Keeping an aquarium can be a great hobby with therapeutic advantages. It is
a practice that be enjoyed by hobbyists of all ages and experience levels.
Before committing to a purchase or the responsibility of caring for
animals, consider the following aspects of owning and maintaining an
Initial Costs and Fish Selection - The starting cost of keeping an aquarium
may be fairly high due to all of the equipment needed to attain the proper
environment. Purchases include the actual tank, filters, lights and other
essentials, not to mention the fish themselves. Generally, the larger the
tank the higher the cost; saltwater setups will cost more than freshwater.
A typical tropical freshwater aquarium can safely support one inch of fish
per gallon of water; this is dependent on the surface area of the water -
the more surface area, the more oxygen, therefore, supporting more fish.
Some fish are schooling fish, which by nature prefer to be in large groups;
others may like their independence and will prefer to be left alone.
Marine, or saltwater, fish are more colorful but require a lot of care and
knowledge. Freshwater aquariums tend to be easier to maintain because there
are fewer chemical balances to worry about.
Size and Placement - The size and type of aquarium you need may be dictated
by the type of fish you want, the available area, and your budget. In some
cases, bigger is better. A larger tank will allow you to add more fish
later; the larger amount of water will thin out chemicals, which can be
potentially dangerous to fish. No matter what the size, the location should
be level, sturdy and where it is not in danger of being bumped into or
knocked over. They should also be kept away from heating vents, windows and
doors because of temperature fluctuations; windows can also allow too much
light causing excess algae build-up.
The Nitrogen Cycle - Nature has implemented a cycle to regulate the
potentially harmful effects of waste byproducts, this is called the
nitrogen cycle. Certain bacteria are essential for this process to be
carried out; it is important to be patient because it may take up to six
weeks, or possibly longer if your tank setup requires a lower temperature.
Time will be needed to cycle the tank, so start slow. Add some plants,
followed two weeks later by some hardy fish. Each step needs to be gradual
so the bacteria have enough time to multiply and break down the increasing
amount of waste. Until the nitrogen cycle is functioning normally,
monitoring ammonia levels may be a good idea. The number of fish in the
aquarium should be low while the nitrogen cycle is being established.
Filtration Equipment - Aquarium filters essentially work in three different
ways. Biological filtration takes advantage of the natural bacterial
process of the nitrogen cycle. This type of filtering provides larger
surfaces for beneficial bacteria to colonize. Mechanical filtration takes
in water and strains out particles such as fish excrement, sludge, and
uneaten food; clean the filter media regularly to prevent build-up.
Chemical filtration removes dissolved wastes than sneak by the mechanical
filtration system. When water passes through, the filter media chemically
bonds with the waste molecules and removes them from the aquarium. Other
types of filters offer various combinations of the different filtration
methods. These include canister filters, power filters, wet/dry filters and
UV Sterilizers - UV Sterilizers