Aquarists are people who keep fish, plants and other living creatures in aquariums as a hobby. Sometimes they are referred to as fish keepers but as most aquarists also look after plants and other living creatures such as starfish or shrimps this seems a little inaccurate. Keeping an aquarium is fast becoming a popular pastime with both young and old.
Fish make great first pets particularly for those youngsters who think they want a pet but have no idea of how long it might take to look after one. They are equally as appropriate for young professionals who want pets but have little time or often away from the home. Another big positive is the low running costs of purchasing and maintaining an aquarium, which from set up to daily running costs is really rather reasonable.
So what exactly do you need to get started? Well first you need to decide whether you want cold water or tropical fish as this will dictate the type of aquarium you will need and affect the sort of maintenance and upkeep you can expect. Tropical fish need heated and filtered water but are beautiful to look at and seem more exotic and perhaps a bit more grown up. If your fish is for a first pet, you might be better keeping it simple and sticking to a cold water fish like a Goldfish, Barb or Danio.
Once you’ve chosen your type of aquarium then you will need to pick a suitable aquarium as well as additional accessories such as; a filter and pump, gravel or stones for the bottom of the tank, plants and other aquatic life. A basic set up pack will also be available at most aquatic centres or pet shops, but be sure that they are as good value as they seem on first glance. Double check what is included and what is still left to buy and work out if it will actually save you money.
If you’ve got a taste for aquatic life and fish keeping then perhaps you could extend your interest further and take it out into your garden with a fish pond?
There are a number of similarities between fish keeping indoors and outdoors so this would allow you to transfer and develop your existing skills whilst picking up new techniques at the same time. Make sure that you do your research before planning anything in particular as there are certain requirements that different outdoor fish require. for more information on setting up a pond outdoors read this informative article on pond care and maintenance for beginners.