Case Study: My Experience With Fish

How to Buy a Fish Tank

A lot of pet owners have bad experiences getting their very first aquarium and give up so fast. Of course, there’s a way to avoid this scenario, and that’s by planning your fish tank purchase in advance. Even if you have experience, you still need a plan.

Here are some helpful tips to help you choose and buy your first fish tank:


People usually think they just need a few dollars in order to get started – which is wrong. If you’d like to start with decent quality equipment, you should set aside some $150 – $200. And there’s absolutely no reason to settle for less than decent quality. If you think that’s too much for your budget, it’s smart to save until you have enough funds.

Making a List

Listing down the things you need is a good starting point. Make sure you include the basics – tank with stand, hood, light, net, gravel, filter, heater and water cleaning/treatment supplies, and perhaps a little decoration. All of that on top of the fish and fish food to last until your next visit to the pet store. Speaking of fish, you can start with more manageable types as a newbie, like White Cloud or Bloodfin Texas.

If you’ve got a rather tight budget, try asking for help. You might have a friend or family member take a look at your checklist, hoping they’d give you an advanced holiday or birthday present. A second option may be getting pre-owned equipment, but do inspect the tank very closely, watching out for signs of damage, such as cracks and scratches. And don’t pay more than half the original price for whatever.


As a beginner, avoid fish tanks that hold below 10 gallons of water. Many people don’t know this, but the smaller a fish tank, the harder it is to manage – less water means a faster buildup of toxins. Not to mention temperature and water chemistry changes set in much faster in cramped spaces. Aim for no less than 20 gallons when getting your first fish tank. There’s a much better chance of it working since a larger tank will have more room for errors.

How Many Fish?

Lastly, be honest to yourself about how many fish you can keep. This determines how big an aquarium you need, which in turn affects how much space you’ll need for it. Even if you decide to go for a larger tank, begin with a few fish that are easy to handle. You can add more challenging kinds as you gain experience in aquarium maintenance.

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