How To Create The Perfect Home Aquarium

home aquarium

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With so many reputable scholars claiming that fish observation alleviates stress, it’s no surprise that so many psychiatrists, counselors and dentists keep aquariums in their waiting rooms.In addition to stress reduction, aquariums have been known to calm hyperactive children and reduce adults’ blood pressure, at least temporarily.

A recent study of Alzheimer’s patients at Purdue University even found that patients with aquariums ate significantly more food. So, if you have a great deal of stress or a houseful of hyperactive kids (the two can go hand in hand), an aquarium may be the perfect addition to your home.

When making room in your home for an aquarium, it’s often helpful to use an online self-storage finder to locate storage space for any excess furniture. Although large aquariums take up a great deal of space, they can really improve your home’s decor. Whether you use your aquarium as a room divider, a corner unit or a room’s main attraction, it is sure to change your home’s aesthetic.

Here are some important factors to consider.

Aquarium maintenance
Despite all of the studies suggesting that aquariums reduce stress, it’s important to note that they can induce stress as well, especially if you’re in charge of the aquarium’s upkeep. Cycling the tank, performing periodic partial water changes, managing the filtration system, vacuuming the gravel and feeding the fish can be time-consuming and mentally taxing. Of course, if you’re worried that the upkeep may be too much to handle, you can always enlist the services of an aquarium maintenance company.

Freshwater or saltwater tanks
Generally speaking, freshwater tanks are much better for novice aquarists, as they’re easier to maintain.

Although saltwater fish can be extremely exotic, they cost significantly more than freshwater fish. Also, saltwater fish come with unique challenges; these fish often refuse to eat when they first enter the aquarium, and their tanks require much more upkeep. This being said, once the nitrogen cycle is established, the water quality in saltwater tanks maintains better than the water in freshwater tanks, partly due to the live rock in saltwater tanks.

Aquarium setup costs
Depending on the size of your tank and the type of fish you purchase, aquariums can cost anywhere from $50 to thousands. In addition to the tank itself, you will need a filter, air pump, lights, food, as well as pH, ammonia and nitrate testing kits.

All things being equal, saltwater aquariums are more expensive than freshwater aquariums.

Common mistakes

  • An insufficient amount of water: Even if you’re installing a mini-aquarium for a single fish, be sure to have at least a gallon of water in the tank.
  • Chlorinated water: When placing tap water into a freshwater aquarium, be sure to use a de-chlorinator to remove the chlorine. It’s important to do this during the initial setup and all of the periodic water changes thereafter.
  • Aquarium placement: On average, you want your water temperature to be between 73 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to keep your home aquarium a safe distance from windows, as sunlight can cause green algae to form in the tank.
  • Inadequate filtration: Generally speaking, you want your aquarium filter to clean the tank at least three times every hour. It never hurts to over-filter, so when in doubt, opt for an oversized filtration device.
  • Failure to test the water: Fish tanks’ nitrogen cycles can be rather confusing. As an aquarist, it’s imperative to test the pH, ammonia and nitrogen levels often, especially during the initial setup period. Make sure that all of your levels have been stable for a few days before you add your fish into the tank.
  • Too many fish: Adding too many fish during the initial stage of home aquarium creation is one of the most common mistakes. By only adding two or three fish at first, you can allow your fish to acclimate to their new surroundings. After the nitrogen cycle has been established, then you can add more fish incrementally. Always be sure to keep your tank size in mind when adding fish.
  • Fish compatibility: Be sure to choose peaceful fish that require similar water conditions. Always consult a knowledgeable aquarist to ensure that all the fish in your tank are compatible.
  • Overfeeding: If you have young children, you may have to hide those fish food containers. Although fish do quite well with one feeding session per day, almost all fish can go a few days without being fed. To keep waste levels low, you shouldn’t feed your fish at all when the tank’s nitrate or ammonia levels are high. And when in doubt, underfeed your fish.
  • Choosing the wrong fish: While shopping around for fish, be sure to avoid fish with wounds, clipped fins, sunken stomachs and cloudy eyes, as these can all be signs of disease.

The right fish
Generally speaking, you should be wary of aggressive freshwater fish, such as cichlids, oscars and devils.

Danio zebras, neon tetras, serpae tetras and red-eyed tetras are all good initial freshwater fish.

If you decide to install a saltwater aquarium, angelfish, tangs, arowanas, clownfish (think Nemo from “Finding Nemo”) and puffers are excellent choices. Puffers are particularly fun aquarium fish, as they recognise their owners and have extremely bubbly personalities. Puffers’ bodies inflate to three times their body size, and they get particularly animated during feeding time; however, they come with added maintenance, as they require 100-gallon tanks and foods rich in meat, like bloodworms and beef heart.


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John Donegan is a writer at SpareFoot, the online marketplace where you can find and reserve a self-storage unit with comparison shopping tools that show real-time availability and exclusive deals. John lives in Austin, TX and occasionally directs videos for rap artists.

This story was originally published by Zillow.The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.