If you’re thinking of setting up an aquarium, the first question you ask should be, what size fish tank should I buy? From fish bowls to 40+ gallon tanks, there are a lot to choose from!
I started with a 2 gallon tank that held one African Dwarf Frog. Two years ago my boyfriend and I decided to start a 10 gallon tank, to which we added a 20 gallon tank, and most recently upgraded to one big 40 gallon tank.
First, think about where you want your aquarium to be set up in your home. Measure the space so you can compare to the dimensions of potential tanks.
What will your aquarium be placed on? Water is heavy. One gallon of water weighs about 8.34 pounds.
Here is a gallon to pound conversion list for a few common tank sizes (pounds rounded up.)
2 gal = 17 lbs
5 gal = 42 lbs
10 gal = 84 lbs
20 gal = 167 lbs
30 gal = 251 lbs
40 gal = 334 lbs
The above weight accounts only for the water, and doesn’t take into consideration the weight of the aquarium, gravel, filter and other equipment, decorations or fish! Aquariums quickly become very heavy. You’ll need a surface or stand that is strong enough to hold the weight of your aquarium. Pet stores do sell stands that are specifically designed to hold aquariums.
Also consider that you need 1 gallon of water per 1 inch of fish (a 1 inch fish needs 1 gallon; a 2 inch fish needs 2 gallons.) There are some species of fish that produce more waste, such as goldfish and plecostomus fish. Factoring in an extra gallon for a high waste producer fish is a good idea. Otherwise your tank and filtration system might not be able to handle the total amount of waste produced in your tank.
Start with only a few fish when first introducing fish to your aquarium. You can determine how fast the water is becoming dirty and if the particular fish you own appear to need more or less swimming room or if they show any territorial aggression towards the other fish. Slowly add fish to the aquarium until you seem to have a good balance!
Jennifer Kean is a writer and pet-lover who owns two rescue kittens (lifetime cat owner too!) and has a 40 gallon fish tank!