Since the opening of the first aquarium at the London Zoo in 1853, water tanks containing small aquatic ecosystems under controlled conditions have provided much aesthetic pleasure to generations of people regardless of their interest in biology and the natural environment. Aside from their appearance, aquariums have many other benefits, but they also come with a lot of responsibility and require serious consideration before investing.This article will help you understand what to expect from aquarium maintenance.
Aquariums: more than just beauty
While the graceful movements and vibrant colours of fish swimming in an environment of exotic plants, corals and picturesque rocks and shells are a truly captivating experience, an aquarium can also provide relaxation and stress relief. The peaceful atmosphere and tranquility that aquariums create are enhanced by the soothing sounds of the water.
These effects make aquariums a popular decoration not only in therapy centres, hospitals, and nursing homes but also in modern work environments.
Large aquariums, such as those produced by Aquaforest for zoos, oceanariums, and research facilities, create particularly spectacular visual effects and allow their owners to create rich and diverse ecosystems.
Education and conservation
Aquariums are a perfect educational tool, as their maintenance requires learning about aquatic organisms and entire ecosystems. They have a particularly high educational value for children, who not only acquire new knowledge while taking care of aquariums but also learn responsibility.
Certainly, aquariums are also critical to wildlife conservation, allowing scientists and enthusiasts to restore populations of endangered species.
Implications of having an aquarium
Many people believe that fish are the best alternative to pets such as dogs, cats, rodents, or birds, as the needs of aquatic animals seem to be much more modest. To a certain extent, this is true, but unlike the animals mentioned above, with aquatic organisms, you have to build an entire ecosystem. In fact, in most cases, you need to take more care of the aquarium itself than directly of its inhabitants. This, in turn, has several issues.
First of all, an aquarium is a much more time-consuming hobby than it may seem to those who have no experience keeping fish at home. Regular checkups of water parameters, feeding, and especially cleaning the water tank and other aquarium equipment can take a lot of time, while the absence of any of these components of an aquarist’s routine can lead to deterioration of fish health and even death.
In addition, aquariums represent a significant financial investment. The setup costs, which include a water tank, lighting, filtration system, and other equipment, and the ongoing costs associated with fish food, supplements, and water treatment.
In addition to it, setting up an aquarium requires thorough research. The limited space in an aquarium tank requires a careful selection of species that will co-exist to form a harmonious ecosystem. Aggressive or territorial species, for example, may pose a threat to other fish, whose health may deteriorate due to constant stress. At the same time, different species have different requirements for water conditions and even social dynamics, while the size of the aquatic animals themselves is a decisive criterion for their choice. All these aspects should be carefully considered before making a final decision.
Needless to say, the larger the aquarium, the more time and money must be invested in its setup and maintenance.
Potentially negative impact on the environment
Although aquariums are widely used for conservation purposes, the interest in aquatic life also creates opportunities for unethical breeders to abuse animals for profit. For instance, wild fish and other species are caught and traded which adversely affects natural ecosystems. Another example is dyeing and tattooing fish for aesthetic reasons, which is painful and harmful for aquatic creatures.
On top of that, fish from unregulated breeding facilities may be affected by diseases that are then transmitted to healthy populations.
The best aquarium for beginners
If you are not ready to get one of Aquaforest’s large water tanks, you can start your aquarist’s journey with a more modest 10-20 gallon aquarium. You can also consider a beginner aquarium kit, which includes all the necessary equipment and saves you the time you would otherwise spend purchasing individual items. Start with a freshwater aquarium that is easier to maintain.