Tips for Selecting Your Home Aquarium
To help select the ideal style aquarium for any home, we’ll be discussing these main factors: room size (which includes floor space), aquarium size and type of fish desired.
One of the first things people should consider when selecting an aquarium is the size of the room in which it will be displayed. Big room = big aquarium, right? Well, not always.
Larger rooms usually contain larger pieces of furniture, so a larger aquarium will be the default mindset. However, bigger isn’t necessarily always better for the following reasons:
- Bigger aquariums put more strain on floors. Water weighs 8.33 pounds per gallon, so a 100-gallon aquarium puts 832 pounds of pressure on the floor beneath it—and that’s not counting the weight of the cabinet, gravel and the tank itself! The aquarium weight is especially important to consider for floors above the ground level, where beams and sub-flooring take the brunt of weight instead of a concrete pad.
- More water means more water damage. If the aquarium springs a leak, that means more water to clean up.
- Bigger aquariums mean more supplies. The extra expense and muscle power needed to purchase supplies and haul them to and from the tank can become tiresome.
If the home is large but lacking available floor space, a tall or corner aquarium will give fish space to swim without the big footprint.
Aquarium styles that increase visibility (or usability) without taking up more floor space include cylindrical tall aquariums (which can stand in the center of a room for a 360-view) and bowfront aquariums that offer a magnifying glass effect.
Other styles include globe, corner or even double-duty furniture, like coffee table aquariums.
These tanks also work great for any size room because they use aesthetics to maximize the visual impact of an aquarium.
Another unique option that uses zero floor space is a wall-mounted aquarium. These come in many sizes and hang on walls like picture frames. Wall tanks range anywhere in size from small, circular, bubble aquariums to massive, rectangular, panoramic fixtures that can replace typical wall art with the ”living art” of an aquatic ecosystem.
Traditional tanks like rectangular and bowfront aquariums can take up valuable wall frontage, while cylindrical, wall and coffee table tanks don’t.
Type of Fish Desired
A final consideration in selecting a home aquarium is the type of fish to enjoy. Freshwater fish are cheaper to purchase, feed and replace, but saltwater species offer more variety, color and ”wow” factor. Saltwater fish thrive better in a larger tank (reminiscent of the ocean) and smaller tanks are more appropriate for freshwater fish that don’t require as much space to be happy.
African cichlids from Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Virctoria offer a less expensive freshwater option with color that rivals saltwater species. They are know for higher aggression levels but are very hardy. With a larger tank and the right set up, they can provide vibrant colors and great entertainment for children.
Betta fish are popular because their tanks don’t always require aerators, although adding a bubble feature can look pleasing to the eye. Bettas also get nervous in larger tanks because their natural habitats are in small, still pools filled with plant life to hide amongst.