Do I have the time?
While aquariums are beautiful to look at, they need looking after, from daily health checks, usually done at feeding time, to water changes. So, before setting out to buy a new aquarium, make sure to read this.
If you are not able to commit to doing this, all is not lost, there are maintenance companies that will do it for you. Some companies, like ourselves, will even supply the aquarium and set it up for you too.
Where is the new aquarium going to stand?
This is an important decision, especially if you are getting one of the larger ones. Once the new aquarium is in place it's quite a hassle to move.
What to take into account:
1. Keep the aquarium away from direct sunlight. You don't want to be plagued by algae.
2. Ensure you have an electrical outlet nearby. (you will need at least 2 for most setups. 1 for the filter and another for the light, if you are going tropical you'll need one for your heater too.)
3. Think about where the closest tap is, you don't want to be carrying water through the whole house during water changes. And the same goes for disposing of the old water.
Now that you know where it is going to go, the next question is what size. The advice given by most hobbyists is, the bigger the better. The reason being, that the more water there is in the tank the more balanced the chemicals in the water will be. If you think of a drop of ink in water, you'll understand what I mean. If the drop were to fall into a 200ml cup of water you'll notice a slight colour change. whereas the same drop of ink in a litre of water wouldn't be noticeable. In an aquarium there is always waste, this waste builds up and is the reason we need to change the water. In a smaller aquarium, this can turn toxic for your fish and fast.
Weight is another consideration. The larger the tank the heavier. In theory, you are looking at a kilo per litre of water. Plus some for the decor. Ensure your chosen place can support the weight of your new aquarium.
What setup should I get?
We always recommend going with an all-in-one setup, especially when going for your first aquarium. Doing so ensures that you get a kit that is built for purpose. The filter will be the right size, the heater the right wattage and the light will be good for standard setups. Even if you did want to include live plants the included lights will be enough for the basic plants. Our go-to aquarium for size and durability is the Juwel Rio range. However, if you were looking for something different have a look at one of the nano aquariums from Fluval.
Which Fish will go in my new aquarium?
Now that you know the size of the aquarium you can finally decide on the fish that will live in it. As a rule of thumb, small fish for small tanks larger fish for larger tanks. Sounds easy enough? Right? Wrong! Most fish in your local pet shop will be small. Do your homework. Go online find pictures of fish you like, check what the fully grown size is and what their temperament is, ensure that they will mix well with any other fish you have chosen. A good pet shop will be able to help you here, they can advise you one compatibility and eventual sizes. Check whether you need a heater for the fish you have chosen. Are you going to need a PH buffer, ie. crushed coral?
Remember to correctly cycle* your aquarium before introducing fish.
Read here about how to correctly acclimate your fish.
*Cycling your aquarium is when you build up the beneficial bacterias in the filter. Doing this ensures that there are no sudden spikes in the water quality which can, in turn, be detrimental to the health of your fish. We will be posting an article at a later date on how we recommend this is done.