Updated: Feb 1
Ever wondered to own an Aquarium and felt a loss of guidance as to how to go about buying one. There is a lot of information available nowadays through YouTube, Google searches, blogs, articles, etc. @ aquafishcare we make life much simpler.
The Above questions need to be asked to yourselves before venturing into buying an Aquarium. Quite often it is found that the beginners to the hobby are influenced by other people who own an aquarium or by a visit to an aquarium shop and then repent the whole idea of getting into an aquarium hobby.
In the first place, I strongly believe that the purpose of getting an Aquarium should be clearly defined especially at home. One of the most important reasons can be to instill "Responsibility" in a Child to look after the fish. The other reason can be enhancing the aesthetics of the living room. Once the purpose is defined, then the responsibility of the maintenance, cleaning, and feeding of fish should also be allocated. I remember once my neighbor brought the tank just because his 8-year-old son insisted, the poor daddy did not know that he would wind up doing all the cleaning up and even feeding the fish. You can just imagine the entire mess in the long run.
Remember, the Aquarium hobby is not cheap. My intention is not to scare the beginners nor dissuade you from owning an Aquarium. The initial cost is buying an Aquarium and all the accessories that go along with it. The gravel, the décor, the filter, the light, and finally the fish. I will come to the selection of the fish later in the Article. If it's a kid who is an influencer then I would recommend buying a small tank initially ( 1 foot to 1.5 feet in length )and getting used to it. Finally, after 6 months depending on comfort, you can go for a bigger tank with more inhabitants. Owning a tank should be an enjoyable process and not a stressful process. It is always seen that a wrong decision and with no purpose in mind can lead to a stressful situation of owning an Aquarium in the long run.
The Size and location of an Aquarium
Once the purpose is defined clearly the next is the size of an Aquarium. I would like to suggest once again a smaller tank, in the beginning, is highly recommended. And then go for a bigger tank depending on the room size. The view of the tank needs to be enjoyed by everyone at home. It will be wonderful to have an Aquarium located where people can sit around and have their discussions. This also helps the owner to know what is happening in the tank. The condition of the water and the inhabitants in the aquarium.
The Aquarium should not be kept directly under the Air condition unit. The location of the tank is a strict "No-No" if it's kept near the window with direct sunlight coming into the tank which can result in algae growth and green water. The location of the tank should be visually appealing to everyone and not block any view. Most importantly, an aquarium should be easily accessible for maintenance and cleaning. Also, please take off the carpets as this can be damaged during cleaning. Always cover it up with plastic. The other reason is the pets.
Please do cover the Tank if you have pets. You do not want your pet to stress the fish, or drink water from the aquarium nor do you want to have your pets “PISS” into the tank. The location of the tank should take all precautions into account. Even if there are smaller children the Aquarium should not be kept closer to them resulting in accidental mishaps.
Many are very conscious about placing their tanks in the direction of “Luck, the flow of positive energy, etc". In this case, avoid aquariums or any water bodies in the bedroom. Check with your Vastu, Feng-Sui consultant for the exact location of an Aquarium in the Living room.
The Aquarium maintenance :
The most important part of having an Aquarium is to have time to do maintenance that is cleaning, siphoning the gravel, removing the algae from inside the Glass, cleaning the filters, cleaning the floor, cleaning the carpet, etc. In short, we call it a “Messy” affair for customers unless they have hired a third party to do their maintenance. Most aquarists tend to neglect this part in the beginning or just give up their scheduled dates of cleaning the tanks. Postpone the cleaning process and you have a dirty aquarium resulting in Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate issues. . At first everything is in order but then laziness starts creeping in, as a result, there is no joy left in maintaining the tank. Some just give up because of boredom. That is why I strongly recommend a smaller tank with just a single fish (betta) or a pair of fish with the right ecosystem to dwell. The bigger the tank the more time is needed for the maintenance. Start small, get used to it, and then go in for a bigger tank. You can anytime make use of the smaller tank as a hospital tank. Maintenance is a crazy job, some love to do it and they call it a ”stress buster”. But quite often people tend to just neglect and give up. Don’t invest in an aquarium if you don't have enough time. Remember life inside an Aquarium depends upon you and only you can provide the ecosystem.
A word of caution: Always switch off the electricals before doing any maintenance.
Now, when the time is right and you have decided on "A purpose" to have an aquarium, here are the things you need to consider to have an aquarium that can be an ideal ecosystem.
Never Trust the sellers at an aquarium shop. Most often the fish sellers will not advise you on the compatibility of fish in an aquarium. They are more interested in selling you a tank and fish along with it. Never buy the fish and the aquarium to gather. Give your tank enough time to re-cycle. Bring the fish after 15 days. Some aquarists nearly bring in the first fish after a month. First and foremost research your fish. Let me make it much simpler for you to select the fish.
There are many types of species that you can consider for your tank. You can decide on which type of species you want the setup 1) Community fish tank (mostly central American fish) 2)monster fish tank 3)African cichlid tank or American cichlid tank) Species only tank. (Like goldfish only, tetra tank)
Below is the article, I have mentioned the link to download the compatibility chart for your understanding of fish species. Please refer to it.
We recommend the first tank as a betta tank. With a small tank of 1-foot lengthx1 feet width x 1feet height ( A cute little cube), You can have a good simple décor, a simple filtration system, and quality fish food to feed the betta once a day. Get used to the routine of doing the maintenance, cleaning, and feeding of the betta.
Essential Requirements for the Fish Hobby for beginners
Size of the Tank
· An appropriate fish tank, size can depend on the availability of space. We highly recommend a smaller tank (6 gallons) to start the hobby for a beginner.
