Week 1: Setting up your aquarium

Key Objectives

Learn the fundamentals of setting up an aquarium - location, equipment and fishkeeping-etiquette.

Prior to the lesson

  • Have you collected all your equipment from your local store?

  • Have you shared the information sent to you with your class' parents so they can get involved if they would like to? Why not let them take a look at this page on the site which will be updated throughout the programme: Fry Parents
  • You will need to wash the gravel in a bucket under the tap until clean.

  • Do you need to carry out a risk assessment for the programme for your class?

  • Have you obtained all relevant consent for the sharing of photos and images on our website and social channels?

  • Why not share our short 'What is a Fish?' film with your class to get them thinking about all things aquatic and give them some context before they start the set-up of their aquarium?

Teachers Notes

This week, meet Paul Tapley (Tappers), your expert guide for the programme, and get an overview of what you can expect over the next 8 weeks. In this episode, Tappers describes the key things to consider when setting up the aquarium for your fish and takes you through the equipment you will be using - how it works and why you need it for your fish. He then takes you step-by-step through the process you will need to follow in setting up your aquarium, and adding and treating the water.

You can find out more about Paul Tapley here: Meet Tappers

This Week's Tasks

In addition to setting up your aquarium, please download the following PDFs worksheets before your lesson. Each child should receive a copy of the weekly task sheet which includes the following questions which may be worth highlighting in any discussions you have after they have watched the film. 

  1. What type of aquarium are we setting up?

  2. What's the difference between water in the sea and water in a lake?

  3. Where should we put the new tank?

  4. Why should you never tap the glass of your aquarium?

Fishkeeper of the Week

This title should be awarded by the teacher to the individual who has engaged with the week's topic and shown a real interest to learn. The Fishkeeper of the Week is awarded a certificate and a sticker to wear for the week. That student may have completed some exceptional work based on the themes this week or may have been particularly enthusiastic or helpful in setting up the aquarium or completing tasks. Tell us all about them and let us give them centre stage on our social channels and website.

Check out our Instagram Feed for other Fishkeepers of the Week and let us know how your class got on this week by emailing us examples of your work and images of your class working on the project to [email protected]

Other Useful Resources

The Fish Glossary

A comprehensive A-Z to for if you are in doubt about any of the fishy terms used in fishkeeping in general or on the website specifically, this useful A-Z reference should help shed some light on their meaning.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question about any aspect of fishkeeping you want to answer quickly, one of our customers may already have asked it so it's definitely worth a browse.

Freshwater Fish Databank

Here you will find an enormous selection of freshwater fish from tropical, temperate and coldwater regions, species are native to the rivers, lakes and in some cases, aquaria of the world. A great resource for extension activities such as getting your class to draw and fact find about freshwater fish for their project.

Marine Fish Databank

Here you will find lots of fish from the oceans, many of which are suitable for home aquaria. This is where you’ll find Nemo... Again, a great place to find beautiful fish to draw and colour and to find out interesting facts about lots of different marine species around the world.

You should also be able to find additional ideas and inspiration for extension activities on our Facebook and Instagram channels:

Fishkeeper Fry Facebook

Fishkeeper Fry Instagram

A Final Note for Week 1

Remember, the class that we feel has engaged the most with the programme by sharing photos of their weekly tasks and activities, 'Fishkeeper of the Week' award submissions, examples of work and creative projects they have undertaken will be in with the chance of being awarded 'Fishkeeper Fry School of the Year' at the end of the programme -with medals for everyone who took part and a fabulous cup for the school.

Here are some ideas of the sort of thing we'd love to see:

  • Photos of your class in action setting up the tank as described by Tappers in the film.
  • Examples of completed worksheets from this week.
  • Any comments or interesting questions that came from the class that shows how they are finding the programme so far.
  • Examples of any creative artwork or writing that you have done in addition to the worksheets provided around the theme of your new aquarium or fish.

And if at any point in the programme you have any additional questions or concerns about your aquarium or fish, you can contact your local store team who will be only too happy to help you get the most out of Fishkeeper Fry. Alternatively, if you have any questions about the administration of the programme please contact us at [email protected]


Good luck and enjoy your first week!


For delivery before Christmas, orders must be placed on or before 3pm on Wednesday 20th December. We cannot guarantee delivery of these orders pre-Christmas as we are reliant on our couriers, but will use our best endeavours to get orders placed on this date out to you before Christmas. For full details of our festive delivery and opening times click here

Please note: online orders placed after 3pm on Friday 22nd December will not be dispatched until the New Year. For full details of our festive delivery and opening times click here