Learn About The Procedure Of Setting Up A 50 Gallon Aquarium Here

Want to buy a fish tank?

But confused about finding the right size for you?

If you have recently got into the fish-keeping hobby, a 50 gallon tank would be the right fit for you. It is neither too small nor too big, and you can easily manage it.

With small fish tanks, there is the issue of maintenance, as small tanks heat up or get contaminated easily. 

While with the large ones, you have so much to look after that it might get confusing, especially if you are a newbie.

Although I generally recommend large fish tanks to a newbie, 50 gallon is also a right size as it falls in the middle.

So let us get started with the step-by-step procedure of setting up a 50 gallon aquarium.

But first… you will need a tank!


If you are of the opinion that a small tank would limit your creativity, 50 gallon will be a wonderful pick for you, as it gives you a lot of freedom in choosing as many types of fish as you want. From freshwater to reef, to paludariums, in this size, you can do it all.

Let’s review some of the best ones out there:


SeaClear 50 gal Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set, 36 by 15 by 20", Clear
  • Combo includes aquarium, reflector and electrical 24" light fixture
  • Acrylic aquariums are clearer than glass, 17 times stronger, and only half the weight!
  • More impact resistant and less prone to chipping or cracking than glass, making it safer around children and pets
  • Safe for Salt or Freshwater
  • You won't believe how your fish and decorations will pop when viewing this beautiful SeaClear aquarium

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This 50 gallon aquarium is available in a combo set which means that it includes a tank, a reflector and a light fixture.

It is made of acrylic, which is undoubtedly stronger than glass and weighs half compared to it.

And for a tank of this size, weight matters!

Acrylic material makes it less prone to cracks and scratches. It means that this tank is safe to keep around children. Its seams are almost invisible and the best thing is that it comes with a lifetime guarantee.

You can purchase it from Amazon at a reasonable price, in any color of your choice - Black, Blue or Clear.

The kit does not provide every necessary equipment, so you will have to purchase them separately.

However, it is an ideal kit if you have a preferred brand for filter and heater.


  • Made of acrylic
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Available at a reasonable price
  • Holds temperature better than glass tanks


SeaClear 50 gal System II Acrylic Aquarium, 36 by 15 by 16", Cobalt Blue
  • SeaClear System ll Acrylic Aquarium offers a true wet/dry biological filtration system built into the back of the aquarium
  • Filter includes chambers that accommodate biological, mechanical and chemical filter media as well as space for a heater and the optional System II Protein Skimmer (sold separately)
  • Full Hood with 24" fluorescent fixture (light bulb not included); Efficient and economical to run
  • Acrylic Aquariums are 17 times stronger than glass and weighs half as much as a Glass Aquarium
  • Quick change prefilter makes cleaning simple; Air-injected nozzle

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This tank is my another pick from SeaClear, which is one of the most reputable brands in the aquarium market.

This kit is ideal for beginners as it comes with all the necessary equipment. You don’t have to purchase anything separately.

The kit provides a tank, built-in filtration and a hood with inbuilt lighting.

The system has a wet or dry biological filtration system which is attached at the back of the tank.

It has chambers to accommodate biological, chemical and mechanical filter media. Also, there is enough space to include your own heater and protein skimmer, if you want to have a saltwater setup.


  • Made of acrylic
  • Lightweight
  • Durable material
  • Easy to set up
  • Instruction guide is included
  • Dimensions are: 36*15*16 inches


50 Gallon Starfire Aquariums with Center Overflow 24x24x20 10mm
  • Starfire rimless Tank 24x24x20" 10mm 2/5" thickness
  • Pre-Drilled Drain and return holes inside the overflow box
  • 1" Drain Bulkhead and 1/2" return bulkhead are incldued.
  • Return T Pipe (dual return) and Loc Lines, Durso Stand Pipe are included.

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you want to set up a reef or marine environment, this tank is the right choice for you.

It is available in a package which includes the choice of a black or white cabinet, a sump, skimmer, tube piping, bulkheads, filter media and return pump.

