Before you can start buying beautiful fish and aquatic plants for your aquarium, you’ll need to choose the perfect aquarium tank.
But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is right for you and your aquatic pets.
So in this guide, we’ll explore everything you should know about aquarium tanks, including what factors to consider before making a purchase, the different types of tanks available, and the various styles to choose from.
By the end of this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to choose the perfect aquarium tank and start your journey as an aquarist.
So, let’s dive in and get started!
What Should You Consider Before Buying an Aquarium Tank?
When considering an aquarium tank, it’s essential to think about factors such as weight, size, shape, and carrying capacity to ensure it’s the perfect fit for your needs.
You will also have to research where to buy your tank and compare costs to find the best deal.
By keeping these factors in mind, you’ll be able to create a thriving aquatic environment while staying within your budget and space constraints.
So let’s take a deeper look at each of these factors now.
1. Aquarium Tank Weight
It’s essential to consider the weight of your aquarium setup since it can significantly impact the overall safety and stability of the tank in your space.
To estimate the total weight of your future aquarium, you can multiply the tank capacity (in gallons ) by 10 pounds.
Aquarium Weight = Tank Capacity (in gallons) x 10 pounds
This will give you a rough idea of the final weight of an aquarium that contains water, rocks, equipment, and decorations.
With this formula in mind, a 100-gallon tank can weigh around 1000 pounds. So it’s crucial to ensure your floor can handle this weight.
Before you decide on a particular aquarium setup, you may want to consult with a contractor to make sure your floor can support the tank’s weight.
If you rent your living space, check with your landlord because some landlords and rental companies don’t allow large aquariums in rented apartments.
2. Aquarium Tank Size
The size of a regular 10-gallon tank is 20 x 10 x 12 inches, while the size of a 15-gallon tank is 24 x 12 x 12 inches.
As you move up in size, a 20-gallon tank is 24 x 12 x 16 inches, and a 30-gallon tank is 36 x 12 x 16 inches.
Larger tanks like a 55-gallon or 75-gallon are even bigger in size, with dimensions of 48 x 13 x 20 inches and 48 x 18 x 20 inches, respectively.
Keep in mind that these are minimum dimensions. They don’t account for the extra equipment or cleaning space.
So consider your available space before committing to a specific tank size.
If you live in a small apartment, a 10 or 20-gallon tank may be more suitable, while a larger home can accommodate a 30 or even 55-gallon tank.
Remember that bigger tanks need more maintenance and additional equipment, so plan accordingly.
3. Aquarium Tank Shape
Once you’re out in the market, you’ll find there’s more to consider than just the standard rectangular tank.
While uniquely shaped tanks can be eye-catching and add a touch of flair to your space, they may also come with certain drawbacks.
For instance, a tall and narrow tank might have less surface area for gas exchange at the top, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy environment for your aquatic pets.
Cleaning and decorating oddly shaped tanks can also prove challenging, especially if there are hard-to-reach areas near the bottom.
You may also have difficulty finding equipment, such as filters and hoods, that fit non-standard tank sizes.
Moreover, these specialized equipment might cost considerably more than their standard-sized counterparts.
4. Aquarium Tank Carrying Capacity
An aquarium tank’s carrying capacity refers to the total number of fish you can keep safely in your aquarium without risking their health.
A tank with a larger surface area will allow you to house more fish than a tall and narrow one.
So, if you’re planning on having a bustling underwater community, make sure to choose a tank with ample surface area to accommodate all your aquatic pets.
Keep in mind that overstocking your tank can lead to various problems, such as poor water quality, increased stress levels for your fish, and even premature demise of the fish.
So always research the specific needs of the fish species you’re interested in and ensure your tank has enough space for them to thrive.
Once you have a clear understanding of your aquarium’s carrying capacity, you’ll be better equipped to create a healthy and balanced aquatic environment for your fish.
5. Places to Buy an Aquarium Tank
So, where’s the best place to find the perfect tank for your fish? You have several options to consider.
Your local pet shops are an obvious choice because they often offer warranties and expert advice. However, they may be pricier than other options.
