Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fish Tanks: How Do I Choose the Right Size

If you have never owned a fish tank before you may think that a smaller tank will be easier to handle than a larger one. While this may seem like good logic, the opposite is actually true - larger fish tanks typically require less maintenance than smaller tanks. There are several reasons why this is true and it is wise to familiarize yourself with the benefits of large versus small tanks before you decide which tank size is right for you. If you know the advantages and disadvantages associated with different size fish tanks you will be better equipped to make an educated decision regarding your own tank.

Large VS Small Tanks

Though it may seem strange to think that larger tanks are easier to maintain than smaller tanks, it all has to do with the water volume in the tank. Small fish tanks like BiOrb Life 30L, Fluval Edge 23L or Fluval Edge 46L, contain less water than large tanks and small water volumes are more easily affected by outside influences. For example, if the aquarium heater in a five gallon tank were to give out it would not take long for the water in the aquarium to become cold. A larger tank, for example Red Sea MAX 250 Marine Aquarium or Juwel Vision 450 Aquarium, however, holds more water and, thus, would not cool quite so quickly. The water volume in a fish tank also plays a role in maintaining stable water chemistry. As your fish excrete waste and as uneaten fish food builds up on the bottom of your tank, harmful toxins like ammonia and nitrites are produced. While in small tanks the presence of these chemicals can quickly affect water quality, large tanks have a greater water volume to dilute these toxins. This is especially important for new aquarium hobbyists to realize – the greater water volume in larger tanks is more forgiving of the mistakes novice aquarists are likely to make than smaller tanks. 

Necessary Considerations 

Aside from the basic advantages and disadvantages associated with small versus large fish tanks, you also need to consider the space you have available in your home as well as the type of fish you plan on raising. Before you bring home a fish tank you need to know where you are going to put it. The ideal location for an aquarium is somewhere visible but not in the direct line of traffic. You should also be sure to keep your fish tank out of direct sunlight or you could experience problems with excessive algae growth. When deciding where to put your tank it is also wise to select an easily-accessible location, not an out-of-the-way nook where tank maintenance might be difficult. 
One of the most important factors in deciding what size fish tank you need is the type of fish you intend to keep. If you plan to keep small species like danios and guppies, a twenty- or thirty-gallon tank will provide plenty of space. Larger species like gouramis and cichlids, however, may require more space. Before you purchase a tank, research the various species of fish you intend to keep in order to determine their tank requirements. You need to not only consider the type of fish you plan to keep, but also the number of fish. When you are first starting out in the aquarium hobby it is wise to limit yourself to one inch of fish (taking into account the adult size of the fish) per gallon of tank capacity. Following this rule will help you to avoid overstocking your tank.
Other Things to Think About 

On the more practical side of things, cost may be a large factor in determining what size fish tank you get. The larger the tank, the greater the cost will be for not just the tank itself but also for the necessary equipment. If you are looking for a way to save money while also purchasing a decent-sized tank, look for aquarium kits that include the tank and all the basic necessities. These kits are affordably priced and may cost significantly less than purchasing the tank and all the start-up equipment separately. In addition to the amount of money you are willing to spend, you also need to think about how much time you have to devote to tank maintenance. The main tasks you will need to perform are weekly water tests and water changes. The amount of time needed for a water test remains the same for tanks of all sizes but the time it takes to perform a water change varies. Though it may take longer to replace 25% of the water in a 40-gallon tank than a 10-gallon tank, the decreased capacity for a 10-gallon tank to dilute toxins makes it necessary to perform water changes more frequently than in a 40-gallon tank. 

If you are able to devote an hour or two each week to tank maintenance tasks, there is only one good reason for you to select a small aquarium over a larger one. If you are a marine enthusiast, you may find it difficult to indulge your favorite past time, especially if you live far away from the beach or may simply be too busy to visit as often as you would like.

Why not consider bringing a small part of this ecosystem into your home? 

There might be a corner of the house crying out for something to fill it; and you may already have enough pictures, flowers as well as other common decorative additions. Consider a nano fish tank; it can just be the inclusion you need, as most will allow you to get creative and use similar theme colours that already exist within your home. Fish come in different shades, and provide a variety as far as matching goes.


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