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11 Things to Consider Before You Start An Aquarium

11 Things to Consider Before You Start An Aquarium

For many people, the idea of starting an aquarium seems like a great way to ease some stress and relax. They can be absolutely stunning to look at, however, getting everything set up can be a difficult task if you haven’t planned it.

But that shouldn’t discourage people who are new to aquariums. If you want to start a fish tank, you should know it can be an enjoyable process, free from stress. Keeping fish is quickly becoming an increasingly popular hobby, and once you have everything set up for yourself, you’ll see why!

The toughest part is getting started, but once you’re up and running, maintaining your fish doesn’t have to be a strain. Having an aquarium can add a new dimension to your home that you’ll love.
To make the whole process a lot smoother, we’re about to take you through the top 11 things to consider before you start your very own aquarium.

Picking The Perfect Fish For Your Tank

Deciding on the type of fish you want to keep in your aquarium should be one of the first things on your to-do list. The quicker you figure out which fish you want, the quicker you’ll have an understanding on how to care for them.

Different fish require different spaces, living conditions, equipment, and general care. Buying anything before picking out your fish could result in the wrong size aquarium and incorrect equipment.

So, before buying any equipment, take the time to research different kinds of fish and pick the ones you like the most or the ones that you feel you could look after the best.

Think About Your Budgeting

Once you’ve decided on the fish you want to keep, you can start thinking about the costs involved. It’s a good idea to consider how serious you are about keeping new fish as a hobby. Is it something that you think will last for a long time? Or are you trying it out to see how it goes?
If it’s your first ever aquarium, you may not want to go all-out in the beginning. Initially, you could purchase tanks on the smaller side and have fewer fish. This gives you the chance to gage whether or not it’s a hobby worth spending more money on.

The total costs involved with an aquarium may shock newbies. That’s why we recommend doing some research into the prices of tanks, filters, lights, and any other items you may need along the way. If you’re a beginner, your start-up costs will begin from around $200 upwards. Keep in mind, larger tanks are more expensive, as are certain kinds of fish!

What size will your aquarium be

The Size & Placement Of Your Tank

One of the common problems that people new to aquariums face is not only finding the most appropriate tank size but also where to place it too. This is why it’s crucial to gather all the information about your fish before you buy that awesome tank – it ensures you know what size tank you need and where you can place it.

Try selecting the most suitable room of your home for the tank to be positioned. Think about all of the accessories that come along with it, such as the cords, tubes, filters, and so on. Also, regardless of your aquarium size, you want to ensure that you place it somewhere that has a level ground. It should be somewhere safe from being accidentally knocked over too.

Furthermore, it’s vital to keep it away from doors, vents, and windows because they can cause alterations in the temperature of the water. This can lead to your fish becoming ill and causing problems.

Cycling Your Aquarium To Protect Your Fish

When you first get your aquarium up and running, the water usually remains pretty stable and it may give you the impression that it will stay like this. However, this is not the case. The fish in your aquarium release chemical waste than can be harmful. The natural bacteria in your tanks works to get rid of these potentially dangerous chemicals through a process known as the nitrogen cycle.

The fish release toxic ammonia through respiration. Their other waste and food in the tank also increase the amount of ammonia being produced. The nitrogen cycle transforms the ammonia (using the bacteria already in the fish tank) into nitrates. These can also be very dangerous.

These nitrites then get turned into nitrates. Luckily, this is where you have some control. The nitrates can be managed by carrying out simple water changes. Having enough of that good bacteria present in your tank is important for your fish’s health.

If you want to start a fish tank successfully, begin cycling it gradually by adding in a few plants, followed by some fish a couple weeks later. Always start out adding less fish than your aquarium is fit to hold. Add more fish in over a number of weeks to ensure the ecosystem is given the chance to adjust itself to the new fish. As a result, more bacteria will grow and help to get rid of the toxic waste.

start an aquarium with marine fish

Picking The Best Filtration System To Keep The Tank In Tip Top Condition

Once you’ve made a final decision on the kinds of fish you want, the amount of space you have, and how much you’re willing to spend, you’re ready to finally buy your equipment. For people completely new to aquariums, this can seem like a daunting task.

Picking out the correct filtration system is a process that can be easily broken down. There are three main types of filtration:

  • Biological filtration – Uses a biological filter media to utilize the bacteria in the tank. It protects the bacteria from damage to ensure nitrogen cycling can be carried out.
  • Mechanical filtration – Uses a mechanical filter media to get rid of big particles in the tanks. This includes dust, fish waste, or food that hasn’t been eaten. It prevents waste from accumulating and causing issues, but it must be cleaned on a regular basis.
  • Chemical filtration – Uses a chemical filter media to chemically attach itself with the molecules contained in waste products. This ensures they can be efficiently removed from the tank. Chemical filtration can also get to the waste that has dissolved in the water, which is something a mechanical filter is unable to achieve.

