Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have already caught wind of this, but I finally got an aquarium again!
Obviously my plan of finding a “small” and heated tank when I got Spike ended up to be a bit of an underestimation! I ended up getting a 29 gallon tank, instead of my original idea of about 5 gallons. Years ago I had a 20 gallon “long” tank (30″x12″x12″), which had a nice capacity for fish, but I disliked how shallow it was as a lot of the decorations I liked were too tall for it. The solution for this time is a 29 gallon tank – you get the length and width of a 20 gallon long tank, and the extra height to make up the extra gallons – 18″ high. Since the general rule of thumb for most tropical fish is one gallon of water per inch of fish, this will let me stock the tank pretty well! Since I have live plants as well as a filter designed for a tank a little larger than the one I have, I should be able to push my limits on stocking it a little, too.
After several Amazon.com orders, a few trips to assorted pet stores, and an argument or two with the post office (don’t get me started on that one), I finally have my tank set up! I finished setting it up last night (and cleaning up the mess I made with packaging and such – I won’t be posting photos of that carnage online!). The water is still rather cloudy, but is clearing up quickly with the filter running at full capacity. Since the substrate (gravel) I used came in water with nutrients for plants as well as an active bacteria cycle, I’ve added two fish already rather than waiting the week or two to let the tank cycle by itself.
Spike seems to be very much enjoying all the space he has to swim now, and has been very active in the tank today. He was pretty active last night, too, but that seemed to be more of fighting the current created by the filter! He seems to have worked most of that out now. Between the driftwood, plants, and flower pot, he’s also got lots of places to rest, safe from the filter intake, if he wants.
I bought my second fish yesterday at Petsmart… a bristlenose plecostomus. The bristlenose is one of the smaller varities, with a maximum size around 4″-5″ long, where some of the other varieties can get up to about 24″ long. Yuck, and no thank you! I’m hoping the one that I got is a male, since the females don’t grow the bristles on the nose and I like that look. This guy may be too small to tell accurately yet, since he’s under an inch and a half long! I won’t see him much in the tank until he gets bigger – they like to hide, and I’ve made sure there are opportunities to do so. These are good fish to have for cleanup – they eat algae, and will scoot around on all of the surfaces of the tank and in the tank. His name may be Roomba 😉
I’m looking forward to adding new fish – I should check the water quality a few times this week to make sure everything is stable, but I hope to add a dozen or so neon tetras, and eventually five or six African Dwarf Frogs. I like the neons because they’ll contrast well with the plants and black substrate, as well as being small enough that I can get enough that they’ll school in the tank, and the frogs are sure fun to watch! Due to tank size, my dad’s suggestion of adding Bass will not be an option!
In doing some research, I found a quote online that I liked… “A fish tank isn’t a pet, it’s a TV that you have to feed.”
Tank Specs (for anyone who is interested):
- 29 Gallon Tetra glass aquarium
- Tetra glass lid – I like that these are lower profile than the typical black plastic hoods, and it looks like it should clean up easier, too.
- Aqueon LED Aquarium Light Fixture, running two Aqueon Daylight LED bars, and one Aqueon Colormax LED bar
- Aqueon Pro 150 watt heater
- AquaClear 50 Power Filter
- 60 lbs. (3 – 20lb bags) CaribSea Eco-Complete substrate, black
- I’m also using SeaChem chemicals – Prime, for water conditioning, Flourish, and Flourish Excel for plant nutrients
- Even though the substrate came with an active bacteria cycle, I also added a bottle of Tetra SafeStart Plus to help kickstart the bacteria cycle in the tank that helps to process fish waste.
- Plants I’ve included are Dwarf Hairgrass, two Anubia Nana, Amazon Sword, Cardinalis (I think), my Marimo moss ball (all from Petsmart) and a few mystery plants, one of which I believe is Cabomba or Myrio, from two local aquarium stores. Hopefully they all do okay – I know how to calculate if a tank is low, moderate, or high light with the fluorescent bulbs, but I haven’t seen any information on the LED light bars, other than that they seem to work okay for low to moderate light plants. Guess I’ll find out!
I really look forward to adding more fish, and watching the plants fill in. I’m sure I’ll be posting updates as I get new inhabitants!