How to Pick a Fish Tank

Learn how to pick a fish tank with the help of aquarium expert Joseph Caparatta in this Howcast video.


When deciding on an aquarium for your home or office there are a lot of things to consider. I think two of the biggest things to consider are whether to go with glass or acrylic and then to go with a turnkey system or piece mail the whole thing; buy the filter, buy the light, buy the stand, put it all together yourself. That's what we used to do. Nowadays things have gotten a lot easier. Things are getting simplified, you could just buy one setup that comes with the lighting, filtration, everything involved.

That's what I recommend. Glass is easier than acrylic, it doesn't scratch as easy. Acrylic also sometimes has a slight haze to it and you got a lot of little scratches. It can be buffed out, but I love glass. It just looks classy, elegant, it's thin, it's just the way to go. You also want to consider the weight load of the aquarium. Remember water is about eight point two to eight point four pounds per gallon depending on whether it's fresh or saltwater. You add the weight of the aquarium, the tank, the stand, the equipment, everything, you could easily top a couple thousand pounds, which is a lot for some old floors. So you want to make sure that the weight of the aquarium is within the acceptable limits for the floor.

Budget is another big thing you want to consider. You have the initial purchase, maybe you can find an aquarium used on eBay or Craig's List or whatever, but it's the ongoing upkeep; the buying of the salt, the chemicals, replacing fish unfortunately, when they do expire and also the electric bill. You can see probably $20 to $100 a month easily for most aquariums, even a 55 gallon tank would probably put $20 to $40 a month on your bill if it has good filtration. The filters run 24/7, it's the life support for your fish.

Placement in your home will definitely play a part in the type of tank you consider. You don't want to put the tank in an area where it's going to get direct sunlight. I believe in putting it in a room that's going to get a lot of love, don't put it in the front foyer where you just walk in and you never see the tank again. Put it in a room like a den or living room. You want a tank that works well to compliment the decor in that room. I don't like putting aquariums in children's rooms because it's a little noisy and there's actually some bad Feng Shui energy with putting aquariums in bedrooms where people sleep. That's it.

Just have fun and pick something that you like and try to get something that's sealed so it doesn't evaporate as much. A lot of these open new modern, like European style rimless tanks, they evaporate water like crazy, the fish can jump out. So they're not as practical as they are pretty. So put all of these things into your decision and get some advice from your local aquarium store.

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