Choosing Your Aquarium

Selecting an aquarium is very similar to choosing a house.  It should be big enough for the number of occupants (including room for any new additions), it must be in the right location, of sound construction, you must be able to live with it, and it must be within your price range.

When choosing an aquarium think big.  Conditions in a larger aquarium are more stable than in a smaller one, so there are generally less problems, plus more fish can be kept, and the longer you keep tropical fish the more fish you’ll want.

The overall water capacity of the aquarium is not as important as the shape and proportions.  A tall thin aquarium can hold as much water as a shallow wide aquarium, but because there is less water surface, and therefore less oxygen in the water, less fish can be kept.

To work out the number of fish an aquarium will hold, calculate out the following:

Length x Breadth of aquarium  / 12″ (75cm)

For example, if the aquarium is 24″x12″x12″ (60cm x 30cm x 30cm), the aquarium has a water surface of 288″ sq, (1800cm sq), so this would equate to 24″ (60cm) of freshwater tropical fish.  This is the length of the fish when fully grown, but excludes the tail fin.

Where to put the Aquarium

Choose a location for your aquarium carefully. 

A window location, especially one that faces the sun, is probably the worst place of all.  In hot weather the water will get too hot, and the algae will grow at an alarming rate.  In cold weather the aquarium will struggle to keep at the right temperature.

An aquarium should also ideally not be placed directly opposite a constantly slamming door, since this can frighten the fish, and could crack a glass pane.  It is also good to place the aquarium out of any draughts.

The ideal location is a dark alcove, in an unused fireplace, or along a wall, but wherever it goes, remember to ensure it is close to the power supply.  Once the aquarium is set up it isn’t easy to move it, so make sure you are happy with the location before setting it up.

When buying an aquarium you can either buy one that comes with it’s own stand or cabinet, or buy an aquarium on it’s own.  If you are planning on placing an aquarium on a piece of furniture, remember that the weight of the aquarium and the water may be too much, and you may break legs on furniture, or even break the furniture itself. 

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