There are no shortcuts when it comes to setting up an aquarium. You can’t just buy aquarium stuff from an aquarium store, and expect fish to be happily swimming in your tank within an hour. Setting up a freshwater aquarium needs time and careful considerations of several factors.
The freshwater aquarium is the most popular type among the different aquarium systems. It is recommended for beginners because of several reasons:
- It’s not as expensive to set up compared to reef tanks.
- Freshwater fish are generally cheaper than marine fish and readily available. They also come in a wide variety of attractive colors. Most of these species are hardy and does not warrant special requirements.
- In terms of space requirement, you can keep more freshwater fish than marine fish in the same amount of aquarium space.
- Freshwater species also breed quite easily, giving you a chance to sell some of your fish, as well as a chance to experiment with new breeds of fish.
Where Should I Put My Aquarium?
Creating a safe home for your fish includes choosing and finding a good location for your tank and aquarium equipment to adding aquatic plants and substrate.
Tanks should be placed in a location which is away from direct sunlight and free from drafts. You should also consider household traffic as well as electrical considerations.
Most aquariums need constant water temperature; extreme fluctuations in temperature can compromise your pet’s immune system and make them more prone to disease. Even with a heater, it can only handle so much, and you might end up with floating fish or a frozen aquarium.
When loaded with water, aquariums can be very heavy and it is not practical to keep moving your tank. For this reason, try to be completely sure about your tank’s location before setting it up.
When picking the location for your tank, always remember that the tank’s immediate environment should not change the tank’s temperature more than a few degrees from what is normal.
What Type of Tank Should I Buy?
Aquariums come in different shapes and sizes. You can choose from tanks made of glass, plastic, or acrylic.
When choosing an aquarium, always go for the largest size that fits the space where you plan to place your tank, as well as your budget. The larger the tank, the more stable it will be, and the easier to keep your fish healthy.
The amount of surface area of the tank and not just its size will determine the amount of oxygen that is available to your fish and other tank inhabitants.
Filters and Filtration
There are three main types of filtration systems for freshwater aquariums—biological, chemical, and mechanical. Having all these types in your tank will provide you with the most stable aquarium condition, and one that can most easily be maintained.
1. Biological Filtration
Among the three types of filtration, biological filtration is considered as the most important in maintaining stability as well as reduction of toxic wastes in the water. The presence of colonies of beneficial bacteria in the filter media help in the conversion of toxins via nitrification.
2. Mechanical Filtration
Mechanical filtration helps keep the tank water clear and free of debris by removing particulate matter. This is often achieved by forcing water through floss or pleated cartridge by canisters and power filters. Undergravel filters also function as mechanical filters by trapping debris present in the gravel or substrate.
3. Chemical Filtration
Chemical filters remove substances that are dissolved in water. These substances are responsible for the change in the color of tank water that often develops with time. Chemical filtration also helps in lowering water pH as well as reducing water hardness.
It is recommended that freshwater aquarium systems undergo partial water change on a regular basis. As a rule of thumb, change about 15% of the water per month; small water changes that are done frequently are best.
The main purpose of changing water in aquariums is to eliminate compounds that are not removed by filtration. The process also serves to replenish trace elements, while cleaning the tank substrate of detritus and waste that have accumulated over time.