Retail superstores can offer lower prices, but they may not have a wide variety of specialty items, and the employees may not be as knowledgeable about aquariums.
Garage sales and classified ad websites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplaces, etc. can give you great deals on used aquariums, but be cautious about potential issues like leaks.
Online stores and fish clubs can also be a great source for both standard and custom aquariums, as well as new and used equipment at reduced prices.
When choosing where to buy your aquarium tank, consider factors such as price, the condition of the tank, and the level of expertise available to you.
Keep in mind that buying from a trusted source like a local pet shop or online dealer may be more reliable than purchasing from a garage sale or through a classified ad.
Ultimately, the best place to buy your aquarium tank depends on your specific needs, preferences, and budget.
Once you’ve figured out where to buy your tank, it’s time to think about the cost of the aquarium setup.
6. Aquarium Tank Cost
When it comes to starting an aquarium, one of the biggest costs is usually the tank itself.
The price of a tank can vary greatly depending on its size and material.
Glass tanks are more affordable than acrylic tanks, but they can also be more fragile and heavier.
A general rule of thumb is that larger tanks are more expensive than smaller ones.
However, buying a tank that is too small for your needs can end up costing you more in the long run if you need to upgrade later on.
Consider both your budget and the type of fish you plan to keep before making the final decision on tank size.
In addition to considering the initial cost of a tank, factor in the cost of other equipment as well, such as filters, heaters, substrates, water testing kits, etc.
Since buying all of these essential things can put a strain on your budget, you can look at getting an aquarium starter kit instead.
Aquarium Starter Kits
Imagine opening a box containing almost all the essentials to start your own aquarium, including a tank, hood, lights, filter, heater, food, fish net, water conditioner, thermometer, a beginner’s aquarium book, etc.
That’s exactly what you get with an aquarium tank starter kit.
These kits are perfect for beginners and often provide most of the necessary equipment to get your aquarium up and running.
However, keep in mind that not all kits are the same, so be sure to read the label carefully to know exactly what’s included.
Purchase additional items like gravel, plants, and decorations as needed. Also, consider an aquarium stand or appropriate furniture to support your tank.
Look for kits with high-quality equipment and components to ensure the longevity of your aquarium.
What Are the Different Types of Aquarium Tanks?
Aquarium tanks can be classified into 4 main types depending on the material used in their construction.
The 4 main types of aquarium tanks are:
- Glass Tanks,
- Acrylic Tanks,
- Plastic Tanks, and
- Rimless Tanks.
Let’s take a look at each of these aquarium tanks.
1. Glass Aquarium Tanks
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to glass aquarium tanks, from their weight and limited shape options to their durability and impressive clarity.
Glass tanks are typically constructed of plate glass and sealed with nontoxic silicone, which provides a sturdy and clear viewing area.
The glass of these tanks is either:
- Tempered, or
Tempered glass makes the tanks stronger and lighter in weight. The glass shatters into pieces when broken.
Plate glass is heavier and thicker and only cracks when it breaks.
Glass tanks don’t scratch easily, and the frames are usually hard plastic, offering a wide variety of color options.
Despite their durability and clarity, there are some disadvantages to glass aquarium tanks.
The disadvantages of glass aquarium tanks are:
- They are limited in terms of shape, with only basic rectangles, hexagons, octagons, or squares available. This can be disappointing if you are looking for a uniquely shaped tank.
- Glass tanks are also quite heavy, particularly as they get larger. This is a problem if your home has weak floors or if you need to move the aquarium.
- Glass tanks are also prone to breaking or shattering, which can result in a messy disaster and the loss of your fish.
- While some plate glass tanks can be pre-drilled for equipment and hoses, these tend to be more expensive and geared toward experienced hobbyists.
Now that you know the ins and outs of glass aquarium tanks, let’s explore the world of acrylic aquarium tanks and their unique features.
2. Acrylic Aquarium Tanks
Acrylic tanks offer a world of possibilities with their lightweight and stylish designs, making them a popular choice for many fish enthusiasts.
Not only are they lighter than glass tanks, but they also come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, such as bubble, half spheres, L-shaped, tubular, triangular, etc.
