How do I choose the right aquarium for my home

How to choose the right aquariumThe underwater world fascinates many people with its beautiful colors, many different fish and fascinating plants. No wonder that fish keeping is on the rise and with it the number of aquarium owners is steadily increasing..

If you want to join the ever growing number of aquarium enthusiasts, you should be aware that an aquarium means a lot of work and with it a high responsibility that you take for its plants and animals. An aquarium has to be cleaned regularly, its water values always have to be optimal so they have to be checked again and again, and its plants have also to be cut.

This article will tell you how to find the right aquarium for your home and what points you will have to consider.

Different form factors

Nowadays there are many different aquarium designs available. Starting with 20 liter nano tanks to ones containing several hundred up until several thousand liters of water there is nothing that is not available on the market.

The most common type of aquarium is rectangular. Round shapes are also available, as well as ones with a curved front glass or special models for corners of a room, the so-called corner aquariums. There are also completely square-shaped ones, or ones with especially unique designs. You can also have a custom-built one.

When choosing a design it is mainly important to consider your own taste as well as the available space. The available space is the most important factor, since if you only have space for an aquarium in the corner of your room, you should naturally choose the corner aquarium. The design and available space also influence how your completed aquarium will look later on.

The bigger the aquarium the more possibilities there are regarding population and design. However it is also clear that aquariums get more expensive in regards to initial price, technical equipment and maintenance when they are bigger.

What should the population look like?

clown fish populationAvailable space is not the only thing to consider. It is also important to think about what kind of fish will live in the aquarium. Different species have different requirements to their environment and these have to be considered carefully. Fish that do not have enough space, do not live in water with the right values or living together with other species with whom they should not, have a shorter lifespan and will not feel well.

For this reason it is important to think in advance about which species you want to keep in the aquarium when it is ready. Guppies for example do not need as much space as pterygoplichthys gibbiceps or cardinal tetras, whereas swordtails like much space.

Of course there are also exotic species that clearly distinct from guppies, mollies or gouramis. Smaller shark species, discus fish or smaller ray species are also very popular. Naturally, these need several thousand liters of water.

So not only the interior and kind of fish you put in play an important role. The first thing to consider is the aquarium’s size with its available volume and dimensions. For all species you want to buy you will have to research how much space they will need. Usually, experts advise to always choose measurements that exceed the recommendations by a bit.

When choosing your aquarium by looking at the fish you want to put in, you should not compromise under any circumstances, since your fish will need space to grow and feel as happy as possible.
Aquariums and accessories

Different types of aquariums

different type auf aquariums
There are many different types of aquariums, all of them are interesting in their own special way. Many aquarium enthusiasts like to choose before they buy in order to find the right type. Not every aquarium is fit for every type of person.

    The community aquarium


    Most people choose the typical community aquarium, in which multiple fish species can be kept together. It is especially popular among beginners and is recommended by experts as an aquarium for beginners. The multitude of available designs is nearly endless with this type of aquarium, so you can not only keep many different species of fish, decoration variety is also possible in all imaginable ways.

    Size of the aquarium

    The community aquarium you choose should ideally be on the larger side. Tanks with only about a hundred liters or less are not a good choice. It is important that the variety of species are able to avoid each other so no attacks will occur. So the size has to be adjusted to what kind of fish you will keep, since many ornamental fish have to be kept in a swarm, which naturally needs more space.


    When choosing furniture, you will always have to compromise so that every species living in your tank has something that is ideal for them. It is important to provide many hiding places like caves, roots and plants, on all levels of the aquarium. Having compartments is also important so your fish will always have opportunities to withdraw. Furniture should only be chosen after you have thought about what kind of species will live in your aquarium.


    When choosing your fish, you will have a wide variety of different fish species available. These should not be chosen mindlessly, since researching the respective species is an especially big challenge, requiring a lot of time. It should not be taken lightly. It is important that your future “roommates” have similar requirements for water values and furniture. For this it is important to know the values of your water. You can find these out by applying specialized water tests. Now you can start the search by researching fish that are optically pleasing to you and that are able to live in your water. It is also important to find out whether the fish you chose are able to live together.

