Fish Tank

Tank size

Get the as large a tank as possible that you can fit in your location. A larger tank holds more water than a smaller tank and the extra water volume acts as a buffer against fluctuations in the water perimeter. Imagine if you drop a droplet of mild poison (not cyanide!) into your fish tank, you fish is going to die. However if you drop it into a big pond, the water volume dilutes the poison into non-toxic concentration. Sure nobody is going to drop any poison into any fish tank, but that is just an example. :) A fish produces waste just like humans, but the difference is ours go into the toilet, theirs go to the water they live in. Without proper water management, their waste can reach toxic levels, weakening them and eventually killing them!

Fishkeeping is not only keeping fish, in fact fish keeping is water keeping!

Water management articles here

Other than being a better buffer for fluctuations in the chemical composition of water, a larger tank size will give your fish more room to swim and exhibit their natural behaviors. On the other hand, fish housed in small and restrictive tanks will stay at the bottom or hide behind a filter or a tank ornament. Imagine what happens if you get locked into a small room, you will probably just eat and sleep! You wouldn't be running in circles would you? On the other hand If you're confined on an island, you'll spend time climbing, running and looking for cool things to do. Happy fish will not only be more active, they will also show it by displaying brighter colours and fight diseases better!

In summary, a larger tank will


The main constraints from getting the largest tank in the store is:


While space taken be the tank's dimensions and cost is the main constraints, do remember to take in account the weight of the tank as well. Is the foundation able to support the tank weight? You don't want your tank to collapse or live in fear of it collapsing! A cubic foot of aquarium water weighs about 30kg, and this is excluding the weight of the tank materia (ie glass or acrylic), weight of fish, gravel, accessories (ie pump, filter and filter media) and tank stand.

To estimate the base weight of the tank (ie the water it holds):

And that is just a single tank! If you have a double tier stand or triple tier stand, double or triple that calculation estimation!

Not only do you need to have a sturdy tank stand, make sure the floor where the tank is on is able to to support the weight too! This is especially if you live in an upstairs apartment or plan on placing your aquarium in an upstairs room. In fact, many apartment complexes do not allow aquariums in their upstairs apartments. Do consult the authorities in your area if you are not sure. Nobody will prohibit you from having a large tank unless it is really unsafe!


Tank Placement

You can place your tank anywhere but bear in mind that you are likely to spill water over the area sooner or later. Make sure that area can afford to get wet! ie no electricity sockets or important documents on the floor nearby. If you can choose, it is better to have it on the ground floor due to its weight.

If you have a small fish tank don't be tempted to put it on the TV or bar fridge. The heat from them can kill your fish! Also you may spill water and spoil those appliances.


Tank Stand

Some people consider the tank placement with care, but overlook the importantance of the humble tank stand that is often taken for granted. If you locate your aquarium setup on a very solid foundation and location but on an unsuitable stand than it is a timebomb just waiting to explode!

There are many types of stands you can sit your tank on, the two main types is a metal stand and a cabinet stand.

Cabinet Stand
When you choose a cabinet stand, the main consideration is to make sure that it is a fish tank cabinet stand and not just a cabinet that looks one. This is because an aquarium's cabinet need to be constructed specially for the purpose so as to be able to support the tremendous weight of an aquarium. It also has to be made of wood that will not warp or weaken under high moisture and pressure.

Metal Stand
The main consideration for metal stands is the type of metal used. All properly designed and built tank stands should last for at least a couple of years. However, it is a matter of time before a metal stand will corrode/rust and become usuitable for use. The most common types of metals used is wrought iron and stainless steel. A stainless steel stand is much more rust resistant than a wrought iron stand, however it also comes with a much higher price tag. Stainless steel also come in various different grades, with higher grade stainless steel being more rust and corrosion resistant than lower grade ones. Corrosion of iron and stainless steel


Glass Tank vs Acrylic Tank

Fish tanks are made of glass or acrylic. Both glass tanks and acrylic tanks have their own advantages and weaknesses.


Acrylic Tanks

It is almost impossible not to scratch acrylic. However, the good thing is that unless you scratch it hard, the scratch will not be an eyesore. If you use an acrylic tank, take special care not to scatch it especially when cleaning the tank walls. Do not clean too near the gravel because if you accidently catch a piece of gravel then you will be scratching the tank as you clean.

Acrylic is lighter than glass, therefore acrylic tanks are way easier to transport than glass ones. However, you probably will not be transporting your tank too often so that wouldn't matter. A better consideration is that a lighter tank puts less demands on its stand and foundation. As tank stands are designed to withstand the weight of glass aquariums, using acrylic tanks means there is a greater buffer on the load capacity, making it safer. A glass tank can be very much heavier than acrylic tanks because the thickness of the glass walls have to be increased drastically the bigger the tank gets to prevent the glass from failing due to the water pressure.

Acrylic is harder to break than glass because it is more "flexible". Upon impact acrylic has more capacity to absorb and distribute the shock. You have to use far greater force to break an acrylic tank than a glass tank.

Acrylic is seamless. If made professionally, the acrylic panes are not just stuck together by adhesive. They are chemically bonded so that the different pieces actually fuses together to become one single piece. Because of this, acylic tanks does not leak!

Acrylic has less distortion than glass because of its refractive index being smaller. You can look through an acrylic tank like it is not there.


Glass Tanks

Glass tanks are easier to maintain scratch free. That means you can clean the tank easily without fear of scratching it. This is a big plus especially if you do tank maintainance regularly. While glass can also be scratched, you have to purposely scratch it wil a hard object to to leave any scratches.

Glass tanks are heavier but that is ok as long as you have a properly designed tank stand and a solid floor to locate it on.

As glass tanks are easier to break, you should get tanks with thicker walls for bigger tanks due to the water pressure. This is especially important if you wish to keep larger fish specimens that would hit against the tank wall. While you may think they may not be strong enough to break it, don't forget that water pressure is on their side! If you use a glass tank, be extra careful if you use heavy rocks. If you drop it or topple it on the tank base then you will be getting a new tank. If you must use rocks, do not be tempted to arrange it on the bare tank. Arrange it on the floor first and after you are satisfied then you transfer it into your tank. Always have something to distribute the weight of the rock such as a thick layer of sand.

Glass tanks are made by gluing pieces of glass panes together. They are very reliable, but the potential is there for the joinings to loosen and the tank to leak. However it may be a consolation to know that they don't usually break apart and spill everything all over your house. Usually if a glass tank is going to leak it will start our slowly. If you discover a tank leaking, don't just paste tape over it! Relocate your fish inside it and resillicon your tank. If you are purchasing a glass tank, touch the silicon sealant at the inside of the edges where the pieces come together and feel if it is soft. If it is hard, there is a higher chance that it will leak especially if it is a second-hand tank!

Glass distorts light more when light is passed through it therefore glass tanks distorts the size colour and position from what it really is. However, this is not significant unless you have huge tanks with very thick glass walls.

Ok hope you have enough information to decide on an acrylic or glass tank!


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