Your new freshwater aquarium can be as simple as a watertight glass box or an elaborately designed antique such as those sold by Vintage Aquariums www.vintageaquariums.com/tanks. You can spend a few dollars or hundreds of dollars.
When selecting your new aquarium, remember that other expenses related to the purchase-such as a filter, stand or cabinet, lighting, decorations and the fish-represent a significant expense as well. As the size of your selection increases so will overall costs and labor. Make sure you are comfortable with the commitment required. Fish-keeping is great fun if the costs and labor don't overwhelm you.
Follow these steps to ensure you purchase a new aquarium that addresses all your needs and wants.
- Decide what type of freshwater fish you intend to keep. Are there unique characteristics that will be important to consider when selecting your aquarium? Things to think about include:
- Adult size,
- Activity level,
- Aggressiveness, etc.
Measure the area where you intend to keep the aquarium. Remember that you may need to provide space behind your aquarium to attach heaters and filters. Make sure the location you select does not get direct sunlight.
Consider the labor involved in maintaining tanks of different sizes. A bucket and a siphon are easy and effective tools if you are maintaining a 10 or 20 gallon tank. You'll need more time and more sophisticated tools to properly maintain a 150 gallon aquarium.
Determine what shape aquarium you want. A basic rectangular aquarium is a great place to start, particularly if this is your first aquarium. Unusually tall aquariums present potential problems with oxygen exchange in your aquarium. This can be harmful to your fish. Octagonal tanks can make it more tedious to remove algae from the tank walls.
Determine if you want a glass or an acrylic aquarium. For most freshwater aquarium hobbyists a glass tank is suitable. Acrylic tanks can be somewhat lighter and are easier to drill holes into for sophisticated filtration solutions but they are also considerably more expensive.
Take the requirements you defined in steps 1-6 with you to the store. Consult these criteria to make your selection. If you are not able to find what you are looking for many pet stores will custom order your tank. If you are patient and interested in purchasing a very large or customized tank, you might consider a company called Glass Cages www.glasscages.com.
Whether you select a 5-gallon tank to keep a few guppies or a large custom aquarium to keep unique or challenging fish, you can rest easy knowing that you've taken the time to carefully consider all the criteria that will ensure your hobby remains enjoyable over time.