Choosing a first aquarium is not easy. After all, the general condition of the fish, their well-being and whether they will have offspring depends on how well the vessel itself will be selected and all the components necessary for it.
This article will present tips for newbies, how to choose an aquarium for fish so that the indoor pond becomes a safe, stable habitat for cold-blooded animals.
It is worthwhile to find out why difficulties usually arise with the first aquarium and which aquarium is better to choose in order to avoid them. One understandable thing is that a beginner aquarist should be aware of the fact that the aquarium’s water is strictly limited in its volume, and this volume is extremely small compared to natural water bodies. And the most important resources, respectively, are extremely small. This circumstance can lead to inevitable consequences. For example, if the owner is prevented from sleeping by the bubbling of bubbles from an air pump or filter, he can turn them off, which in turn will lead to death from the suffocation of aquarium fish. Since a limited amount of water contains very little dissolved oxygen, you should resort to its constant artificial supply. Or that the fish always have enough of it, you will have to keep a limited number of them in the aquarium.
How to choose an aquarium for fish
Before acquiring an aquarium, you need to determine for yourself what its purpose and task is. Therefore, to find out how to choose the right aquarium and avoid mistakes, you should use the tips for beginners and rely on certain criteria.
So, how to choose an aquarium for beginners? A medium-sized aquarium will be optimal for a beginner; this capacity is somewhere between 60-170 liters. If financial resources allow enough space in the house, you can immediately purchase a large 250-500 liters aquarium. The greater the aquarium system, the more stable it will be, and the less trouble it will have. This is only if everything goes smoothly.
But what to do if there is a failure, which will require to replace the water in a large aquarium? After all, it still needs to be prepared, and, as a rule, it is impossible to pour water from such a water supply system. To avoid failures, it is necessary to equip an aquarium with efficient, reliable and rather expensive equipment. But this, too, cannot be a guarantee that everything will go well, since a beginner can make such a mistake that even the most intelligent and expensive equipment cannot correct. Therefore, if a novice aquarist is not ready for large financial expenses, then the best choice for him will be to purchase an average aquarium. It will be the easiest to maintain. But how to choose between 60 and 170 liters? In this case, it is better to choose the last option. It has more opportunities for design, selection of fish and plants.
The proportions and aspect ratio of an aquarium when choosing it are a very important factor and not only from an aesthetic point of view. It depends on how much and what kind of fish can be kept in it.
The aquarium whose height is not greater than the width is the most fishy. Among aquarists, its name is not too poetic, it is called “trough”.
You should not get very narrow (this is an aquarium-screen, which has a small distance between the back and front walls). Without special equipment it will be quite difficult to maintain the oxygen concentration required for fish.
An aquarium above 60 centimeters, even if it is very wide, can also lead to serious problems. They are connected with the fact that it is rather difficult to illuminate the bottom of the tank quite brightly through such a water column. Aquarium plants (higher) will not be able to grow in such conditions, and the lower ones will quickly cover the bottom with brown fouling. In addition, it is quite difficult to plant plants and clean the bottom in such an aquarium. After all, it will be difficult to reach him. In general, if the question is, which is better to choose an aquarium for beginners, then it is necessary to abandon the tank with high walls.
An important question that needs to be decided in advance for yourself is what shape the aquarium should have, because there are not only rectangular, but also panoramic, angular, and so on. When choosing a form, you need to decide what in this case is an advantage: the content or appearance.
If the priority in the appearance and the aquarium itself will be part of the interior, then we can consider different forms. But if the contents of the tank is more important and you want to enjoy the underwater world without any problems, you should opt for the classic rectangular shape.
Panoramic aquarium, which curved front glass, you can also choose, but the panoramic six-sided shape should be strongly rejected. Such an aquarium narrows the view and will cause difficulty in perceiving the entire composition created in it. If there is not enough space in the apartment, but there is a free corner, you can try to squeeze a corner aquarium into it. However, it will be rather difficult to arrange it beautifully and organize optimal conditions for the life of the fish.
How and where is the aquarium installed?
Even before the purchase you need to decide where and on what exactly the capacity will stand. The simplest solution is to buy an aquarium with a stand. If it is not possible to purchase it, it is worthwhile to prepare at home a sufficiently durable table or nightstand that does not deform under the weight. Secondly, the surface on which the aquarium will be placed must be flat so that its bottom does not crack. It will be best to pre-lay a mat of synthetic foam or a rubber mat on the prepared surface.
The aquarium is located a few meters away from the window. Most importantly, for more than three hours a day, direct sunlight would not fall on it, and when the room is airing, the water in the aquarium would not significantly cool down. In the northern regions of the country there is such a phenomenon as the white nights, so the location of the aquarium near the window can lead to water bloom. This is due to the fact that microscopic green algae thrive in the water, and the water turns green and becomes cloudy. Such algae prefer diffuse long-term illumination, while higher plants, on the contrary, prefer 8–9-hour light day and fairly bright light. Therefore, when the aquarium is standing near the window, and the water in it begins to bloom, it must be shielded from excessive glare. It is also worth refusing to place an aquarium near the central heating radiators.
Nowadays filters are divided into three main types: external, internal, and bottom. It is worth finding out by what criteria each of them is selected.
