How to setup an Aquarium >>
From valuable lessons for newcomers, to helpful reminders for old hands, this article is filled with tips for everyone.

Types of Aquariums

Aquariums are made out of a variety of materials: plate glass, Plexiglass, plywood, concrete, and fiberglass. Each of these materials have their strengths and weaknesses, but you will find that the majority of aquariums available in stores are made out of plate glass, with an occasional one made of Plexiglass. Assuming that you intend on sticking with the traditional plate glass tank that has been around for years, there remains two basic categories that tanks fall into. These are "tall" and "long". As one may ascertain from the words, a "tall" refers to a tank which is taller than it is long, and a "long" tank is one which is longer than it is tall.

Aquarium size
Aquariums vary in size from a few gallons to the large swimming pool sized ones at Sea World. Realistically, most people that intend on setting up a recreational aquarium limit themselves to 55 gallons. You will find that personal taste and space limitations will ultimately determine the size of aquarium which you will select. The first thing to understand is that tanks are generally put into two categories, "long" or "tall". For information on the differences between tall and long tanks, please review that page. One will find that personal taste will be the determining factor between purchasing a long or tall tank. The majority of people prefer long tanks because they tend to provide an illusion of a larger tank than their tall equivalents. In addition, despite the fact that aquariums are three dimensional, most tank viewers only perceive them two-dimensionally. This means that even though one tank may be of greater depth, the front face of the tank will generally determine its apparent size. Before continuing, it is important to note that tall and long tanks are not the only types of tanks that are found in fish stores. Quite often, a hexagonal shaped tank can be found in the smaller sizes (2-5 gallons), and tend to be quite pleasing. Never-the-less, for larger tanks, rectangular shapes are the most common.

Now that aquarium shape has been addressed, the question still prevails, What size of tank is best for me? The answer to this question is actually quite simple. Here are some important factors in determining the right size of aquarium for you
  • The number of fish you want in your tank, and the size of those fish. Generally, the more fish one has in his or her tank, the larger tank they will need. A general rule is that, you need about one gallon of water for every 3 to 4 inches of fish.

  • Another consideration is how often you will have time to clean the tank. For information on how often one must clean a tank. Generally, the smaller a tank the more often one will have to change it's water (assuming that you have the same number of fish).

  • The final consideration is space. Although one may want a large tank, and in addition has the time to maintain it, tanks take space. Take the time to consider where the tank will be placed, and measure it. It may turn out that this will make the decision of what size tank to get for you!

After considering the above factors, generally the size of tank you will decide on will be apparent. If you are still having trouble deciding, the best thing to do is go to the fish store and take a look at the tanks they have set up. This may make the decision a little more clear.

Cost of the aquarium

Freshwater aquariums tend to be a lot less expensive than saltwater aquarium systems. This is mainly due to two factors: the less complex filtering system, and the cost of the fish. As should be expected, the cost of a complete freshwater aquarium is proportional to its size. An average size of 24" x 12" x 12" freshwater aquarium setup with filter, gravel, wooden stand, hood and a few other additional extras will generally sell for around Rs.2,000/-. to Rs.4,000/-.  Once you have invested in the initial costs, the costs of maintaining the aquarium will be rather limited. With the exception of replacing the filter and carbon occasionally, the only other costs will usually be to treat your fish for any sicknesses they may develop. This, however, can be a somewhat expensive investment. Treatment of fish could require the purchase of a small treatment tank and an air filtering system. The best thing to do is clean your tank regularly to reduce the chances of disease. Those who are starting an aquarium for the first time should consider starting with a freshwater aquarium before taking the plunge into a saltwater tank. This is mainly due to the cost involved. The initial costs of the aquarium will be lower, and the costs of the inhabitants in the aquarium will most likely be considerably less. For a more accurate estimate for the cost of a freshwater aquarium, it is advisable to visit your local pet store. You will most likely buy a setup there, and it helps to establish a good relationship with the employees there. Often, they will give you a little extra help if you have come in several times, and you can frequently learn quite a bit of information by talking with them. The bottom line is that the cost of a freshwater aquarium setup is going to be highly proportional to its size. It is best to go to the pet shop where you think you will be purchasing the setup, and take a look at their prices. Prices don't tend to range too much. The most important component is the filter. Take time to find out how the filtration system works. It is better to spend a little more money on the better filters. Your fish will be healthier, and the tank will last longer.