Tips For Choosing An Aquarium
With a wide variety of aquarium sizes and shapes available as well as a choice between glass or acrylic construction, how do you choose the best aquarium for your home and for the fish you intend to keep? The following represents a guide to help you to 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, especially if you intend to place it on a shelf or table. A twenty gallon tank, once filled, will weigh about two hundred pounds. Do you need a stand or a specially designed cabinet?
Aquariums for the home come in a large range of sizes from tiny glass bowls to big 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 space you intend to put 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. Small aquariums make it much harder to keep the water balance correct, are easy to overcrowd and any rotting food or vegetation can have an immediate impact on the health of the fish. A good beginner size aquarium is between twenty and thirty gallons.
Decide how many fish you wish to keep. A general rule of thumb would be keeping one inch of fish to every gallon of water. However remember this is a rough estimate and a lot will depend on the type of fish and how well maintained the aquarium is. Always under stock a tank rather than overstock!
The best strategy 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.
Since the introduction of the 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 used as coffee table aquariums. Despite all these innovative designs, the rectangular aquarium is still the best choice because 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 types of aquarium materials have their advantages and disadvantages. The traditional glass aquarium is heavy and can develop leaks at the seams. Leaks are easy to fix however and usually only occur in an older aquarium. Glass aquariums are usually cheaper than acrylic aquariums and only come in rectangular or square shapes.
Newer acrylic aquariums are lighter than glass and come in all varieties of innovative shapes. They rarely get leaks as there are no seams. They’re also more expensive than glass aquariums but generally last longer. They are easy to scratch however so never clean them 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 will stay clear throughout their lifetime.
Acrylic Aquariums : long lasting, leak free, innovative shapes
Glass Aquariums : Cheap
Acrylic Aquariums : expensive, easily scratched
Glass Aquariums : Heavy, tend to spring leaks