External allows you to mechanically, biologically and chemically clean water. The main advantage is ease of maintenance. Nothing needs to be pulled out of the tank, since the filter is outside. When buying, the question may arise: how to choose a filter for an external aquarium? It is necessary to rely on its main indicators. First, it is power. When the filter is selected according to this criterion, it is necessary to take into account the volume of the aquarium, the composition of hydrobionts and the features (individual) of the underwater world. This means that you need to weigh the three main components: the type of aquarium, volume, population.
Also, when choosing an external filter, it should be borne in mind that over time the filler may clog, which will lead to a decrease in its throughput. That is why it is better to take the filter with a margin.
At the complete set of the external filter should also pay attention. For example, many models have valves, but they are not recommended to use, since they block the openings into which water enters and leaves, which leads to an overvoltage of the filter pump. Such work is undesirable for her. It is best to regulate the flow of water with nozzles such as a flute, for example.
Another important criterion is noiselessness. In this regard, an unambiguous recommendation would not purchase filters with a metal rotor axis.
Another important aspect – the size and equipment. It is necessary to determine what filtering from the external filter the aquarist wants to obtain: chemical, biological, mechanical or mixed. Therefore, you should pay attention to the volume of the canister, the number of baskets in it and fillers.
The following nuances: the taps of the external filter adapter must rotate. This will ease the installation into the cabinet. The hoses must be rigid so they will not bend over and will not degrade the flow of water.
And in order to determine and select the internal filter for the aquarium, you need to know what options exist and what their specific features are. So, in essence, the internal filter is a pump that pumps water into one or another system of the installed filtration element.
A pump with a sponge nozzle is the easiest option. Such filters are used for mechanical water treatment, and secondarily for biological. They are installed, as a rule, in large cichlids.
The second option – filter glass. The essence of it is the same, the only thing, it has a compartment in which the sponge fits. The advantage of this model is the use of other filtration elements (peat, zeolite, aquarium coal, ceramics).
Another view is the inner backpack. What are its advantages? In that it is possible to hide fillers and heaters in it, it creates a stream-waterfall, aerating water. Its only drawback is the size.
Aero-lift filter can also be attributed to the internal. The principle of action consists in the movement of air under water. Rising to the surface, its bubbles create cravings in the air vent tube. Under the action of this draft, the water passing through the filter material is cleaned. The advantage of such models is that they perform two functions: filtering and aeration. Such options are used in spawning aquariums, where a strong current is undesirable.
Attention should be paid when choosing an internal filter, as well as when choosing an external filter, on what material the rotor axis is made of. In most cases, with a ceramic axis filter silent.
Also, when buying, the emphasis should be on power. In this case, you need to estimate the volume of your aquarium.
A water pump is an indispensable aquarium device that pumps air into the water column under a slight pressure. Rising to the surface, air bubbles produce a slight boiling that helps oxygen from the air actively saturate the reservoir. How to choose an air pump for an aquarium?
There are several types of water pumps. The most common are membrane and piston.
The main disadvantage of all aquarium water pumps is the noise that they make during their work. Unfortunately, there are no silent options, since the principle of their work is precisely vibration.
Membrane water pump is one of the most noisy. However, it will save energy costs, almost never breaks, it has a long service life. He is also more effective. It can be connected to several aquariums at once.
Piston water pumps are the leaders among the silent. With a sufficiently large aquarium capacity (150 liters and above), people install two or more aerators. Water pumps with a different principle of operation can be chosen in this case: the diaphragm one can be switched on during the day and the piston one at night.
Another important question for a beginner is which soil is best for the aquarium. Aquarium soil, as well as the foundation for the house, plays an important role in the life of the aquarium. It is a unique and powerful biological filter that cannot be replaced with anything else. The fact of the matter is that when the ground is put into the aquarium, beneficial bacteria settle in it in colonies, processing the waste products of aquatic organisms into harmless substances. Moreover, the soil is a substrate for the nutrition and rooting of plants through the root system, the place of life of some fish and many microorganisms. And in one direction or another, he is able to change the parameters of water.
In order to choose the right soil, you should:
- think carefully, to the smallest detail, how your tank should look like in the end;
- analyze and collect information on hydrobionts that a novice aquarist plans to inhabit;
- Thoroughly design the design.
After all, for example, the painted soil does not belong to porous materials and has the minimum useful area for colonization of the necessary bacteria. If it is laid in a very thin layer, it will reduce its effectiveness. The white color of the soil is very stamped. Also, with its natural origin (most often it is marble) the water in the aquarium becomes hard, and not many fish like it. A clear representation of the tasks and goals of the aquarium will be the key to successful arrangement of the aquarium bottom and ground selection.
Another important point that a beginner-aquarist will have to face is the lamps for the aquarium. How to choose? If the aquarium is high and does not exceed 50 cm, the power of fluorescent lamps in the total must be at least 0.5 W per liter. Therefore, if the aquarium is large, more power is required from the light sources. If it is small, then under such artificial sunshine only some species of plants (shade-tolerant) will be able to grow normally.
It is also important that the lamps overlap almost the entire length of the aquarium: if they are shorter, shadow areas will appear near the side walls, which will lead to poor growth of plants near them.
Often, manufacturers of aquariums provide regular lighting, which is not up to the norm. Therefore, when buying, you should pay attention to whether there is a free space under the lid on which additional lamps or LED lamps can be placed.
All of the above tips will allow a novice to figure out which aquarium is better to choose and how to equip it according to all the rules and to your taste, without causing harm to all of its inhabitants.