First Tropical Fish Aquarium

Support Your Local Fish Store

Before you purchase your first aquarium spend time reading and learning as much as possible.
Most of the new aquarium horror stories I’ve heard are the direct result of misinformation. Do not make the mistake of going into the first pet store you see and believing whatever the sales guy tells you, he may or may not know what he’s talking about. Ask the staff questions and see if they are confident in their answers before relying the advice they give. There are a lot of stores out there that do not spend time training their staff. It’s important to research the store you plan on purchasing your tank and livestock from.

When you find a store you feel comfortable with support that store. For years I have supported stores that helped me and had knowledgeable staff. If I find a cheaper price elsewhere I’ll ask my local favorite store if they can match it and most of the time they can. I also do realize that you always get what you pay for, so I never freak out when a good store is a little more expensive, because good staff cost more.
After you have found a good store to purchase your aquarium equipment, its time to figure out the size of aquarium and where you want to put it in your house.

Aquarium Sizing

The general rule of thumb with any aquarium is the bigger the better, based on how much you feel comfortable spending and the amount of space you have for the aquarium. Aquariums over 30 inches tall can be very difficult to maintain. With aquariums over 110 gallons you may need to check with a contractor or engineer to make sure your floor can handle the weight, unless you putting it in the basement. When looking for a suitable location for your aquarium stay away from areas that have direct sunlight or are very bright rooms, the daylight can cause excessive algae growth and overheating.

The next step is to decide what your aquarium will sit on. An aquarium and water can be very heavy, water weighs approximately 3.78 pounds per US gallon and some large tanks can weigh hundreds even thousands of pounds empty. So a 90 gallon aquarium filled with water might weigh some where around 1000 pounds. Most aquarium manufacturer’s warranties are either void or limited if the aquarium is not on a manufactured aquarium stand. Aquariums are designed to evenly spread the weight out on the bottom, if an aquarium is sitting on a surface that is warped or twisted it may leak or crack.

The stand the tank is on needs to be level, if you’re using a metal stand for aquariums over 100 gallons you may want to put a sheet of plywood and Styrofoam between the tank and the stand.

The direction you go from here depends on whether you want a fresh water or saltwater aquarium.

For the next steps in Starting a Freshwater Fish Aquarium, click the link!