I left the saltwater reef hobby 6 years ago. I was a fresh university grad spending way too much of my meagre money on an expensive hobby so I bowed out and got rid of most of my stuff. Fast forward to now and I was bit by the bug again, but this time around with what will hopefully be a cheaper approach yet just as rewarding!
So far my goals are thus:
- Small. Space is severely lacking for us. I know a bigger tank is the same amount of work as a smaller one but we just don't have the space
- heavily planted "dutch style" with grass on the bottom and some "show-case" plants that stand out.
- small "community" fish, such as sailfin mollies, ram cichlids, zebra danios, a beta, an ornamental pleco when the plants are more established, and possibly shrimp if they won't get eaten
- I'm a real keener and want to learn how to run a heavily planted tank well. With reef aquariums it became intuitive for me. I want the same to happen for a planted tank.
- Finally, sustainability and ethics are important for me. I worked at a saltwater LFS store and became bitter towards the saltwater hobby due to how much livestock dies, coral, invertebrates and fish, in transit, at the store, and in hobbyists tanks. I'm going to keep hardy fish that are bred in captivity with a preference for local fish breeders and plant propagators. No wild fish. I like the idea of plants compared to coral because coral are living animals that die in transport and should remain in the wild! I want to limit such problems with my hobby!
And now for the meat and potatoes, here is my setup thus far:
- Do!aqua 60x45x45 cm aquarium (~25 gallons)
- 65W power compact fixture leftover from one of my reef tanks when I was last in the hobby
- Eheim 2028 Professional II canister filter (overpowered, I know. I'm going to limit it. According to Eheim it won't hurt it)
- DIY Plywood stand
We're very strapped for space at home due to a home-based business that leaves us only 300SF of living space on the ground level (retail art supplies, custom picture framing, large-format photo printing, for those curious). Obviously I can't set up a 90 gallon so some compromises are happening. I really like the proportions of the 60x45x45 cm aquarium. It's not your typical cube and it's not your typical starter kit. It has a depth to it that is aesthetic and will look nice once there are plants and fish in there. I just noticed the aquarium is backwards! the logo is at the back!
This is the DIY plywood stand I whipped up tonight. We had 24" wide lengths of plywood kicking around which was perfect for the tank. Every joint is glued and the screws add a bit of sheer resistance. It should be plenty strong for this tank.
The Eheim 2028 Professional II is rated for 600L. My tank is 100L :P. I'm going to have to restrict the output for a while until it's thick with plants. I read a forum post where Eheim told somebody that's ok for this model so things should be fine. "I read it on the internet so it's gotta be true..."
It's a fixture I still have kicking around from when I last was in the aquarium hobby. It works out to 2W/gallon which should be enough for most easy to keep plants. I'm probably going to end up getting a CO2 system so I can reach the goal of the heavily planted dutch aquarium. I don't know if this will be enough light at that point. I may end up getting one of those Kessil Amazon Sun pendants in the not-too-distant future. Those things are nuts!
Bump: Aaaaand my power compact fixture is dead. I'm not surprised. It was kicking around at the inlaw's acreage for 6 years and I was surprised to see it still around a few months ago. I'm going to start researching LED systems.