Choosing the Perfect Aquarium: A Guide for New Fish Owners

Feb 29, 2024

Choosing the Perfect Aquarium: A Guide for New Fish Owners

Table of contents:

  1. Size Matters
  2. Shape and Style
  3. Glass vs. Acrylic
  4. Fish Types and Their Tank Needs
  5. Budgeting for Your Aquarium
  6. Final Bubbles of Wisdom

Aquariums not only bring a slice of the underwater world into our homes but also provide a peaceful and mesmerising escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But before you can enjoy the tranquility of your own aquatic paradise, there’s one big question you need to tackle: What size and type of aquarium should you get?

This post runs through the basic options to help you make the best choice for your future finned friends.

Size Matters

When it comes to aquariums you’ll find that bigger is generally better. A larger tank provides a more stable environment for your fish, with less drastic changes in water quality and temperature.

For beginners, a 20 gallon tank (approximately 75 litres) is a great starting point. It’s manageable in size, yet offers enough space for your fish to thrive and for you to learn the ropes of fishkeeping without getting too overwhelmed.

However, if that’s not possible due to your room size or budget constraints know that even a small 5 to 10-gallon tank can make a cozy home for smaller species, like bettas or guppies. A smaller tank will need more care and attention to ensure a healthy environment for its inhabitants.

Shape and Style

Aquariums come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from the traditional rectangular tanks to more contemporary designs like bow-fronts, cylinders, and even orbs. While it’s tempting to choose based on aesthetics alone, consider the shape’s impact on your fish’s lifestyle. Long and wide tanks are preferable for most fish, providing ample swimming space. Tall tanks might look neat, but they offer less surface area for gas exchange, which can affect water quality.

Glass vs. Acrylic

You’ve got two main choices when it comes to material: glass and acrylic. Glass is the go-to for its scratch resistance and clarity, but it’s heavier and more prone to shattering.

Acrylic tanks are lighter, offer more shape variety, and provide better insulation. However, they can scratch more easily (though scratches can be buffed out). Your choice might come down to personal preference, the size of the tank and your budget!

Fish Types and Their Tank Needs

The inhabitants of your aquarium play a crucial role in deciding the tank’s size and type. Some fish, like the active goldfish, need more room to roam, while others, like the neon tetra, thrive in schools and require space to swim together. Do your homework on the fish species you wish to keep, considering their adult size, social behaviour (solitary or schooling), and habitat needs (plants, rocks, and open swimming areas).

Budgeting for Your Aquarium

Setting up and maintaining an aquarium can add up, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. A basic freshwater setup is generally more affordable than a saltwater one, both in setup and maintenance. Don’t forget to factor in the ongoing costs of fish food, water conditioners, and replacement filters, alongside the initial investment in the tank, filtration system, lighting, heater and decor.

Final Bubbles of Wisdom

Choosing your first aquarium is a big decision, but it’s also an exciting one! Take your time to research and think about not just what you want now, but what will be best for your fish in the long run. Remember, a happy fish is a healthy fish, and the more comfortable and suited their home is, the more enjoyable your fishkeeping experience will be.

So, are you ready to take the plunge? With a bit of planning and care, you’ll be well on your way to creating a beautiful, thriving aquatic environment that’ll bring joy for years to come. Happy fishkeeping!

For more information on setting up your first aquarium why not check out our beginners guide here.

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