5 Key tips on setting up a beginner’s community fish aquarium
If you are new to the world of keeping tropical fish, there are a number of key considerations that you should keep in mind when you are choosing your very first community fish aquarium. These considerations are important for anyone who would like to keep a healthy, productive and colourful community aquarium, since fish are notoriously sensitive creatures and the choices you make in this regard will seriously affect them.
Often, people who are just starting out in the wide and wonderful world of tropical fish community aquarium keeping will simply walk down the aisles of the aquarium section of their local pet store and collect the most colourful combination of fish they can find there and throw them all into whatever aquarium seems to fit their tastes. While a good eye for beauty is great to have, it is critical to apply some forethought and expertise to your choices as well to ensure that your fish lead happy lives.
Tip Number One: Choose The Right Fish
In general, your interest in keeping an aquarium should remain focused on the fish that you would like to have living there. While it is perfectly reasonable to see an aquarium you really like and then choose the fish afterwards, it is important that the fish you keep are chosen based on their compatibility with the environment that you wish to keep them in.
Some species of fish, for example, are very difficult to keep alive and happy in a community environment. They can be overly sensitive to water quality, require special marine conditions to survive, or represent a species that does not get along with other fish in your community fish aquarium. It is always best to start with hardy, well-disposed community species.
Here are some examples of popular fish that are ideal for living in a freshwater community aquarium:
• Barbs And Rasboras; (But not tiger barbs)
• Corydoras Catfish;
• Danios (including the popular Zebra Danio);
• Black Mollies; (or any coloured molly)
There are numerous other species of fish that are well behaved and offer an easy experience for fish enthusiasts to plan their first aquarium. As always, good research is important before any purchase so that you know what to expect.
Tip Number Two: Choose The Right Size Tank
There is a common misconception among beginning aquarium owners that smaller tanks are always easier to keep than larger tanks. This is not true— in fact, smaller tanks make it harder to control the water quality correctly and make it easier for a tiny mistake to end up with disastrous results.
Ideally, a tank in the range of 200 litres allows for small changes in pH, ammonia, or nitrite levels in the tank to have a less drastic effect than if you begin with a tiny tank. The water quality will change over time and you will need to be ready to address those issues before their consequences become realised.
For a beginner’s community fish aquarium, it is important to appropriately measure the amount of space that you have for your tank and to relate that with the size and number of fish you would like to keep. Two useful rules of thumb can be applied when choosing the size of your tank. In general, you want to have:
• 1.5 litres of water for each centimetre of fish length;
• 30 square centimetres of surface area per centimetre of fish length.
These are not strict rules and they do not take into account the activity level of the fish, social behaviour, and their eventual growth. However, they are very helpful for beginners to gauge the right size of their tank in relation to the fish they’d like to keep: miniature tanks for small schools of tiny fish, and large tanks for larger specimens or greater numbers.
Tip Number Three: Keep Live Plants In Your Aquarium!
While it is possible to successfully keep a thriving community fish aquarium without live plants, it is advisable for beginners to keep a healthy number of live plants in their aquariums for a number of reasons:
• Plants oxygenate the water that your fish and for the essential bacteria rely on to survive.
• Plants, as living organisms, are notably more complex than algae and utilize waterborne nutrients more effectively and readily than algae can. Having a mixture of the two is a good option to consider.
• Plants offer additional decorum that double as an important part of the living ecosystem you are creating. In terms of their natural beauty, they are vastly preferable to little pirate ships or plastic pieces for creating a pleasant aquatic environment.
Tip Number Four: Invest In Your Filter
Your water filter is one of the most important elements of your community fish aquarium. While you may hear that it is okay to purchase an aquarium filter that turns your water two or three times per hour, it is recommended that you get a filter that will do so at least four or five times per hour for the best results.
When in doubt, remember that it is perfectly okay to get a filter slightly larger than necessary, but that a smaller filter can easily lead to frustrations in your community fish aquarium. Under-investing here can undermine your entire attempt at successfully keeping a thriving aquarium environment.
Tip Number Five: Use A High Quality Submersible Heater thermostat
There are a number of aquarium heaters available on the market, and you owe it to your fish to choose a high quality submersible heater instead of a more expensive titanium solution or a hanging heater. This piece of equipment is vital to your community fish aquarium and, if chosen correctly, will provide years of service without causing any problems.
There are certainly better and more complicated heating solutions on the market, but simple submersible heaters represent the best choice for beginners. Hanging heaters may require you to cut a hole in the aquarium hood in order to make room for the head of the heater, and submersible titanium heaters are more expensive solutions meant for tanks with large, boisterous fish.