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Fish Tanks, Aquariums | Home Fish Aquarium Guide

Home Fish Aquarium Guide

Fishkeeping Information and Resources for the Home Aquarium

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My Freshwater Aquarium Secrets

Fish Tanks, Aquariums

So, you’ve read this far, you want a pet fish and you want to learn a little bit more about fish tanks, aquariums and just what all you will need to get to take care of a fish pet. The first thing I would suggest you do is to not look at the starter kit fish tank aquariums that they have out on the market. Why? Well, the truth is that most of those are really below the recommended size for starting out. 5 gallons, most people will tell you is really not the ideal size for a beginner to start with. Start looking at your 10 and 20 gallon tanks.

What kinds of things will you need to go with it?

An air pump is somewhat important. Most fish tank setups make use of an air pump to get the water circulating and make their filter work.

A filter, this is a biggie. Many of the kits come with an undergravel filter. Basically the undergravel filter is just a platform that your aquarium gravel sits on. Air is then pumped up a lift tube which causes the water to circulate up and through the lift tube. Then debris is pulled down to the gravel along with the water and the process continues. Some hate undergravel filters. If they are not cleaned frequently the debris that accumulates could accumulate, dangerous substances could then be created and poison your fish. I haven’t had our undergravel filter fail like this (yet), but that’s a main reason why some people despise them.

A Sponge filter or floss filter may be recommended, there are numerous ways these filters can be mounted. Some of them will mount on the side or back of the tank and pull water out of the tank and over the filter media. Others may be outside the tank in a canister and pull water out and then back in. Most all will try to disturb the surface of the water in the fish tank so that the water is aerated well. (No the bubbles alone don’t put oxygen in the water, the disturbance of the surface of the water helps the absorption of dissolved oxygen.) Some sponge filters may just connect to a lift tube and get lowered into the tank and attach to an air pump. If this is the case they operate similar to the undergravel filter except the sponge medium becomes the part that the debris and water passes through on it’s way to the lift tube and the water and bubbles go up through the tube.

There are fancier filters as well. Saltwater tanks will need other accessories. I suggest for a beginner to go with fresh water tanks they are easier to set up.

An aquarium heater is not necessarily essential, that depends on the kind of fish you want to keep. If they are tropical fish though, get an aquarium heater. From my experience it’s best to OVERbuy on the heater. If you have a 10 gallon tank, get one that will heat up to a 20 gallon tank. Don’t get JUST enough heater to do it. Odds are if you do it will have to run a lot and have a hard time keeping the temperature up to the amount that you’ve set.

A cover. If you go out and just get a plain glass or acrylic fish aquarium you will need to make sure to get a cover as well. This is a good time to consider if you’ll have a lighted aquarium. It’s not necessary to have a lit aquarium. If you plan to have live plants though, you may want a light to benefit them. It also may make viewing your fish more entertaining.

Fish net – pretty much a necessary item to get fish in and out of your tank. Timer if you like to switch the light on and off is a good investment. Food, depending on the type of fish you’re going to get you’ll choose your food based on their needs. Test kits. At least get the following test kits. Ph, Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates. It’s important to know what you’re water is like. Don’t skimp on the test kits, get good ones and it will be easier to interpret.

You’ll also want a sturdy platform for your aquarium. Water get’s heavy. 10-20 gallons of water is VERY heavy think about that before putting your new 20 gallon fish tank on the heirloom furniture. It’s not unheard of for tanks to leak on occasion or spill at the top. Think about that too and plan accordingly. We have an acrylic aquarium and while it doesn’t really leak, the platform it’s on is not exactly level. So, one side of the aquarium has a little bit of runoff when we fill it (where the top cover meets the side “glass”.) So, everytime I fill it I have to sponge a bit of water off the side and the no skid cloth we have down underneath it.

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September 6, 2009 - 9:58 PM