The Incipient Aquarium Hobbyist
The following article is about The Incipient Aquarium Hobbyis. So you have a friend or family member who wants a fish tank? Here are some basic suggestions of possible gifts that they will love.
The best gift here is probably a 10 gallon aquarium kit. These usually come with everything required (though they often lack a heater) and are much better value for money than buying everything new separately. Ten gallons is large enough to have a decent choice of species, yet small enough to keep costs down and be easy to find space for. Five gallon kits are cheaper but they are much more restricted in terms of what you can keep in them. If you have the money, 20 gallon kits allow a wider choice of species and decor, as well as increased stability in tank conditions which may make fishkeeping a little easier.
If you are short of money, check the web for second hand equipment. Be careful to look over what you are buying carefully. Remember that because it’s second hand, some of it may well be mismatched, missing or not work. You may well end up buying the problem items new and this can raise the costs above what you initially estimated. Been there, done that. Even so, it can still be a lot cheaper than buying new.
Many people buy plastic kits that are cheaper than glass. These are not such a good idea for a couple of reasons. Most of these kits lack lighting, they scratch more easily and so don’t last as well, they don’t come with heaters, many heaters aren’t safe for use in them, and they may also lack a filter. Many of them are also too small for anything other than a Betta or some shrimp. If your budget is limited, I recommend second hand glass aquaria over these.
Another excellent gift is a book on aquarium keeping. There’s a lot to aquarium keeping and having a decent book constantly on hand is a good way to prevent mishaps and respond to emergencies.
If the person you are buying for isn’t yet ready for fish, or isn’t sure that an aquarium is right for them, a book can give them a good idea of whether it is what they really want, and what type of aquarium would be best for them.
Don’ts when buying for new fishkeepers:
-Don’t buy the fish at the same time as the tank. Get them after the aquarium has been set up for two weeks with plants in it, or fully cycled by another method.
-Don’t buy a goldfish bowl for a goldfish. Goldfish bowls are far too small for a large, waste-producing fish like a goldfish.
-Don’t buy live animals immediately before Christmas. The stores will be insanely busy and the salespeople won’t have time to help you as much as they normally would. In bad cases, the animals may also not be as well looked after because the staff get overwhelmed. Buy the tank, then go back and buy fish once the tank is set up and cycled.
-Don’t buy any pet you aren’t sure they want.