Filter which is quiet, easy to fix, and affordable. Similarly, the second one is Penn Plax Aquarium Cascade Canister Filter with a 360-degree rotation and a quick push-button.

Hood/ Lid

When I was new to the concept of aquariums, I used to keep the aquarium open. I thought that it would make the fish more comfortable and breathable as their natural habitat has an open background.

However, I found that the aquarium’s lid must be closed to protect the fish from the dirt outside. It is also handy when the fish are excited and tend to jump from time to time.

Why should I use a lid in my aquarium? Find out 5 reasons here.

I strongly recommend you to get an aquarium with a lid when you buy. In case, it does not come with a lid, Imagitarium 50-Gallon Terrarium Screen would be a perfect well-designed lid for your aquarium.


The lighting as other equipment depends on the type of fish you want to keep. Similarly, light is the life of the aquarium. It determines how well your aquarium will look.

Some aquariums look royal just by the lighting system. However, I would suggest you not to leave the lights on 24/7 as it will only help the algae growth. Unless you want to grow the algae-eating freshwater fish, you should avoid having the lights on 24/7.

MingDak LED Aquarium Plant Light provides bright three light modes that enhance the beauty of your aquarium.

Decor And Plants

Decor and plants are exceptional beauties that can add more to your tank. Similarly, some fish might even need hideouts, and decor is your way to give them what they want. You can use gravels, rocks, pipes, as well as DIYs for decorations as well. Make sure you cycle them as well before use.

Besides, the decor makes your aquarium unique from others as this is the part you can choose yourself and place it creatively. You can also use live plants like mosses and other water plants that grow short. Find out more about aquarium decorations: what to and what not to add from our Beginners Guide.

For decorations, I prefer TEEMO Aquarium Groot Air Bubbler Decorations and Penn-Plax Reptology Shale Step Ledge for Aquariums & Terrariums. These provide your fish hideouts and great aesthetics.

For plants, you can use the following table as a guide.

Plant Growth Placement Link
Hornworts Fast Weighted or Floating buy amazon
Guppy grasses Rapid Floating, Weighted, Planted buy amazon
Java Moss Moderate Floating or attached buy amazon
Salvinia Fast Floating buy amazon
Water Wisteria Slow Basically, anywhere. buy amazon
Duckweed Moderate Floating buy amazon

Add Water In the Fish Tank

The step of adding water to the tank seems easy, isn’t it? But, if you want healthy fish, you cannot simply put tap water into your aquarium straight away.

Does this confuse you? The tap water consists of chlorines that can harm your fish. In order to make tap water fish ready, you will have to dechlorinate the water and cycle it.

Besides, it will help the good bacteria grow in your tank. This will, in turn, result in healthier fish.

You must maintain the level of nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia in the tank. Similarly, a good pH level will also assist you in becoming the best owner for your fish!

Also, try to maintain the hardness of the water in the aquarium.

What Types Of Fish Can You Keep In A 50-Gallon Fish Tank?

After you have set up your tank and cycled the water completely, you can now move on towards the placement of fish. Moreover, you can keep various fish in a single tank or have a collection of a single species. Likewise, you can be creative in choosing the fish for your aquarium!

Related article: Easiest fish to breed

However, make sure you do not clash with the idea of putting an aggressive and peaceful fish together. Similarly, putting a smaller fish and a larger fish in the same tank can also cause problems among the fish as fights and oppression become pretty visible.

In some cases, you might even lose your fish as food for other fish. So, here are some ideas you may use to place fish in a 50-gallon tank!

Species Only Tank

A good idea to start is a species only tank. Particularly, I feel that every aquarist will relate to the fact that you have one species you find attractive. Besides, the very species is why you were excited to get a tank in the first place.

So, you can keep a fish species only in the tank to live your dream. It can be Angelfish, Oscar fish, or any other fish.

You can even add aggressive fish to your collection once you know how much space to give to the fish. Here are some suggestions:

Community Tank

A community tank has several species floating alongside one another. So you can use the tank to combine various species that can live with each other peacefully. These tanks also have plants in them. The choice of plants depends on whether you prepare a freshwater or saltwater aquarium.

