Aquarium Components

tank componentsOk. You’ve decided that you want a fish tank in your home or office. Now what?  If you’re new to the hobby there are certain aquarium components that you must consider before you dive in headfirst.  Depending on whether you end up with a fresh water or a saltwater tank, there are several components that are necessary for the health of your tank inhabitants.  Many of the individual components have been written about elsewhere on this site and will be linked for your further consideration.  This article will provide a brief description and an overview of each item discussed.

The first thing, obviously, is the fish aquarium itself.  Determine where you would like to set it up in your home or office.  Try to avoid direct sunlight or drafty areas such as entrances or exits.  These can cause algae and temperature issues that will have to be dealt with over and over again.  Once you know where you would like to place the tank, figure the best size, glass or acrylic, shape and whether it will be a freshwater or marine aquarium.

Next, determine what the aquarium will sit on and whether it will have a canopy on top to really set it off and make it look like a piece of furniture.  Keep in mind that water weighs approximately eight and one-third pounds per gallon.  Make sure that whatever you place the tank on can support this weight.  For example: a 100 gallon tank is going to weigh well over 800 pounds.  That’s a heck of a mess, not to mention the possibility of injury, if the stand or cabinet can’t handle the load.

Filtration for any fresh water or saltwater aquarium is extremely important.  Choosing the wrong filter, rather it’s because it is too small or just because it was on sale, can have devastating effects on an aquarium once you have stocked it with the fish and invertebrates (in the case of saltwater or a reef tank), and cost you more in animal loss than you would have spent on a proper filter.  It is always a good idea to go one size larger than you need when it comes to filtration.  That way if the bio load of the aquarium is maxed out, the filter will have a chance to ensure the survival of your tank inhabitants. This also gives the aquarist a little wiggle room for mistakes.  Substrates, gravels or crushed coral or sand or any number of other options will also provide the tank with a bit of necessary filtration as well.

Consider the purchase of a heater as one of the more important choices for your tank.  Once again, always go to one size more than you heaters glass
need so that it doesn’t have to over work in order to keep the fish and invertebrates comfortable and healthy.  Chillers in some cases are something else to consider but that is for another article at some point.  Though some smaller freshwater tanks can use a hang on heater that can’t be submerged, it is still better to go with a submersible heater to avoid any chance of electrical shock.  Ask your local pet or fish store for recommendations for a good quality heater.  Cheap heaters are cheap for a reason.  Buyer beware on cheap heaters……nothing worse than waking up and seeing that your heater malfunctioned and killed all of your fish.

If your aquarium decision involves live plants (freshwater) or anemones and corals (saltwater) then one of the components that should be considered is lighting.  There are a wide variety of spectrums and types of bulbs available and all have their pros and cons.  There are a couple of articles on this site as well as many on the internet that delve into the importance of the right lighting for your situation.  Research this a bit if that has anything to do with the choice of aquarium that you have made.  If the tank that you decided on does not have live plants, anemones or other invertebrates, then you can put very simple basic lights on it and be done.  Do, however, make sure that the bulbs you choose aren’t going to cause unnecessary algae growth.

Among other aquarium components to consider is the quality of the water (most local water companies have a list of the elements that are in the tap water), a high grade salt (if chosen), food for the fish, nutrients for invertebrates, the amount of service that the tank will require and whether you are prepared to do it yourself or if you might need to hire a company to maintain it for you. And last but not least, the effect it will have on your wallet.  Aquariums are a big commitment and the inhabitants count on you for everything they need to survive.

Article Name
Aquarium Components
Aquarium components are discussed with a broad over view of each.

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