Fish are often considered to be simple, low maintenance pets. While this may be true when comparing them to cats and dogs, keeping your fish in a clean and safe environment can be a much bigger task than many anticipate.
A well-kept aquarium with all necessary equipment is essential for the health and good quality of life of your fish. Read more here before heading to your local pet shop so you don’t overlook any of the essential pieces.
Tank and a Stand
As a general rule of thumb, the bigger aquarium you buy, the easier it will be to maintain it because toxins accumulate much faster in a small volume of water. The available space you have and the cost are certainly the limiting factors, but it is advised to avoid tanks that are under 10 gallons. Ideally, opt for tanks of 20 or more gallons as it is easier to keep water chemistry stable in larger tanks. The more water there is, the harder a small chemical change can cause a big change in relative concentration.
Tanks come in many shapes and sizes, but the main two types are glass and acrylic tanks. Glass tanks are usually the preferred choice because they are cheaper and more sturdy than acrylic tanks which require support on the bottom surface and the edges. They are also harder to scratch. However, acrylic tanks are a great choice if you have children as it’s impossible to break them, and they don’t distort the view like the glass does. The shape and size of the tank are up to you but avoid tanks with high edges and a small base so the fish would have a bigger space to swim through.
Remember to always use a designated aquarium stand because an aquarium of 20 gallons will weigh more than 200 pounds and the common household furniture will not be able to sustain the weight.
Lights and Hood
The hood is made of two parts, the lid, and lights. The main function of the hood is to prevent the fish from jumping out of the tank. The lid portion should seal the edges to stop the water from evaporating from the tank. This will ensure the room humidity will remain unchanged and you won’t have to keep adding water to the tank every other week.
The light highlights the colors of your fish and the decorations in your tank, and it also provides energy for the plants. If you want to know about the best aquarium plants, you can read more here to find out the details. Incandescent bulbs are not the best choice as they can give off too much heat to the water and cause unnecessary overheating. Whether or not you are growing plants, fluorescent lighting is highly recommended because it uses less electricity than incandescent bulbs and doesn’t heat the water.
Two necessary items for temperature maintenance are heaters and thermometers. Heaters regulate the temperature of the water by warming it up or cooling it down. They should be placed at the very bottom in the middle of the tank. This is why subversive heaters are better than partially submerged ones as they will better distribute heat to the water. Avoid heaters that are too big for your tank, as they will cause the water to become very hot and endanger your fish. Thermometers verify that the water in your tank stays at its right temperature. Aquarium thermometers either float on the surface or hang from the edge of the tank.
Filtration and Maintenance Supplies
The filtration system is a crucial part of your aquarium set up. It can be divided into three parts: biological, mechanical, and chemical. Aquarium filters usually include all three of these aspects.
Mechanical filtration removes bigger particles such as uneaten food or leaves before they decompose into ammonia. Biological filtration is an absolute must because it decomposes the toxic ammonia which is a fish waste product. It is also the least expensive and the most stable filtration system.
Chemical filtration acts short term to remove toxic wastes. Read more here to get an idea of what the basic supplies for maintaining water chemistry are. The water conditioner removes chlorine, ammonia, and toxic metals. It should be used in tap water before filling the tank. Test kits are made to test for many all the important parameters of an aquarium: pH, nitrite, nitrate, ammonia, chlorine, hardness, and alkalinity.
Remember to take your time and make a proper checklist before buying an aquarium. A fully equipped and set up fish tank is hard to replace.