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How to Build a Freshwater Aquarium

By Charles Hopkins Published 08/8/2006 | Fishing and Boating

As one of the easier types of aquariums to construct, a freshwater fish tank is a great way to get started into the aquarium craze. Certainly much easier to get functioning than other types of aquariums on the market (especially reef aquariums), freshwater is a great way to learn the basics of care and maintenance for a variety of fish and plants which will give you valuable experience which you can use later for larger and more impressive ecosystems. Nevertheless, just because a freshwater aquarium is less expensive and less impressive than other types of fish tanks does not mean that it is inferior as you can actually do a few cool things different with a freshwater tank than you can with the saltwater varieties.

Perhaps the most important decision you will make about your aquarium is what size and style of tank you should purchase. Some of the experts recommend that you should always buy whatever tank you can afford provided it can fit in your home. If you are just getting started into the world of aquariums, however, it would be more beneficial to you to purchase a small tank that will be much easier to care for and maintain. There is no need to throw away hundreds of dollars on a project which you may or may not like in a year or so. For this reason, start small and, if you find that you are successful with your endeavor and want to have more fish, then move up to the largest and most expensive tank you can afford. However, it should be noted that those who say that a larger aquarium is better also cite that having more space or less fish will improve your chances of creating a successful ecosystem your first time out.

Also, when choosing your tank for the first time, you will have a very important decision to make about what the tank is constructed from. Glass and acrylic are the two most popular choices for tank, and each has its own benefits and its own downfalls. Acrylic for example is much clearer than glass and will help insulate the tank better. This means you will not have to spend much extra on heating and lighting bills for your larger tank. However, acrylic scratches much more easily than glass and could lead to you having to replace your tank if a giant scratch were to develop in the front of the tank or if you were to accidentally scuff the tank while cleaning it.

When choosing the right filters for your aquarium, you will have to look into at least three different products. Depending on the size of your tank, you will need a biological filter, a chemical filter and a mechanical filter to make sure that everything is in the right concentrations in your tanks water. Such filters and skimmers can greatly range in size and price, so if you have a smaller tank you will definitely not need as many high tech products as you would with a much larger tank. Also, be sure to purchase plenty of acidity monitors and various other trace nutrient and chemical additives so you can keep track of everything your tank needs as often as you can.