So after getting my feet wet with a 36 gallon over the last 6 months or so I decided to start up a new tank. My 36 is overflowing with plants and I decided I wanted some new fish as well.
So I was off to Petco for the $1 per gallon sale. I looked really hard at a 40 breeder but decided to go with the 20L (mainly to avoid having to buy or build a huge stand.) I ordered a Fugeray 30" to light it with, hopefully I can grow some carpet with that.
After getting my light, i put it and the tank on the stand (a hand-me down from the 36G) to get a feel for what it would look like. When I got to looking at all that ugly black plastic, I decided the top rim had to go. After about 4 hours of dremeling and prying, 6 or 7 razor blades and god-awful amounts of acetone, this is what I ended up with:
Not the best job possible but not bad either for my first de-rimming adventure.
Now for some equipment. I was running 2 filters on my 36, an Eheim 2236 and a Fluval 106. I like having 2 filters for when I need to do maintenance, so I bought a Finnex PX-360 to replace the 106, and decided to try the 106 on the 20L. I was thinking it may not be enough but I decided I'd give it a go and add more filtration / flow if needed, maybe a second 106. For now I went ahead and made an intake and spray bar out of some pvc. Here are my masterpieces in their unglued and unpainted state:
Progress is slow but I've made some. I got a background (black foamboard cut to fit.) I also managed to get the intake and spray bar glued, painted and drilled, then plumbed them to the wacky tubing on my Fluval 106. I just crammed the fluval tubing straight over the 1/2" pvc then glued and zip tied the connections. If it comes apart I'm going to be hating life.
So then I got to thinking about the substrate and hardscape. I ended up going with about a 50/50 mix of FloraMax and Flourite. I wanted to put some eco-complete in as well but I couldn't find any at the local shops.
I had some flagstone pavers I got from home depot that I was intending to use in another tank, but I figured I'd come up with some hardscape for this one. By the way if you're looking for a decent way to glue together rocks, this stuff works great:
So I got to gluing together various fragments of smashed rocks and this is what I came up with:
Over the last week or so I got the tank filled, planted, and stocked (partially.) I pulled most of the plants from my 5G holding tank and a few from my 36G tank. I also put in the DIY CO2 setup I had on the 5G, with the intent to upgrade it to a paintball setup like I have on my 36. I am going the route of the "silent cycle" and hoping it works. I also dumped in a bottle of Tetra SafeStart.
I got some fish and other critters from a new LFS ((Royal Aquatics in Flower Mound, TX)
). If you're from around here I suggest you check them out. They have a decent selection of freshwater fish and plants, and they have a pretty impressive saltwater selection as well. The owner and staff are friendly and helpful as well. They told me they will soon have their website updated with their freshwater stock list.
Anyway, so for now plant-wise I have some swords, ludwigia, crypt, moneywort, telanthera, anacharis and maybe something else I'm forgetting. I want to attempt to grow some HC carpet but we'll see what happens with that.
Critter-wise I have 4 green-glow tetras (my little girl absolutely had to have them), 5 serpae tetras, a couple of olive nerite snails and 2 amano shrimp. I also dumped in about 15 malaysian trumpet snails from my other tank. I was a little worried about the serpae tetras because I read they can be aggressive. These have not showed any signs of aggression. In fact it seems more like the green tetras try to pick on them every once in a while. The 2 shrimp seem really happy, and I can see why people love shrimp so much. The little guys just scurry about and are fun to watch.
Here are some new pics, let me know what you think: