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December 2023

How to Choose a Fish Tank

General Advice

When choosing a tank, consider five important factors:
1. Space in your home
Ensure the tank you choose has enough space in your home, and determine where your tank will live before you make your purchase. Purchasing a large tank for a small home may create problems if you don’t know where to put it.

Most large size tanks come with the option of purchasing a stand which is strong and suitable to hold your tank when it is full of water. Ensure you have the room for this as well, as placing your tank on a different piece of furniture may result in damage. You’ll also need to ensure that the flooring beneath your tank is suitable to hold its weight when full.

Keep your tank away from areas where external sources like windows and heater vents will affect its temperature. Also, try and keep your tank out of direct sunlight as this will promote algae growth.

2. The amount of fish you’d like to keep
The more fish you keep, the bigger your tank will need to be. Overcrowding a small tank with any type of fish will result in your fish either outgrowing the tank or unnecessary stress placed on the fish that can easily result in illness and/or death.

3. The type of fish you’d like to keep
Most fish purchased are young and not yet fully grown. Ensure your tank has ample room for your fish to grow. Different species grow to different sizes – your local PETstock fish guru will be able to chat with you about this and help determine which breed of fish is most suited to you.

4. The time you have to maintain your tank.
The larger your tank, the longer it will take to properly care for so keep this in mind when considering how much time you’ll have to maintain your fish family’s home.

For example, an aquarium of about 200L+ that is fully stocked with fish might take a couple of hours to maintain every fortnight (approximately). Maintenance frequency depends on a number of factors so this estimate may be more or less.

Below is a rough guide of tank sizes, fish capacity and maintenance frequency.

Fish Tank Information
Tank Size Fish Capacity Maintenance Frequency
20 Litres 2 fish Every Fortnight
90 Litres 10 fish Every Fortnight – 3 weeks
165 Litres 15-20 fish Every Fortnight – 4 weeks

*Fish numbers are based on a 5cm fish size.

5. Your budget
An obvious one but don’t skim over it! The bigger your budget the more equipped your tank can be. There are some varieties of tanks that may be the same size but different in cost. This is mostly due to what the tank includes. The more expensive option will most likely include a built in light and filter whereas the less expensive option may have neither (a filter is essential so will need to be added if your tank does not have this). In general, most new tanks come with a light and filter built in. Your local PETstock team can help find a solution within your budget.

What do I need when purchasing an aquarium?

To make the set up process as easy as possible, you’ll need the following items when purchasing your aquarium:

  • Water conditioner
  • Ammonia, Chlorine and Chloramine eliminator
  • Live Bacteria - API Perfect Start is a great kit to purchase for smaller tank sizes as an all in one set up product. It contains three envelopes of treatment to use on day one, day 14 and day 28 to ensure your tank set up is as easy as possible. Seachem Head Start is the alternative to this for larger tank sizes.
  • Conditioning salts
  • Gravel
  • Filter (if your tank does not come with one)
  • Heater (if you would like to keep tropical fish)
  • Live plants
  • Ornaments and aquarium background (optional)

Purchasing fish on the same day as your tank is NOT advisable. Letting your tank cycle for at least one week before adding fish is essential to allow the tank’s natural biological filter develop.