The only thing not included in the kit is lighting, which you have to buy separately.


  • Premium quality
  • Stand comes assembled
  • Available at a reasonable price
  • Dimensions are: 24*24*20 inches
  • Cabinet is heavy-duty and has two hinged doors.

You can purchase it from Amazon.


For putting the tank in a safe place, you need to have a stand.

Some kits include a stand while many are available without it. For a 50 gallon aquarium, choosing the right stand is a tough task.

You will have to explore so many websites and stores, until you land on the perfect one.

Aquarium stands are available in various materials and shapes. Some have a cabinet included while some don’t.

Some are water-resistant while some are not. So you have to make a thorough research before landing on one.

Here are some stands for your 50 gallon aquarium:

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Flipper Harbor 50 - 75 Gallon Aquarium Stand, Espresso
  • Proudly display your fish on the Flipper Harbor 50 - 75 Gallon Aquarium Stand
  • Made of laminated particleboard and MDF, the dark espresso woodgrain finish contrasts the brushed nickel door handles
  • The 2 open shelves, 1 adjustable, keep fish food and nets within reach. Behind each of the 2 doors are 1 adjustable and 1 fixed shelf for water treatments and tank cleaning supplies. Aquarium not included
  • Finish your room with other items from Flipper (sold separately)
  • The Stand ships flat to your door and 2 adults are recommended to assemble. The Stand can hold up to 75 gallon aquariums or 900 lbs. Each shelf will hold 40 lbs. Assembled dimensions: 30.31”H x 50”W x 19.61”D

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


For an aquarium, you have to buy a number of equipment like heater, pump, filter, etc. So I will talk about each of them here and also mention my favorite of them all, for a 50 gallon fish tank.

These are some of the most essential equipment for an aquarium:


Before buying a heater, please decide on the type of fish you want to have and the type of environment you want to create. For a tropical environment, a heater is very important while for a freshwater environment, that is not the case.

You can buy this heater for your 50 gallon aquarium from Amazon:

Eheim 3619090 Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater 300W, Black
  • Heater is meant for Tanks between 159-264 Gallons.
  • Size of Heater is 20” X 1.4” Diameter
  • Fully submersible, will automatically turn off when water level dips too low.
  • Thermo safey control protects against running dry.
  • Made of shock resistant and shatter proof glass for fresh or marine water.

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Filters not only take care of the fish and food waste, but they also create current. So before buying a filter for your tank, you should be aware of the type of filtration your fish requires.

In a 50 gallon aquarium, you can install an internal as well as an external filter. The choice is up to you! 

Just pay attention to the filter’s capacity – it should cycle the tank about 3 to 4 times in an hour. Otherwise, it will not be a good purchase.

You can buy this filter for your 50 gallon aquarium from Amazon:

Penn-Plax Cascade All-in-One Aquarium Canister Filter – for Tanks Up to 65 Gallons (185 GPH) – Cascade 700
  • CASCADE 700 CANISTER FILTER: Without effort, the Cascade 700 Canister Filter quietly delivers crystal clear water throughout the tank. Recommended for aquariums up to 65 gallons, this filter cycles water at 185 Gallons per Hour.
  • STATE OF THE ART FEATURES:In addition to the push button primer that allows for a simple and quick prime,this Canister Filter also features two independent valve taps that rotate 360°.This makes for easy maneuvering,even in the tightest aquarium cabinets
  • HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT: This Filter comes standard with all the media you'll need to get started to trap waste and excess food from the tank for clean, clear Salt Water or Fresh Water Tanks - Even for Turtle Habitats.
  • ITEMS INCLUDED: 2 Independent Valve Taps, Push Button Primer, Flow Rate Control Cut-Off Valves, Swimming-Pool Style Hose Clamps, 4 Easy Lift Alignment Clamps, , 2 Large Capacity Media Baskets, Fiber Floss Pads, Bio-Sponge, Pack of Carbon
  • MEASUREMENTS AND OTHER USEFUL INFO: The Cascade 700 Canister Filter measures 11.5” (W) x 10” (D) x 15” (H). Additional Info = 110 Volts / 60 Hz / 25 W.