· There are two types of tanks
1. Ready-made tanks (with all built-in – filters, light, temperature controllers, and heater) buy a smaller ready-made tank. Here the only disadvantage is that you can never repair parts if they fail. It will be very difficult to replace the faulty parts. Readymade tanks are of fixed sizes. Research well and take your measurements accurately to avoid disappointment later.
2. The other fish tank to consider is to have a customized aquarium. Here the tank will be separate, the filter will be separate, and the lights can be fixed separately, You are no more depending upon one source in a customized Aquarium. So if any part is faulty and not working, one can replace it immediately. A customized tank can be a little costlier than a ready-made tank.
The decor of an Aquarium
Secondly, you will need to consider the décor. Research on the décor as some décor might not be suitable for the Aquarium. It might raise the ph level, much to the discomfort of the fish. For an African cichlid tank, you will need a rock set up with a fine substrate. For a betta tank, it will be appropriate to have a planted setup or a setup with some hiding place for a betta to rest.
Light for an Aquarium
Lighting plays a very crucial role, especially in a planted tank. It helps in photosynthesis and also brings out the best in the color of the fish. Lights should not be kept on 24/7. It will result in Algae. For a non-planted tank, a duration of 6 hours is recommended at the beginning, and slowly increasing it to a maximum of 8 hours in a day. This can all be achieved with a timer so that you can have a fixed time for having your lights ON and OFF.
Fish Net and Siphoning pipe
Handle your fish appropriately by using fishnets. Use an appropriate size of a fishnet. For a smaller tank, you can go for a smaller 4-inch net. You will require a siphoning pipe to remove the water and clean the Gravel. You get the siphoning pipe with every seller. It will be difficult to do water changes if you do not have one.
Your seller can recommend to you an appropriate filters depending on the size of your Aquarium. Your filter should allow filtration of the water at least four times the volume of water in your tank. All readymade tanks come with ready filters. Never overdo with filters. A filter should not put the fish in an uncomfortable position with undue high pressure or high outflow. It will be better to have filters where there is an option to adjust the speed of the outflow. Always buy a good filter that can circulate water across the tank without leaving any dead spots. There are different types of filters :
· Internal filters (these come with ready-made tanks or you can buy them separately.
· Overhead filter
· Hang on back filter
· Canisters (recommend for a larger tank with a high volume of water)
A good filtration should take care of trappings all the debris floating in the water, it should oxygenate the Aquarium, it should flow out clean water, A filter should take care of mechanical filtration, biological filtration (should store up good nitrifying bacteria and chemical filtration includes carbon to polish the water). Heaters are needed in winters. The temperature needs to be regulated. Research your fish, especially for the temperature they live in. If you are staying in north India, it is a good practice to keep the heater on standby during winters. Buy a reputed brand heater like Atman, Fluval, or even Eheim. A cheap heater will boil your fish. It will just fluctuate. Submersible heaters are commonly sold in India.
Aquarium Fish Food
The seller will be able to guide you with advice on the fish food.
Tip:- Never buy fish food with inferior ingredients. Always buy good quality food with premium ingredients. This will allow the fish to easily digest, less poo, and excellent growth with good coloration. Do not go for any artificial colors. This can seriously damage the fish's health in the long run. Also research on the protein level in fish food. Different fish require different protein levels as their dietary requirement. Fish are herbivorous, carnivorous, and omnivorous. There are different types of fish food in the market. Never feed live worms. The source of live worms is very important. If you trust the source then it is OK to buy the blood worms. If you are not sure please stay away from living blood worms, they might just introduce the virus into the tank that can kill the fish.
Anti-chlorine and bacteria creation
Also, buy De-Chlorinator. Use the de-chlorinator after every water change and during the setup. Different companies are dealing with de-chlorinator. At our facilities, we use a world-class product called Seachem Prime. If you want to be a serious Aquarist start by using “Seachem Prime" and keep it as your best aquatic friend. A friend in need is a friend indeed. If you want to cycle the tank faster, then you can use ready-to-use good nitrifying bacteria in the tank. Seachem Stability is an excellent source of ready bacteria. This good bacteria will break down any Organics waste, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Seachem Stability will prevent " A New Tank Syndrome" and set your bio-filter.
Finally the Fish
Please do not buy any fish on the very first day along with the tank. Many of them do this cardinal mistake. The tank needs to be re-cycled and settled.
The tank when it's new needs to have completed the "Nitrogen cycle".
Introduce a pair of fish after 2 weeks. Check on the Fish and their movements.
Steps to introduce fish into the aquarium at any stage and safely:
When you bring the new fish, We would recommend you to buy a Betta as your first fish.
Firstly, you need to acclimatize the fish to the temperature of your Aquarium by keeping the plastic bag in the Aquarium for at least 20 minutes so that the temperature in the bag can be adjusted to the water temperature of the tank.
Secondly, open the bag and for the next 5 minutes, you can put the little tank water into the plastic and keep it for five minutes.
Lastly, with the help of the net, remove the fish and put it into the tank.
No water from the plastic bag should enter your Aquarium.
Observe, Observe and Observe your fish for the next 20 minutes under lights. At first, Your fish will hide, this is a natural process. Switch off your lights and stay away from the tank. Feed your fish the next day.
Bonus Tip: Compatibility Freshwater fish Chart
Use the following chart put together by Aquarium Industries to create a better ecosystem in an aquarium. It will help an aquarist to understand the freshwater species' compatibility with the other tank species and take a sound decision not to bring a monster into the tank.
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Author: Sunil Dcosta (www.aquafishcare.com)