Choosing a Location for Your Desktop Aquarium

Desktop aquariums look great, don't they? The small form factor makes it very portable and flexible that it becomes a great conversation piece in the home or the office. You can fit them in locations that a medium or large tank just can't. Flip through the pages of any interior design magazine and more often than not you'll see a desktop aquarium with a wonderful feature fish in it. But this also might give you unrealistic expectations about where you can place your desktop aquarium.
Sturdy base
Wherever you put your mini fish tank, you'll need to make sure it has a sturdy base. Water weighs 8 pounds per gallon, but you'll also be adding gravel and decorations to your tank so even a 10 gallon mini fish tank will weigh about 100 pounds. If you place it on a table with skinny legs that moves if someone accidentally bumps into it, then you'll have a big mess of glass, water, fish, gravel, and more. A good idea is to place it on a sturdy table or desk that is against a wall. People are less likely to bump into it, and power sockets are more likely to be found there to power your filters, light, pump, and heater. In fact, how about considering a coffee table aquarium?
Noise and vibration
A stressed-out fish is not going to look or act their best, so you want to make sure they get a nice, quiet, and private spot away from excessive noise and vibration. Keep them away from television, speakers (especially subwoofers!), washing machines, alarm clocks, etc. High traffic areas like the office where a lot of people pass by can generate vibrations that might be felt by the fish but not by us. In reality we want to proudly display our fish in places that everyone can see, but it's worth it to find a nice and quiet corner of the room so people can admire your fish without causing undue stress.
Kids and pets
A desktop aquarium can provide endless entertainment and learning value for kids under proper adult supervision. The desktop aquarium can provide a fascinating insight into the lives of underwater animals, plants, and ecology for your children. But the tank shouldn't be left alone with a toddler unsupervised, so make sure it is out of reach.
Some people wonder why the water evaporates so quickly in their fish tanks that they didn't realize that their cat has been drinking from it. If you have pets such as cats or dogs, you'll need to place the aquarium away from their reach. Cats are slightly more troublesome as they can climb as high as you put your tank. In this case you'll need to make sure your desktop aquarium has a lid.
Water + Electricity + Human Flesh = Bad
An aquarium, mini or otherwise, contains a lot of water. The filtration and light system is designed to be safe for use with aquarium but it is powered by electricity from your wall or extension socket. Maximize the distance between the tank and power source so that any accidental spill does not reaches the socket. You'll also want to keep the fish tank away from electrical devices such as your tv not only because of the noise, but potential water spill. Some fish has been known to splash water around by jumping so it is better to maximize the distance between the tank and any electrical sockets or devices.
Direct sunlight
Direct sunlight can heat up the temperature of the water in a fish tank. Fish are very sensitive to water temperature so wild heat fluctuations can kill them. When placing your desktop aquarium, it is best if you can ensure minimum sunlight reaches your tank. Another reason is algae. Algae are single-celled suspended plants that causes the water in your tank to turn green and cloudy. A presence of direct sunlight will result in algae bloom, which is a hassle to get rid of.

Use Live Plants In Aquarium

When you think about developing a freshwater tropical fish tank, you think of fish. But you should also think of being a gardener. Having a freshwater aquarium also requires you to think of raising plants in your aquarium to keep your fish healthy, happy and give your aquarium a more natural look.
Why Plants
Your first thought is why should I put live plants in my aquarium when plastic plants will work just as well and I do not have to care for them like I would live plants? Well here are some reasons why I put live plants in my aquarium:
  • Natural Look - Live plants will give your aquarium a more natural look. Plus your fish will feel more at home if you have live plants in your aquarium, especially if they are plants that are from the same habitat where your fish come from. I found that trying to find plants from a specific location was difficult so I settled on popular plants such as the Water Wisteria, Fairy Moss, Java Moss and Dricca.
  • Happy Fish - Having live plants in your aquarium will make your fish happy. You can see this in the brighter colors your fish will display. This happens because your fish are stimulated more and feel more comfortable.
  • Remove Nitrates - The bacteria in your aquarium will remove ammonia and nitrites, but the bacteria, decaying fish food and fish waste will create nitrates. In low concentrations nitrates are not toxic to fish but they do need to be removed before they reach levels that are toxic to your fish or start creating excess amounts of algae. Plants help remove the nitrates that are created in your aquarium
  • Hiding Places - Some fish are shy and will like to hide in the shelter of your plants. My Blue Three Spot Gourami like to swim around in the floating Water Wisteria I have.
  • Spawning - If you want to breed your fish, some fish will require floating plants to lay their eggs. The fry will also appreciate plants where they can hide.
One thing that turns people off from having live plants is having to care for them. This was one of my concerns when I established my aquarium. What I found was it really is not that hard.
When I replace some of my water, which I do weekly, I also add some aquarium plant food that you can get at your local pet store.
The only other thing I do is to trim off excessive growth and dead leaves.

Aquarium Plants, Types And Their Care

If you are getting ready to establish an aquarium or already have one, then you should consider putting live plants in. My experience with live plants has been very rewarding. Here is why you should consider them, the types of plants I have and how I care for them.
Live plants are important for your aquarium for several reasons. First and most important is that they remove nitrates from your aquarium. Nitrates in low concentrations are not toxic to your fish, but they will promote the growth of algae. The other way nitrates are removed is when you change out the water in your aquarium.
Second reason is it makes your aquarium look more natural with live plants rather than with plastic plants. With that natural look, your fish will also feel more comfortable in these natural surroundings.
My Plants
I have several different types of aquatic plants in my 75-gallon aquarium. For example, I have bamboo that grows in the water and extends itself above the surface of the water. It makes for a good background and complements my seven Tiger Barbs who come from the same area of the world where the bamboo comes from, Southeast Asia. Using plants that come from the area as your fish make them feel more at home.
Another plant I have is Water Wisteria. I have some planted in the substrate and others I let float on the surface of the aquarium. My fish like the floating Water Wisteria since they like to swim in the roots and leaves.
Another plant that I have is Echinodorus Amazonicus or Amazon Sword. These plants are easy to grow and but need to be pruned back periodically since they will grow fast and take over your tank if you let them. It is not recommended for small aquariums since they grow very large.
Care for an aquarium plant is relatively easy. I replace 10% of my water weekly and when I do this, I also take the time to care for my aquatic plants. This care consists mainly of trimming the dead parts or cutting back those that have grown excessively.
The ones I cut back because they have grown too much I replant in the substrate, where they take root and continue to grow.
When I refill the tank, I also add some fertilizer to add additional nutrients for the plants to feed on.
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