Types Of Water
You can get freshwater and marine/saltwater fish. The former is usually what people have in their homes, and are the easiest to look after.
Marine tanks are often only available from specialists, as they require a lot of extra care and equipment.
Temperatures For Fish Water
Freshwater fish generally come in three groups – cold water, tropical and temperate. The latter is generally intertwined with cold-water fish, but may just need more monitoring to ensure the temperature is between 14–24°C.
Not all tanks can take all kinds of water, as they have to be able to monitor and control the temperature. Find the optimum conditions dropping and your fish could die.
- Cold Water – These are comfortable in room temperature water, not icy as the name suggests. Often seen as the best for beginners. There is no need for heaters, but it is always still good to have a thermometer in there to double-check it doesn’t get too hot
- Tropical – This water needs heaters to keep the water warm. The number of heaters depends on the size of the tank, but it should be kept at 25°C at least
Most tanks can be turned into a tropical environment with the addition of heaters, but this is usually only available in larger tanks.
Choosing A Fish Tank Size
Most fish are sold when they are still young, so there is often a considerable amount for them still to grow. Ensure you know how big the fish will get so you can buy a tank which is large enough, and so you can also avoid an overcrowded tank.
The species of your fish can also make a difference. This is especially common with cold water fish. Breeds such as goldfish can actually grow rather large so you should go for 30 square inches of surface area per inch of fish.
With tropical water fish, the general guide is 24 square inches of surface area per inch of fish. But again, you must think about the particular breed. Also bear in mind that with the addition of filters, plants and accessories, you may need to increase the size of the tank in order for the fish to have enough swimming space.
Tall, thin aquariums may save you some space, but they generally offer less surface area, and the same applies to round bubble tanks. A larger tank is also usually easier to maintain and clean in comparison.
Most tanks offer in-built lighting, but depending on the fish in your tank and what else is living in there, the type of light you can buy may be restricted.
Lighting is important from an aesthetic point of view when we are talking about fish-only tanks. These are aquariums which have your fish and other decorations inside, without plants.
You can see your fish better, and it illuminates their colours. There are often different shades of whites, and some tanks have the option to switch the light into a night mode which is better for after-dark observation.
If you see the term RGB this means Red, Green and Blue. Some lights offer this option, and the idea is that these colours can bring out certain scales a lot better as well as offering a bit of something different to your room.
But if you have living plants, lights can also offer them energy. A plant will turn light into energy and carbon dioxide into oxygen. Without plants which grow, live and give off oxygen, the water and life in your tank can really suffer.
Planted tanks will need a significant amount of lighting. If you plan a fish-only tank you should purchase at least 1 or 2 watts per gallon of light. Planted tanks meanwhile require between 2 and 5 watts per gallon and it has to be full-spectrum.
If you have found your dream tank but feel it misses some lighting components, extra lights and replacements are often available to buy.
Fish tanks can have a high start-up rate depending on their size, with the price and getting all of the equipment. But generally, they are cheap to run on power and filters and equipment only needs replacing every so often, so the high cost initially will even out over time.
Expect to pay from £40 for a small tank for one fish to over £500 for a larger tank with a stand, suitable for multiple fish. The majority of tanks come with the basics you need to get them started up, such as filters and lights.