An aquarium begins with an idea, a dream; a mental image of how it will look and the serenity that it will bring. Of course, as with anything else that is worthwhile, proper preparation and scrutiny should be given to the fish tank set up in order to make the idea a reality.
Before one even begins to think about the minutiae of detail which make keeping an aquarium a fun and involved activity, one needs to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. An aquarium is a self-contained ecosystem; that fact must never be forgotten. Do not view the aquarium as a piece of décor. Your aquarium will become a passive, yet integral part of your home or office. As such, care and attention must be given to your aquarium set up.
Aquarium placement is the most important aspect of any fish tank set up. Think this part through carefully, as a functioning aquarium is quite heavy. The water alone weighs eight pounds per gallon. A simple 40-gallon aquarium can easily surpass 400-pounds in total weight. Not only does the weight make moving an aquarium difficult, it also makes it risky for the tank itself. The forces exerted on the sides of the tank and possible unevenness on the moving surface can create pressures which lead to fissures and leaks. This is why it is critical to decide on where the fish tank set up will take place prior to filling and stocking it.
Your first task in determining tank placement is to find an area that is able to unite the practical necessities of a functioning aquarium along with those of your original conceptual idea. Keep in mind that the aquarium will require regularly scheduled maintenance. This will include partial water changes, substrate vacuuming, live plant pruning, among other routine tasks. Doing a 25% water change on a 40-gallon tank will require moving 80 pounds of water from your water source to the aquarium. Plus, you will have to dispose of the same volume in removed water. Keep this in mind before placing your fish tank set up in an area that is not easily accessible or too distant from your water source and drain.
All life forms on earth derive their existence, either directly or indirectly, from the energy of the sun. Although in a fish tank setup the direct role of the sun can be taken up by aquarium lighting, keep in mind how natural sunlight and artificial lighting will affect your tank. If your aquarium placement is such that there is excessive exposure to natural or artificial lighting, this could have repercussions. It can disrupt the day/night cycle for your fish leading to problems with appetite, stress and even weakening their immune system. Excessive lighting can also contribute to outbreaks of algae. Conversely, lack of lighting can also cause problems for some fish species and for the healthy development of some live aquarium plants.
Traffic patterns of people and house pets near the aquarium should also be taken into consideration. Although, one of the fundamental joys of a fish tank setup is being able to appreciate it visually and to show it off to friends and family, avoid placing an aquarium in a room with high foot traffic or frequent and prolonged loud noises. Excessive noise from the television, stereo or raucous people can also lead to fish stress.
Preparing for your fish tank set up should not be seen as a stressful downer for your dream aquarium. If anything, view it as a necessary step that will actually save you stress in the long run once your aquarium is functional. A little thought and preparation beforehand goes a long way towards a successful fish tank set up.