Tips on Setting Up Your First Fish Tank
By Gary Nave
Let’s take a splash into the world of fish. Studies show there is a calming effect on watching fish. Having a fish tank relives stress, overall improving ones health. This is why you find many fish tanks in doctors offices. Don’t forget the entertainment that fish provide. All around, fish make great pets.
First thing before purchasing a tank is to know where you are going to put it. Remember three main things. First is stability. Is it going to have its own stand or be on a table? This is very important especially if you have pets or children. Flipping fish and water all over the floor because of an unstable table is not something you want to experience.
Second, fish tanks don’t do well in a place where there is an abundant amount of sun because algae will form. A green fish tank is not pretty sight. Don’t place your fish tank near heat, air conditioning or exterior doors because you will have problems maintaining constant water temperature. Don’t forget that you will need electricity. Do not use extension cords, you need an outlet less then three feet away. Trust me, its a pain to set the whole tank up and realize there is no outlet near by.
Okay, now you are ready to purchase a tank. What type of fish do you want? Tropical fish or cold water fish. Tropical fish need a heater in the tank to keep the temperature between 74-78 degrees Fahrenheit. There are basic two types of tanks, glass or acrylic. Personally, I find acrylic much easier due to the fact that it is a lot lighter and acrylic won’t crack.
One mistake to avoid is purchasing the fish tank, all accessories, and the fish all at once. Buy only the fish tank and accessories because the environment for the fish has to be established first. You need to place the water in the fish tank 24 hours ahead of time and let it acclimate to room temperature. Letting it stand also de-chlorinates the water. You can purchase drops of sodium thiosulfate to de-chlorinate the water but that does not allow the water to reach room temperature. My advise is skip as many chemicals as possible and wait the 24 hour time period.
Don’t forget gravel, rock and decorations. You can get plastic plants or live plants. I personally like live plants because most fish like to eat the plants. Also, make sure you have extra carbon filters on hand.
Now you are ready to purchase fish. A good fish store will be able to assist you on how many fish to buy for your size tank. While you are there don’t forget the fish food. Your choices are flake food or pellets. I have found that pellets keep the tank much cleaner. Remember only to feed the fish what they can eat in a few minutes.
You think fish can’t jump? Think again! Make sure your aquarium comes with a hood. This is very important because it keeps little hands from putting things in the fish tank. The hood has a lighting fixture that usually comes with a incandescent bulb. I replaced mine with a 13w compact fluorescent light bulb because of heat build up and the possibility of getting burned. I usually keep my fish tank light on when feeding the fish so I can watch their strange antics.
Your next step? To take what you’ve just learned and go to the pet store and purchase a tank.
Gary Nave helps consumers choose the right fish tank for their needs.
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