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contributed by Shawn Traviss

Purchasing Your Aquarium

When purchasing your aquarium you must consider not only how big of a tank you want but the size of the fish you plan to keep and the amount of room they will need to live a healthy stress free life. Obviously larger fish are going to need a larger tank, and small fish a smaller tank,unless

you plan to mix fish in a community tank. After you have considered the type and maximum size of the fish you intend to keep look for an aquarium of appropriate size. There are many sizes and shapes to choose from, aside from your soon to be purchased fishes needs choose one that suits your liking and space limits.


Placing Your Aquarium

When placing your aquarium you must consider the weight of the full aquarium with gravel/sand and decorations. Water weighs approximately 8.4 pounds per gallon, so as you can guess a large or even medium size aquarium can weigh quite a lot. If you plan to put the aquarium on a second or third floor of a house try to find the floor boards and place the legs of the aquarium on the floor boards, this will give the aquarium the extra support it will need. Never put your aquarium near a well lit window because direct sunlight will quickly warm the tank up and basically cook your fish, the same rule goes for drafty areas or areas near heating or cooling ducts. After considering all these things choose a place that is appealing and some where that you can enjoy

the delight of your fish, because why have them if not to enjoy.

Equipment For Your Aquarium

Filters - There are many different types, sizes, shapes and purposes of filters. It would be best to ask a pet shop attendant for advice on the correct type and size of filter for your aquarium and your type of fish. Ideally your filter will keep your aquarium clean and water aerated and flowing.

Air pump - The air pump is a simple device, it pumps air in the aquarium to aerate the water so the fish have enough oxygen.

Heater - The heater is used to heat the aquarium water to a degree that is suitable for the type of fish being kept, the ideal temperature for MOST fish is 75degrees Fahrenheit, some fish such as Discus need higher and Goldfish need cooler. You will need to find a heater that is strong enough to heat your aquarium because a heater that is to small won't heat properly.

Lights - Fluorescent versus Incandescent. Both of these types of lighting provide enough light for you aquarium, but incandescent provides more yellow colored light and is not as bright as fluorescent. Fluorescent light fixtures provide bright light, and are a must if you intend to grow

aquatic plants, or enough algae to feed algae eating fish. I prefer fluorescent lighting because it makes your aquarium look brighter and cleaner and allows the fishes true colors to be shown.

Aquarium Stand - Your aquarium stand is the stand made of either wood or metal that will hold your aquarium up and sturdy. There are many different styles of stands available, some attractive and some simple yet effective. Choose a stand to your liking that will suit your aquarium and taste.

Net - A net serves the purpose of catching your fish.

Siphon - A tool that siphons the waste materials out of the gravel or sand of your aquarium.

Bucket - This is the receptacle for waste water and the new clean water.

Chlorine Remover - This is a chemical that will remove chlorine from your tap water.

Food - The food your fish will eat, seeing that some fish have specialized diets it is a must to ask the pet shop attendant what type of food is best for your fish.

Ground Cover - this is the ground cover of your aquarium. Most likely this will be gravel or sand. Most bottom covers come in many colors and sizes.

Decorations - Plants, artificial plant, rocks, wood or other decorations can be purchased for your aquarium. All of these come in many varieties and colors and will make a beautiful addition to your aquarium and will add a personal touch. Be careful when collecting rocks or wood and especially plants from outside, the may contain dirt, chemicals, pesticides or living pests that will harm or eat your fish.

Types Of Aquarium

Community Aquarium - this type of aquarium is when many fish are mixed and coexist peacefully. These types of aquariums are often beautiful and gorgeous to watch.

Aggressive Aquarium - Territorial or aggressive fish that can be mixed with each other, you must provide enough room for the fish to coexists.

Species Aquarium - A single type of fish in an aquarium, such as piranha.

Cold Water Aquarium - Water that is unheated, for fish such as goldfish.


Setting Up Your Aquarium

First place your aquarium in your chosen location, then fill with water and add the chemical chlorine remover, install your heater and filter or air pump and make sure everything is working properly, then decorate to your liking. Wait a week or so before adding your first fish, this is to allow the aquarium to reach a constant cycle and become stable. When you get your first fish let the bag of water float in the aquarium for ten minutes, so the water temperature in the bag is the same as the water in the tank. Then scoop the fish out of the bag, and set free in the aquarium. Never add to many fish at once, this will result in an over load to your filtration system due to a

large increase of waste.

Feeding Your Fish - Some fish are predatory and need live foods, and some are herbivorous and will eat live plants, and some are omnivores and will eat both. This seem troubling, that is why its best to research your fish before you buy it. This way you'll know what to prepare for and you'll be able to feed the fish the right food to keep it healthy.

Disease - There are many common diseases that affect aquarium fish, ich being the most common, but others such as fin and tail rot, bacterial infections and parasites are sometimes come upon when owning fish. When your fish have a disease it is best to hurry to your local pet shop and ask

for the proper treatment. Most diseases are fatal if not treated, and parasites and disease can and will spread to the whole aquarium.

With this basic understanding of your aquarium you will be well set for keeping fish. This information is not complete in its descriptions of disease as well as the variety of filters and some other aspects mentioned, it is best to research for at least a month in advance before getting all

your ingredients to making a small functioning ecosystem in your home, there are many good web sites, which are provided on the links page for information as well as staff at your local pet shop which will be able to help you with every aspect of your fish keeping experience.

Shawn's picks for fish information

Shawn Traviss is an avid aquaculturalist based in Canada. He wrote this great article for me after I talked to him in a pet chat.

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