There are many different ways to classify an individual aquarium. We've seen (or at least heard of) some of the following: community tanks, biotope aquariums, dutch planted tanks, "fish-only" saltwater aquariums, species tanks, and a number of others. These clearly defined types of aquariums each come with their own set of rules and ideas about what should be kept in the aquarium. These types reflect the decisions behind what types of fish are kept in the tank and where they come from.
There is another, more encompassing way in which all aquariums can be classified: the reasons behind why and how they are kept. The rest of this article explores these two questions, and how they relate to being an owner of a Thoughtful Aquarium.
A healthy tank is a happy tank.
Although the enjoyment of fish is the main reason why fishkeeping is so popular, there are still problems with the motives of some fishkeepers. Some like to keep large aggressive fish in close quarters, and see which fish is the "toughest". Others like to pack as many fish as they can in a community tank because they don't like to see empty space in a tank. And still others keep only the "hardiest of species" because they require a lot less care than the other more delicate species.
While it is important to think about why you are keeping fish, it is even more important to think about how you are keeping fish. When it comes down to it, the health of your tank is a perfect indicator of how well you are keeping the fish that live within it.
There is a clear difference between a healthy tank and a sick tank. Having healthy fish is a by-product of keeping a healthy tank -- you can't have one without the other. This is all dependent on how the tank is kept. So what makes a healthy tank?
Some characteristics of a healthy tank are clean and clear water void of diseases or parasites, a stable stress-free environment. The active fish all grow to adult size, show off their coloration to the fullest extent, and have a good chance of breeding right in the tank. The use of medications are rarely needed, if ever, and the fish eventually die of natural causes (old age). Impossible, you say? It is definitely within anyone's ability to keep a Thoughtful Aquarium.
A true aquarist does not try to "get away" with whatever they can when keeping fish.
There is a type of aquarium which keeps the intentions of the fishkeeper in mind. It is called The Thoughtful Aquarium. Thoughtful of the environment the fish are in, and of course thoughtful of the fish themselves. It isn't enough to just keep fish, a thoughtful aquarium must keep them in the best shape.
This is the point where keeping fish turns from an objective, somewhat interesting hobby, into a passionate one. Where the fishkeeper will spend $10 on medications to save a $1 fish. It isn't scientific, it isn't a "chore", it is an art. The fishkeeper will gather as many books around himself as possible and read up on all aspects of the hobby. Once this level of fishkeeping is attained there is no end to the joy you will receive from keeping fish.
Here are the main points of a Thoughtful Aquarium.
Fish should be chosen based on the following criteria:
Fish should be treated based on the following criteria:
The characteristics of a Thoughtful Aquarist: