In our last post, we talked about some of the things to consider when choosing a large aquarium. If you are working with limited space and must choose a smaller custom aquarium, then you should only purchase fish that will stay small enough to live in the aquarium for their entire life. When purchasing fish, do not assume they will stay the same size as you see them in the store. A majority of what you will find in retail stores are juvenile fish, and are only a fraction of their adult size.
A great example is a very common freshwater fish called the “iridescent shark”. First of all, the iridescent shark is not a shark at all. It is a type of catfish. Second, the name does not refer to just one species of fish. It refers to a number of species in the Pangasius genus that look very similar as juveniles. Most of the iridescent shark species grow to be over 3 feet long. One even reaches 10 feet in the wild! As you can see, the cute, “3-inch-miniature-shark-looking” fish that you thought would be really cool to have in your 10-gallon aquarium may possibly grow to a “not-so-cute-anymore-what-the-heck-am-I-going-to-do-with-this” fish.
As mentioned always, it is always best to educate yourself BEFORE you purchase equipment and/or animals. Research the animals you like and find out how big they can grow, how much space they require, how aggressive they are and what foods they eat. This will ensure a proper selection of animals for your tank and will help you avoid problems down the line.