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


A hood comes handy especially when you have an active fish species inside of your tank. If you don’t have a hood, the fish might jump out of the water, and eventually die. So it is better to take precautions.

You can buy this hood for your aquarium from Amazon:

Aqueon LED Deluxe Full Hood, 36 Inch, For Glass Top Aquariums
  • 36 inch Aqueon LED Deluxe Full Hood for use over glass covered aquariums
  • Designed to tightly fit inside fish tank rim with a full length feeding door
  • Moon glow accent light and three-way power switch included
  • Changing LED lamps are easy to snap in and out, plug and play
  • Comes with one Day White LED lamp, with slot for an additional LED lamp: Day White, Colormax, Beauty Max or Max Blue

Last update on 2024-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

So these are the important equipment that you need to install in your aquarium, before adding water and fish to it.


Did not think that adding water could ever be an important step?

Well, you might be wrong! As in an aquarium setup, adding water is a crucial step.

The reason being, tap water contains harmful chemicals in it, which might harm the fish. It usually contains chlorine in it, which is not harmful for us humans, but for fish, it is toxic.

 So you have to dechlorinate the water before adding fish it.

Also, make sure to cycle the tank afterwards, so as to encourage the build-up of necessary bacteria in the tank.

It is good bacteria which provides nutrients to the fish. In its absence, the creatures might fall sick easily and die.

Keep in mind to measure the pH level of water and check it for nitrites, nitrates and ammonia, and treat it accordingly.


Now that you have treated the water for harmful chemicals, it is time to add fish to it.

Adding fish is not just about opening the packet of fish that you have got from the pet store, and adding it into the water.

There are certain things you have to keep in mind, as fish is a sensitive creature and it might fall sick if there is even a slight bit of change in environment.

When it comes to the choices of fish you can have in a 50 gallon aquarium, there are many.

So let us go through the types you can keep in a 50 gallon tank:

A 50 gallon tank is a wonderful choice for a species-only, community, reef, aludarium as well as a simple saltwater set up.

You can stock a good range of species in it including some non-fish inhabitants like crabs, snails and shrimps.

  • CICHLIDS like African, Peacock, Dwarf and Malawi.
  • You may consider stocking about 20 GOURAMIS like Pearl Gourami, Snakeskin Gourami, Paradise Fish and Red-Backed Paradise, as they are non-aggressive species.
  • Lots of GOLDFISH and ORANDAS
  • You may set up a Species-Only tank if you want to have ANGELFISH, OSCAR or ASTRONOTUS.


Your work is not done here!

After getting an aquarium, you are bestowed with the lifetime responsibility of looking after it as well as the creatures living inside it!

Since they cannot speak for their own, you have to be responsible. Feed them regularly, but do not overfeed them, or keep an automatic feeder.

Clean the tank every month and the water every week. Do not let the waste build-up!

Let me know in the comment section below about your choice of aquarium tank. Did you face any problem in setting it up and if you need any detailed advice on setting up a 50 gallon aquarium, let me know in the section below.


What is the typical size of a 50 gallon aquarium

The dimensions of a 50 gallon aquarium usually measures 36 inches in length, 18 inches in width and 19 inches in height. It adds up to 11550 inches cubed.

What kind of fish can I keep in this sized aquarium, if I want to create a Saltwater setup?

For a Saltwater setup, go for BLUE TANG or MANDARINFISH.

How much does a 50 gallon tank weighs?

It weighs 100LBS when empty and 600 LBS when filled with water.


[Revised and Updated for July, 2019]
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Written by Debra Hutchinson, founder of FishXperts

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One Comment

  1. What substrate should I use for a 40 gal acrylic low tech plant with fish?
    Worried about scratching tank when cleaning substrate.

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