(Freshwater Aquarium for Beginners Series)
If you’ve ever spent some time just staring at an aquarium with its vibrant and vivid inhabitants, then you’d know what a hypnotic experience it can be. And it’s not just in our head, it’s been proven that watching a fish tank teeming with life keeps us calm and stress-free.
One scientific study actually found that having an aquarium in dental clinics “decreased pain felt during procedures.” For all its eye-catching aesthetics and mind-body health benefits, it’s no wonder more than 12 million US households have a freshwater aquarium!
Aside from housing their “water pets,” aquariums are also widely used as accent pieces or as part of the interior decor in private and public spaces, alike.
If you’ve always wanted to set up a freshwater aquarium yourself but aren’t sure if you can handle it, don’t worry — it’s actually quite easy if you do it smartly! Here are some tips to get you started.
1. It’s both a hobby and a learning journey
First things first: What is a freshwater aquarium? Technically a fishbowl, a tank, or a pond can be called an aquarium if it’s home to aquatic organisms such as fish, plants, amphibians, crustaceans and other invertebrates. Collectively, these living water creatures are called “aquarium livestock.”
Taking care of our aquatic pets teaches us responsibility and discipline, compassion and empathy. You really have to be invested enough to want to learn everything needed to keep your freshwater aquarium in good shape.
In time you slowly build up the patience and commitment that it takes for your freshwater aquarium to thrive. In essence, as your fish grows, you yourself journey into maturity.
2. It’s easier to maintain than saltwater aquariums
A freshwater aquarium is easier to handle than its saltwater counterpart, making them more suited to novice aquarium enthusiasts and busy people in general.
Freshwater setups are easier on the budget, too. They require less equipment and are more sustainable. In fact, you can use faux coral and reef inserts instead of real underwater plants.
In addition, freshwater fish are more hardy and less fragile than saltwater fish, which are more expensive to begin with and harder to keep alive.
3. There are 2 kinds of freshwater aquariums
Not all freshwater aquariums are created equal — one is for tropical fish and the other is for coldwater species. Mixing them up is not such a good idea.
Tropical and coldwater livestock need different water temperatures to survive. You don’t need a heating device in coldwater tanks, which is the preferred habitat of goldfish. The striped clown loach, on the other hand, requires temperatures of between 26° and 29°C.
4. It’s beneficial to mind-body health
There’s something calming and soothing about staring into an aquarium. No wonder, aquarium fish are the third most popular pet of all time, behind dogs and cats of course.
It’s also no surprise that freshwater aquariums can be found in many waiting rooms of hospitals or clinics, lobbies, and reception areas. Research indicates that watching an aquarium steadies the heart rate and blood pressure, lowering stress levels in the process.
Moreover, a study shows that people suffering from Alzheimer’s benefit from being exposed to aquariums, especially those with eye-catching colors. A significant decrease in negative behavior was noted in Alzheimer’s patients, including aggression and restlessness.
5. Bigger is better for beginners
The bigger the tank’s surface area, the better the oxygen circulation, which makes your fish healthier and live longer. We don’t recommend smaller tanks as they’ll stunt the growth of your livestock.
Additionally, bigger tanks are more physically stable, less prone to being toppled over accidentally by four-legged pets and humans alike. As a new aquarium owner, you’re going to want to add more fish to your tank, for sure. Rather than multiple small tanks, one big aquarium is more manageable and much prettier to look at, too!
6. You need power backup and equipment on reserve
There’s just no way around it — power outages will kill your fish and spell the end for your entire livestock, so a backup plan is a must.
In most cases, freshwater aquariums will survive on battery-powered air pumps but not for long periods. If you have a bigger tank, a battery backup air pump is advisable, preferably the rechargeable kind. If you’ve invested considerably in your freshwater setup, then buying a generator is a great idea.
You should also have replacement aquarium essentials in handy such as air pumps, filtration apparatus, and heaters or coolers. These things break down inevitably, given the harsh conditions in which they operate. It’s best to stock up on key aquarium apparatus than risk your fish dying while you’re making a run for the nearest pet supply shop during rush hour.
7. Having one is easier than you think
As a freshwater aquarium novice, you may feel a bit reluctant to do your setup without professional help. Having a go at it on your own could be risky if it’s your first time, not to mention life-threatening for your aquarium livestock.
Luckily, we’re here for that! Whether you’re building your first tank, designing a large commercial aquarium, or looking to transition from live corals to a more sustainable, cost-effective, and low-maintenance artificial solution — we can help you make it happen.
At Creative Coral Design, we believe that beautiful and functional aquariums should be accessible to all. That’s why we offer premium, exhibit-level artificial coral and reef inserts at not-so-premium prices. We pride with products with impeccable quality, which is testament to our exacting standards,
We are an aquarium design and artificial coral and reef fabrication company with more than 40 years’ experience under our belt. Our business is also our labor of love, with a small and tight-knit all-star team of aquarium experts and passionate makers.
Learn more about Creative Coral Design and find out how we create some of the most beautiful and functional artificial aquariums and commercial exhibits around. Here’s why you can trust us with your big ideas for your dream freshwater aquarium.