Practical Fishkeeping Diploma - Week 5, Day 1


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Welcome to the final week of the Practical Fishkeeping Aquarist Diploma. This week is all about husbandry and maintenance, and today we're starting with siting an aquarium.

Week 5, Day 1: Siting an aquarium

So far, we’ve covered a lot of theoretical ground, from water and chemistry, physiology and habitat, filters and aquarium maturation, and diseases. Now it’s time to look at the pragmatic side of aquatics.

Successful fishkeeping is about more than buying a tank, filling it and hoping for the best. Where you position your tank can have an impact on a fish’s wellbeing. Your choice of decoration may be unintentionally harming your livestock. Even the selection and buying process needs to be approached in a certain way.

The skills needed to run an aquarium are like household tools. Some of them you’ll draw upon frequently, while others may only ever be used once or twice. But, just like in a tool kit, even if they’ve been sat, you’ll be glad you have them when the time comes.

Siting an aquarium

Sunlight, heat, and noise can all be restricting factors to positioning an aquarium.
Kitchens, working garages and bathrooms make poor choices for housing tanks, because of airborne contaminants or temperature fluctuations.

Site tanks away from places where children and boisterous pets may collide with them. Always use sturdy aquarium cabinets that cannot be easily tipped over.

Avoid housing tanks near any of the following:

Windows – allow direct sunlight to reach an aquarium, potentially causing algae growth, overheating, and sunburn or heatstroke of fish. Indirect sunlight, in a bright room with multiple windows, can exaggerate algae growth. Open windows cause draughts and potential temperature fluctuations.

Radiators – cause aquaria to fluctuate in temperature and dangerously overheat.

Audio speakers on televisions and stereos – produce vibrations, stressful to the sensitive hearing of livestock.

Doors – potential for collisions, draughts and noise (through slamming). Especially avoida door’s opening arc, as impact will cause a catastrophic break.

You will need to consider access, power supply and traffic.

Traffic – people passing an aquarium. A living room is a better choice for shy and nervous fish than a busy hallway. Note that in busy areas, the risk of tank collisions increases considerably.

Access to an aquarium includes ability to reach pipework set behind it, and the outer glass on the back and sides. Obstructions above the tank will be a hindrance when working inside it.

Power supplies need to be close, but away from splashing. Avoid positioning directly over plug sockets. Long power cables become trip and fire hazards.

Increase safety by using a drip loop on any aquarium connections. These simple loops stop water from running into a socket.

Click here for next lesson: Aquarium size

How to gain your diploma: Once all the course modules and revision pages have all been posted online, we will open a link to a website that allows you to take your free online exam. If you pass the exam, you will digitally receive your very own Fishkeeping Diploma, to show that you have successfully completed the course, and which is yours to display on the wall near your aquarium, hang in your fish house — or keep somewhere safe where you can take it out and just look at it from time to time.

Note: The Fishkeeping Diploma is not a formal or accredited qualification and should not be confused with the type of diploma presented by colleges, universities and other educational establishments.

Further reading from our sponsors

Guide to regular fish care

Guide to fish nutrition

Routine aquarium care

Feeding your fish