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February 2024

How to Choose a Fish Tank

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So, you’ve decided a pet fish might be right for you. Now, you’ve got to decide on a fish tank – and there are so many! Before navigating the shop floor, here are some helpful key considerations before purchasing. This article covers everything from the type of fish you want to the reality of space and placement in your home. While a large, glamorous tank is, well, glamorous, you still need to narrow down the perfect fit. It doesn’t matter your preference or taste, ‘the one’ you want is just around the aisle.

1. Space In Your Home

Space will always be high on the consideration list when introducing any permanent fixture or item into your home. How do you choose a fish tank size? First, you’ll need to ensure that the fish tank you choose fits your home visually and spatially. Look at the ideal space for your tank and get out your measuring tape.

When considering space, you should ensure you place your tank away from areas where external sources like windows and heater vents will affect the temperature. Also, try and keep your tank out of direct sunlight as this will promote algae growth.

For peace of mind, talk your decision over with your housemate, family, or partner; space always looks a bit different to everyone. You don’t want your newest friend getting your oldest friends or family offside.

Hot Tip

Most large size tanks come with the option of purchasing a stand, which will provide the additional required strength to hold a tank full of water. So, this means you’ll need to ensure you have the room for the stand as well as the tank, as placing the tank on a different piece of furniture may result in damage. Finally, double-check the flooring beneath your tank is suitable to hold its weight when full.

2. How Do You Pick Your Fish Tank Size?

You won’t need a large tank if you only want one fish. However, the more fish you want, the bigger the tank you’ll need. Overcrowding a small tank with any fish will result in your fish either outgrowing the tank or cause the fish to experience unnecessary stress, resulting in illness or death. Like humans, fish breathe oxygen and require a certain level of oxygen to live healthily, so the less water surface area within a tank when shared with others will affect the health of the fish. The general rule of thumb is one centimeter of fish for every litre of water. Everyone needs the right amount of space and freedom to live a healthy life – including small fish.

It’s better to go bigger if you can, especially if you’re thinking of having more than one fish – and contrary to what you might think, smaller tanks are not necessarily easier to manage. Larger tanks tend to have more stable water parameters and can be easier to maintain.

3. How Many Fish Do You Want Now or In The Future?

Most fish purchased are young and not yet fully grown, so ensure the tank you’re looking to buy has your tank has ample room for your fish to grow. As you might expect, different species grow to different sizes, so make sure you have an understanding or knowledge of the fish you want to purchase before settling on a tank.

Your local PETstock fish guru will be able to chat with you about this and help determine which breed of fish is most suited to you.

4. How Much Time Do You Have?

Not many people enjoy cleaning, but fish tank maintenance is vital in establishing a healthy fish ecosystem. The larger the tank, the longer it will take to maintain so really consider how much time you can dedicate to maintain your fish tank.

Hot Tip

An aquarium/tank of about 200L+ that is fully stocked with fish might take a couple of hours to maintain every fortnight (approximately). Maintenance frequency depends on several factors, so this just an estimate.

Below is a rough guide of tank sizes, fish capacity and maintenance frequency.

Tank Size
Fish Capacity
Maintenance Frequency
20 Litres 2 fish Every Fortnight
90 Litres 10 fish Every Fortnight – 3 weeks
165 Litres 15-20 fish Every Fortnight – 4 weeks
*Fish numbers are based on a 5cm fish size.

5. Your Budget

An obvious one, but don’t skim over it! The bigger your budget, the more equipped you can make your fish tank. Some tanks of the same size have a different price, and this is mostly due to what the tank includes. A more expensive tank will most likely include a built-in light and filter whereas the less expensive option may have neither (a filter is essential so will need to be added if your tank does not already include this). In general, most new tanks come with a built-in light and filter.

6. What Are The Different Tank Options Available?

Now you know all the details about fish tank selection, find out about the product options available to you – and how you choose between them. As with all pet products, there are many variations leading to a similar outcome, it’s all about finding what’s right for you and your level of experience.

At PETstock, our range consists of glass tanks because they are less susceptible to scratching and offer long term durability. However, there are acrylic fish tanks available on the market.

*Tank kits and tanks vary in their inclusions, so make sure you read the product description or speak with your local PETstock team member before purchase.

Tank only option

If you choose to purchase a tank only, without any included accessories or products, you’ll have to make sure you buy everything you need separately. It’s an excellent option for those with prior experience owning fish and know exactly how to mix and match the right products. Opting to purchase a plain glass aquarium provides you with the option of size from thirty centimetres upwards to one metre wide.

Tank package or tank kit

Tank kits are perfect for those beginning their fish journey but also great for people who want a quick set-up with fewer decisions. They come with all the required accessories, including a filter, heater and lighting, all selected to be the correct size and specification of the tank. These kits often come with a compatible stand, which is important for holding extremely heavy tanks.

Tank with built-in accessories

Lastly, you can purchase a tank with built-in accessories – a perfect piece of living furniture for your home. With this option, you will usually get a tank with an in-built filter, often found at the top of the aquarium, a light built into the hood of the aquarium— and finally, a heater built into the filter itself.

It’s also important to remember that you can upgrade the accessories in your tank, depending on your changing needs and requirements.

Speak with a PETstock team member in-store for more advice on the tank options available and if you are thinking about or would like to discuss any upgrades.

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What Will You Need For Your Fish Tank?
Due to the wide variety of products and tank options on the market, it’s important to make sure you have the following items when purchasing your tank/aquarium or make sure they come with your kit .

Purchasing fish on the same day as your tank is NOT advisable. Your tank filter needs to biologically develop to keep your fish healthy. The process is called cycling.

Various sizes available