Thursday, July 10, 2008

Selecting Your First Aquarium

You've decided to take the plunge . . . you want an aquarium. So its easy right? You just go to the local fish store and grab a 10 gallon tank, a cheap filter, a heater some gravel and decorations, you think your all set. A couple of months later you are dismayed that your tank is full with only 8 or 9 small tropical fish, you have had to upgrade to a better filter and you couldn't get the fish you really wanted because they would get too big or aggressive for a tank of your size. Many people start out in the hobby this way. There is however a better way to go about it. It involves doing some research and waiting a little bit before getting your first aquarium.

Step One
The first step to acquiring an aquarium that you will be happy with is to go to the local fish stores and look at the fish. Bring a notepad and a pen with you and give yourself a good amount of time. Just look at the fish for awhile, write down the names of ones you like. Make notes about what it is you like about them. Maybe its the way they all swim together, perhaps the color, possibly the way it comes up to glass and looks right at you. Once you have gone to several local fish stores and have a good list of fish you can move on to step two.

Step Two
Now that you have a long list of fish that you like its time to jump online and do some research. Usually finding a good online fish group, such as TFA will be helpful in this area, you can ask questions and get answers from knowledgeable hobbyists. Things you want to find out about each type of fish are adult size, water chemistry needs (such hardness and pH), dietary needs (will they need a special food?), temperature requirements and compatibility (are they aggressive, peaceful, like to live in groups or alone?). Once you have done your research on the type of fish you like, plan your tank. Decide which types you want to have, how many of each and how big they get. This will help you determine what size aquarium to get. While you are researching fish, get reviews on different products. Things to read about are filters, heaters and water conditioners. Doing your research now can pay off later as you will be able to avoid unnecessary purchases and tank upgrades. You will know that the oscar you really liked will need a 75 gallon aquarium all to itself within a years time and can save a couple hundred dollars by buying an appropriate sized aquarium the first time around. Once all of this is done you can move to step three.

Step Three
Purchase your aquarium! All the hard work and research is done with and you can finally go to your locally owned fish store and get your supplies! Because you have done your research and planned out your aquarium you know what size aquarium you need, which filter you want, which heaters to avoid and that you don't need all those extra chemicals you see sitting on the shelves.

Doing some research ahead of time will make the aquarium hobby a more pleasant experience for you and the fish you decide to keep. Have fun with it!

Picture credits:

threefingeredlord, skippy13, Jarosław Pocztarski's,



Julia said...

Good post! I personally chose a simple tank to begin with and evolved along the way but I do appreciate the importance of right planning.

Julia said...

Tried to find your contact info to suggest maybe exchange links between our blogs but failed.
If you can please contact me

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