It is very common to look upon an aquarium as a small piece of nature, and there is indeed
many things that speaks for such a view. No other kind of animal keeping can be made so
true to nature, with life conditions for the animals that are so close to what they have
in their natural environment. On the other hand, it is all too easy to jump to conclusions
from this, and assume that the aquarium is a miniature world that takes care of itself,
similar to what nature would.
Most aquarists have heard about the importance of achieving a biological balance in the
aquarium; that the aquarium must reach a 'biological equilibrium'.
Strictly speaking however, there will never be such an equilibrium in an aquarium: In
order to get the aquarium to develop as we want it to, and look nice, human intervention
and some technical utensils and remedies are necessary. Exactly how much interference and
what kind of utensils depend on what type of an aquarium we want to have, and how skilled
we are at interpreting the various signals that are given by the aquarium inhabitants.
Regular maintenance, where we
continuously adjust the development by small, correctly adapted operations, will give an
aquarium that is more easy to maintain than one that is based on all-out efforts now and
again. The more clever the aquarist is at interpreting biological signs, the fewer
technical utensils and remedies are needed.
The technical aquarium
Quite frequently one will meet aquarists who say that much (or even all) modern technical
equipment is superfluous in aquarium keeping. Arguments of the kind "I have
been into aquarium keeping for 40 years and never used a filter" are not all
that uncommon, and in some instances they are probably true and well-intended advice. The
most important reason that anyone at all started to run aquaria without the kinds of
utensils that are considered pure necessities today (like e.g. filters) is presumably that
30-40-50 years ago they had far less suitable equipment to choose from - and it was a lot
more expensive than what it is nowadays. There still definitely aquarists out there who in
their younger days were forced to run their aquaria without artificial light as well as
artificial heat - but that doesn't imply that it is easy to do without this. After all,
the world is progressing - also in the art of aquarium keeping.
Furthermore, it is important to
remember that there is, literally, an age of difference between an aquarist with 40 years
of experience, who possibly have learned the hard way through trial and error (and far too
many dead fishes), and one who expects his/hers aquarium to function without problems and
look beautiful as soon as possible - preferably from day one.
That's why we use remedies and
utensils. That's exactly what they are; remedies and utensils! It is possible to do
without much equipment in the aquarium, just as it is possible to do without kitchen
utensils (you can cook your food over a bonfire in the garden). However, you must be
prepared for the hard facts that a life without utensils is both more complicated and more
'Aquarium World' helps you
In order to help you making the right choices when it comes to technical solutions -
utensils and maintenance work - for you aquarium, these web pages will gradually be filled
with useful information. For a start you may look at our check lists for new aquarists. In
addition we recommend further surfing from the menu above to the left.
If there is any information in
particular that you specifically are missing, you are welcome to place a request in our
guestbook, and we will try to give priority to that topic.
© 1999, Aquarium World