More about fish and plants:

I have an aquarium with Cichlid and Gouramis, where Gouramis are in a larger group.

Paludarium Tank

The beautiful Paludarium tank consists of both aquatic and terrestrial creatures, including plants. You can use your creative side to include both brackish fish and freshwater fish in one tank.

The heavenly tank can consist of fish, reptiles, snails, crustaceans, and even turtles. However, keep the numbers in check. Add less aggressive fish with snails to avoid any mishaps.

At last, this is how you can make your aquarium unique!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Much Does A 50-Gallon Tank Cost?

The cost of a 50-gallon tank can range from $500 to $1500, depending on the brand you choose. Moreover, some brands offer the combo set of some of the equipment attached to the aquarium. So, check properly whether the product is good for you or not.

Although it might seem pricey at first, if you see the price of the equipment separately, the product might be a lot cheaper. All these things are quite new for the beginner. Make sure you make the right decision so that you won’t be losing extra money.

Why Should You Set Up A 50-Gallon Fish Tank?

A 50-gallon fish tank is the right size as you will be working on a medium-size, which would be easier to maintain. Besides, there are tanks from 10-Gallon to ones that exceed 100 gallons. Both seem equally attractive.

In contrast, a smaller tank needs high maintenance because the fish can be contaminated if one of them gets sick. In addition, if you get a larger fish tank, you will be dealing with the problem of a dirty tank. Besides, the large tanks are usually heavy. Hence, causing the problem of placement.

Here are some points on why the 50-gallon tank is the most suitable for you:

  1. It is medium-sized, neither too big nor too small.
  2. You will not face the problem of maintenance.
  3. It will take longer for the fish to catch any disease. So, you can care for them better.
  4. The visuals are pretty amazing! Anyone would love to view the aquarium as long as one can.
  5. It is the perfect way to start as a beginner. You will be less confused.

What Precautions Should You Take While Installing A 50-Gallon Fish Tank?

The precautions are quite an essential part of installing any fish tank. If you do not check on the points, you will probably be regretting later on your decisions. It is pretty hard to move the fish tank here and there once you have installed it.

Besides, you will find the placement of fish before repositioning even more hectic. So, here are a few things that you should take care of while installing a 50-gallon fish tank:

Before Installing

  1. You should maintain the balance of the water before adding fish to it.
  2. Remember the LNH rule. Place your aquarium under low light, low noise, and no heat.
  3. After having your aquarium set up and run for a few days, you can purchase and put the fish in the tank. Avoid buying both on the same day.
  4. Understand the mechanism of fish. Only purchase fish after necessary research of how many you can keep in the tank size. Also, remember to check on the tankmates, or you will be grieving for your fish faster than you get it!
  5. Try adding fish little by little. If you set up a new aquarium, check first by adding a small quantity of fish. And then, you can add more.
  6. Avoid overstocking your aquarium. The water quality will only deplete, and there will be squabbles between the fish for space.
  7. Likewise, buy equipment that will last long. Look at the reviews rather than the price of the product!
  8. Avoid using any equipment that is washed with soap or other chemicals.

After Installing

  1. Similarly, avoid water changes frequently. Change only 25% of the water rather than completely changing it.
  2. The aquarium light can cause algae growth. So, do not leave it on for the whole day.
  3. A beginner has to know the fact that putting too much food in the aquarium is not good for the fish as well as the water. Put the amount that the fish can eat in an average of 2 minutes.

Last Words

In the end, it is all about putting your thoughts into your aquarium. Do not forget you are making a home for someone. So, make sure you make the most comfortable one for your little pets.

Not only will you enjoy making these aquariums unique, but it will also benefit your health in various ways. I would undeniably suggest a newbie go for a 50 gallons water tank.

You might have already understood most parts of the process to set up a 50 gallons fish tank. To conclude, I hope you will have the best time of your life. Happy fishkeeping!

Related article:

  1. How To Stop Water Evaporation In My Aquarium? : Causes And Remedies
  2. Beneficial Bacteria In The Aquarium: What Are They And Is It Essential?
  3. Can I Keep An Aquarium On Balcony: Is It Really Possible?
  4. Fish Food 101: A Beginner’s Guide On How To Feed Aquarium Fish