How to Tell If Aquarium Hobby Right for You
Cultivating an aquarium can be a fun hobby, but it is not the right hobby for everyone. Taking care of an aquarium requires a good deal of planning and setup, not to mention both daily and weekly maintenance tasks. Before you jump into the aquarium hobby, take the time to ask yourself a few questions to determine whether it is really the right fit for you.
Questions to Ask Before Starting an Aquarium
Before you decide whether or not the aquarium hobby is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can you afford a fish tank? If you decide to join the aquarium hobby you will have to buy more than just the tank – you’ll also have to pay for substrate, decorations, a filter, a heater, a lighting system, and, of course, your aquarium fish. These costs can add up quickly.
- Do you have the space for an aquarium? Many aquarium hobbyists make the mistake of thinking that a small tank is easier to care for than a large tank. With small tanks, however, even minor mistakes can lead to big problems because the water volume in the tank is so low that small changes can be devastating. Unless you have room for a 20-gallon tank at minimum, the aquarium hobby isn’t right for you.
- Will you wait until the tank has cycled before adding fish? If you want to start your tank off right you will need to give it at least two weeks to cycle before you add your fish – this will require you to be patient. Your tank needs time to develop a colony of beneficial bacteria which will work to break down waste products in your tank. If you don’t wait for this to happen before adding fish, you could be subjecting your fish to toxic water conditions.
- Do you have time to maintain an aquarium? Setting up your tank for the first time can take several hours and, once you have it up and running, you’ll have to perform certain maintenance tasks on a daily and weekly basis. Feeding your fish may only take a few minutes but you’ll also have to test your tank water on a weekly basis and perform water changes to keep the water quality in your tank high.
- What do you plan to feed your fish? You can buy a container of basic fish flakes at the pet store for a couple dollars, but this may not be enough to keep your aquarium fish in prime condition. Like any animal, aquarium fish need a healthy diet in order to thrive. This means you might have to spring for live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods in addition to those fish flakes.
- Are you ready for a long-term commitment? Aquarium fish do not live as long as cats or dogs, but many of them still live for several years with proper care. Unless you are ready to commit to your aquarium for a long period of time, you are better off not starting it at all.
- What will you do with your fish if you go on vacation? In addition to making sure that you can make a long-term commitment to keeping your aquarium you also need to think about what you will do if you leave the house for an extended period of time. Aquarium fish can go several days without feeding but if you go on a long vacation you’ll have to have someone stop in to feed them.
Before you jump into the aquarium hobby, take the time to ask yourselves the questions listed above and really think about your answers. The answers to these questions will help you to determine whether or not the aquarium hobby is right for you.
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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