Ok, so now you have a general idea of the basic types of aquariums that a hobbyist can set up. How do you decide in which direction to go?
The easiest way is to go is to look around at existing setups-almost all good independent pet retailers that carry fish will try to have a display tank (not always including fish and water in the display itself-but decorated and equipped) for each of the major types of fish they carry. Online bulletin boards are overflowing with an almost limitless supply of pictures provided by the hobbyists that frequent them.(some even have ‘competitions’, like a tank of the month category, highlighting a particular hobbyists tank, and it’s history/configuration, almost always accompanied by a full photographic album of the system’s contents. The work involved that the hobbyist performs is also written about, and it will give a very clear idea as to what one will be ‘in for’ if choosing that same type of tank. Some people ‘lock on’ to a particular type of fish, and base their decision on that. Books, magazines, and the internet all contain plenty of the information needed to help the beginner make those decisions.
Once you decide what you like the most visually, is also affordable and manageable from a time and a fiscal perspective and you have the space to accommodate it, it’s time to begin to select the equipment and to set up the initial system prior to the livestock.