A Freshwater Aquarium for the Smaller Home

Space limitation is hardly an issue when it comes to considering ownership of a freshwater aquarium. Mini aquariums are on the rise in popularity due to their small size and their relatively small monetary outlay. (Read: way cheaper than that tank you see at your dentist’s office!) As always, do weigh the pros and cons before running out and buying anything.

The advantages of keeping a small aquarium are many. Obviously the convenience of the size is number one. Aquariums are something you can enjoy in a small apartment or a college dormitory. Most landlords will not even count small aquariums as pets! The miniature aquariums tend to be lower maintenance. Since less fish can be kept in a smaller tank, less waste is produced. When you do have to tidy up your aquarium, it will be much easier than cleaning a 20-gallon tank.

Hold on to your seat-nothing is so easy! There are disadvantages to having a smaller tank as well. Less waste might be produced, but you will still have to clean the tank and change water often. Because there is less space the waste will accumulate more quickly than in a regular-sized tank. Additionally in a small tank, problems tend to occur faster. Water temperature and chemistry can change in a matter of hours. Guard your scaly friends against swift and dangerous changes by monitoring the aquarium frequently. A final disadvantage is that you can not keep many fish in a small aquarium. In their natural environment fish have tons of space in which to swim and frolic, plants to hide in, and bounties of food. You can not provide much space in a small aquarium. Less fish equals less fun!

Still, even with all the disadvantages, having a fish or two in a small aquarium is still worth it -and if you are smart about it, easier to keep. There are just a handful of things to keep in mind when shopping for a teensy tiny aquarium.

In terms of size, you really should not shoot for smaller than two gallons. Many people have puny tanks for Bettas that could fit in a shoe. They work, but chances are those Bettas do not reach their full potential in terms of beauty. Buy a two-gallon bowl or tank at the minimum. Next, it does not matter how often you plan on changing the water for your one or two fish, you need a filter. It really is a necessity for any aquarium. Clean water equals healthy fish equals gorgeous aquarium. You may need a heater for more tropical fish. Also, stay away from mini aquariums that are sold as “closed” or “no-maintenance” aquariums. Examples of these are “Betta-Dome,” “Do-Little,” and “Omnarium.” There is no such thing as a no-maintenance tank. These are dangerous environments for fish and they will die quickly.

Aquarium veterans recommend a handful of fish that are perfect for smaller aquariums. One is the Bloodfin Tetra. Bloodfins are tolerant of colder water temperatures and best if kept in a school. Guppies are another popular vote for tiny tanks due to their smallness and tolerance for colder temperatures. Platy are adaptable and attractive. White Clouds and Zebra Danios are great due to their hardiness and ability to live in colder water. If you get fish that are adaptable to most living conditions and do not require a heater, all should go well.

Just like larger freshwater aquariums, their smaller cousins still require some knowledge of fish species and general maintenance issues. Small or large, if you invest the time in learning about freshwater aquariums, you will certainly reap the benefits.

Garry Macdonald is a freshwater aquarium enthusiast with many years real-life experience. For more information on mid size freshwater aquariums, visit http://www.freshwateraquariumsexplained.com.