In creating an aquarium, the ultimate goal is to mimic a fish's natural environment as closely as possible.  When first purchased from the store, an aquarium is radically different from the ecosystems in which fish live in nature - it is then the fishkeeper's job to cultivate and create an ecosystem within the aquarium, so that fish my live in it.


Below, we will compare an aquarium to a fish's natural habitat to illustrate just how different the two are.

  • Sterile
  • Teeming with beneficial bacteria which help to consume waste
  • Fertile - usually containing dirt and nutrients to allow various flora to grow
  • A closed system - the aquarium walls separate the aquarium environment from the outside world, keeping things in and out
  • An open system - rainfall renews the water,