Have you been thinking about getting an aquarium? It’s a beautiful thing to own a fish tank. It can be as simple or exotic as you wish.
Maybe you’ve been doing searches like, “pet stores near me that sell fish,” or “fish tanks for sale.” That’s a good way to start. You’re bound to find an aquarium shop that you can visit.
- How to shop for an aquarium
- Tropical fish versus freshwater fish
- Reasons for owning an aquarium
- How to find the best aquarium shop near you
- How to know if the fish you want to buy are healthy
- Common health problems of fish
- But what if there isn’t an aquarium shop near me?
How to shop for an aquarium
It’s convenient to have an idea of what to expect before you buy. You might wish to browse online to gather information. For example, betta fish are very popular. If you’re curious about what you need to care for a betta, you can view reviews about small aquariums.
Also, you might want to learn about fish tank filters and other accessories that will make your aquarium healthy environment for its inhabitants.
Choose the fish first
But the easiest way to begin shopping for an aquarium is to think about the type of fish you want. Perhaps you’d like to begin with goldfish since they are hardy. On the other hand, maybe you’d prefer colorful tetras. Once you decide on the type of fish, it’s much easier to choose the right tank for them. For instance, you’ll know how big of an aquarium you’ll need.
Then select the tank and accessories
After you’ve chosen the fish, it’s easier to pick an aquarium and accessories like a heater, a thermometer, and lighting. Based on the needs of the fish, you’ll understand how warm the water needs to be and which type of light will best show off their colors.
Buy bigger than you need
A good rule of thumb is to purchase a tank that’s a little larger than you need. Also, get a filter that’s more powerful than the bare minimum. The reason for this way of thinking is that you’re probably going to get more fish in the future. If you already have what you need to take care of them, you won’t have to spend money on upgrades right away. It’s also pleasant for the fish to have room to live and clean water to enjoy.
Tropical fish versus freshwater fish
We like both tropical and freshwater fish. It’s really up to you which you prefer because each one has advantages. For example, if you search for, “tropical fish store near me,” then visit that location, you can see that there are many colorful varieties available. Tropical fish can be downright breath-taking. But they also have strict requirements for their environment.
On the other hand, freshwater fish might not even need a heater if your home doesn’t get too cold. In addition, you can grow plants in a freshwater tank. Try googling, “freshwater fish stores near me,” and you can see examples in person.
Reasons for owning an aquarium
You probably don’t need any more reasons for why you want an aquarium, but if you need to convince someone else, here are some ideas.
- Studies show that watching fish swim in an aquarium reduces stress.
- Pet ownership lowers stress and increases well-being.
- Depending on the aquarium, it can be much less expensive than owning a cat or dog.
- Maintaining an aquarium creates a sense of pride and accomplishment.
- Aquariums are an instant ice-breaker for conversation.
- Some fish can learn tricks, and bettas recognize their owner’s faces.
- Aquariums can deepen your knowledge about ecosystems and biology.
- It’s much easier to find a pet-sitter for a fish tank then it is for other kinds of pets.
- Breeding fish can be a lucrative hobby.
How to find the best aquarium shop near you
In today’s world, it’s not hard to find reviews of aquarium shops near you. Sites like Google, Yelp, and Angie’s List provide information about local businesses. You can also speak to friends who own fish to find out which stores they prefer. Sometimes you can find pet fish for sale in your local newspaper, too.
Savvy shoppers who are watching their wallet might visit a local store to see what products they carry and what the prices are. Then they might visit an online retailer to find the items at a lower cost. While this doesn’t support the neighborhood economy, it can save a significant amount of money.
How to know if the fish you want to buy are healthy
The advantage of buying your fish locally is that you can see them in person and observe the conditions in the store. Look closely at the water in the tank– is it clean and clear? Is it odorless? Is the gravel free from debris?
Watch the fish. Are they swimming actively? Are there gills expanding regularly but not too quickly? Do they come to the top quickly when it’s feeding time?
Otherwise, if you notice these warning signs, walk away. Don’t buy fish if they look or act like this:
- Have white spots that don’t belong on their bodies
- Have torn fins
- Look like they are breathing too fast
- Float at the top or lay at the bottom or hide all the time behind decorations
Of course, some fish are shyer than others. And some, like plecos, prefer the bottom of the tank. The problems we described are ones that stand out from the norm. If you have doubts about the well-being of the fish, don’t take them home. Unless you have experience doctoring fish, and you have a hospital tank to keep them away from the rest, don’t try to rescue them.
Common health problems of fish
Fish get sick sometimes. Let’s go over a few of the most common illnesses.
Ick, or Ichthyophthirius multiﬁliis
Just above, we mentioned white spots. If you see what looks like specs of sand on the fish’s scales, it could be ick. Fish that are stressed by changes in the pH balance or temperature of the water are prone to developing this illness. Other signs of ick include gasping at the surface of the water and rubbing against decorations.
If your fish develops ick, take fast action and most likely all will be well. Your first step is to stop the filter and remove the carbon cartridge. If you have a UV sterilizer, turn that off as well. Then place the appropriate amount of the remedy in the water. This will depend on how large of a tank you have. Check out the example product below.
Tetra Ick Guard Aquarium Remedy, Easy to Use Fizz Tabs
The Tetra Guard tablets work quickly to condition the water and get rid of ick. Each tablet treats up to 10 gallons.
Dropsy is a kidney infection where fish will have protruding scales and will look bloated.
Tetra 77326 LifeGuard Tablets
Tetra LifeGuard is handy because it treats multiple illnesses like dropsy and fungus. If you’re not sure what’s wrong with your fish, it’s hard to go wrong with this treatment.
Fish fungus can look like cotton growing on your fish’s scales or fins. Often, fish develop fungus after they’ve been infected by parasites or been ill from other causes.
Gill flukes or mites
It may be difficult to see flukes or mites on your fish’s skin. You might need a magnifying glass to confirm the problem. But you’ll see that the fish are gasping for air and may leave their gill covers partially open.
Seachem ParaGuard 250ml
The ParaGuard liquid from Seachem is a popular remedy for parasites like flukes and mites as well as fungus. It won’t alter the pH of the water, and it does not contain formaldehyde derivatives. You can use it in both fresh and saltwater, but don’t introduce it into a tank with crustaceans or corals.
The main thing to remember about fish illnesses is that speedy treatment generally solves the problem. Take a little time each day to watch and enjoy your fish to make sure they are healthy.
But what if there isn’t an aquarium shop near me?
Not everyone lives near a pet store. Or the store near you may not have a big selection of aquariums and fish. In that case, you still have options.
It’s easy to purchase a fish tank and accessories online. Shop for reputable brands with good reviews. Then once you have all the equipment, assemble your aquarium and test it to make sure everything works properly. You can also add live bacteria to the water to start the aquarium cycle and prepare for the fish to live there. Here’s an example below.
API QUICK START Aquarium Nitrifying Bacteria
This liquid contains live bacteria for freshwater and saltwater aquariums. The bacteria remove ammonia and nitrate from the water.
Once your tank is ready, it’s time to populate it with your favorite fish. Happy shopping!