Published November 23, 2012
If you are thinking about starting a freshwater aquarium, there are a variety of things you need to think about. Not only do you need to decide what kind of fish you are going to keep and how you are going to equip the tank, but you also need to choose the tank itself. Aquariums come in a variety of different shapes and sizes so, if you are unprepared, it can be a difficult task to choose the perfect one. In order to choose the perfect tank for your freshwater aquarium you need to think about what type and size of fish you want to keep, how much time and effort you are willing to devote to maintenance and how much you are willing to spend on setting up the tank. Once you have an answer to these three questions you should have no trouble at all picking out a tank.
Size and Type of Fish
When you visit the pet store and walk down the aisle lined with tanks full of aquarium fish, you may not realize that most of the fish you see are juveniles. In order to determine what size tank you need you should think about the maximum size of the fish you intend to purchase – do not make the mistake of purchase half a dozen juvenile Oscars that are 1-inch long at the store without realizing that these fish can grow to be 10 inches or longer at maturity. Before you select a tank, decide what type of fish you want to keep so you can be sure to get a tank large enough to accommodate them. When selecting the fish for your tank, keep in mind the rules of tropical fish compatibility
in order to avoid problems with territoriality and aggression in your tank. You should also be aware that some species prefer to be kept on their own and, if you choose one of these fish, you may only need a tank large enough to accommodate a singular fish.
Many novice aquarium hobbyists make the mistake of assuming that a large tank will require more maintenance than a small tank. The truth of the matter is that small tanks require more maintenance because they have a smaller water capacity. As your fish eat and excrete waste, the beneficial bacteria in your tank will convert those waste products into less harmful substances. Unless you perform routine water changes, however, those substances will just build up and your tank could become a toxic environment for your fish. A tank that has a large water capacity has a greater ability to dilute those toxins which lessens the need for frequent water changes. If you do not have a great deal of time to devote to daily water changes, you may want to consider purchasing a tank 20-30 gallons in capacity (or larger) rather than a 5- or 10-gallon tank.
Cost of Tank and Equipment
Keep in mind that the larger the tank, the higher the price tag will be. While price should not be the main determining factor in your decision, it is certainly something to consider. In addition to the price of the tank itself, you also need to think about the cost of equipment
. Larger aquariums require larger filters, heaters and lighting systems which will cost more than smaller equipment. If money is a problem for you, you might want to consider purchasing an aquarium starter kit – these kits come in a variety of different sizes and they often include all of the basic equipment you need to get started.
In addition to the things already mentioned, you should also think about how much space you have for an aquarium in your home. Think about where you are going to put the tank and then decide how big a tank you can accommodate in that space. Keep in mind that you should place your tank out of direct sunlight and away from heating and cooling vents – these precautions are the key to avoiding excess algae growth and problems with temperature fluctuation in the tank. In addition to considering the tank location
, you should also think about how you want the tank to look. Modern fish tanks come in a variety of shapes including traditional rectangular, bow-front or even hexagonal – think about whether you want your tank to have a unique appearance or whether a traditional rectangular tank is adequate to suit your needs.
Picking out the right tank for your freshwater aquarium is a very important decision and it is not one that you should take lightly. By considering what type of fish you plan to keep, how much time and effort you are willing to devote to maintenance and how much you are willing to spend on the tank and necessary equipment you will have a good idea what kind of tank would best suit your needs.