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Is It Possible to Have a Self-Sustaining Aquarium? Yes, and Here’s How!

by Purva Jagtap
Is It Possible to Have a Self-Sustaining Aquarium? Yes, and Here's How!

Building and maintaining an aquarium can be a great way to learn about aquatic life, add some decor to your home, and teach kids responsibility.

While aquariums can be a lot of work to keep up with, creating a self-sustaining aquarium can fix many of the drawbacks of a standard fish tank.

Ready to find out how you can set up the aquarium of your dreams, complete with minimal upkeep? Keep reading as we walk you through the steps you’ll need to take!

Pick the Right Aquarium Size

Before you get started with your self-sustaining ecosystem aquarium, you’ll have to do some prep work starting with some basic decision-making. Specifically, how big of a tank do you want?

Not all fish are fit for all tanks. While a beta fish might flourish in a smaller bowl, something like a rainbow shark will need at least a 50-gallon tank.

To determine the best size, think about where you’ll put the tank. You’ll want to make sure it’s at least a few inches removed from the wall and has a stable shelf or table holding it up.

Research the Fish You’re Interested In

Now that you know which type of tank you’re interested in, it’s time for the fun to begin! However, it’s worth noting that not all fish work well together in the same ecosystem.

Some fish tend to be more aggressive around other fish. Tiger barbs, tetras, and most types of cichlids are best kept with their own species.

That might not be a problem if you’re only looking for one or two types of fish, though.

Add Proper Lighting

No matter what type of fish you’re hoping to raise in your small self-sustaining aquarium, you’ll have to make sure your tank receives proper lighting.

The trick here is to get a tank that offers fluorescent lighting. It’ll promote growth amongst your plant life (more on that in a second), warm the water for your fish, and replicate the type of lighting they’re used to.

Plus, fluorescent lighting is affordable which gives it an added bonus.

Don’t Forget Biodiversity

Fish are important, but they’re not the only things you’ll want for your self-sustaining aquarium biosphere. Be sure to grab some aquatic plant life and microscopic organisms, too, as they’ll add oxygen and important bacteria to your biome.

If you’re not sure where to begin, these products are a great starting point.

To combat algae overgrowth, you may want to add some algivores to your ecosystem. They’ll scour your tank removing excess algae, thus keeping the tank clean.

Change the Water and Clean as Needed

While your aquarium should be self-sustaining, you will have to do some basic maintenance.

Aside from changing the water filter every so often, you’ll need to cycle the water, too. This should be done every two weeks or so and you’ll want to change out about a quarter of the tank’s water each time.

Your Guide to Creating a Self-Sustaining Aquarium

Establishing your own self-sustaining aquarium can be fun, easy, and low-maintenance. As long as you do your research, your fish should have long, happy lives!

For more on all things fun, make sure to check back with our blog for fresh content posted all the time!

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