Owning Aquarium - Qualities of a Good Aquarium
For owning an aquarium there is no such thing as a "perfect"
aquarium for your fish. Different pets have different needs,
and even for animals of the same species, different breeds
within the species have various physiological requirements that
you'll need to cater to. Often though, adapting an aquarium to
the specific needs of a type of fish is simply a matter of
accessorizing once you're got the basic equipment down.
One of the first things you have to consider is the type of
fish you'll be raising in the aquarium. There are subtle
differences to a salt water and fresh water aquarium, so you
have to buy one that's right for your fish. While fresh water
aquariums are much more common and traditional, salt water
aquariums are gaining in popularity due to people's wanting to
raise unique brands of fish, and even go so far as to include
live coral in their aquarium's decoration.
In either case, the first thing you need to do is to get an
aquarium that's the right size for your fish. Ask at your local
pet store when you purchase a fish what size of tank you'll
need for it; take into account the number of fish you'll be
placing in it, as well.
While some pet stores tend towards cramming large numbers of
fish into a relatively tiny tank, keep in mind that this is
because they are there for display purposes, and that those
fish are meant to be sold off quickly so comfort isn't too much
of a priority. For the long run however, you want enough space
for your fish to swim around in without getting cramped. Also
remember that some breeds of fish are aggressively territorial,
so you'll either want to place these fish in their own separate
tanks or buy larger tanks that will keep them from
On the average, tanks should have water capacities of 20
gallons or more. Along with water capacity, you should also
keep tank shape in mind... some breeds of fish prefer wide and
long but relatively shallow tanks, while others prefer deeper
Aside from tank size and water capacity, another important
consideration for an aquarium is the filter. The filter is the
heart of the tank, keeping the water clean and filled with
oxygen. Wet/dry filters with pumps are the most commonly used
for aquariums, and these keep the water circulating constantly.
They are also very easy to maintain, and relatively cheap.
Another type of filter is the gravel filter. These are more
expensive, and are harder to maintain than regular wet/dry
ones, but they provide a form of biological filtration which
can be quite benificient for your fish, removing harmful
bacteria and even, to an extent, cleaning out small particles
of algae from the water.
Third, there are fully biological filters which are composed
of living and highly decorative corals and fronds grown in
trays; while these are commonly used on full fish ponds,
miniaturized versions are available for some larger aquariums.
These biological filters are the most natural and efficient way
to keep your aquarium clean and air circulating, and they do
the best job on cleaning out algae.
This third type of filter system is probably the most
appropriate for a salt water aquariums, as the differences
between salt and fresh water isn't merely the addition of
"salt" per se, but various minerals. There is also an entire
ecological system involving ammonia and nitrogen that keeps
salt water fish alive, and that requires biological components
like marine plants to keep the cycle going. A biological filter
will be able to keep the cycle within a salt water aquarium
going, and will keep the fish in it alive.
Lastly, aside from the tank size and filter/pump system, a
good aquarium will also sport a heater system to keep the water
warm and comfortable for the fish. While this may not seem
important, remember that some breeds of fish are sensitive to
colder temperatures. Tropical fish, in particular, will need to
have an aquarium with a heater, especially when taken to a
colder climate. But even with non tropical fish, keeping the
water in an aquarium warm prevents the fish from getting sick -
yes, fish get colds too, which is why you'll actually see fish
"sunning" themselves sometimes near the water's surface in