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A Fish Tank

The Only Thing you REALLY Need to Keep Fish

(The First Tank Guide)

A fish tank is the only thing you really need to keep fish, however, I say this reservedly. If you do not include filtration, you greatly increase the amount of work you will need to do to keep your aquarium clean and healthy. If your tank is small - say, smaller than about 10 gallons - you will greatly increase the size and frequency of water changes, and you will also increase the risk that some stray fumes, dust, or other toxins floating in the air in your home or office become a problem in the tank. Smaller tanks and bowls are also harder to cycle and less stable once they are cycled. Additionally, a smaller tank will be able to house fewer fish, and will be less forgiving of over stocking or over feeding. Generally speaking, the larger the tank (within reason), the easier it will be to care for, and the fewer headaches it will create in the long run.

In reality, the tank is anything that you want to set up to house your fish. Whatever you select for a tank, it must be:

Blue Streaked Devil
This Blue-Streaked Devil is a marine fish, from my only salt tank. I thought he was attractive enough to show here (taking decent pictures of fish is difficult...)
Water Tight
If the tank is not water tight, you will have a very difficult time housing your aquatic pets, due to rapid degradation of their environment. Water leaking out of the tank will give the fish less room, less dissolved oxygen and greater concentrations of waste.
Additionally, the leaking water can cause problems outside the tank. The water can damage flooring, furniture, personal belongings, building structure, and the stand that the tank is on.
If the material your tank is made of is toxic, many of your fish will die either from chewing in the enclosure or from the small amounts of toxins that will be released in the water. Of course, the chances of toxins being released into the water are greatly reduced by assuring that the material holds up to the next requirement, being non-water soluble.
If the tank is water soluble, it will soon cease to hold up to the first requirement, being water tight...
If the tank is not sturdy, then you are liable to have problems with it holding up to the first requirement, being water tight, and quite possible the third, being non-water soluble. Having a sturdy tank will also help in preventing future breaks which could result in damage to other property in addition to the obvious harm to the fish.

You will probably also want to take into consideration the aesthetics of the container in question. The five gallon buckets that restaurants receive pickles and such in will work as a 'tank,' as long as you don't have a heater that can rest against it. However, these buckets don't look very good in a living room on display. They also make it difficult to view your fish and plants.

Read about different types of tanks: glass vs. acrylic

"You rock! Thanks."
November 30, 2010
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"Thank you so much for answering my letter regarding the new larger tank for my goldfish. Your advice was very helpful and cleared up a lot of my confusion!"
November 6, 2003
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