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cover
Marine Aquaria and
Miniature Reefs



cover
Dynamic Aquaria : Building
Living Ecosystems


cover
Aquarium Plants: The
Practical Guide


cover
Handbook of Fish Diseases





Getting started with your aquarium (the complete beginners guide)

Aquarium - the definition
Selecting the right tank
Supporting the tank

Lighting and cover
The right water temperature
The right type of filter
Gravel & ornaments
Water test kits
Setting up the tank 
Buying and adding the fish


The definition of an aquarium
The simplest definition of an aquarium is a container capable of holding water in 
which fish & other aquatic organisms can live over a long period of time. Aquariology 
is the study of keeping fish in aquaria. It explores the reasons for keeping fish & 
requires a knowledge of the biological characteristics of fish, as well as of such 
aspects of their husbandry as feeding & nutrition, reproduction, water quality
management, sources & control of stress, & disease control.


Selecting an aquarium
Obvious considerations will determine the size of your aquarium. Available space in 
the room in which you plan on setting up the aquarium, the size & type of fish that 
you wish to keep, the cost of the entire set-up & the budget which you have to work 
with, are factors that will influence your decision on the size of aquarium you choose.
Please keep in mind that in general, larger aquaria for a given number of fish will result 
in fewer problems than smaller aquaria with the same amount of fish. For the beginning
aquarist, it is recommended that the tank be no smaller that 10 gallons, but preferably
larger. A 30 gallon tank would be an ideal size for the novice. If lightly stocked, a tank 
of this size provides sufficient volume of water to dilute out accumulated fish wastes. 
At the same time, it affords ample room for fish to grow & the addition of new residents.
Aquariums are sold in many shapes & sizes, from rectangular to hexagonal or cylindrical, 
& from 1 gallon to thousands of gallons in size. If due attention is given to water quality,
fish will do fine in any of them. Very deep tanks are difficult to clean; additionally, plants
may not do well in very deep water because of poor light penetration to the bottom of 
the aquarium. It is a good idea to clean a new aquarium before you set it up, to remove
any unwanted fingerprints, dust, dirt, & possible contaminants. A small amount of
dishwashing liquid, & lukewarm water will do fine, but remember to rinse thoroughly 
with warm water afterward to remove all traces of the cleanser.


Supporting the aquarium
A sturdy stand must be selected & carefully balanced to prevent the weight from 
shifting once the aquarium is filled with water. One gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds;
consequently the water in 10 gallon tank about 9.16 gallons (if you filled it according to
the inside measurement of the glass) would weigh approximately 76 pounds. Gravel still
adds more weight. Unfortunately if a filled aquarium is either moved or placed on a stand
which is weak or not level, the twisting stress on the glass is likely to result in breakage
& leaks. Aquarium stands which are constructed from metal, wood or acrylic are
available in a wide variety of styles. You can now purchase stands that match the
wooden furniture in your den, or the black lacquer furniture in your office. Stands which
include a cabinet below the aquarium have the advantage of hiding equipment such as
filtration & accessories, and can also be used for storage.


                                                           

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