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The earliest forms of aquariums were in the form of ponds in ancient China. The Chinese believed that Carps (goldfish and Koi Carps) were lucky and hence reared them. These fishes were bred to give rise to various beautiful sub–species. The first tropical fish to be kept in an aquarium was the Paradise fish (Macropodus opercularis) which is still kept all over the world as it looks attractive. Earlier fish were reared for food and kept in ponds and sluices. The main purpose of having an aquarium is to observe its beauty and serenity, and it is reported to even reduce blood pressure. Aquariums come in various sizes and at first even a small aquarium will do, providing an interesting and fulfilling hobby.
Generally a basic aquarium consists of about 2 inches of sand, a couple of plants, a few fish, a filter, an aerator and an air stone, a cover and suitable lighting. It is suggested that someone new begin with a tank of about 2 ft by 1 ft by 10 inches. Fish tanks
of smaller size can be obtained and it is advisable to consult a aquarium store
owner for help and guidance. The sand to be put in can be obtained from any aquarium store. Natural looking sand is preferable to other colorful sand. It is necessary to check that the sand is not sharp and it doesn’t contain any water soluble minerals as these could kill the fish. The sand should be placed in a sloping manner, the higher side being at the back and the lower side being at the front. Most aquarium plants are easy to grow and now artificial plastic plants are also available, these look realistic and require hardly any maintenance. These also do not require any particular form of lighting and cannot be eaten by the fish. When buying fish for the home aquarium, one must be very careful to choose the right fish. Choosing the wrong fish can be disastrous as some fish quickly outgrow the tank whereas others may feed on the rest of the fishes or at least nibble at their fins or tail, and yet others uproot plants and dirty the tank and still others just refuse to eat and die. The most suitable fish to keep are livebearers which include guppies, platties etc. Any other fish you wish to keep can be kept but be cautious in checking out their requirements and habits. Most fish do not require any particular form of lighting and for a two foot tank aquarium
tube lights of that size are available. These tubes provide light adequate for plants and also enhance the colors of the fish. The roof or cover of the aquarium should fit properly and must have a gap to allow electrical wires and the air tube to enter. The cover must also have a flap that opens and closes to facilitate feeding and cleaning the tank. All aquariums need an air pump. This device can be bought at any aquarium store and requires an air tube and an air stone. The air pump or aerator provides the water with fresh oxygen, and is hence an essential feature.
Another essential aspect of keeping an aquarium is feeding the fishes. Most fishes can be fed with the readymade pellet food that is available in the market. Live food is not advisable as it may bring in diseases and bacteria. Pellet food is also available for fishes of various sizes and is hence the best as modern pellet foods contain all the required nutrients and vitamins. Due to feeding the aquarium needs to be filtered and cleaned. For such an aquarium a small sponge filter or a power filter will do. When cleaning the sponge one must be careful to wash off all the dirt but only with water. If soap is used and not washed off properly, it can poison the fishes. Changing a certain amount of water every week is also required. Normally 2 inches from the top can be removed and filled with fresh water.
As time passes you will want to get a larger aquarium or get more fish or try your luck with real plants. All of this can be achieved with a little hard work and determination.