Aquariums are a wonderful hobby and a great way to bring nature indoors. Apart from serving as a stunning centerpiece that adds to the aesthetics of your interiors, aquariums also provide hours of restful entertainment, reduce stress and provide a calming effect in our otherwise stressful, everyday lives.
Aquariums also help in introducing children to ecosystems, encourage learning, stimulate imagination and creativity, make them more responsible individuals and help them to deal with negative emotions while bringing moments of magic into their lives.
Knowing the benefits of this hobby, you must be eager to get started. But wait, do you know what it takes to pursue this hobby? It might seem to be a very simple thing to do, but it’s really not that simple, and you need to be aware of some key considerations before you make your decision.
You can start by asking yourself the following questions:
Can you commit to providing adequate time, care and patience towards this hobby?
Maintaining an aquarium requires time, care and patience. Before you even buy the tank, you need to spend time researching on the kind of fish you want to raise and how to customize the tank to suit their needs.
Setting up the aquarium for the first time can take several hours and once it is set up, you will need to wait for at least two weeks to have the tank cycled, before adding the fish. Cycling of the tank is imperative to maintaining the health of your fish as it involves the development of a colony of beneficial bacteria that will break down the waste products in the tank, thereby preventing the water from becoming toxic. Remember that patience pays!
Once you have the aquarium all set and functioning, you will still need to devote adequate time and care towards daily and weekly activities such as feeding the fish, testing the quality of water and recycling it periodically.
What are the costs involved in pursuing this hobby?
Let's put it up front, an aquarium hobby can be an expensive activity. You might want to curb expenses by buying a kit that includes everything. However, you need more than just a tank, gravel and fish. You also need to invest on items such as a filter, water heater, thermometer, lighting system, plants and decorations to name a few.
Apart from investing in the right environment, for fish to thrive and remain in prime condition, you will also need to provide them with the right kind of diet. You need to consider the expenses involved in purchasing food such as live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods in addition to fish flakes.
A fully set up aquarium can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand dollars, depending on the size and type of aquarium.
What should be the size and shape of the aquarium and where will you place it?
It is a common misconception that small aquariums are easier to maintain than large ones. On the contrary, as the volume of water is low in small tanks, the slightest of changes can prove to be fatal for your aquarium. It is recommended that you take up this hobby only if you are able to accommodate a 20-gallon tank at the minimum.
Prior to purchasing your tank, you also need to consider the shape of the tank and where you will place it. An ideal location will be one that is easily visible and enables you to spend quality time with your fish. It should be convenient to feed the fish and perform maintenance activities. You also need to ensure that the aquarium is not exposed to direct sunlight as that can alter the water temperature and promote the growth of algae.
Are you ready for a long-term commitment?
With proper care, some fish can live for several years. You need to be prepared for a long-term commitment. Also, you need to identify who will take care of your fish when you are away for long periods of time.
Maintaining aquariums are a fun and exciting hobby, but prior to embarking on this hobby do ask yourself the above listed questions to identify if it’s right for you.