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What's the Cost of Maintaining a Fish Tank?

Learn the approximate cost of maintaining a fish tank from aquarium expert Joseph Caparatta in this Howcast video.


The cost associated with maintaining your aquarium is obviously based on whether you do the work yourself or you hire a professional to do it.

If you hire a professional you can usually rest assured that the tank is going to be properly maintained. They're going to come on a regular schedule, typically once a week for salt water reef aquariums. Fresh water aquariums it could be as infrequent as every three or four weeks.

Most service providers charge between $75 and $150 for a visit, and that visit is usually a half an hour to an hour and a half. They'll do a water change, test the water, wipe everything down, give a basic health analysis on the fish on a tank, make some recommendations for other fish, things that you could be doing a little differently, up the feedings, lower the feedings. You know, they're basically going to be holding your hand throughout the entire fish keeping process.

However, if you're maintaining the tank yourself the things that are going to cost money is; one, the electric, two, the salt for salt water aquariums. Every time you do a water change you have to replenish the salt. A typical 50 gallon mix of salt is $25. So, on a 200 gallon tank if you're changing 25% per month you're going to be doing about $25 worth of salt alone. Now, if you have to buy filtered water that could cost you $1 a gallon at a retail store, so again that's $50 right there. The filter material, like filter pads, micron socks, carbon, that could also add $15, $20 a month for those goods.

So, you can be prepared to spend $100 to $200 a month for a large aquarium, 150 to 200 gallons, on all the materials. Obviously if you buy them in bulk you can save some money. The more you do yourself as opposed to relying on a professional to do the more you'll save.

But it's definitely an expensive hobby. I'm not going to lie. But it's also a very rewarding hobby. It's a great conversation piece. It just instills a lot of confidence in your abilities to keep life alive. Your husbandry skills are honed.

And I feel people are just balanced when they have a home aquarium. It's just keeping a slice of nature in their home. You know, this is a water planet. Keeping a little bit of water, a little bit of nature, in their home just seems to ground people. Just constantly being reminded that, you know, life shouldn't be so complicated. It's as simple as just being around nature.

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