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What Should I Consider When Buying a Fish Tank?

By Carol Francois
Updated Mar 06, 2024
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A fish tank is an open top glass rectangle prism that is used to keep live fish as pets. A huge selection of fish types, sizes, and species can be kept in a fish tank. It is important to think about all the implication of keeping fish when you are selecting a fish tank.

There are four main items that you should consider when buying a fish tank: tank size, fish types, budget, and time available to dedicate to fish tank maintenance. These items summarize all aspects of caring for indoor fish. If this is your first attempt at having a fish tank, it is important to keep your investment small.

Fish tanks can be the same length as a full-sized living room or small enough to fit on a small table. Look at the possible locations in your home for a fish tank and measure. The tank needs to be near an electrical outlet, away from direct sunlight, a safe height from small children and pets, and with enough room for easy access for cleaning. Remember to include space for the hoses and pipes from the tank to the water filter.

Make a list of the types of fish you want to keep. Find out what type of conditions they require and if they are compatible with each other. Some fish require warmer or cooler water than others. Different species of fish can have different tolerance for water pH levels and some are nocturnal.

Think about how many fish you want and what the space requirements are to keep all the fish happy and healthy. A rule of thumb is to allow one inch (2.5 cm) of healthy mature fish for one gallon (3.8 liters) of water for small fish. Allow one inch (2.5 cm) of fish per three gallons (11.4 liters) of water for large or messy fish.

Fish tanks come in a wide range of prices and sizes. It is important to budget for all the items required to set up and maintain a fish tank at the beginning of the process. There is a lot of equipment required and it can quickly add up in cost. Do not forget to include the cost of the fish in your budget.

Fish tanks require regular maintenance to keep the environment healthy and free of algae and mold. Be prepared to spend two to three hours on the initial tank set up and at least 20 minutes per day on the maintenance and cleaning of the tank. Fish tanks can provide hours of enjoyment and are a great opportunity to learn more about marine life.

Sports&Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By Rotergirl — On Feb 10, 2014

I really wouldn't try to keep more than a couple of fish at a time as a beginner. And this is one time when buying used should not be a problem. If the tank is cleaned thoroughly and the lid fits well, then a new aerator/pump should be the main investment. I wouldn't buy a used aerator. Sometimes, they don't work very well.

This is also the time to consult a friend who keeps fish on the art of doing so. They don't take a lot of stress very well, and can get sick easily if their tank and water are not just right for them. So, do yourself a favor and get someone who knows about keeping fish successfully to help you pick suitable species and set up your tank for them.

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