Having a beautiful aquarium filled with freshwater tropical fish can be a real feature in any home, and if set up and maintained correctly, can give countless hours of pleasure for not too much time or effort.
The key is all in the planning – firstly, where will the aquarium live in your home? Once it is filled with water it’s not moving anywhere, so choosing the right place the first time is critical. It should be placed out of direct sunlight, and not in any draughts, which will disturb the water. Don’t forget also to have an electric supply handy nearby, so you can plug in the light, filter and heater that you will almost certainly need.
Secondly, what size aquarium should you buy? I would always recommend buying as large an aquarium as you can afford, both financially and space-wise. Keeping freshwater tropical fish is addictive, and you will never wish you had bought a smaller aquarium. Also, the larger the aquarium the easier it is to maintain optimum water quality, so it will save on maintenance as well. I would also recommend buying an aquarium, which is wider than it is tall, as the size of the water surface is also important for your tropical fish, so a tall, thin aquarium is far from ideal.
If you are planning on placing your new aquarium on a piece of furniture, do check it is strong enough to hold the weight of the aquarium and all the water, the last thing you want is your beautiful aquarium crashing to the floor with your precious tropical fish inside.
Once you have purchased your aquarium and found a good home for it, now is the time to put the filter, light and heater in place, and fill it with water and gravel in preparation for your freshwater tropical fish. Do not be in a hurry here, as tempting as it is to rush and get a huge assortment of fish as soon as possible. Plan the fish you would like to have in your aquarium before you start.
Would you like a species tank, where you have only one type of fish? This is usually because the fish you have chosen does not live happily with other breeds of fish. I would suggest that if this is your first aquarium you look at getting a community tank, where you get a variety of different fish, which live happily together. There are many types of community fish which are relatively easy to keep, and will look stunning together in an aquarium.
Some freshwater tropical fish like to spend most of their time near the surface of the water, some prefer the middle of the aquarium, and others are happiest down at the bottom, so it is advisable to get a mixture so you get a balanced aquarium. You must also ensure you do not over-fill your aquarium, putting too many fish in is a very easy thing to do, but is a sure way to lose some of your fish. When calculating how many freshwater tropical fish your aquarium can hold, remember that when you buy them from the pet store they are young, and could well have a lot of growing to do.
Get this right, and you will get many years of pleasure from your freshwater tropical fish.