Exploring the Different Types of Freshwater Aquariums
When it comes to the home aquarium, many people do not realize that there are more than two options: freshwater or saltwater. These two categories contain a number of different options for the experienced aquarium hobbyist to explore. The tropical community tank is generally recommended for novice aquarium hobbyists but those who have a great deal of experience with fishkeeping may enjoy moving on to the challenge of a coldwater or brackish aquarium. Along with the challenge of a new type of freshwater aquarium come new species of fish, new options for decorations and greater satisfaction.
Tropical Freshwater Aquariums
Many aquarium hobbyists choose the tropical freshwater aquarium because it is relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain. While saltwater tanks require specialized equipment like protein skimmers, most tropical freshwater tanks require only a submersible aquarium heater, filter and lighting. Most of this equipment can be programmed, making it a virtually hands-free system even the most inexperienced aquarium hobbyist can use without difficulty. In addition to these benefits, tropical freshwater fish are relatively easy to find in stores and there is, in general, a greater variety from which to choose in this category than in other categories of freshwater fish.
Goldfish are the most commonly recognized species of coldwater fish but certain species of barbs, tetras and danios can tolerate water temperatures in the low 60’s as can guppies, white clouds and loaches. While some of these fish are not as brightly colored as the more popular tropical species, it may be worth it to simplify the aquarium set-up by eliminating the need for heating equipment. Just because an aquarium heater is not necessary, however, does not always mean that coldwater tanks are easier to manage than tropical freshwater tanks. You may need to purchase an aquarium chiller to keep the water temperature low enough for some species and some fish have specific needs that may require extra equipment. Goldfish, for example, have one of the highest waste outputs of any species of freshwater fish and require highly-oxygenated water which may necessitate an extra filter or an aerator.
Adding an EcoBio-Stone or EcoBio-Planter to your coldwater tank is an easy way to help keep a tank full of goldfish clean. EcoBio products are made from natural volcanic stone and are infused with beneficial bacteria. After being introduced into your tank, these bacteria multiply to create a colony of nitrifying bacteria which will help to break down wastes, keeping the water in your tank clean and clear between routine water changes for approximately 2 years.
Brackish Water Aquariums
The word brackish refers to a mix of saltwater and freshwater and it describes the type of aquatic environment found in estuaries, coastal streams and saltwater swamps. When it comes to setting up a brackish tank, the necessary equipment is generally the same as for a tropical freshwater tank – filter, heater and lighting. Where a brackish aquarium differs from a typical tropical freshwater tank is in the tank environment. Brackish aquariums are usually filled with a dark substrate like sand and live plants and driftwood which are the staples of brackish tank décor.
In order to create a true brackish environment, salt must be added to the water to achieve a specific gravity between 1.002 and 1.025 depending on the fish you plan to raise. Some popular species of brackish aquarium fish include swordtails, mollies, loaches, gobies and catfish. While several plants commonly used in tropical freshwater aquariums can survive in a brackish environment, plants like cabomba, vallisneria and mangroves are best-suited for this type of tank. Brackish water aquariums may be more difficult to care for than a simple tropical freshwater tank, but experienced aquarium hobbyists may appreciate the challenge.
October 7, 2011 at 4:07 PM