As of 2020, over 13-million homes reported having a home aquarium. Putting fish in third place for most popular pets.
Getting a home fish tank may be a little bit more complex than getting a cat or a dog. There are more moving parts and tons of options that make it seem overwhelming. But don't worry, because we're here to make it easy.
We'll go over how to most effectively pre-plan for your aquatic wonderland and how to put that plan into action.
Let's dive in!
A little planning will take you a long way.
There are some basic factors to consider before you take action, whether you are a fish tank newbie or a seasoned pro.
It's common for people to underestimate what they really need, which can lead to making compromises at the beginning that may cause problems down the road.
Before you take action consider this list. It may save you time and aggravation.
For decent equipment, plan on spending a minimum of $200-$250. If this isn't in your budget, you may want to hold off until it is.
Expenses can rack up quickly when you consider everything that's needed to get started. This includes an aquarium, a sturdy stand, a hood and light, a heater, a filter, gravel, decorations, water treatment, a net, cleaning supplies, the fish, and fish food.
It can be a lot.
Start with a list of the bare minimum you need or want. From there you can check out prices at whatever store you plan to shop at to get an idea of the true cost.
Once your base is established you can gradually add in fun fish tank accessories.
Aquarium tank sizes vary greatly. In this case, bigger is always going to be better. However, depending on how much space you have, you may have to start small.
Larger tanks are going to be easier to clean and they leave you with more room to make mistakes. If possible, a 20-gallon fish tank is a good starter size.
The fish you would like to keep will also play a role in figuring out what size tank you should get.
Most fish in pet stores are babies. If you do your job right, they will grow to full size. Doing a little research about the fish you want first will come in handy as they grow. Ideally, your tank will give them the space they need to be happy and healthy.
Finding the right space for the fish tank is also important. Once it is full of water and fish, it will be heavy and really difficult to move. Take the time to figure out where the best place is and what size tank will work for you there.
There are social groups for just about everything these days. Home aquarium enthusiasts are no exception.
Finding a group, either online or in-person meet-ups, can have many benefits. You can socialize while learning from others who share a common interest.
The fish you want to keep will influence this decision on both counts. So make sure you know what environments the fish you want to keep require.
Freshwater is classically seen as easier, but the fish tank game has changed a lot. Saltwater tanks aren't as challenging as they once were.
There are cost differences in set-up and cleaning to be considered. If you opt for a salt water aquarium vs. a freshwater aquarium, expect everything to be more expensive and more labor-intensive.
These are just a few things to think about before you start your home aquarium journey. Putting in a little effort in the beginning can help make your experience much more enjoyable in the long run.
The fish tank is arguably the most important part of your home aquarium set up. You quite literally couldn't do it without one.
It's kind of like house shopping, but for your new fish friends. You want to make the best choice for your fishes' specific needs. And you want it to look AWESOME!
There are three main types of tanks listed below. The rest of the tank accessories are highly customizable. Check out our top tanks for beginners to get you started.
These are the type normally found on T.V. shows. Most of the time they are tall and narrow, which is great for passers by looking in but not as great for certain fish.
Narrow tanks may lend themselves to problems with aeration in the long term. And they can really only house a small number of tropical fish.
If you want to build a big fish family, show fish tanks may not be the best choice.
As the name suggests, these fish tanks are long and usually shallow.
They do great with aeration, having lots of surface area. But they may require more space to install and will be on the heavier side.
Active fish and more territorial fish that hang out close to the bottom will love this particular design.
These are tanks you will find in abundance at your local pet store.
Many of them are the small, rectangular - round or hexagonal bowl design. They may be the best choice for some people with limited space. But remember that they will have less surface area and be harder to maintain in the long run.
Whatever style you choose, make sure to look at the L x W x H of the aquarium. Even if they look similar, their specifics may be quite different.
You'll also want to make note of the fish tank's weight, both when the tank is empty and when it's full of water.
You will need to make sure the floor you are planning to put it can hold the weight safely. Make sure there is enough space above the aquarium for feeding and maintenance.
Maintaining your fish tank will take time and effort. But if you follow our tips it should be a breeze.
1. Stick to a Feeding Schedule
Make it a part of your own daily routine so it's not an extra thing you have to do.
2. Change the Water Weekly
As a general rule of thumb, you should plan to change 10-20% of your tank's water every week.
3. Test Your Aquarium Water Weekly
Keep a tank journal and log the results of your tests. Even if there are no problems, checking your water weekly will help you stay on top of your tank's health. It may even help you become aware of any issues before they become a big, expensive problem.
4. Develop A Maintenance Checklist
Routine maintenance is the way of life for aquarists. Make a list of everything that needs to be done each month, and check it off as you go. Or knock it all out one day a month.
Find what works best for you and stick with it.
5. Automate What You Can
Some equipment gives you the option to automate certain functions. Take advantage of this wherever you can. It will be less for you to think about, and your fish friends will thank you.
6. Keep Your Aquarium Stocked
Once you have your routines worked out, you should know what components you need on a regular basis. Try to keep those things on hand. It will just make your life easier.
If you follow these guidelines, keeping your tank clean and healthy should be a stress-free experience.
As it turns out, there are actually some legit health benefits to having a home aquarium.
Once you get it all up and running, you can look forward to enjoying reduced stress levels, better sleep, lowered blood pressure and heart rate, decreased pain and anxiety, and improved focus and creativity.
Children and the elderly can also benefit tremendously from a home aquarium.
When kids with hyperactivity disorders can watch fish swim around, magic happens. They are calmed down and are able to focus better, which is a win for parents and kids alike.
Studies with Alzheimer's patients have yielded similar results. When they were able to watch fish swim around, their appetites increased. Not only that, but their behaviors were minimized.
Perhaps even more exciting is that those patients had better short term memory and required fewer medications.
These benefits can be expected no matter what size or type of tank you opt for.
As you can see, anyone can develop and implement a plan to build a home aquarium. It doesn't have to be costly or difficult at all.
Yes, there are a lot of options and things to consider. But if you put together a good pre-plan and do your research first, you can make it happen.
The many benefits associated with in-home aquariums make the initial work required totally worth it. A well-planned fish tank can bring hours of enjoyment and enhance your family's health.
If you have any questions about best practices or need additional guidance please reach out! Additionally, you can subscribe to our blog to stay in-the-know about new trends in the world of amateur aquarists.