So, I recently merged a couple of saltwater tanks together, and decided to set up a freshwater tank again! It's been a while since I've had a freshwater tank (besides a jar on my windowsill with some plants and shrimp), mainly due to the fact that I find saltwater just so much more interesting. However, a few freshwater fish have intrigued me for a long while now, so I decided to just throw a tank together and see what happened.
I used some old pea gravel that's been in my closet for a while. I prefer sand, but I already had this stuff. I used some base rock that I used to use in a reef tank, since I had it on hand and think it looks good in freshwater once it's covered in algae. The tank itself is a glass jar from a craft store that holds just over 4 gallons, and fits very nicely on my desk. For filtration, I'm running a Top Fin Internal Power Filter that I've used as a powerhead in saltwater tanks for years, and a Tetra preset heater that I've used in QT tanks before. As far as lighting goes, I'm using a 5W LED bulb in a walmart desk lamp - it runs at 5000K, and is bright enough for most of the plants I want to grow.
I went ahead and moved over the shrimp and plants from the gallon jar on my windowsill, as they weren't really doing much over there. They survived for months, and seem pretty healthy, but I never saw them or anything.
The fish I was most interested in were probably going to need to be ordered online - I love Okefenokee Sunfish, to name one, but I'd definitely have to order that myself, and I'm not sure that this tank would provide the correct environment for one. I'd rather have a wider tank with sand and mangroves for a pair of those guys. I went to the LFS, and ended up seeing a few dwarf puffers, and kinda fell in love. I kept one of these guys years ago in a 10 gallon... with guppies, mollies, an angelfish, and a gourami. I know! But, I was 11, and no one knew about proper aquarium keeping in my family. Funnily enough, everyone lived for almost two years, before a power outage killed everything. I'm sure it wasn't a good life. I picked out the fattest puffer (who happened to be the smallest in length), and picked up a Red Tiger Lotus and a Jungle Val while I was at it.
I'm pretty pleased with the results so far. It's day 1, so I have no idea how things will be long-term, but everyone's been busy exploring so far. The tank will receive weekly maintenance and water changes (probably 1-2 gallons, depending on how high nitrates are), and will get at least daily feedings of mysis and bloodworms. I might throw in some live snails at some point, but I don't have a colony going yet.
I realize that a lot of literature suggests at least a 5 gallon for a puffer, but I think this tank will do find, especially for now. The little thing is barely 1/2". I even lose him in this tank. If I ever feel as if he needs an upgrade, I have a standard 5.5 that just needs resealed that I can use. It simply doesn't fit as nicely on my desk, but I don't mind it if I feel he needs the room.
He's so tiny that you can barely see him!