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Tips For Choosing An Aquarium

Tips For Choosing An Aquarium

By: Janet Ashby

There is a wide range of sizes and shapes of aquariums as well as a choice of glass or acrylic aquariums, so how do you choose the best aquarium for your home and for the fish you intend to keep? We have put together a guide to help you choose the perfect aquarium.

Where to Locate Your Aquarium:

The first thing to decide before you make a purchase is the location for your new aquarium. You must take into account the final weight of the aquarium when filled with water, and if you intend to place it on a shelf, table or stand. A twenty gallon tank, once filled, will weigh about two hundred pounds! Other decisions will include if you need a stand or a specially designed cabinet.

Aquarium Size:

Aquariums for the home come in a huge range of sizes from tiny glass bowls to huge five hundred gallon tanks. You will want an aquarium that is the right size for your home and for your fish. The first thing to consider is the location you intend for the aquarium. Measure the area to ensure the aquarium you choose will fit.

One thing to consider is that a bigger aquarium requires less maintenance. Considering proper water parameters, small aquariums for the new hobbyist can be harder to keep. The new hobbyist may tend to overcrowd and over feed the aquarium which can have an immediate affect on the health of the fish. A good size for a beginner is between twenty and thirty gallons. Decide how many fish you wish to keep. Very roughly you can keep one inch of fish to every gallon of water, but remember this is a rough estimate and a lot will depend on the type of fish and the aquarium maintenance. Always understock a tank rather than overstock!

The best way to choose the size of the tank is to purchase the biggest tank within your budget that will fit comfortably in the location you have chosen.

Aquarium Shapes:

Since the introduction of acrylic aquarium, different shapes have been added to the traditional rectangular shape including cylinder, hexagon and round aquariums. There are also aquariums designed to be wall mounted and coffe table aquariums. Despite all these innovative designs the rectangular aquarium is still the best as the the area of water surface compared to the water volume is large which is important for allowing the exchange of gases with the air. Other shapes, with a smaller surface area compared to water volume, will often need more frequent water changes and more maintenance.

Do You Need a Glass or Acrylic Aquariums?

Both materials for aquariums have their advantages and disadvantages. The traditional glass aquarium is heavy and can spring leaks at the seams. Leaks are easy to fix however and usually only occur in an older aquarium. They are usually cheaper than acrylic aquariums. They only come in rectangular or square shapes.

The newer acrylic aquariums are lighter than glass and come in all sorts of innovative shapes. They rarely spring leaks as there are no seams. They are more expensive than glass aquariums but generally last longer. They are easy to scratch however so never clean with any kind of abrasive chemical or other chemicals which can fog the glass. Acrylic aquariums used to yellow with age but the newer materials stay clear throughout their lifetime. Among the new acrylic and glass aquariums available on the market, is an array of modern high tech aquarium supplies to make the aquarium hobby easier, more efficient, and fun!


Acrylic Aquariums: long lasting, leak free, more innovative shapes

Glass Aquariums: Generally Less Expensive


Acrylic Aquariums: expensive, easily scratched

Glass Aquariums: Heavy & Can get cracked easily

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