Fun Alternatives to Fish Aquariums! - Pisces Pet Emporium

Just because you are interested an aquarium, doesn't necessarily mean you are looking for fish! The world under water is full of different and amazing species beyond goldfish and tetras. Maybe your tired of your boring fish tank and are looking for something a little more out of the ordinary. Here are 5 awesome tank you can set up in a standard aquarium tank! 

Axolotl 

An axolotl is a happy little fellow native only to Lake Xochimilco in Mexico. Though they are often referred to as "walking fish",  they are actually a salamander, a type of amphibian. Although some amphibious creatures live their lives on both land and water, axolotls live out their lives entirely underwater. They can be found in a variety of colors including black, pink, golden, albino and GFP (green florescent protein). They will grow to be on average between 6"-12", although they have potential to grow larger. A 20 gallon long aquarium can keep an axolotl happy through adulthood. Axolotls can thrive in a bare-bottom aquarium for easy clean up and maintenance, however if you are looking for an aesthetic looking aquarium you'll want to only use very very fine sand. A top-notch filter is required for these guys, as they produce a lot of waste for their size!

Stinkpot Musk Turtle 

Because of their small size, stinkpot musk turtles can make an excellent alternative to a traditional 20-40 gallon aquarium. This species of turtle has a maximum carapace size of only 4 - 4.5 inches in length. Even tho they rarely leave the water, these turtles require a small portion of land and a basking spot, so it is not truly an aquarium, but a paludarium (both water and land). They require UVB light so their bodies can metabolize calcium and avoid vitamin deficiencies. These turtles are very active and are entertaining to watch throughout the day. You are welcome to add small tankmates (guppies, danios and plattys) in with your turtle, but be weary as an adult they may feast upon them for a quick meal. 

Planted Aquarium 

Freshwater planted aquariums are less about the livestock, and more about the landscaping. Through growing and trimming various types of aquatic plants, the goal is to create a beautiful aquascape inside your aquarium. While you can have small fish species, it is not necessary. Cherry shrimp, small snails and other non destructive inverts make great residents in a planted aquarium. Planted aquariums are often dosed with CO2 to help keep the plants green and healthy. With enough practice, your aquarium will look like a picture perfect scenery!

Planted Reef Aquarium (Saltwater) 

You don't need any breathing, swimming creatures to keep a stunning, and challenging aquarium. Marine coral aquariums and a fun alternative to a traditional aquarium. Many corals require specific alkalinity and lighting that does not always comply with marine fish. Without the fish present, you can have your water parameters at its best to grow and blossom a beautiful, radiant aquarium. Hold up though, don't think because there is no fish its a cake walk! For a healthy coral tank, you need to control everything including water flow, dKH, pH, specific gravity, temperature, calcium, magnesium, nitrate and phosphate. But hey, that's all part of the fun! 

Shrimp, Crayfish & Lobsters 

Have you every considered an invertebrate-only aquarium? You would be surprised how interesting they are and shocked by the low maintenance needed to keep one. Invert tanks can be kept in both marine and freshwater aquariums, obviously with different and unique species being available in each type. There are tons of awesome invertebrates too choose from, all with unique physical traits and personalities. One of my personal favorites is the saltwater aquarium coral banded shrimp (pictured), who I kept for several years. Not only are they entertaining, they also clean up waste and keep a pretty low maintenance and spotless aquarium. Invertebrates are also generally hardy creatures and can withstand more harsh and inconsistent water parameters, making them idela for anyone new to the hobby. 

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