Tails Blog

Creating a really effective aquarium display

Steve Coppell - Saturday, October 29, 2011


Planning your aquarium layout

Deciding what fish you want to display in your aquarium is an important first decision. The size of your tank and how the different species interact together will play a part in how well your display works. Many advanced aquarists keep only fish from the same region in an aquarium. 

The selection of fish and plant types has a major effect on the appearance of an aquarium. Rather than going for a two of everything approach, select a small number of fish species in larger shoals. 


Keeping and displaying plants in your aquarium.

Keeping live plants in your aquarium can add another dimension to your display. Growing your own aquarium plants is not always easy. Many people struggle with this. Good lighting is important if your plants are going to do well in your tank environment. This means;

Having plant specific light tubes on for 10 to 12 hours daily. Get a timer! regular photoperiod is important and remembering to turn the lights on and off again at the same time every day is a big ask for most people. 

Light reflectors on the hood of your tank will double the amount of light reaching the water. 

Purchase a good quality fertiliser for your plants, read and follow the instructions provided. 

Display similar plants in smaller groupings. Keep tall fast growing plants at the rear of the aquarium and low plants at the front of the tank. 


Good filtration

Buy good quality filter equipment, don't skimp on the filter. Often the filter will also be providing the water circulation and aeration, and both of these are vital to the success of your aquarium. Ideally your filter will turn over the entire volume of water in your tank at least four times an hour. 



Every fish keepers hate!

Algae, it's a challenge for many keepers who take pride in the appearance of their pristine tanks. Actually algae control in aquaria can be made easier. 

Rapidly growing plants suppress the growth of algae in your tank. You can't reduce the light or the nutrients you have added to make the plants grow, so make sure you have plenty of plants. 

You may decide to add a few algae eating fish to your tank. 

You also have at your disposal biological additives. These consume waste, suppress algae and help prevent fish disease. The trick is to use them regularly, not just every once in a while.

Final advice

Do the basics well: do partial water changes, clean the filter, trim the plants and clean the glass regularly.