Which comes first, the fish or the tank? You might think the answer to that question is ridiculously obvious. You can’t keep fish as pets without a tank, so the tank comes first, right?
Not exactly. According to our tips for selecting the right tank for a freshwater aquarium, you can’t choose the right tank until you know what kind of fish you’re going to put in it. So, our first tip is to choose the species of fish you plan to keep.
Fish grow. Those cute little swimmers you see in racks of aquariums at a pet store are probably babies. Do a little research about the types of fish you’d like to keep in your tank—especially about how large they become in adulthood.
Also consider compatibility. Some fish are aggressively territorial, and they won’t tolerate other fish that they regard as intruders in their space. Consult the experts at Natural Environment Aquatix. We can give advice on what species of fish do well together, and which are good for a beginner’s aquarium. Our online aquarium fish store has lots of information about fish species, and you can order online and have your fish shipped to you, live.
Large tanks need to be cleaned less often than small tanks because they hold more water, more beneficial plants, and they dilute toxins from fish waste more effectively. You must still change the water frequently and choose the right plants and equipment to create the best environment for your fish.
At a minimum, you’ll need a filter, light, and heater. Depending on the surface area of the tank opening, you may also need an aerator to ensure the water in the tank has enough oxygen. You’ll also need proper water conditioner, fish food, gravel or sand for the bottom of the tank, and a net. Costs for this equipment can add up, so do the math for all the accessories you’ll need in addition to the tank itself.
Before you buy a tank for a freshwater aquarium, decide where you’ll put it. A fish tank should not be placed in direct sunlight or near vents, drafts, radiators, or air conditioners. These things can disrupt the tank environment, alter the water temperature, or even encourage algae growth. Don’t put the fish tank in the same room as the television. The two will compete for your attention and you’ll end up distracted either way.
A gallon of 70-degree water weighs a little over eight pounds. Multiply the capacity in gallons of the tank you’re thinking about and determine if the place you plan to put it in your home can support it. A large tank may require a dedicated aquarium stand.
We hope these tips on choosing the right tank for a freshwater aquarium will help you get started on a wonderful adventure owning fish as pets.