Unfortunately, when it comes to fish tanks, there is no “one size fits all” option. Many factors must be accounted for when selecting which sized tank is right for you, including:
The species and amount of fish you want to keep
Your available space
If your building has any weight limits
Maintenance, cleaning and decorations
Fish tanks come in a wide range of sizes to suit your lifestyle, space and budget. Read on for all the information about finding the right fish tank for you.
Different species of fish need different sized tanks.
1. Type of Fish
If you’ve decided to become an aquarist, there’s a good chance you have a species or type of fish you want to own. Differently sized fishes will require different sized tanks. Furthermore, the more fish you have, the larger the tank you’ll require.
Start by writing down a realistic list of what fish you want and how many of each, taking into account in particular conditions such as their ideal water temperatures
You’ll want to stick to one temperature range for your fish, for example, although you can mix tropical and coldwater fish species, it’s best not too
Groups or schools or fish require much more room than a couple of individual species in the tank together
Always consider the adult size of the fish when calculating how many fish your tank can hold
Do some online research into the species you want to keep and how much space they require
For example, a small 16L fish tank is only capable of sustaining a few small community fish (such as Neon Tetra)
If you’re a beginner, it might be worth sticking with the one species until you get the hang of cleaning, feeding and maintaining your fish. Once you’re confident, you can always expand to other species, as long as you have room for them.
Once you’ve chosen which fish you want and researched how much space each need, you should be able to calculate what size tank you require to comfortably maintain them.
Fish don’t like being disturbed by light, noise or heat.
2. Available Space
Once you’ve decided on what fish you want and roughly how many litres it needs to be, now you need to check it fits the space in your home.
Ideally, you’ll want to place your fish tank in a room where this is:
Low noise: Keep the aquarium away from loud noise sources, such as TVs, washing machines, speaker systems and children’s bedrooms.
Low light: Avoid direct sunlight onto the tank as it will make the water temperate fluctuate and cause the fish to stress. That means don’t put your fish tank directly under a skylight or opposite a window.
Away from heat: To keep your water temperature stable, you will need to keep your aquarium away from heat sources, such as ovens, stoves and heating vents.
Somewhere like a study, where it’s quiet most of the time is best for fishes.
If you can’t fit the fish tank you need, based off which fish you wanted in Step 1, you may need to reduce the amount of fish you plan on keeping to reduce the size of the tank.
The bigger the tank, the more it will weigh…
The bigger the fish tank, the more it will weigh once filled with water. Therefore, larger tanks may require a metal stand to securely hold the tank up, while a smaller tank can be placed on a desk, drawers or other furniture.
Use a tank weight calculator to find out how heavy your fish tank is going to be
If the tank is going to be heavy and you don’t think furniture will be able to support its weight, then you need to buy a stand.
Typically, tanks under 20L in volume are safe to leave on furniture pieces, but it’s safe to buy its own stand.
Always contact the furniture manufacturer first to find the load or weight limit of it before putting a fish tank on it.
If you live in an apartment, you may need to check with the building owner to see if there is a weight limit for your property. Large, heavy fish tanks may not be allowed due to load limits of the floor of your building.
Rental property owners will also need to check with their landlords to see whether a fish tank is allowed on their lease before setting one up.
Decorations give fish places to hide and explore.
4. Maintenance, Cleaning & Decorations
For beginner aquarists, a larger fish tank is easier to manage. This is because since there is a higher volume of water, it takes longer for the pH levels and water temperature to change. If these two aspects fluctuate too much, the fish can become stressed and die.
It’s far easier to keep the water at a stable condition in a large tank than it is a small one
It will take you longer to clean a bigger tank
Larger tanks also require more substrate (usually sand or gravel on the bottom of the tank)
Larger tanks can hold more decorations in the tank, further adding to the weight
Larger tanks need more water to fill them
Although a large fish tank may appear to be a lot more work, they are better suited to beginners since their water levels are easier to keep stable.
There’s a lot to consider when buying a fish tank, from what fish you want, to how much space you have for it and where it’s going to stay.
You’ve also got to consider where the filter is going to sit and if you need to do any waterproofing around the tank so nearby electronics don’t get damaged if the tank breaks or overflows.
That being said, fish are great low-maintenance pets that can bring serenity and calm to almost any room, while also being kid-friendly if you’re not quite ready (or have space) for a four-legged friend right away.
See the full range of fish accessories on The Myer Market now!