Common mistakes when planning to start a new aquarium.
Although this is geared more towards starting a new saltwater aquarium. I felt it had a lot of useful information for people starting freshwater aquariums too. So if you are not sure if something does not apply to freshwater, just post a question and we will explain.
Not properly planning for the fish intend to keep. Such as buying livestock with out researching their needs or their compatibility with the other fish you plan to keep.
Not buying a big enough aquarium. This all depends on how many species you would like to own. Is the tank you can afford going to be able to house them? Even though this is one of the expensive parts, this is where it all starts. Even though it is hard to do, sometimes it pays to wait and save a little to get a larger aquarium.
Not providing the tank with adequate water movement, protein skimming, or lighting. Water movement is needed to oxygenate the water and if you plan on keeping corals they need the movement to bring food to them. protein skimming, even though there is a lot of conflicting information out their on protein skimmers, the bottom line is, it removes fish waste from water. So if you plan on going to the limit on you fish load it is a good idea, if you plan to be lighter on your fish load you may not need it. Lighting is of course important if you plan to keep corals. Lighting is often overlooked when starting a new aquarium; make sure that if you plan to keep corals you get as much lighting as possible. Corals need good lighting to help the zooanthane algae grow in their skin, which they feed off of.
Buying the cheapest possible components for your tank. When buying the key pieces of equipment for your tank, it does not necessarily have to be the most expensive equipment, but make sure it is quality. If you do not, the equipment may break down prematurely and cause you big problems, and just more money to spend after all.
Trying to follow conflicting advice from many people. Although it is a great idea to get advice from people in the hobby, sometimes two or more people will give you conflicting advice. This is when you have to weight the advice in relationship to your setup. Always try to have a clear-cut plan of how your going to do it before you set your tank up.
Placing your tank in a spot that has heavy traffic. Such as a hallway, this will cause shy and even some not so shy fish to hide. If you pay good money for a fish you are going to want to enjoy it. Place your tank in a low traffic area, such as a bedroom, dining room, or living room.
Locating the system in a place that does not have enough or convenient access to electrical outlets. Using surge protectors can aid in the amount of equipment you will be plugging in. For safety always use drip loops. This is where the cord goes down and loops back up to where it is being plugged in. This way if water works its way down the cord, it will not be able to run up into the electrical outlets.
Not planning a location to age water and a quarantine tank. It is best to let the water for your changes age at least a week. This will guarantee that it is completely dissolved. Also setting up a quarantine tank is important. In this tank you can place new specimens in it at first so you can monitor them for a month to make sure they are at full health and will not carry any diseases into the main tank. Plus if you have a fish in your main tank become ill, you can place them in you quarantine allowing you to use treatment methods that are not safe for everything in your main tank.
Trying to hurry the process. This is a definite mistake. You have to allow enough time to carefully plan you tank out, allow enough time to properly cycle your tank, and stock the tank in stages. Also skipping the quarantine process for new specimens. Setting up you tank is a crucial time, and hurrying the process can lead to major catastrophes.
Expecting immediate success. Sometimes when setting up a new tank it is easy to get excited and rush things. Some people fail to relax and realize it takes lots of time and patience to have that beautiful tank you envision in your head.
I used Michael Palleta's book "The New Marine Aquarium" to gather this information. Then I added some of my own thoughts. I thought this would be helpful to anyone starting a new tank.