You are finally pulling the trigger and looking to create an amazing aquarium. There are some important considerations you should keep in mind when starting that will help you make the best decisions:
1) What kind of tank are you even looking for? This is probably the most logical, but challenging place to start. Be cautious of out-doing yourself in your first aquarium and taking on too much to handle. A good tip is to start smaller, and then build up as you gain more experience and expertise in the hobby. Some good starter size tanks are 10 gallons, 20 gallons, and 29 gallons.
2) How much is your budget for this aquarium? This might be obvious from someone on the outside, but it is easy to get caught up in spending hundreds of dollars in your first visit to the store. Make sure you plan out your expenses prior to shopping to avoid purchasing unexpected products. Additionally, this budget will help determine what kind of aquarium you can build. Freshwater is generally easier and less costly to build. I built a healthy 20 gallon freshwater aquarium in under $150, but yours could vary. For a saltwater aquarium, make sure you do your research in product costs and maintenance costs. It is not uncommon to spend upwards of $1,000, especially for a reef aquarium.
3) Building an aquarium is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. The key to building a beautiful and desirable aquarium is time. Your new aquarium is going to need time to filter your water and build the correct levels within the tank to maintain a survivable and healthy environment. Especially for saltwater reef aquariums, time is key to your success. Be patient and enjoy your journey, even when your aquarium is growing into what you want it to be.
4) Understand maintenance is a recurring task. Maintaining an aquarium can be challenging. Just like you work to keep your home clean, an aquarium requires the same effort from you to make sure the aquarium environment remains sustainable. Make sure you have the time to invest in maintaining your aquarium, or find an aquarium maintenance company to help maintain your aquarium for you. Additionally, investing in equipment to assist you in cleaning your aquarium can be invaluable. Filtration systems are almost always a need, protein skimmers can be used for salt water tanks, and even the live rock and sand can be used as an additional level of filtration.
Hopefully these 4 simple steps help you begin your aquarium journey.