How to choose your aquarium, Informations you must know!

Choose your aquarium: Aquariophily is a wonderful hobby but requires a minimum of knowledge before starting. The choice of the aquarium is one of the most important points.


                                               1. Size and volume
                                               2. Filter and lighting
                                               3. Freshwater or sea water
                                               4. Heating and substrate
                                               5. The budget

When you start in aquarium keeping, choosing your aquarium is very important. In addition to the size and the volume, it is also necessary to think about the filter, the lighting, the heating, the substrate. The choice between a freshwater or seawater aquarium must be well thought out and the necessary budget must be taken into consideration.

Size and volume

The volume of the aquarium

The volume of the aquarium is an essential point. It is not recommended to choose an aquarium of less than 120 liters. The bigger it is, the easier the maintenance is. The fish are less stressed and less susceptible to disease. The biochemical balance is more stable. The volume of the aquarium determines the number of fish you will be able to admire. It is considered that a maximum of one centimeter of adult fish is needed for one liter of real water. For small fish up to 5 cm and for a real volume of 100 liters, you will be able to accommodate a maximum of 20 fish. For larger fish of about 25 cm, you need one centimeter of adult fish for two liters of water, that is only two large fish. For a freshwater aquarium, the minimum volume is 120 liters compared to 250 to 300 liters for a seawater aquarium and 300 to 400 liters for a reef aquarium.

The size

It is better to choose a large rectangular aquarium with at least 80 cm of front. This allows the fish to spike and move comfortably. The gallery is important for a simple, easy and complete access. It must allow good lighting.

Filter and lighting

The filter

The filter is indispensable. It allows the retention of organic waste in suspension and limits water changes. It is one of the guarantors of the good health of the fish. The internal filters are very varied but they take up space inside the aquarium. The external filters are the most used but they must be hidden in a cabinet for the aesthetic side. For an aquarium of more than 150 liters, it is necessary to privilege the external filters. The flow rate of the filter pump must be at least 250 liters per hour for a volume of 120 liters.


Lighting is mainly provided by neon lights but it all depends on the species chosen. There are three types of lighting. Fluorescent tubes are rather reserved for fresh water. HQL lamps promote plant growth while HQI lamps are very efficient but also more expensive. For a volume of 120 liters, at least 50 Watts are required.

Fresh water or sea water

The freshwater aquarium is recommended for beginners, as the fish are more resistant to it. Sea water is more difficult to manage because salt must be added and the density must be constantly adjusted. It is harder to oxygenate, the filtration needs are greater and you will need an osmosis unit and a skimmer. However, seawater allows a greater choice of fish.

Heating and substrate


The water temperature varies according to the species selected and the room temperature. The heating is provided by a thermo-immersion heater and it is considered that one Watt per real liter is required in a room at 19 °C.

The substrate is the layer of nutritious soil covered with a layer of sand. It is essential for water stabilization and plant growth. It must be at least six centimetres long. The substrate depends on the volume, dimensions, heating, number of fish… If the sand is too big, it is less beautiful and dirtier. If it is too fine, it is difficult to clean and limits the breathing of the soil. It is possible to add a grid between the two layers to prevent the nutrient layer from rising.

The budget

Aquarium keeping is a rather expensive hobby. The budget is very variable according to the choice of equipment, the volume of the aquarium and the species selected. It can go from 200 to more than 1,000 euros.

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