up an aquarium is an easy experience that can be enjoyed by people
of all ages. Likewise, keeping and caring for fish in your own home
will provide many hours of fun and learning for the whole family.
Aquariums not only enhance the aesthetics of a room, but also provide
us with a soothing sight-that leads to tranquility and peace of
mind. The following guide provides basic information for those new
to the hobby, or for those with intentions of setting up a fresh
do I really need to set up a fresh water aquarium?
course the most obvious piece of equipment is going to be
a tank or bowl that not only holds water but lets you have
an unobstructed view of the inside. Tanks and bowls come
in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit most requirements.
Most tanks and bowls are available in either glass or a
type of plastic polymer, trimmed in a variety of colors
and textures, thus making the choices plentiful. When selecting
a tank, keep in mind that a smaller tank is not easier to
care for than a larger one. In fact, a larger tank has the
same requirements as a smaller tank, but since it can hold
much more water, it maintains water quality more stable
over a period of time. Since final size decision should
depend on the use and location intended for the tank, consider
whether the tank is to be enjoyed by one person or a whole
family, or if it will be placed in a small bedroom or in
a family room. Select the largest possible size that meets
your needs, and select a color trim that matches or compliments
the decor of the surroundings.
tanks, except for the very small table-top types, have matching
stands available. The stands provide a sturdy and flat surface
capable of holding the combined weight of the tank, gravel
and the water (water alone weighs 8 lbs per gallon). Cabinet
type stands can also conceal fish foods, books and equipment
most commonly used to care for your aquarium. Common home
furniture is usually not built strong enough to support
the weight of an aquarium, please exercise caution.
lights provide the illumination that permits viewing of
fish and plants in full color splendor. A tank with lights
can be enjoyed at any time of day or night. Lights are available
in the form of tungsten bulbs or as fluorescent tubes. Fluorescent
tubes are a better choice since they give a more natural
color enhancing light, do not give off excessive heat and
have a longer life. Lights can be purchased individually
or as part of a tank cover-light combo that matches the
tank and stand trim.
properly functioning filter is of utmost importance in keeping
fish successfully. Filters help maintain the purity of the
water by physically removing debris, and by further neutralizing
waste products through chemical reactions; or bacterial
activity. There are two broad categories of filters, the
passive and the power filters. Passive filters (box filters,
under gravel filters, sponge filters, etc) rely on water
being passed through the filtering media with the aid of
an external air pump or by siphoning action. These filters
work relatively well in smaller tanks (under 15 gallons)
or when used in conjunction with another type of filter.
The power filters, as their name implies, have an integrated
pump that suctions water from the tank and forces it through
the filtering material. Power filters are recommended over
passive filters for most aquarium applications, as they
more effective in maintaining optimum water quality and
are easier to care for. Power filters come in a variety
of sizes, always select a filter that will handle your tank
water volume with sufficient capacity.
changes in temperature, as well as prolonged exposure to
cooler than a particular fish can tolerate are reasons for
stress in fish. To prevent these situations, all tanks require
a heater to keep water temperature constant, and a thermometer
to indicate such temperature. There are two main types of
heaters, the hang-on type and the fully submersible heaters.
Fully submersible heaters are longer lasting than the hang-on
variety as the glass tube that covers the heating element
is rarely exposed to an air-water interface. Most heaters
keep water temperature at an acceptable range by means of
built-in thermostats. The more modern submersible heaters,
on the other hand use solid state technology to electronically
control the temperature at the pre-set level, and also offer
an auto shut-off feature should the heater be inadvertently
taken out of the water. All heaters come rated in watts,
to determine what size heater you need, simply multiply
the volume in gallons of your. tank by 5 to determine the
minimum number of watts required. As with filters, always
select a heater that can handle your tank capacity with
breathe oxygen dissolved in the water, and in doing so they
release carbon dioxide just as all other animals do. In
order to maintain a stable concentration of dissolved oxygen
in the water an air pump may be necessary. Air pumps connect
with hoses to air stones, or bubbling devices to provide
gentle aeration to the water. Always connect a check valve
in the main air line to prevent siphoning back if the pump
is accidentally turned off.
kits allow you to monitor the condition your aquarium water
at any given time. A fresh water test kit should include
at least reagents to test for pH and ammonia.
the water coming out of our pipes at home is seldom suitable
to sustain aquatic life, water conditioners are needed to
render it safe for aquarium use. A good water conditioner
should effectively neutralize chlorine, chloramines and
heavy metals present in the water. In some areas other conditioners
may be needed to correct some local conditions. Avoid using
filtered water to fill your tank, as some filters may remove
necessary elements present in the water. A different type
of conditioner which will greatly improve the water quality
of your aquarium are the bacterial additives. These provide
much needed beneficial bacteria to help jump start your
at home where should I place it?
aquarium, just as a picture, should always express who you
are or what you like. Gravel, background pictures and decorations
come in different colors, designs and motifs to help you
express your taste and ideas, let your imagination run wild.
You will need a minimum of one and a half pounds of gravel
per each gallon of tank capacity to achieve an nicely sloped
and rich base.
of an aquarium at home is an important decision.
To find the right spot you should consider the following factors:
can print this page out, or download the entire page
on .pdf here.
you do not have Adobe Acrobat get it here.
for our aquarium maintainance sheet