Design and shape of the aquarium

Long and narrow, high and short, aquarium just made of glass or with a frame?

As with the size, the shape of your aquarium may be more than just a matter of taste. Fast and frequent swimming fish need longer aquariums than quiet fish species, such as discus fish which instead require a larger amount of aquarium height and depth. Please ask your specialist shop for advice regarding the demands of your "desired" fish and the aquarium format needed.

The first people to keep aquatic animals in their homes or workrooms were students and scholars who housed and observed them in mostly round glass containers. The Romans too kept marine fish such as moray eels in captivity as edible fish. What we recognise as the earliest "aquariums" were mostly accumulator jars made of pressed glass. Only later did frame tanks appear, but the panes were not glued in, they were fixed with window putty, later window putty mixed with red lead.

Height and depth of an aquarium

As with a large picture on your wall, the first impression of your aquarium will be dependent on its length and height. We may want to choose a very tall aquarium. But with increasing height, lighting and thus plant care (in marine water also coral care) becomes extremely complicated! Even with modern LED lamps, aquarium plants are difficult to maintain in aquariums higher than 70 cm, or you have to choose plant species that have low light requirements.

The depth (i.e. from front to back to the wall) is important for a beautiful aquarium setup. The deeper the aquarium, the more spacious your aquarium can be. For example, if you have a choice between 40 and 50 cm depth in a 100 cm aquarium, it’s better to choose 50 cm. When setting up the stones and wood in the aquarium, you will quickly notice the advantages of the 50 cm depth!

Open or covered aquarium?

An open-top aquarium has its own special charm: you can insert marsh plants that grow out of the top of the aquarium which creates a beautiful look. An open aquarium also gives you the advantage of easy access to straighten a stone or replant a plant. The biggest disadvantage is the high evaporation rate. You will need to refill water daily to keep the water level constant or even install an automatic refill system. However, it is not advisable to refill tap water; you will need osmosis water (demineralised water) for refilling. Since only pure water (H2O) evaporates and the minerals remain in the aquarium water and become more concentrated (similar to kettle furring when boiling water), only water without minerals may be refilled. In many living spaces, the humidity is too low and can be raised into the healthy range by an open aquarium!

An aquarium with cover panes is easier to operate. Here, too, a little water will evaporate, but only a small amount, which will be compensated for during a partial water change every fortnight. If hanging lights are used, make sure that they do not dazzle people sitting in the room. A closed cover with fluorescent tubes or LEDs is almost always the simplest and most trouble-free option. There is another possibility: some aquariums with a cover do not have a cover pane, but instead have "cover panels” as a cover above the lamps. Here, too, only a little evaporation takes place, or the evaporated water collects on the inside of the cover.

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