Four Types of Aquariums That Can be Set Up In Your Home

Freshwater Tropical Aquarium

planted tank full tank shot

This is the “standard” in the hobby. When people discuss the types of aquariums that are available, freshwater tanks are usually the first to be discussed.

The water temperature usually ranges from 72- 84 Degrees Fahrenheit. Freshwater Tropical aquariums are far easier to maintain and keep. In saying this, this type of aquarium is a great tropical fish tank for beginners. There are no fancy chemical additives (beyond basic water conditioners such as chlorine removers) that must be administered. There is no need for expensive light fixtures or really complicated aquarium equipment.

Tropical fish are generally less expensive when compared to marine fish. Although there are species of freshwater aquarium fish that are rather expensive, the majority of freshwater fish are really affordable. Freshwater fish usually (in my experience) are a little stronger than marine fish when it comes to water conditions. The Freshwater Tropical hobby offers a vast selection of fish in which to choose. Please note that I’m not trying to convince you to stay away from marine tanks forever. Freshwater Tropical Tanks are a great place to start to get your “hands wet” before plunging into the marine tank experience. I myself waited 14 years before jumping into the marine scene.


Coldwater Aquariums

A coldwater aquarium is just as it sounds… colder freshwater aquariums. The temperature is usually below 70 degrees or at least room temperature in most homes. One of the most common coldwater species kept in a coldwater aquarium is the Goldfish. Many people had goldfish bowls as a child. Many people today have Goldfish Aquariums. Setting up a goldfish aquarium is as simple as adding the proper equipment and in return, dramatically lengthening the lifespan of their little goldfish. Coldwater freshwater fish may be a little more expensive when you start shopping for species other than the standard goldfish. Koi and goldfish ponds are great examples of domesticated coldwater fish habitats.


Marine Aquariums

Marine tanks require saltwater for the fish to survive. Salt must be purchased and mixed before adding water to the tank. Marine tanks offer beautiful fish, colorful corals, and spectacular invertebrates to admire. These specimens are usually significantly higher in price as compared to the tropical freshwater specimens. In general, marine fish are a little more sensitive to water parameters (conditions), some require specialized diets, and in some locations is it difficult to find a supplier or fish store. Marine aquarium equipment is significantly more expensive due mainly to keeping coral.

I suggest that you get use to caring for freshwater tropical fish for a while before you venture into marine tanks. The key to this hobby is patience. There will be a time when you’re ready to try saltwater fish, and when you feel comfortable, give it a try.


Brackish Aquariums

When discussing types of aquariums or aquarium systems, brackish water systems are very few and far between in the hobby. Brackish water is a mixture of saltwater and freshwater. It’s like in the middle, not freshwater, but not as strong as marine saltwater. If you can picture the Mississippi river emptying into the Gulf of Mexico, that is brackish water. It’s simply a mixture of saltwater and freshwater. The selection of fish available is very few with the most popular being the Puffer (Tetraodon nigroviridis) that is labeled “Freshwater Puffer” when it is actually a brackish water fish. People generally do not have much success with brackish water fish due to the water conditions are hard to maintain and most of the fish that are brackish fish have not been housed properly before they end up in your home aquarium.


As you can see there are several types of aquariums you can setup, but I suggest to start off with the Freshwater Aquarium. Here are a few reasons why.

Freshwater aquariums:

-are easy to maintain

-are inexpensive

-offer a wide variety of fish

-provide a great fish tank for beginners

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