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Aquarium Purchase.

Hi there all you budding aquarium hobbyists.
Thinking of starting the hobby, or wanting to expand on an existing set-up, then maybe I can help you. You're in the shop, so many choices, salesman talking, what do you do? E-Bay has so many options, one cheaper than the other and your budget is increasing... Stop, think and review the following:
Where to put it...
Think about the weight of the tank, larger tanks can weigh in excess of 1000kgs and that may wreak havoc on your flooring!
Sunlight can be a major factor in certain builds and can also contribute to algae blooms and constant cleaning of the glass.
Freshwater, Brackish-water or Marine.
This is mostly a matter of experience. Freshwater is the easiest and Brackish, in my opinion, the most difficult. Don't jump straight into Marine or Brackish without understanding terms like "nitrate", "ammonia" and "nitrite" at the minimum.
Budget is another consideration here, Marine outstripping the others on both setup and maintenance costs. Don't start a Marine setup if you are unable to afford adequate maintenance.
Yet there are still more categories within each setup selection:
Freshwater
Pond: Normally outside and for larger Koi species. Dependent on size and most importantly depth. Relatively low maintenance due to the larger volumes involved.
Cold Water: What hobbyists normally start out with, your typical goldfish bowl or slightly larger tank. Limited availability of fish due to the temperature.
Tropical: Warmer water, heater is required. Larger selection of fish, depending now on PH, Hardness and overall aesthetics.
Brackish-water
Similar criteria for these setups as well.
Marine
Cold Water Marine is not normally an option for the average hobbyist as there is the added need of refridgeration, condensation issues and the fact that the cooler water marine fish tend to be really large.
Fish Only: As the name states, a marine setup with all the protein skimmers, lighting and filtration and only fish and some design.
FOWLR - Fish only with live rock: When you add the live rock, you add more to the budget, but benefit from the added filtration and stability. Will reduce make the maintenance required and save you money in the long term.
Reef: This is the creme de la creme of marine setups. Most of the amazing pictures you see of marine fish tanks with leather and acropora and anemones are reef tanks. This requires the most attention of all setups to get going and then a good understanding of how all the additives, hardness and salinity. Extremely rewarding.

Once you have these basic considerations covered, you are ready to begin investigating your purchase. Do remember that the average life of silicone sealant on freshwater tanks is approximately 10 years, depending again if there was an UV sterilization used. For Marine tanks you would consider decreasing that age expectation.

Good luck with your purchase and remember patience is the key.

Life Aquatic.
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