Starting your aquarium journey is an exciting, often daunting, first step. Fish tanks are a big investment, whether as a casual hobby or whether you fancy yourself a serious enthusiast (many "hobbyists" have turned enthusiasts after seeing how much fun home aquariums can be!).
Get off to the right start, whatever your path, with our handy pocket guide on aquariums for beginners.
1.) Saltwater or Fresh?
Determine which kind of tank is right for your home. Tropical fish can be beautiful to observe and tempting to buy, but it's important to examine the logistics of owning sensitive species prior to purchase.
Saltwater and tropical environments typically require more maintenance than fresh. These fish are highly specific in terms of temperature, pH, and environment. As a result, saltwater aquariums are generally a more costly to maintain and not the ideal choice for beginners.
Still dazzled by the idea of a colorful tank? Freshwater fish can be just as pretty as a tropical school! Try tetras, fantail guppies, cichlids, and discus!
2.) Size, Temperature, Filtration
Once you've decided on the inhabitants of your tank, it's time to start building their environment. The main factors you'll want to consider are size of the tank, temperature, and adequate filtration. Decide how many fish and aquatic creatures you plan to house in advance. It's never a bad idea to go with a slightly bigger tank than you may initially need. This will give your fish, and your hobby, room to grow.
Next, consider the ideal temperature range for your aquarium. Tanks are best housed away from drafts and direct sunlight. If necessary, invest in a heater to keep tank temperatures constant and comfortable.
Tanks of any size require a high quality filter. This will save you time when cleaning your enclosure and ensure your fishy friends are happy and healthy. Proper water circulation also helps maintain adequate temperatures. Aquarium "helpers" like snails, shrimp, and plecostomus are also great accessories when it comes to maintaining adequate filtration.
3.) Decor and More!
Decorating is the best part of any new aquarium! Not only is it fun to spruce up your new pets' environment, but decor like plants, substrate, and castles provides an enriching habitat for aquatic life to hide, forage, and live.
Looking for ideas to get started? Pick a theme for your tank or go with a color palette that matches your aquarium aesthetic.
Got questions? Contact us for more great tips on starting your first aquarium!