This means you can find the perfect acrylic tank to suit your personal taste and the interior of your home or office.
Acrylic tanks are also much stronger than glass tanks and can withstand a substantial bump or blow without shattering.
However, there are a few drawbacks to consider when choosing an acrylic tank.
They tend to have some visual distortion due to the way the material is bent during construction, which might bother some people.
Acrylic tanks also tend to be more expensive than glass tanks. But many fish enthusiasts believe that they’re worth the investment, given their unique appearance and durability.
Lastly, acrylic tanks can scratch easily. So you’ll need to be careful when cleaning or moving the decorations around.
If you can look past these disadvantages, an acrylic tank can be a great addition to your aquatic hobby.
3. Plastic Aquarium Tanks
While plastic tanks may seem like a budget-friendly option, they come with a host of issues that can negatively impact the health and well-being of your aquatic pets.
Some of the key drawbacks of plastic tanks are:
- Scratching: These tanks are prone to scratching, and there’s no way to repair those scratches.
- Discoloration: Plastic tanks tend to take on a yellowish hue as they age, diminishing their attractiveness.
- Limited sizes: They’re available only in small sizes, which don’t provide enough water volume and surface area to create a stable aquatic environment.
Instead of settling for a plastic tank, it’s wise to invest in a larger, more durable aquarium tank that can accommodate the equipment necessary for maintaining a healthy aquatic habitat.
4. Rimless Aquarium Tanks
Rimless tanks have a sleek, modern appearance and are perfect for those who want a more sophisticated look for their aquatic setup.
These aquarium tanks are designed with thicker glass and beveled edges, allowing for a sturdy and elegant structure without the need for a bulky frame.
The use of low iron glass in rimless aquarium tanks provides almost perfect clarity, making it easier to enjoy the beauty of your aquatic inhabitants and their environment.
However, these tanks come at a higher price point compared to standard tanks due to their premium materials and construction.
If you’re considering a rimless aquarium tank, be prepared to invest a bit more.
What Are The Various Styles of Aquarium Tanks Available?
Have you ever considered the many styles that aquarium tanks are available in?
You can choose from wall-mounted tanks, in-wall tanks, furniture tanks, tower tanks, indoor barrels, all-in-one tanks, custom-built tanks, bio cubes, and even pre-drilled overflow tanks.
Each of these options offers unique benefits and aesthetics, allowing you to find the perfect aquarium tank to suit your needs and home decor.
1. Wall-mounted Aquarium Tanks
Wall-mounted aquarium tanks mount on your wall just like a flatscreen TV, making them perfect for homes with limited floor space or small children.
These aquarium tanks come in various sizes, often less than 6 inches wide, and offer a range of scenic backgrounds and frame colors to suit your decor.
Feeding your aquatic pets in a wall-mounted tank is a breeze, thanks to a feeding hole and in-tank access through an opening at the top.
Many tanks even come with the necessary hardware to hang them on the wall.
However, these tanks have a small surface area and are thin. So they’re not suitable for large fish or a high number of fish.
Wall-mounted fish bowls are also available, but they’re not recommended due to their lack of filtration and tiny water volume.
2. In-wall Aquarium Tanks
In-wall aquarium tanks are mounted inside the wall and supported by wall studs.
To ensure the proper installation of these tanks, it’s essential to find a reputable contractor who can custom-fit the tank to your wall’s dimensions and connect the lighting system to a convenient light switch in your room.
In-wall aquarium tanks are not only visually appealing but also easy to maintain.
Access is typically left open on one side of the wall, or the top trim piece is installed to flip it open.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific tank model to ensure its longevity.
3. Furniture Aquarium Tanks
Furniture aquarium tanks integrate within the various pieces of furniture such as coffee tables, headboards, end tables, nightstands, etc.
So not only do they serve their original purpose, but they also provide a mesmerizing aquatic display.
These dual-purpose tanks are pricey but are well worth the investment if you can afford them.
However, you should be cautious when investing in a furniture aquarium tank, especially if you have young children who can accidentally topple and break the tank.
