Aquarium Types from Planted Aquariums, Coral Reef Aquariums, Biotope , Predator to the humble Goldfish

Planted Aquariums

Planted aquariums are inspired by the works of Kasper Horst and Horst E. Kipper of Dupla fame, Takashi Amano of ADA, Filipe at Elos and many other pioneers in the field. Books such as “The Optimum Aquarium” and The “Nature Aquariums” series, Dutch Style Aquariums of the past and countless Planted aquariums found on the internet.

Planted Aquariums have special requirements above and beyond “normal” aquariums. Substrate heating systems, replicating tropical sunlight, supplemental CO2 systems incorporating automated pH control,precise often automated fertiliser regime, strong filtration and water movement, selecting suitably harmonious plants and fish, regular scheduled maintenance, species specific quality food, water chemistry analysis and system check list.

Coral Reef Aquariums

Much like a planted Aquarium for a Coral Reef Aquarium to succeed they require a level of excellence that is often ignored at the peril of the livestock. It's common place to find inadequate &/or outdated equipment along with frustration & confusion, which ultimately leads to giving up. With the right equipment, tenacity & experience, Coral Reef aquariums can be a very rewarding focal point in your home/office.

Temperature stability i.e. heating & cooling (often overlooked or inadequate), replicating tropical sunlight, stable chemical values, precise automated fertiliser & mineral supplement regime, strong filtration & reef like water movement, selecting suitably harmonious plants, fish & invertebrates/coral, regular maintenance, species specific high quality food, water chemistry analysis and system check list.

Predator Aquariums

Predator tanks range in size according to the species selected which in turn mandates the system required for successful husbandry. Predators are also often mixed with other tank mates that are inedible due to their size or body composition eg spinney. Also see Jumbo Fish

Jumbo Fish Aquariums

Big fish, big issues! In less than optimum conditions large fish are often under fed due to under filtering and inadequate tank size. Many large fish suffer due to toxic, cloudy & smelly conditions. This is easily rectified with appropriate use of adequately sized filtration, UV sterilisers and other equipment.

Species/Biotope Aquariums

This style is for those wishing to keep a particular species above all others or from a particular river or lake, country or region  eg Discus, Plecostomus, African cichlids, Goldfish, Australian, African, Asian, American native, Amazonian etc. for breeding or to ensure the best conditions possible for the chosen species.

African Cichlid Aquariums

Also mentioned in “species/biotope aquariums” when talking African cichlid typically we are refereeing to Lake dwelling species Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika or even Lake Victoria. African Cichlids as a whole are extremely variable in size, habitat, diet and compatibility. All too often Africans are  bunched collectively as all compatible which is a recipe for disaster its like putting Lions and Hyenas together because they both come from Africa. Some “African” cichlids need an acidic pH whilst others need a strongly alkaline pH. It is also important to avoid predator and prey scenarios. Only experience and knowledge of each species helps to guide in the right direction.


Long gone are the days of the “Goldfish bowl” at least we hope. Goldfish can be kept in a variety of aquarium sizes and with careful selection even with other fish and plants. Being omnivorous and veracious eaters goldfish need strong filtration, careful feeding and carefully selected plants.

Australian Native

Also mentioned in “species/biotope aquariums” from tiny rainbows to massive Barramundi Australian natives are very variable in eventual size, diet and habitat requirements. There are many suitable natives for Planted Aquariums, whilst others fall into the Jumbo fish and/or Predator category.


There are many sustainable combinations when the right choices are made eg. Planted Aquariums with predators, jumbo, Discus, African cichlids, Goldfish, Australian, African, Asian, American native, Amazonian, breeding etc. Many unusual combinations can work harmoniously with a little forethought & experience.