Setting up a new fish tank for your home can be an exciting project but it’s all too easy to get carried away, buying all kinds of gadgets you really don’t need when you start out and ending up with a huge bill that will break your bank.
The good news is you don’t need that much to set up a new aquarium and it’s really simple to create your new fish tank from scratch while maintaining a healthy budget. Here are a few tips on how to do it:
1. Buying the tank
Buying the tank will most likely be your biggest purchase but don’t think that more expensive automatically means better. Brands in this area don’t really mean very much so look for a tank which is the right size for your home and for the type of fish you are planning to keep.
Make sure there are no cracks in the sealant, or any pieces missing as this is where problems can occur, so always give a tank a thorough inspection before you decide to buy. Check the glass for cracks and scratches as well and if you can, ask to see the tank filled with water before parting with any cash.
If you make sure to carry out these checks then you can confidently buy a second-hand tank to help save the pennies. Look at online auctions, car boot sales and asking around among friends and neighbors as you never know who might have a fish tank they don’t want any more.
2. Buying the substrate
When planning what to cover the bottom of the tank with, there can be a big price difference depending on what material you go for. Colored gravel designed specifically for fish tanks is generally the most expensive option, but you can save money by going for something like pea gravel instead which is natural colored and commonly used for gardening.
Play sand can also work as a cheaper option for a substrate, but make sure you wash it through first to make sure it doesn’t cloud up the water as soon as you add it to the tank.
3. Sorting out the decorations
When choosing decorations for the tank you don’t need to spend a fortune as long as what you choose is appropriate to be immersed in water and doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals which could harm your fish.
Driftwood from the beach can be a perfect option as long as it is cleaned thoroughly, or you can buy some at a local pet store or DIY store. You can also collect rocks from the garden or beach but again, make sure they are all disinfected before introducing them to the tank.
Live plants make the best decorations for fish tanks and don’t need to cost a fortune. Buy them from a specialist aquarium center so you know you get the most appropriate ones and if you are unsure, ask for advice.
4. Buying your fish
Once you have the tank all set up its time to choose the fish which you bought the tank for and an expensive pet store needn’t be your only option for buying them. Look out for fish breeders who might have some young fish to sell to make space in their tanks.
Local fish clubs sometimes organize auctions for enthusiasts so you might get some bargains here, and membership might also provide discounts at local stores. There are also online fish stores which you can check out.
5. Filters and other equipment
If heaters and filters weren’t included with the fish tank then make sure you choose the best ones you can afford as this is the main area where you don’t want to skimp. This kind of equipment helps to keep your tank in good condition and keep your fish alive.
A good heater keeps the tank at just the right temperature, while filters prevent all the nasty bacteria from polluting your tank water and causing illness among your fish, not to mention helping to stop making the water smell disgusting.
As you can see, setting up a fish tank needn’t cost the earth. Investing in a good leak-proof tank, and the best possible filters and heater equipment you can afford, are the two key elements where you need to spend the most money.
But buying the substrate, plants, decorations, and fish are all areas where you can easily make savings and build up a wonderful working aquarium which will add a great feature to your home and can be enjoyed by all the family.
Once it is all set up, it’s a case of keeping the tank regularly maintained to make sure the water is clean and free from algae, filters are changed and above all, the fish are healthy and well fed.