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Your Useful Guide to Buying a Fish Tank

Posted by on Aug 30 2018

Choosing a fish tank is a more complex task than many people are aware of. Winning a goldfish at a summer fate and coming home to place the goldfish in a glass bowl is a common habit amongst many, but unfortunately, this small enclosed space doesn’t cut it.

If you are serious about the matter and really want to set up a fish aquarium, there are many variables to consider when choosing a fish tank that will allow you to keep tropical and freshwater fish in your home and living comfortably for many years to come.

A successful fish tank setup can bring an air of calm or relaxation into your home, as well as being a source of entertainment, education and fun for the family… or employees if you choose to set up a tropical fish tank for within an office or working environment.

If you want to get the most from your new hobby, whilst also creating a homey and familiar environment for your fish, the fish tank you buy and the aquarium design you choose is imperative.

We have compiled this guide in the hopes of helping you buy the perfect fish tank, including how to choose a fish tank and how to set up an efficient and welcoming home aquarium.

The bigger, the better…

The principal and most crucial consideration when you buy a fish tank is choosing the correct size of fish aquarium.  If a tank is too small, it will cause many complications and ill-health for your fish, so it is important to purchase a tank of adequate size.

The direct impacts of using a fish aquarium that is too small for the quantity or size of your fish is a lack of oxygen for your fish, it is easier for toxins to build up quicker in a smaller volume of water and of course, fish need to be able to comfortably move around their aquarium tank and have ample personal space – just as we do!

You should stick to a MINIMUM of a 10 gallon water volume when you buy a fish tank and even then, this is a minimum allowance for a small quantity of tiny fish, the optimum tank size is a 30 litre fish tank. The bigger the better, there is no such thing as a fish tank that is too large for your fish, the more space your fish friends have, the happier they will be and the more they will flourish.

Filtration is critical!

Having an sufficient aquarium filter system is also imperative for the health and survival of your fish. There are numerous fish tank filtration systems on the market, each with varying benefits, so it is up to you to research and find which is best for YOUR fish and YOUR aquarium.

Having said that, there are still general guidelines to help you along the way to choosing the best aquarium filtration system. There are three main types of filter system; mechanical, biological and chemical filtering systems and these are available in different forms.

  • Canister Filters – Canister filters have mechanical components and are often very powerful, therefore making them perfect for use in large scale aquariums
  • Power Filters – Power filters are the most common amongst home aquarium owners. The filter is a mixture of both chemical and biological and they are conveniently placed on the back of fish tank
  • Trickle Filters – Also known as wet/dry filters, trickle filters use biological components that render them ideal for saltwater aquariums. Trickle filters generate the ideal biological efficiency and users are able to add chemical filtration when needed
  • Corner Filters – If you only have a small tank, corner filters are simple to use and compact, meaning you can place it in the corner of your small fish tank

Tactical fish tank placement

Regardless of the size of your tank and the filtration system you use, you still need to be mindful and tactful with the positioning of your aquarium, whether this is a tropical fish tank, saltwater or fresh water fish tank.

Firstly, your fish aquarium needs to be on a flat and solid surface. Secondly, you should focus on finding an area that is out of accidental reach so that your fish tank cannot be knocked over.

Your aquarium should be out of the direct line of any windows to avoid excess light entering your tank, as this can result in algae build up and alter the water temperatures. Also, try to keep your fish tank away from radiators, portable heaters and the likes, as constant dramatic change in the temperature of your water is harmful to your fish.

Let there be light… and heat!

If you have living plants in your aquarium, suitable fish tank lights are required to keep these alive and also if your aquarium is going to house marine animals that fully depend on light for food.

Fish tank lights will also make your fish look great, but you must remember to properly regulate your aquarium lighting if you do use it, bearing in mind that no fish are exposed to consistent light when in their natural habitat.

In regards of heating your fish tank, each individual species of fish will have their own temperature requirements that you must research prior to buying your fish. The only way to gurantee a consistent and accurate water temperature is to buy a heating system and to monitor the water temperature regularly with thermostat to watch for fluctuations.

Do you need fish tank decorations?

Fish tank decorations are entirely up to the preference of the owner. However, the majority of hobbyists do opt to include aquarium decorations to make a familiar and homely environment for their pet fish.

Having said that, substrate, the substance that lines the floor of your fish tank should be used in all cases. There are different types of substrates that you can choose from, each with different suitability’s and price points.

  • Gravel and sand are common for home aquariums, but only if there are no living plants in your fish tank
  • Crushed coral or aragonite is ideal for use in fish aquariums, reef aquariums or those with living marine life.
  • Laterite and vermiculite will be great assistance with helping a planted tank thrive and grow

Fish tank decorations that are entirely optional but will help your fish tank look extremely impressive and homely and artificial plants or grass, faux corals, fish tank ornaments, rock formations and the likes.

Following our handy guide to buying a fish tank is a great starting point for any beginners and first time fish owners. However, each individual fish species has their own unique needs and requirements and so we always recommend researching your fish beforehand and buying your fish tank and aquarium equipment accordingly.

If you need any help getting started with your first home aquarium or if you have any other general enquires about buying a fish tank, call the experts in our aquarium shop today on 01922 416284.

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