A nice young man at Aqua Vibrant - a retailer of Finnix LED lights - sent me a link to this picture of your tank so that I would be assured that the Fuge Ray could provide sufficient light to support plants needing low to moderate light. Your tank convinced me that I had ordered the right product! I was on the verge of thinking that I needed to order one of the Fuge IIs; he informed me that I should do so only if I wanted to grow plants that carpet the bottom (i.e., baby tears) and if I wanted to inject carbon dioxide as a way to prevent algae blooms. My answer to both was 'no'.
I'm writing as a new member to this forum hoping for some general advise. Here's the short story. I'm a 60 year old woman who was fanatic about fish and aquariums in her high school days. I grew plants, bred live bearers, and attribute any semblance of sanity I have to their presence in my life during those years. In college, I was a work-study student for a professor who did research on a particular species of african cichlid. We had rooms of home made spawning tanks, lines of breeding tanks - the whole 9 yards. It was great fun. A brief sojourn into aquarium keeping in the early 1990s didn't last long - married with children, career etc. Here I am at 60 getting re-educated to the 2012 aquarium world. There have been amazing changes. I've been at it for a few months. I wasn't sure that I wanted a planted tank but I'm sure I do now. In the old days everyone who had aquariums had plants and no-one would have known what the 'nitrogen cycle' was. I'm a college professor of biology so I most certainly know what it is but....I don't want to be concerned with it. There's more on an aesthetic and sense of 'another world' when your aquarium is a relatively balanced ecosystem.
My question is this: I've never used tanks other than the black rimmed kind (or ones my college professor and I made out of plywood); I'm trying to wrap my head around the rimmless, fused glass modern tanks. I know fashion must have its day but...is there really any value to the new tank types? And acrylic tanks? Are they inferior to glass?
My first tank, that's been up since Labor Day, is a 29 gallon glass one with the black rim and corners. I'm parting ways with my black plastic top because of the Fuge Ray lights that are on their way. I'll cut a piece of glass (that's what we always used as tank tops - with white first aid tape around the edges to prevent cuts). I'm even considering going 'open top', except for the lights, because the tetras I have (HY551 and cardinals) don't seem like the 'jump out the tank, adventuresome' type. Is this an OK idea?
I've been studious about pH and total dissolved solids (TDS). I got a continuous in-tank pH meter and a TDS meter from American Marine so I could collect data, with the intention of setting up tanks that are either soft/acidic, hard/alkaline, or general. My dream is to breed German Rams. I got a Barracuda RO/DI filter set up in the laundry room which is the only way that I could pull this off, given my well water, which is moderately hard. [Note that you can get RO water at local fish stores by the gallon very cheaply. They like to lure fish lovers into the stores!]
I'll stop writing now. The bottom line? I'm curious about all of the new tank types that are available. I'm thinking it's just fashion but there might be more to it than that. Thanks for letting me know your thoughts.