into a tank of fish has been likened to watching a crackling fire for
its relaxing, soothing, almost hypnotic effect. Medical tests have even
shown a reduction in stress and a lowering of blood pressure among people
while watching aquarium fish. Adding an aquarium to your home creates
a new area of interest, can be quite decorative, and gives you something
to look at when you are bored. The cost of getting started can be very
reasonable, depending on how deeply you want to plunge in. And fish
are a fairly low maintenance pet.
There are three
basic categories of aquarium fish - goldfish, freshwater tropical
fish, and saltwater fish. The latter are by far the most expensive
to own, and the most difficult to care for. It is best to forget about
a saltwater aquarium until you have experienced success with freshwater
fish. The inevitable beginner mistakes will be much cheaper.
Goldfish are the
least expensive and most forgiving of mistakes, but they require a
little more work. In addition to the common goldfish we all know,
selective breeding has produced goldfish in a variety of beautiful
colors and shapes. The main advantage of goldfish is that they donít
require heated water, although they do much better when it is heated.
Goldfish can tolerate a temperature range of 32-80 degrees, and can
get along fine at room temperature.
The fish most
people think of when considering an aquarium are the fresh water tropicals.
Tropical fish are available in many unique varieties, in an assortment
of colors, shapes, sizes, and personalities. While some exotic breeds
can be expensive, most tropicals are reasonably priced and easy to
is easy and relatively inexpensive. A fully equipped aquarium with
fish should cost under $200.00. There is a little work involved in
setting up the tank, and there are some things you need to learn in
order to care for your fish, but after that, regular feeding and weekly
maintenance should keep your tank happy and healthy.
The basic items
you need are a tank with a light source, a heater and thermostat,
a pump/filter, and some aquascaping furnishings. You will also need
a testing kit to check for chemical changes in the water. Until you
are comfortable testing the water yourself, most pet stores are glad
to test it for you.
Most experts recommend
a tank in the 20-30 gallon range for your first aquarium, but a 10
gallon tank is a good size for a smaller space. Many standard size
tanks have a canopy cover which includes a light. The light, in addition
to making the aquarium more attractive and highlighting the color
of your fish, promotes plant and algae growth. Avoid placing the tank
where it will receive direct sunlight, as this will overheat the water,
and produce excessive algae.
require water temperatures in the 72-80 degree range, and most people
keep the water at 75-78 degrees. Heaters are available in submersible
and non-submersible models, and are essential, especially in winter.
removes debris created by uneaten food, waste, and dead organisms,
and adds oxygen to the water as it returns to the tank. This process
allows the chemical-biological balance of the water to stay at a healthy
Now we come to
the fun part - aquascaping - the interior decorating of your aquarium.
You get to add your personal touch while creating an interesting home
environment for your fish. Youíll start with a base of gravel, which
is available in an assortment of colors. You can add plants, rocks,
a castle or sunken ship, or maybe a piece of driftwood. You're only
limited by your imagination!
Now, sit back
and enjoy your new aquarium -- it's a great way to relax.