Learn More: The Best Fish Tank Filters For Your New Aquarium

Setting The Correct Water Temperature: Nobody Likes A Cold Crib!

Regardless on the type of the type of species you have when you want to start a fish tank, they all require a certain water temperature to remain healthy. If the temperature of the water in the aquarium goes up and down too often, it can disrupt the fish and cause them to become stressed. The more stressed they are, the more likely they are to become ill.
The majority of fish do well in water temperatures of 75-80ºF. Setting the water temperature in aquariums where there is only one kind of fish means you can keep it at the exact kind of temperatures that suit them the best.

But what about if you have a variety of fish?

Don’t panic, for multiple types of fish in a single tank, go with temperatures of 76 or 77ºF. Depending on the type of aquarium you have and the species of fish inside, you’ll have to set the temperature to whatever fits your specific requirements the best.

image of freeze dried blood worms

Feeding Your Fish

If you want your fish to be as healthy as possible, their diet is going to play a huge role. Most first-time fish owners usually turn straight to flaked foods as they are commonly available in many stores. However, these flaked foods may not actually be the most suitable option, especially if you feed them to your fish everyday. Just like us, fish can get bored of their meals too!

Therefore, adding some variety to their diet is key. Try to have a regular rotation of different foods and make sure that you’re also feeding them vitamins and supplements to increase their nutritional intake.

There are many fish lovers who use live food. This type of food can come with many benefits, as well as many downsides, therefore, if you’re a beginner, we advise staying away from live food altogether.

Some other food alternatives that you can try implementing into your fish’s diet include krill, zooplankton, pellets, and freeze-dried foods.

Adding Live Plants To Your Aquarium

Many aquarium newbies seem to be put off my introducing live plants into their tanks. However, they are super easy to implement and do a lot of good for your tank. The live plants not only add a spectacular visual appeal to your aquarium, they also provide you with some great benefits too!

They can help to increase the quality of the water, prevent too much algae from building up, and they even help your fish to become less stressed. For the most ideal plant growing conditions, use a slow-releasing fertilizer, gravel substrate, and a lamp that can produce a minimum of 1.5 watts of power per gallon of water in the tank.

Lighting Your Aquarium: Let There Be Light

If you want to start a fish tank with live plants, or other marine life, lighting is going to be crucial for their survival. Since the animals and plants in the tank cannot benefit from natural sunlight anymore, you need to provide it to them through lighting that uses a specific intensity and spectrum that will boost their longevity. It will also make your aquarium look amazing too!

Maintaining Safe Water Quality To Keep Your Fish Comfortable & Safe

The quality of the water in your aquarium affects the overall state of the life inside it. Many people find that the quality of their water begins to drop off after the first month or so. If this is the case for you, all you need to do is buy some additives and chemicals to ensure the water quality is suitable for your fish.

The kinds of products you’ll need to buy depends on the type of fish that you’re looking after. The additives could include buffers, adjusters, trace elements, or salt. You should also be using water conditioners regularly to get rid of the chemicals and chlorine contained in the tap water used for your tank.

There are numerous test kits that you can purchase that give you a good idea about the quality of your water and how steady it is.

start an aquarium

Dealing With Sick Fish

It’s inevitable, at one point or another, some of your fish will end up getting sick. And it’s completely normal. However, many fish owners feel like they can’t do anything to help them recover, but there are treatment options available. They depend on the specific condition that the fish has. An easier alternative method is to buy a second tank.

This one can be smaller as you will likely only have a few fish in there at a time (it’ll also save you some money!). You can use this second tank as a way of separating the ill fish from the healthy ones. This can aid them in recovering faster, while also ensuring that their illness doesn’t spread to the rest of the fish.

There are many things that can cause your fish to become sick. Some of the biggest causes include parasites, fungus, and bacteria. Keeping treatments for each one of these causes will help to speed up the recovery time.

Summary

Now that you know some of the most crucial aspects to consider before starting your own fish tank, you can start to get the ball rolling to have everything up and running in no time!

Remember, planning ahead is key.

Initially, trying to keep up with and remember everything you need to do can be intimidating. However, just be sure to follow the 11 tips outlined above, and you’ll soon have an aquarium in your home full of fish and life.

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