4. Tower Aquarium Tanks
Tower aquarium tanks are tall, column-shaped tanks that are perfect for corner spaces.
However, they are expensive to purchase and maintain. Also, finding tall enough plants to create a realistic underwater scene inside these tanks is challenging.
Fast-swimming fish will also not fare well in this type of tank due to its unique shape.
Moreover, the tank’s height will need additional lighting, heating, and filtration systems to maintain a healthy environment.
5. Indoor Barrels
Indoor barrels allow you to create a miniature coldwater pond right in your living space or on your porch.
Before getting an indoor barrel, here are a few important factors to consider:
- Weight: A filled barrel can be quite heavy, so it’s crucial to ensure that your floor can handle the load. Consult with a contractor to determine if any reinforcements are necessary.
- Size: Choose a barrel size that fits comfortably in your space without overwhelming it. Remember that larger barrels will need more water and maintenance.
- Fish and plants: Select coldwater fish and plants that are suitable for a small pond environment.
Once you’ve taken these factors into account, you’ll be well on your way to creating a beautiful and serene indoor barrel oasis.
6. All-in-one Aquarium Tanks
All-in-one aquarium tanks are perfect for beginners because they come with everything you need to start building an aquarium.
Moreover, not only are these tanks easy to maintain, but they also have a sleek and unified design.
Here are the pros and cons of all-in-one aquarium tanks:
|More expensive than standard models
|Balanced, matched components
|Limited customization options
|Sleek, unified design
|Difficult to replace or add equipment
Keep in mind that while these tanks are convenient and stylish, they may not offer the same level of flexibility and customization as other options.
If you ever need to replace a component or want to add new equipment, you might find yourself struggling to find compatible parts.
Nevertheless, if you’re searching for a simple, all-inclusive solution to dive into the world of aquariums, all-in-one tanks are an excellent choice.
7. Custom-built Aquarium Tanks
With a custom-built tank, you can design the perfect aquarium to fit your taste, space, and budget.
From triangular tanks that fit nicely into corners to massive tanks large enough to scuba dive in, the possibilities are virtually limitless.
Not only do custom-built aquarium tanks offer unparalleled design flexibility, but they also allow you to create a completely unique aquascaping for your aquatic friends.
This means you can select the ideal filtration system, lighting, and other essential components to ensure a healthy and thriving environment for your fish and other aquatic life.
You can also work with experienced professionals who can guide you through the design process and offer expert advice on how to create the perfect aquatic haven.
8. Bio Cubes
Bio cubes are compact, cube-shaped tanks that are perfect for those who want to create a stunning marine environment without taking up too much space.
These tanks range from 16 to 32 gallons in size. So they’re an excellent choice to create a small saltwater reef or marine tank.
Bio cubes often come with superior LED lighting, which not only provides the necessary light for your aquatic life but also creates a dramatic visual effect.
However, not all bio cube kits include everything you need, such as a heater or protein skimmer.
So it’s essential to research and invest in the additional equipment needed for your specific setup.
9. Pre-drilled Overflow Aquarium Tanks
Pre-drilled overflow aquarium tanks utilize a sump system, which is a second tank placed below the main tank.
The water reaches the sump due to gravity. Along the way, it passes through a filter, such as a trickle filter, before returning to the main aquarium tank.
This advanced setup allows for better water quality and a cleaner look, but it can be more challenging for beginners to set up and maintain.
As you get experience and become comfortable with aquariums, you can decide if a pre-drilled overflow tank is perfect for you or not.
Here are a few benefits of this tank system:
- Clutter-free main tank: Most equipment is hidden away in the sump, creating a more visually appealing aquarium.
- Improved water quality: The sump allows for more effective filtration and circulation, leading to better water quality and healthier fish.
- Customizable: The separate sump provides an opportunity to add additional equipment or modify the filtration system to suit your specific needs.
Choosing the right aquarium tank is crucial to create a thriving aquatic environment.
Keep in mind the factors mentioned above, such as tank size, type, and style, to make the best decision for your fishy friends.
A well-chosen tank can not only provide a comfortable home for your aquatic creatures but also add a stunning visual element to your space.