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Which one is better? Choice of between Fish Pond and Aquarium

Sometimes most people are undecided as to whether they should get a pond or an aquarium as a home for their pet fish. And sometimes deciding which is best can prove to be a real dilemma. If we follow the rule of thumb which says that the larger the space and surface area available for your fish, of course the better it will be, which means that pond should a clear winner here but however, that may not necessarily be the case, depends on situation. Which one is the right choice, generally boils down to these few factors and hopefully by taking these into consideration, it will help you make a more informed decision and determine which is best.
choosing pond aquarium
Available Space
Pond is usually located outdoor and the size can vary from a small kid’s pool to a gigantic swimming pool while aquarium or fish tank on the other hand, is usually housed indoor. Aquarium although generally is smaller compared to fish pond but bear in mind, this is not always true as there are custom built glass or acrylic tank that can fill from 20 up to even 500 gallons of water! Some of the large aquaria no doubt can even beat a mid-size pond hands down in terms of size. There are even bigger volume compared to these but first ask yourself, do you have the space to put either this new tank or fish pond? Those who prefer a smaller setup such a mini aquarium or a small indoor pond will less likely have to deal with space constraint issue but even then for some, it still become a problem especially for those in apartments or shared dormitory room. You will want something that fits in just nice!

Size and Type of fish
Once you have found the perfect spot with enough space, next comes the question on which type of fish you want to keep. Certain fish species like the koi and giant gourami can grow to be very large size with the length alone measuring more than a foot. So this means that in this case, pond should be more suitable compared to an aquarium. Other fish species like the trout are fast swimmers and thus they require wide living space to move around. Although you can try squeezing or force them to live in a small indoor fish tank, doing this can be very cruel because you are actually making life difficult for these poor creatures. Imagine living in a cramped and confined enclosure with no space to move around and that doesn’t sound like a good idea at all. Also by subjecting your pets to tight living condition, this would also affect their health, lead to poor water quality and lastly it will hinder proper development and growth of the fish (stunted condition). In a nutshell, whether you should get a pond or an aquarium, again choose based on the type of fish, its size and its general behavior.

The Number of Fish
The more the merrier. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Well, this statement is very common among fishkeepers because for most people, it is much more fun watching a group of fish swimming around rather than just one or two solitary fish. Thus, your decision on whether to have a pond or aquarium is also decided on how many fish you want to keep. Take a good example, the goldfish. Goldfish is a type of coldwater fish that eats a lot and generate a lot of waste as well. Having this behaviour means that even for one single goldfish, the fish would require at least a 20 gallon aquarium or else anything less than that will mean the water will get contaminated faster than you ever realize in no time. Now imagine if let’s say you intend to keep 5 of them. Thus, this would mean you will need at least a 100 gallon tank. Sounds okay right? But wait, what if these 5 goldfish breed and produce offspring in few hundreds? Well, with that in mind, I always believe pond would be the best home to keep them. Fish bowl is a terrible place, and while large fish tank sounds okay, the best would still be large pond.

Time and Money
Before you get any further and conclude which one you decide to get, ask yourself as well, do you have the luxury of time and money to focus on your hobby? Getting a large pond for your koi fish might sound like excellent idea but sometimes having it has its own disadvantages especially when it comes to the maintenance part. Having a high-tech pond filter system can take care most of the routine job and save time to clean the water, but however from time to time, you still need to put on some effort to change the filter, remove debris and prune the plants that grace the surrounding landscape. Also if cost is your main consideration whereby you have limited funding, you might as well get a fish tank which will probably cost the most few hundred dollars for a complete setup rather than a pond which might require you to spend at least few thousands dollars minimum. Also fish tank including all the aquarium accessories will cost much lesser and all in all, the larger the setup, the higher the investment and time you will need to put in.

Viewing Pleasure
Although not very significant, sometimes viewing pleasure has its impact as well on your decision. Ever wondered why koi are mostly kept in ponds and not transparent tanks? Even if you can spare and afford a home aquarium equivalent to the size of a small pond, but why would some people still insist on putting them in a pond? The answer to this question is very simple. Koi is a unique fish in the sense that they are best viewed from the top whereby you can see the pattern and color markings more clearly than viewing them sideways. On the other hand, other fish like discus even though can grow very big would sound absurd and totally pointless to house them in a pond. The reason is simple, if you check out the link above and study the overall shape of the discus fish, they are actually flat on the sideway and if you view them from top, you will practically see nothing except a straight line. Thus, if you house discus in a clear transparent aquarium tank, you can see their side body markings very clearly and the color pattern is indeed magnificent. 

Safety Reasons
Finally, last but not least, safety is also another important consideration you should also take into account. Keeping your fish in outdoor ponds has its disadvantages especially when you cats, heron or racoon in your neighbourhood because they can attack and kill your fish. Certain insects are known to lay eggs in the pond and the larvae can actually feast on your newborn fish fry and eggs and sometimes even waterborne parasites can be brought in to the ponds by flying insects. Thus putting your prized pet fish in your home aquarium would be better here since they won’t be exposed to all these threats. Another consideration you want to take into account is for aquarist living in countries having 4 season cycle, and putting fish in outdoor pond means more jobs to follow up and do during the winter season (Read up on how to prevent pond from become completely frozen). Thus, in this scenario, it is better to have a fish tank instead whereby you can install a heater and control the temperature.

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About Me

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My fascination and interest towards aquarium fish has led me to devote my time towards caring and learning about this wonderful pet.

Aquarium fish keeping is a very challenging and exciting hobby. When I first started, I never knew much or have the necessary guidance back then because none of my family members were actually a keen hobbyist. And because of that, I’ve encountered numerous failures and the worst part is having to deal with dead fish every time when you started to grow fond and getting attached to my pets. However, I persevered and took steps to find out and search for information from other hobbyist, apart from the knowledge gained and learned from my own experience and research. The blog that I’ve created here is meant to share useful information and tips about aquarium fish keeping so that new hobbyist will not make the same mistakes that I’ve made in the past."

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