Aquarium kits - What to look for & tips
(about kits which are available on markets)
If you wish to set up and aquarium, an aquarium kit can be a convenient and sometimes cost effective way of getting what you need. The term aquarium kit is used very freely and can refer to anything from a glass tank with a lamp in the hood and a tiny filter in the corner to all-inclusive package deals that include everything from tank and equipment to fish, plants, food and a test kit for water values. In this article, we will take a look at a few things that are important to consider before purchasing an aquarium kit.
Size of the tank
The size of the aquarium is very important when choosing an aquarium kit. Many beginner aquarists go for small or even tiny aquariums, but the truth is that medium large aquariums are much easier to maintain. In a small aquarium, waste products emitted by the fish will quickly reach harmful levels since there is so little water to dilute them. The small water mass will also be more susceptible to rapid changes in water temperature which can be dangerous for fish. In addition to this, it can be hard to create suitable hiding spots for all the inhabitants of a small aquarium. If you are a beginner it is therefore best to refrain from small aquarium kits and opt for a mid-sized kit or larger.
Exactly what is included in the kit?
As mentioned above, the exact content of aquarium kits varies greatly and it is therefore important to check what you’re actually getting for your money. Comparing the price and content of various aquarium kits is a cumbersome task, but it can save you a lot of money. Ideally compare offers from various sources; local fish stores as well as online shops.
These are a few of the things that may or may not be included in an aquarium kit:
- Glass aquarium or acrylic aquarium
- Lid or hood
- Aquarium stand or aquarium furniture
- Light fixture
- Light bulbs or light tubes
- Mechanical filter
- Chemical filter
- Air stone
- Substrate, e.g. sand or gravel
- Aquarium decorations, e.g. rocks, caves and roots
- Aquarium test kit
- Siphon / vacuum cleaner
- Fish food
- Aquarium guide
Some kits will even include live organisms, e.g. a selection of live plants suitable for beginners and a free choice of fish and invertebrates from the store up to a certain value. You may also get a bacterial solution to kick-start biological filtration, as well as remedies that are poured into the water to help the fish cope with the stress of being moved to a new home.
It is naturally tempting for aquarium kits manufacturers and vendors to go for the cheapest possible alternative when selecting accessories for the kit and it is therefore important to check not only if a certain piece of equipment is included but also if it is suitable for that particular aquarium. It is for instance not uncommon to see fairly large aquariums fitted with filters that aren’t suitable for such a large water mass. In such a situation you have two alternatives: you can disregard the kit and look for a better one or you can purchase the kit anyway but get a separate filter. In some cases it is possible to upgrade an aquarium kit to avoid being stuck with accessories that you don’t want to use. It can also be a good idea to check which equipment brands that have been used for the aquarium kit; some brands have a much better reputation within the hobby than others and it may be worth paying a little extra to get a kit consisting of well known brands.
The difference between thriving and merely surviving
Unfortunately, quite a few aquarium kits on the market are unsuitable for fish or unsuitable for the fish species and/or stocking density recommended by the seller. Tiny and barren vases are for instance commonly marketed as the perfect home for Siamese fighting fish even though these fishes will do much better in bigger, decorated aquariums. Always seek information from independent sources about the species you are interested in keeping to find out its preferences. You may very well get your fish to survive (at least for a while) in an unsuitable home, but there is a difference between living and living well. A fish kept in an unsuitable home is more prone to disease and may also loose its colours and become shy and listless.
Source: AC Tropical Fish.