When choosing an aquarium, there are three main considerations to be made.
Size is usually the first consideration that comes to mind. The right size is usually thought of as what will fit where. Whether as a freestanding unit in front of a wall, or an aquarium set on top of a flat piece of furniture already in the home or office, it is easy to choose size in this manner.
Shape is also usually a matter of where it will best fit within the already established home or office. In an otherwise unoccupied corner there is plenty of height for one of those tall aquariums.
Aquariums are manufactured in so many sizes and shapes that it may seem as though the right aquarium is the one that will fit in one convenient location or another. But there is more to think about when it comes to size and shape.
There are 3 main things to keep in mind:
1. Water quality and temperature stability rely on size.
The less water in an aquarium, the more easily a change in the water quality will have an effect on its inhabitants. Aquarium water chemistry is more easily kept stable in larger aquariums. This is also true of temperature; larger volumes of water maintain their temperature more efficiently than smaller ones.
Larger aquariums should not need to have water changes as often as smaller aquariums. When larger aquariums do require water changes, it is not all that much more work than it is with a smaller aquarium. It is the same process but will take a bit longer. For more info, read Aquarium Size and Basic Water Quality Setup.
2. Number of fish depend on aquarium size.
Most aquarium enthusiasts will enjoy their aquariums so much after it is setup and stocked, that at some point they will want to add more fish. This can be a problem if the aquarium is not large enough to safely accommodate new additions.
The 1:1 Rule… is 1″ of fish per 1 gallon.
This rule should be thought of as a guideline and is most useful concerning small, commonly kept community fish.
Keep in mind though, an aquarium’s gallon size holds that much water when empty. Setting up an aquarium with gravel, plants, heater, thermometer, filter, etc. will reduce the amount of total water volume.
This minimum aquarium size rule is based on the fact that fish are constantly converting food to waste. Fish waste and uneaten food become nitrogenous waste, which builds up fast in small aquariums. Thus, a small aquarium will need more frequent water changes to maintain a stress-free and illness-free environment than a large aquarium would require. For more info, read The Nitrogen Cycle.
An aquarium is a lifestyle investment, which in all likelihood will inspire the desire for more or bigger. Having a large aquarium to add more life to can be followed up without sacrificing the health and happiness of its inhabitants. For more info, read Aquarium Size and Basic Water Quality Setup.
3. Number of fish depend on aquarium shape.
The species of fish kept in an aquarium determines what shape it should be. Generally, fish like to travel horizontally much more than vertically, so bottom surface area should be the deciding factor where shape is concerned. Also, if an aquarium is intended to hold bottom dwellers exclusively, such as rays or skates, a tall aquarium would be inappropriate; with this situation the same size gallon aquarium that is long, wide, and also short, would be ideal.
There are wildlife species, such as African Dwarf Frogs, for example, that breathe atmospheric oxygen exclusively or alternate between that and dissolved oxygen in the water. These species need to rise to the surface to breathe and this would be made more difficult in a tall an aquarium.
When choosing the right aquarium, there is more to consider than size and shape. For more info, read Choosing an Aquarium… Glass or Acrylic?, which discusses the differences between aquariums made of glass and those made of acrylic.
About author… Troy Boylan
Ecoculture Village Founder & President, Anthropology BA, Interdisciplinary Studies: Ethnobotany BS. Two things I think are worth anything at all… all things wilderness and ecoculture… and well, RPGs… and skateboarding!
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