A successful aquarium is one that maintains its own little ecological system (with your help of course). So when you’re planning on enjoying the lifestyle of a few friends with fins, the first thing you need to decide is the kind of fish you want. That single decision alone will determine almost everything else – from the type of water you put in there to the kind of plants you include.
A basic aquarium includes appropriate water (saltwater or freshwater), rocks, and plants. But things like filters, heaters, lights, and air pumps help you keep an aquarium clean and healthy for the little creatures that live inside of it.
Filters are designed to remove toxins from an aquarium through the use of sand, charcoal, or gravel (nature’s own filtering material) and they may work inside the tank itself, or outside – depending on its design.
Water plants are used to provide oxygen, but sometimes they’re not enough – especially in a large aquarium. That’s why you might need to purchase an air pump. Air pumps aerate water and as a result, help expose your aquatic life to fresh air. But that doesn’t mean you should skip including plants in your aquarium altogether.
In addition to supplying oxygen, plants remove the carbon dioxide that the fish put into the water. They also give fish something to nibble on, they work to prevent algae growth, and they give aquatic life a natural place to spawn.
Heaters are used to comfort fish that come from warmer climates and you can attach these in the corner of your aquarium or near the back. Depending on the aquarium’s inhabitant, you’ll want to keep a tank heated according to the environment from which it came from. A saltwater tank can be heated or chilled, while a freshwater tank can be heated, chilled, or natural.
The light that an aquarium needs is tricky – and really depends on the type of life that exists in it. You’re probably already familiar with incandescent aquarium lamps but fluorescent lights can work just as well as long as they use naturally colored bulbs and encourage plant growth.
A saltwater tank may need a little help with maintaining its salinity and you can accomplish this by adding specially designed tank salts now and then.
Once you strike a balance with these accessories in a way that they work together naturally, you’ll see that your fish will thrive as though they were living in their own environment!