3 things to note before building a fish aquarium at home
Aquascapes or planted tanks are common ways to spruce up a home, as well as create a natural environment for aquatic creatures. Roland Seah from Green Chapter, an aquarium company that also does green walls, shares with us some tips for maintaining a beautiful and healthy aquarium.
COMMON CONCERN #1: Fish-specific needs
To ensure the long life of both fish and plants, owners need to ensure the contents of their aquariums match the needs of the fish. For instance, small tetra fish, guppies, and shrimps are more suitable for plant aquariums than larger fish like arowanas; the former would not feed on the aquatic plants or cause disturbances in the environment, whereas the latter tend to dig holes and move wood. And as a rule of thumb, small fish appreciate dense plants to hide in.
“Owners also need to prevent fish from cross-infecting each other with diseases. Before placing new fish in an aquarium, quarantine them and disinfect the water to remove any bacteria. However, some fish have dormant viruses that will be activated when the fish is stressed,” says Roland.
Design: Distinct Identity
COMMON CONCERN #2:Water care
“Take care of the water, and the water will take care of the living things in it. Once you have a specific knowledge of what you’re keeping, you’ll know what nutrients are needed, how cold the water should be, and how to detect problems with the water quality,” he says, adding that the presence of algae on wood and plants is a sign of a poorly kept aquarium.
COMMON CONCERN #3: Commitment
Tempted to recreate the flawless aquarium you saw on Pinterest? It might not be practical. “Many of these photos are competition submissions; if the owners are not able to practise daily and long-term maintenance, the aquariums will most likely deteriorate and be torn down. It’s best to have a stand-alone tank you can easily remove or work around,” says Roland.
The top of the tank should have a clearance of 60cm or more, or be equivalent to the depth of the tank so you can reach the bottom of the aquarium when cleaning. Most tanks require chillers, which let out hot air and therefore need to be placed in a well-ventilated space. Storage for cleaning equipment and filtration systems need to be accounted for, too.
An aquarium can appear sleek and built-in, but the interior designer should still install the necessary mechanisms that ensure cleaning the tank is easy and accessible.