All you need to do is no research and you can start wasting money straight away.
Simply walk into any aquarium shop and buy the first tank that catches your eye.
In a few weeks time when you have discovered that keeping fish takes a bit of knowledge, you can give up your new hobby and hey presto! job done, money wasted! If on the other hand you are serious about setting up an aquarium and want to succeed then give it a bit of thought first.
Freshwater or Marine? If you're starting out I would always recommend freshwater to start with, simply because there is less to learn and less to go wrong.
No worries about salt and less chemistry to find out about.
No need to try and imitate sea conditions, just set up a pump to create a bit of water movement.
The fish are just as good looking and interesting.
So Freshwater it is then, but what size tank.
Steer clear of the very fashionable micro tanks that are flooding the market.
They can fit nicely on a table top so that you can watch your fish die over breakfast.
If that sounds a bit strong, sorry, but unless you know the water chemistry there is a fair chance that fish in a small tank will die within a few weeks.
Fish effectively live in their own toilet.
Less water means more pollution which means unhealthy fish.
Trust me, bigger is better.
But not too big.
Go for something between 20 and 40 gallons to start off with.
Big enough to help with the water quality but small enough to manage while you are learning.
But don't buy retail! Do your research in the shops but take a look in the free ads and eBay.
Nearly 80% of people who start the hobby give up within twelve months, so get a bargain, buy a used aquarium and save about 50% Planted or unplanted? Planted tanks can hold more fish or the other way of looking at that is that planted tanks can hold the same amount of fish in cleaner water.
Fish look good amongst plants and behave more naturally in a planted tank.
Planting an aquarium doesn't need to be difficult.
There are lots of easy to care for plants that can quickly settle in and look good.
They don't cost a lot and they help to maintain the water quality so it's a no brainer as far as I'm concerned.
Finally the fish.
Again there are easy to care for, hard to kill fish that are great for beginners.
All fish have evolved to live in certain water conditions.
Some need very specific water conditions others are able to cope with a wider variety.
Go for the easy ones while you get used to the hobby.
They are usually the cheaper ones and they're great looking too.
So having shown you how to waste money setting up an aquarium, I hope that I have also given some ideas on saving money setting up an aquarium.
But whatever you do, get started it is a great hobby!