Important Factors to Consider

There are many great reasons for getting an aquarium and keeping fish. Fish are quiet, do not need to be taken for walks and watching them can lower blood pressure.

For those who follow the principles of feng shui, an aquarium brings prosperity to a home or business. However, the days of a keeping a goldfish in a bowl are long over. There are many aspects to consider before taking the plunge and bringing home an aquarium.

Understand Fish Mortality

Fish lifespans vary according to species, but even the common goldfish can live up to 40 years. They are not supposed to die at the seeming drop of an invisible hat. Fish of any species need environmental conditions to be just right or they will die quickly. In order to keep their aquarium just right, a fish keeper needs to:

  • Read many books or articles on fish keeping before getting an aquarium
  • Constantly learn as much as possible about their fish's species
  • Be committed to keeping their wet pets healthy – even if it means spending time and money that had been budgeted for other things like vacations.

Aquariums Require Money

Keeping a fish in a bowl soon results in a dead fish. Even a common goldfish needs certain equipment to stay healthy and live for many years. It is best to buy two of each pieces of equipment in order to quickly replace a broken piece. Freshwater aquariums are less expensive than salt water aquariums but even a freshwater aquarium needs:

  • A filter and extra filter material
  • Thermometer
  • Air pump, air hose and air stones
  • Heater (if it gets cold in the winter)
  • Gravel or some other suitable substrata
  • Buckets and siphon for cleaning and for water changes
  • Aquarium stand
  • Water treatment chemicals such as a dechlorinator to make new water safe for the fish.

Aquariums Require Space

Empty aquariums are light. When it is filled with gravel, filter, heater, lights and decorations, it can weigh hundreds of pounds. It is a common misconception that fish will grow into the size of their tanks. Fish grow to the size they are genetically programmed to no matter where they live. It's not fair on the fish to stick it in a tiny aquarium just because it would be lighter. The common rule is five gallons per inch of fish. It's best to buy the largest aquarium one can afford. Be sure the flooring will support such a heavy object like an aquarium and its paraphernalia. Aquariums should never be placed:

  • In direct sunlight, which can quickly superheat the water
  • In the middle of the room or where people and four-legged pets most commonly walk
  • Directly on the floor
  • Near a doorway where it may be smashed by a door
  • On a piece of furniture like a wooden table that cannot hold the weight
  • Near a radiator or air conditioner.

Aquariums Require Time

Fish need feeding and the tank needs cleaning whether the owner wants to do it or not. Partial water changes are important to keeping the water chemistry balanced. Filters cannot do all of the work. Learning about fish, shopping for equipment and setting up a tank also eats into free time. It's best to set up a tank and wait at least one month before adding the first fish. This helps to grow healthy bacteria that helps fish adjust to their new home. Fish need daily attention. Going on vacations is a problem. Someone has to stay behind or be hired specially to care for the fish.

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