    Single species aquariums


    For most the single species aquarium sounds boring since it will only contain one type of fish species. You will be able to ideally adjust the living conditions, furniture and water values for this species.

    Size of the aquarium

    Again, the perfect tank size depends on the type of species you want to keep. It is clear that tanks with sizes up to 100 liters should only be used as single species aquariums, since they do not offer a lot of space for compromise. There are also larger species, needing more space like several hundreds of liters.


    In a single species aquarium all furniture is adjusted to the species you will keep in it. You can completely adhere to the species’ preferences and requirements in order to offer them an optimal environment.


    As already mentioned, the single species aquarium only contains one kind of species, which you will have to choose carefully beforehand. Water values play an important role again, whereas interior and tank size can be adjusted.

    The biotope aquarium


    Similar to the community aquarium, a biotope aquarium (habitat) may contain multiple species of fish. This type mimics a nature with all its species, the fitting decoration and various plants.

    Size of the aquarium

    The size is similar to the community aquarium and should depend on the type of fish you will later keep in the biotope aquarium.


    Furniture is a real challenge here. Researching is especially time consuming, takes a lot of work and go on over a long period of time. You will have to find out which plants and decoration are the part of the species’ origin as well as adjust the water values.


    Fish kept in the biotope aquarium stem from a certain origin, so there can be no compromise in this regard.

    The water garden


    A water garden is especially striking because of its decoration, comprised of stones, different kind of roots and plants, and it is very popular among aquarium enthusiasts. With this aquarium type, it is not a must for fishes, shrimps etc. to be part of it – the focus is on its furniture and decoration. Aquascaping, ie. furnishing water gardens, is getting more and more popular and modern. The aquarium is mainly decorated in a natural way.

    Size of the aquarium

    The size is a secondary thing with this type, since water gardens are fit for any tank size. At least as long as it does not contain any fish or shrimp – in this case, your inhabitants’ requirements have to be researched again and size should be adjusted. If you do not want to keep any fish in it, many requirements are no longer necessary. You are completely free in the tank designing, which already makes furnishing a nano tank a real challenge.


    The goal of furnishing a water garden is to create a harmonious underwater world. Be it by varying the height of the soil, building breathless designs with stones and roots or by planting beautiful vegetation. Water gardens are versatile.

    Here is an overview of the various types’ attributes:

    Type Attributes
    Community aquarium
    • shared between multiple species
    • for tanks larger than 100 liters
    • have to find a compromise (decoration and water values) because of the     variety of requirements
    • colorful
    • recommended for beginners
    • fresh or seawater is possible
    • not all species are fit to live together
    • hiding places are important
    Single species aquarium
    • only for a single species
    • decoration and water values have to be adjusted for the species
    • tank size depends on the type of fish
    Biotope aquarium (habitat)
    • similar to nature
    • shared living of fish of a single origin
    • water values and decoration also depends on its origin
    • fish easily live together
    • not fit for any tank size
    Water garden
    • plants,     stone and decoration are paramount
    • possible without keeping any fish in it
    • fit for all tank sizes
    • creation of varied landscapes


    Aquarium with or without a floor unit?

    Tipps to set up aquariumNowadays aquariums can be bought on their own or with a fitting floor unit. This is especially practical in order to stow away the various equipment necessary for fish keeping so they are constantly in reach. This does not only refer to literature but also to food, cleaning products or water conditioners. Landing nets or cleaning tools can also be stored in these floor units. Furthermore it can be used to stow away the aquarium’s electrical parts safely and not visible from the outside. This is especially good for any cables and the exterior pump. The floor unit should always be able to carry the aquarium’s weight, so it is always advisable to buy a set that is fit for each other. In this way you can be sure that floor unit and aquarium will not have any weight problems.


    What type of aquarium is right for you mainly depends on your individual taste. It is always important to offer your tank’s inhabitants a living space that is as natural as possible so they can live a long and healthy life. Only then you will be able to enjoy your new aquarium to the fullest extent.

    Fotocredit: © Craftor – / © Mirko Rosenau – / © Sergio Bertino – / © FamVeld –