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Aquarium Setup
Aquariums & Stands

There are many issues to consider when selecting an aquarium. You must be aware of all the issues to purchase the right aquarium to meet your needs. Factors such as the aquarium's size, water volume and the type of fish that go into an aquarium are crucial to creating and maintaining a successful aquarium.

Aquarium size depends on three factors:

Getting Started with a Freshwater Aquarium
1. Aquarium Water
2. Choosing Freshwater Fish
3. Aquariums & Stands
4. Hoods & Lighting
5. Heaters & Thermometers
6. Air Pumps & Accessories
7. Filters
8. Gravel & Décor
  1. How many gallons of water will the aquarium need to hold?

    For freshwater aquariums, the basic "rule of thumb" for fish capacity is one inch of adult freshwater fish per gallon or per 24 square inches of surface area. That formula would be length x width = square inches.

  2. What type of fish will be kept in the aquarium?

    Some fish, particularly saltwater fish, need about twice as much water room as freshwater fish and should be kept in a 40-plus gallon aquarium for stability.

    These types of fish need more room:
    • Saltwater fish
    • Goldfish
    • Schooling fish
    • Predators

  3. Where will the aquarium be kept?

    Water is heavy. (One gallon of freshwater weighs about 10 pounds!) When selecting an aquarium size, consider the weight and what can be used to support it.
The aquarium should be placed in an area where there are fewer conditions to cause temperature changes. Such conditions are:
  • Windows
  • Direct sunlight
  • Heaters
  • External walls
Common aquarium dimensions are:
Gallons Length Width Height
10 20" 10" 12"
15 24" 12" 12"
20 30" 12" 12"
20 24" 12" 16"
30 36" 12" 17"
55 48" 13" 20"

Glass and Acrylic Aquariums

PETCO sells glass and acrylic aquariums. Glass aquariums are constructed of plates of glass and sealed with non-toxic silicone. They are the most popular of all aquariums. However, there are benefits and disadvantages of both glass and acrylic aquariums.

Aquarium Type Benefits Disadvantages PETCO Suggestions
  • Do not scratch easily
  • Cost less
  • Provide good viewing area because the sides are flat
  • Are heavy and harder to move
  • Can break or shatter
Available in stores only
  • Come in a variety of different shapes and sizes
  • Much lighter than glass, therefore easier to move
  • May come in different colors and styles, which is great for decorations
  • Much stronger than glass and harder to shatter
  • Have small amount of visual distortions due to the way the material is bent during construction
  • Easily scratched, therefore extra care needs to be given when cleaning the aquarium.

SeaClear Rectangular 29 Gallon Show Aquarium Combos
SeaClear Rectangular 29 Gallon Show Aquarium Combos

biOrb Silver Mega Aquarium Kit with Light
biOrb Silver Mega Aquarium Kit with Light

Aquarium Stands

How much does the water in a 55-gallon aquarium weigh? 550 pounds! That's why PETCO sells sturdy stands. They are necessary to help support the heavy aquariums and recommended for all larger aquariums to provide support.

Step 4: Hoods & Lighting