Use this guide to plan ahead before you choose an aquarium to buy.
When inspecting glass aquariums for sale you will find that there are two varieties commonly used. Optical quality and regular glass.
Regular glass will have a slight blue-green tinge to it due to the iron impurities present. This reduces the colour intensity of the aquarium inhabitants. The effect will be more noticeable when you buy a large aquariums with thicker glass. All that aside, most aquarium owners would probably not even notice the difference.
Optical quality glass aquariums are the clearer more expensive version. They are favoured by aquarium owners who want to buy the clearest aquarium glass possible.
Check the aquarium over for good workmanship. Glass aquariums should have an even bead of silicone joining each part. Check that each silicone joint is contacting well.
All cut glass edges on the aquarium you buy should be smooth and even. Well finished aquariums will have no burs or sharp surfaces. Some aquariums will be machined to a smooth edge while others may be hand smoothed using emery paper.
This material is used for many small to medium aquariums. Acrylic is a clear thermoplastic with excellent properties for aquarium manufacture. It can be molded into a variety of shapes. Most kit aquariums with rounded corners will be acrylic. If you buy a round coffee table style aquarium it will be acrylic also.
An acrylic aquarium is light and maneuverable. Transporting this type of fish tank is usually less hazardous than if you were to buy a glass aquarium.
Although very transparent when new, an acrylic aquarium loses it's clarity when scratched. This is the main disadvantage of buying an acrylic aquarium.
Check your new aquarium for scratches and faulty joins before you buy. Acrylic aquariums are bonded cohesively with a liquid that fuses the parts together.
If you do develop some light scratches they are usually repairable. Buff the marks out using Brasso polish and a rag. Heavier scratches may need to be lightly sanded with a fine sand paper first. Buffing wheels are also effective on an acrylic aquarium.
At first it may seem that price is the only factor limiting the aquarium size you buy. Unfortunately when you buy an aquarium obtaining the largest size affordable is not the only thing that matters. There are other important considerations you should make before finalising the size you buy.
Transporting an aquarium becomes more complex if you buy a larger model. If you do not have access to a utility vehicle and a few competent lifters be sure to buy from a pet store that offers home delivery.
Also be aware of the physical limitations posed by the house where you will be keeping the aquarium. Large aquariums cannot be maneuvered around corners in some hallways. If you really must have an eight foot aquarium in your inner sanctum it may have to be assembled onsite rather than buying the aquarium off the shelf.
Further complications can arise when you buy a large aquarium to be kept in a stumped house. Water weighs one kilogram per liter which soon adds up. The floor joists in your home may be inadequate for your aquarium of choice. To remedy this you should consult a structural engineer who may advise you to reinforce the floor or buy a 20 gallon aquarium instead.
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choosing your first aquarium