Fundamental Things You Need when Shopping for a Fish Tank

Fundamental Things You Need to Know When Shopping for a Fish Tank

When you’re thinking about getting a fish tank, you should take your time and give it a good thought. Whether it’s the gravel you worry about, the size of the tank you cannot decide upon or the filtration system that you’re going to use, fish tanks are a lot of work too. It’s essential that you do due diligence about it and learn everything you need to know about fish tanks and everything else related to it.

What tank size should you go with?

There are many sizes and shapes for fish tanks. You can always go with a custom size, but most of the fish tanks out there do come in standard sizes.

It’s crucial that you decide on the size, shape, and weight for the fish tank. The stand you need or the place you’re going to put the fish tank relates a lot to its weight and size. Don’t forget that you also need a lid for your fish tank, so add it to your shopping list.

What kind of heater do you need?

If you’re not sure about the size of the heater you need for the fish tank, you should check a heater size for guidance. Its size depends on the fish tanks’ size and the average room temperature. Here are some tips to remember when selecting:

heater for fish tank

  • If the tank is 50 gallons or more, it’s better than you get two small heaters and not a big one. The heat is going to be distributed more evenly. Place each of the heaters at each end of your fish tank. Should any of them fail at some, you’re going to have one running until you replace the broken one.
  • It’s not a bad idea to get a spare heater and have it around the house. It’s a matter of time until a heater is going to fail in the middle of the winter (chances are it’s going to happen on a Saturday night when every single pet shop in town is closed). You don’t need to get the priciest heater in the city as a spare. You need one that works until you get the good one. Buy two affordable heaters during sale season so that you stay on the safe side.
  • Many mini heaters are quite dependable. When your fish needs tropical heat (Betta fish do), you should look into it.
  • When your fish are energetic and large, it’s also safe to buy a heater guard with glass heaters.

Which filters work best?

Filters are fundamental for your fish and the fish tank, but we’re not going to talk about that. It’s essential that you remember that water in the fish tank needs to pass through the filter around four times in an hour. It’s not that complicated to run the numbers and see which size you need for the filter. If you’re on the limits, it’s always better to go with a higher flow rate.

To give you an example, a 30-gallon tank is going to need at least 120gph (gallons per hour) flow rate. When you need to choose between a 100 and 150 gallons per hour flow rate on the filter, it’s always better to upgrade, going with the 150gph filter.

When selecting the filtration for your fish tank, the volume of the fish tank is fundamental. Finding out the tank’s capacity isn’t complicated, and you only need to know its dimensions. You multiply the lengthxwidthxheight/1000. The result is going to show how much water you need for the fish tank.

Here are the most important types of filters that also relate to the kind of water pump you use for the fish tank:

  • Small tank (under 30 gallons)- it’s suitable for few fishes in the tank. Power filters and internal filters work best as they’re strong enough for keeping a good quality for the water. They’re also gentle and safe around small fish.
  • Large tanks (over 30 gallons)- They work for the high number of fish, needing more power for keeping the fish healthy and sound. External canister filters and wet/dry filters provide the best results as they’re easy to access, dependable, and come with customization possibilities. Look for one with three filter media trays, spray bar for flow distribution, easy priming, and UV so that it keeps the water green and bacteria-free.
  • Hospital/breeding tanks- You should use sponge/air-powered filters for this type of fish tanks. They don’t have any moving parts inside the tank, so the newly hatched fry and the small fish cannot be sucked into the filter. The mortality rate is rather low with this particular type of filter. They also don’t disturb the water much, so they don’t stress out the sick fish.

Don’t just get the first water pump you see in the pet shop!

You should buy the water pump after deciding on the filter and knowing the flow rate you want in the fish tank. Some fish may enjoy a steady flow rate (marine fish, for instance), whereas other fish tanks (planted tanks are one good example), only need a low flow.

water pump for fish tank

It’s back to the drawing board and research once again. You need to go ahead and read about the flow rate the fish/aquarium plants require. It’s essential that you buy the right size for the water pump, without undermining the importance of plumbing in the fish tank. There are simple setup and sophisticated types, with the latter needing external equipment or sumps.

No matter if the filter system is right under the tank or across the space in your living room, you should also pay attention to the distance the pumps have to move the water. The higher the range, the stronger the flow rate is going to be.

Did you give a thought on the substrate?

Your fish tank needs to be filled with substrate, and 2 inches of it is a good depth. How do you know how much gravel is going to take for getting this kind of depth? Should you get one or two bags of gravel?

In the case of regular gravel/rock bases substrates, one pound of the substrate is enough for one gallon of water. For the weirdly shaped fish tanks, you may need more/less substrate than that. If you’re looking for a substrate for planted tanks, you’re going to run the numbers carefully. Plants come with specific needs, especially when it comes to the substrate depth.

How much fish food should you use?

Little can or big can? It’s pretty standard for people to overestimate. Many fish owners are buying too much food, ending up overfeeding the fish. Once you open the package, the food loses its properties, which is why you should be more careful when buying the big cans. You need to throw away the container after a month. Pay attention to your fish and buy the small containers so that you can feed your fish without wasting your money.

Other resources

Aquarium Basics: Types of Filtration Systems

Aquarium Checklist for Beginners

Choosing the Right Size of Aquarium Equipment

All Pond Solutions | How do I calculate the right filter and …

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