Fish Tank Size Tips: How to Choose The Perfect Fish Tank

The first step to starting any aquarium begins with finding the right fish tank. And while it may be easy to think that any waterproof box will do, there is much more thought and consideration that needs to go into your decision. So, if you have found yourself looking for the perfect tank to start your aquarium journey, then you have come to the right place. Here at Pond Planet, we have pulled together our top tips and advice into one thank buying guide that will help you make an informed decision before making your purchase. Plus, once you have read all of the information you need, you can explore a wide selection of high-quality aquarium tanks here. 

What Fish Tank Size Should I Have?

Before looking at styles or prices, you need to know exactly what size fish tank you need. There are several things to consider when it comes to tank size, the most important among them being the number of fish you wish to keep and the space you have available in your home. 

Aquarium tanks that are available on the market range from 0.5 gallons to over 200 gallons, but you must remember that as size increases so do other factors, such as maintenance and weight. This is why it isn’t always a good idea to buy a larger tank than needed as a ‘just in case’ scenario unless of course, you plan on expanding your aquarium rapidly. 

Research is important when it comes to choosing a tank size, as not all tanks of the same capacity will be the same shape. When considering a tank, make sure you look into the ‘weight & dimensions’ and look for the exact L x W x H. When you have these numbers, ensure that the tank will fit comfortably in your desired space with a few inches of free space above for feeding purposes, accessories and maintenance. 

Tank Gallons Guide

Once you have the physical dimensions of the available space you have for your new tank, it’s time to consider how many gallons of tank space you need. Keep reading below for a breakdown of different tank gallon sizes and what they are most suitable for. 

Up to 10 Gallon Tanks 

Tanks below 5 gallons are often referred to as fish bowls, and while they may seem like a simple aesthetic to suit minimalist style, we do not recommend them. Tanks of only 5 gallons and lower can be dangerous for fish as they commonly experience fluctuations in pH, as well as build-ups of waste materials and harmful chemicals. Not to mention, of course, the very stressful and small living conditions that can be too much for even the smallest of lone fish. Stress in fish resulting from not enough room to swim can lead to fish being vulnerable to disease. 

Despite all of this, tanks up to 10 gallons are not entirely useless as they can be home to beautiful and vibrant aquatic life.

11-20 Gallon Tanks 

If you are looking for a small and affordable tank to hold only a handful of small fish, then you could consider a tank between 11 and 20 gallons. Tanks this size are often designed and chosen for their decorative purposes in the home rather than practicality. But they are perfectly safe for few and small fish, despite still being considered quite small by experts. If you do choose an 11-20 gallon tank, just make sure that you are vigilant with maintenance and cycle through the proper filtration and chemical balances. If you’re a new aquarium starter and are only keeping a few fish below 3”, then 11-20 gallon tanks may be the right choice for you. 

21-40 Gallon Tanks 

For a bolder display in your home that you can evolve and grow, choose a 21-40 gallon tank. Tanks this size are suitable for keeping approximately 6-12 small fish happy and healthy, so if you want to start with just a few and introduce more fish and plant life to the tank, this is the perfect option. The volume of 21-40 gallon tanks ensures that water quality is steady, so you can feel a little safer in relaxing vigilant maintenance. 

Tanks Over 40 Gallons

Our favourite style tanks are over 40 gallons, and we recommend them where possible as they are optimal for creating displays that are as comfortable as they are beautiful. Not only stunning in their appearance, but 40+ gallon tanks can also display a diverse range of fish and plant life that you can be sure are happy in their home. 

However, tanks that are 40 gallons plus are not without their drawbacks, and there are a few points to consider. Larger tanks, especially those above 90 gallons, can be exceptionally heavy and hard work to clean. You will also need to carry out a thorough risk assessment of your home and chosen aquarium space before buying. Have you considered if it is a high-traffic area with children and pets? Do you have space for the necessary tank stand and various reinforcements? Are there any hanging hazards or shelves above the tank that may fall onto it? Once you have considered these questions and are still comfortable with the tank, then you can choose your desired size with confidence! 

Fish Tank Weight 

Other than size, there is another important metric that you need to work out and consider before buying a tank, and that is the weight. When you first get your new tank, and it is empty of water, of course, it seems easy and simple to move and arrange. But when it comes time for the tank to be filled appropriately with both water and substrate, the weight of your tank will change dramatically. This means you need to ensure that any stand or furniture will be able to hold the excess weight. 

Aquarium Tank FAQs 

Where Should a Fish Tank Be Placed in the Home?

When finding the perfect place for your fish tank in your home, consider these important factors and avoid them where possible:

1. Sunlight: Avoid too much direct sunlight for your tank as this will lead to increase growth in algae that can be time-consuming and tiring to battle. Sunlight also warms the tank water and can stress out fish in the tank leading them to become ill. 

2. Noise: Put your tank in quieter areas of the home, avoiding noise from televisions, speakers and doors. Noise and disturbances from areas such as these can shock fish and in turn, lead to early death. 

3. Accessibility: As previously mentioned, you need to ensure your tank can be easily accessible for feeding and maintenance purposes. It is easier and more efficient if you can access your tank from all sides, so do this where possible. 

4. Visibility: With all the time, work and effort you put into building your aquarium, you want to show it off! So, make sure that your tank is easily visible and on display so that everyone can enjoy your beautiful setup. 

5. Electrical Sockets: It goes without saying that you will need to have access to electrical sockets near your tank setup so that you can easily plug in pumps, filters, lights and other products for your aquarium. Make sure your tank is in easy but safe reach of enough electrical sockets for your requirements. 

Does a Fish Tank Need a Top?

Aquarium lids are not necessary but they have several benefits that make them a smart choice and addition to your tank. Fish tank tops stop objects from falling into the tank, deter curious pets, and reduce evaporation by sealing the top of the aquarium. So, although they are not completely necessary, they are a smart choice that you should consider!

What Should the Water Level be in a Fish Tank?

As a general rule, you should fill your fish tank up to around an inch below the very top of the tank. This allows for space for the water column and aeration system that create bubbles at the surface. It also ensures that waterlines that are too high do not accidentally splash outside of the tank.

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