Choosing a Fish Tank

Keeping fish has many benefits, not least the fact that your fish tank takes comparatively little space in your room, but could in theory house up to thirty fish.

Before you embark on your journey to find the right fish tank, it is important that you consider what type of fish your tank will be home to. Different types of fish require different spaces to swim in - and it is imperative that you this this into account before buying your tank.

Also if you are considering buying a second hand fish tank from, say, an online auction site, be very careful about how you will transport it home. What may seem like a bargain at only a few pounds may turn out to be much more expensive when you have taken your time and petrol costs into account to collect it!

So before you go any further in your quest for a tank you must consider:

  • The type of fish you want to keep (make sure that the fish you have chosen will get on well with each other).
  • The amount of fish you want.

From then you can work out what size of tank you require.

Location, Location, Location

When people are considering a house move, location is an all important factor. Likewise when you are considering where to put your new fish tank, you should think very carefully about where you are going to put it. Here are a few helpful hints:

  • Your fish will enjoy relative peace and calm - do not put the tank next to a busy doorway where people are going to and fro all the time as the passing traffic can cause stress to the fish.
  • Do not put the fish tank next to a radiator as this can cause rises and falls in the temperature.
  • Do not place it next to the window or in direct sunlight.
  • A good place to put your fish tank would be in an alcove.

When you have decided on the location, double check your measurements that the size of tank you are wanting will fit in the desired location - remember the bigger the tank the happier the fish, but you do have to make sure it will fit!


If you were to buy a new fish tank, then the measurements would probably be in feet, however if you were to consider looking on, for example, Ebay, then the seller would possible measure them in metres so it is a good thing to have a ready reckoner on standby to double check your measurements if need be.

Another important thing to consider is that although your fish tank may look rather large to you, it is important to know the number of fish that can swim around in it in comfort and ease.

"Fish breathe by absorbing oxygen in the water, and this oxygen is absorbed into the ripples on the surface of the water. The number of fish that you can house in your tank is therefore governed by the surface area of the water - the surface area being the water that you can see if you stand directly over the top of the tank and look down."

To measure the surface area of the tank simply multiply the length by the breadth of the tank. Before you buy any fish it is important that you check up on how many you can safely house in your specific tank.

Glass v Acrylic

Basically there are two main types of tank out in the marketplace, those being acrylic or glass. Glass tanks are easier on the pocket and hence are more popular, but that said acrylic tanks are coming more to the forefront in the market place.

Acrylic tanks afford better clarity and insulate better than glass tanks, and they are also a lot lighter too. If you need to drill into the tank for pipework then acrylic can be easier to work with, but the downside is that they do scratch more easily than glass tanks. Therefore if you are buying a second hand acrylic tank, do look carefully for wear and tear.

Find out more about choosing a glass or acrylic fish tank.

Other requirements

Apart from your tank you will also require a table or a stand on which to place it. If you are buying a second hand tank then more often than not the stand will be included. If you are buying the items separately don't forget to account for the weight of your tank, when it is full of water, decorations and fish and make sure your stand or table will cope with it.

A hood, although not essential, is more pleasing to the eye than a naked tank. The hood will help to keep the surface of the water free from dust, and can also house any lights you have. In addition a hood will stop the fish jumping out (or the cat jumping in - on which note you may wish to consider a glass cover too!). Here's some more information on fish tank hoods.

One further tip

Before you fill up your tank make sure you are perfectly happy with its location - remember once you have filled it with water, fish and decorative stones it will be rather heavy and awkward to move around, so make sure it is in the right place before you fill it!

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