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Dr. Jungle's Animal Speak

Dr. Jungle's Animal Speak

How to Choose an Aquarium for your Fish

Posted: 11 Jul 2011 08:30 PM PDT

An Aquarium for your Fish

One size doesn't fit all when it comes to fish and their aquarium homes. Here are some tips to help you to find the right fit for your little underwater dwellers.

Finding a home for your fish is like the chicken and the egg. Which comes first? Do you fit the aquarium to the fish or the fish to the aquarium?

Getting Started

The best plan of attack is to choose your fish first. This will dictate a lot of the decisions you need to make later and make them a bit easier. Here's why.

Let's say that you have a flair for the exotic and want a baby shark. First of all you will need a saltwater tank and that requires a much larger investment and set up than a first-time fish owner may want. Your baby shark wouldn't be happy in a traditional rectangular fish tank.

So, begin with your fish. Here are a few questions you might want to keep in mind.

Where do I live? – For an apartment, you might not want to invest in a large 50 gallon aquarium full of fish that requires lots of maintenance. If for some reason it cracks, not only your apartment, but several other people’s will be affected.

How much space do I have? – If you only have a small living room or limited space in the bedroom for a tank, choosing a smaller fish that can survive in a limited habitat might be better for you.

How much money do I want to invest? – The more exotic the fish, the more you will spend keeping them alive. Fish are pets and they do need constant care. It might not be as much as a dog, but they do need a clean place to live and stimulation to keep them happy. Your fish can become a chore if you are constantly shelling out money.

Do I have other pets? – Your dog may not care about a few fish but your cat or bird will. They may view it as a moving smorgasbord. Adding fish may not be the best idea.

What's my schedule? – If you are busy, fish may be a great pet. But, don't get too fancy. Exotic fish will require more regular care. Can you provide it?

The Tank

Once you have decided which fish would work for you, then you can investigate the recommended aquariums for that species. Here's what to look for.

Size of Tank – The general rule for starting is one gallon of water per one inch of fish length
Filtered tank – Less cleaning for you and better overall environment for the fish
Cover – Prevents fish from jumping out and hiding behind the couch
Fluorescent lights – Inhibit algae growth and provide light without too much heat
Tank heater – Great for tropical fish who like and need it warm

Now you know where to start. Find your fish and then choose the tank.

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