Fish Tank Guide: Don’t Get the Wrong Fish Tank

An aquarium with brightly colored inhabitants and decorations may make an attractive focal point for a room. With so many offerings available, choosing the best fish tank for your home can be as much fun as feeding and caring for your fish. To help determine how to buy a fish tank that works for you, consider the type of fish you have or plan to get.

>> Consider material

There are two primary types of fish tanks: glass and acrylic.

Glass tanks are traditional, scratch-resistant and easy to clean. Glass betta fish tanks represent an inexpensive way to start raising fish as these kinds of fish require little maintenance. Due to their heavy weight -even when empty -glass tanks are the best fish tanks for permanent placement.

Acrylic is another material used in the construction of fish tanks. Fish are viewed more easily through acrylic because there is less distortion. These lightweight tanks resist chipping and are moved easily when empty.

>> How large does your fish tank need to be?
Of all features, fish tank sizes are definitely the most abundant. There are cool fish tanks available in any size from one gallon to 300 gallons. In general, it's a good idea to get a slightly larger aquarium than you think necessary so you can add more fish later on. In addition to providing plenty of space, larger tanks are less likely to have drastic temperature or pH changes, making them easier to maintain. When measuring for placement, remember to factor in extra space so you can reach into the tank for cleaning and feeding.

The general rule for determining what size tank to choose is to allow one gallon of water per fish. For example, 20-gallon fish tanks are large enough for a small school of fish or a variety of different species. The best fish tanks for your new pets are those that provide enough room for fish to move comfortably and be visible without crowding.

>> Consider shape and style

There are many fish tank designs from which to choose. In terms of style and size, the best fish tanks for your fish are those that have enough surface area for the fish to rise and get oxygen. A long, narrow tank gives fish a greater distance to swim when they circle the walls of the tank.

In addition to different types of fish tanks in shapes ranging from squares and rectangles to hexagons and octagons, there are also unique fish tanks in all sorts of interesting, uncommon shapes. For example, a star-shaped tank makes a whimsical addition to a child's room.

A larger space gives you a lot more freedom when it comes to fish tank dimensions. A large, impressive floor-standing aquarium, for example, makes for an attractive focal point in any room. Floor and tabletop aquariums provide convenient access from above for quick cleanup and unobstructed visibility on all sides.

In smaller homes, placing tanks on a wall is a practical solution. If you have small children, these are safer than floor or table tanks, because they can be mounted high enough to be out of reach. You also have the option of cutting a hole in a wall between two rooms to install a fish tank that can then be viewed as living art from both rooms.

>> Consider essentials for a clean, safe tank

Water in aquariums must be changed on a regular basis to keep the environment clean. While small fish bowls don't require filters, the best fish tanks are usually equipped with them. Such important fish tank accessories are necessary for keeping the fish in larger aquariums healthy and the water clear. Consider the different varieties of aquarium filters available:

Filtering method How the filter works Canister filters Water forced through canister filters efficiently catches particles of uneaten food or other solid waste in a physical filter. Dissolved waste is trapped in a chemical filter as it moves through it. Colonies of bacteria remove excess nitrogen before the water is returned to the tank. Canister filters need to be changed regularly to prevent buildup. Power filters Some power filters use a permanent filter, but others use easily swapped cartridges. Power filters work well for small fish tank dimensions (under 55 gallons) and can be used in pairs for larger aquariums. Wet/dry filters Wet/dry filters pull tank water in and spray it across a bacteria colony. The biological filter removes the excess nitrogen and other dissolved wastes. Water is then passed through a filter so solid wastes can be removed before the water is returned into the aquarium. Fluidized filters Fluidized filters pass the water through small particles of synthetic material or sand. Large amounts of bacteria grow on the surface area of the particles, creating an extremely effective biological filter. Fluidized filters are relatively small and are excellent for use in supplementing canister filters or in tanks with a large fish population. Natural light is also important for the health of your fish and aquarium plants, but putting a tank in direct sunlight leads to overgrowth of algae. For these reasons, full-spectrum bulbs are necessary fish supplies. Natural light bulbs often make unique fish tanks even more attractive as well.

Some fish can survive in cool fish tanks, but most require warmer water, making a good aquarium heater a basic necessity. Immersible heaters are attached to the side of the tank and are inexpensive. The best fish tanks for live plants have substrate heaters underneath the material at the bottom of the tank. Submersible heaters are fully covered by the water in the tank and effectively keep the temperature stable.

Aquarium kits are an easy way to begin keeping fish. Most kits come with the basics to set up a tank, including enough pet supplies to take care of the fish for a short while. When you buy fish tanks, also purchase test kits to monitor the quality of the water so fish stay healthy. An aquarium in your home can be a relaxing, beautiful influence. When you shop for fish tanks, consider space allocation and size. With so many choices of fish tank designs available, you'll easily find the best fish tanks for your home.

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