Taking the Plunge

Expert advice for adding an aquarium.

If you’re thinking about adding an aquarium to your life, Zack Robinson advises this: do your research first. Robinson, who is president of Capital Aquarium in Manassas, points out that with an aquarium you aren’t just filling a tank with water and fish. “You are trying to replicate an ecosystem inside of a closed box,” he says.

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A green beautiful planted tropical freshwater aquarium with fish pterophyllum scalare

And an aquarium can be an investment. A 50-gallon freshwater setup could range in cost from $300 to $700, says Robinson, and a saltwater system of the same size can run into the thousands of dollars. Most of the tanks his company sets up are between 90 and 1,000 gallons, and can include not only fish but also coral, plants, and other marine life.

He recommends visiting “the mom-and-pop local fish store,” which likely will have the expertise to offer advice and information. And rather than going out and buying the first thing off the shelf, “Visit multiple stores and see different types of tanks and decide what you are hoping to capture and replicate,” he says. Social media and online interest groups are another good way to learn more.

“Patience is key, and really understanding what you are getting into,” he says. “They are living creatures, so we want to provide them with the best environment.” CapitalAquarium.com

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