It’s nice to have a beautiful aquarium, but that should never come at the cost of what’s living inside it. You can have the most colorful lighting setups and elaborate corals or rock formations, but those won’t matter much if you have unhealthy—or worse—dead fish in it. Even a simple aquarium setup will look great as long as the fish are happy.
By keeping a mindset that fish are pets and not mere decorations, you can now start laying the groundwork the ideal aquarium for your fish.
What’s Your Fish?
Fish, the main attraction of your aquarium, come in all sizes and attitudes. And the type of fish you’ll get will have a great effect on the rest of your setup. For starters, big fish require bigger tanks and some species are more tolerant of sharing the tank with other species. Some fish don’t mind different water temperatures while others only thrive if the temperature is consistent.
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The finest example would be the betta fish. It doesn’t move around much so it doesn’t need a large tank (a 5-gallon tank would do). It’s also quite aggressive and is much better off having the tank to itself. This is very different from most varieties of goldfish, who can get along just fine with most kinds of aquarium fish and tend to swim around the entire tank.
Plants and Corals
Plants for freshwater aquariums and corals for saltwater ones provide a great background for your fish. They also have a great impact on your aquarium’s overall look. However, you also have to consider the fact that they also serve as hiding spots for your aquarium’s inhabitants. Make sure you have enough of them to keep fish from fighting over the same spot, without making the tank too crowded.
Real plants require more maintenance than plastic plants or corals because they tend to keep growing. If left unchecked, a plant may end up crowding the tank. However, they help improve water quality and keep the tank rich with oxygen. If you’re willing to put up with the upkeep, real plants are the better option. Otherwise, getting artificial plants complemented with an aerator is a good alternative.
Lighting and Other Decorations
You already have a lot of customization options with just the plants or corals. However, you can spice up your aquarium further with lighting and other kinds of decorations. If you have live plants in your tank, lighting is more of a necessity, since they need light to thrive. More importantly, lighting can have a beneficial effect on fish behavior and even their health. The key to proper lighting is to make the aquarium look as close to your fish’s natural habitat. Do your research for each species and make your choices based on what you found out.
Static decorations such as figurines and miniatures can be also used to hide unsightly air pumps and provide extra points of interest. They can also work as extra hiding spaces if the plants and corals are not enough. Just remember to check if you’re putting in something safe for the fishes, especially if the decoration is made of plastic.
That wraps up this quick guide on setting up your aquarium. Keep these pointers in mind and you’ll have no problem keeping happy, healthy fish in a great-looking aquarium!