We have talked many times over the years about getting an aquarium and keeping fish. My late father kept fish for many years and thoroughly enjoyed himself as well as having a tank that gave my late mother and her many visitors a lot of pleasure.
A young woman that worked for me many years ago when I was with Mott MacDonald was pretty much a young expert in this (she had a degree in a related area and a passionate interest from young childhood in keeping fish) and she had a nice sideline in setting up tanks for people. At the time, we were not ready so I never took her up on this. Shame.
We have several friends with substantial tanks and have talked more about getting our own for sometime.
Last weekend, on a quick shopping trip to Aldi, I noticed a cheap start tank with everything you need but the fish so I bought one on a whim. We set it up very quickly and nipped round to the local fish shop and, with a little advice from the staff, purchased six small cold water fish of two types. We introduced them to the tank far too quickly but they seem to be thriving.
Having since read up a lot, we realise that we now did a lot of things wrong (especially on the bacteria front). We have also realised that we do want to do this with a substantial tank that becomes a key feature in our lounge and a focus for our care and attention. We went back to the local fish shop yesterday and chose a substantial corner unit (aquarium and cabinet) and have started preparing it. We have the washed gravel, the dechlorinated water, the filtration, etc., in place. Now we just need to stabilise it and select and gradually introduce fish.
We have not decided as yet whether or not to stick with cold/temperate fish of go on to tropical. The latter is certainly more tricky as the temperature is critical and the eco-system more finally balanced. We need to do a lot more reading before we decide. Articles from Practical Fishkeeping seem like a good place to start.