About 2 years ago I had a spotted congo puffer in a lightly planted 75 gallon tank and it was awesome. I loved that tank and the puffer, unfortunatly I had to move and tear down the tank and sell my puffer. Once again I have my own place and I'm able to setup a small tank, luckily Spotted Congo Puffers don't need a huge tank, so I got the largest tank I could get to fit the space I have, a 30 gallon long. 36"w x 12"d x 18"t. Great dimensions! Usually I hate to use a 12" deep tank, but this tank is in somewhat of a walkway and I couldn't have it stick out too far away from the wall. I had to special order the tank from my LFS, got it for $90 with a lid, not a bad deal.
Anyway, this will be my journal, come along and see what goes wrong!
For those of you interested, this was my previous 75 gallon spotted congo puffer tank
Here is the new 30 long, I just put the gravel in it today and filled it up, so its pretty cloudy, give it a couple days and it will clear right up
For gravel, I use this patio/paver base from homedepot. its $4/bag and I really like its natural look. Its DIRTY so it takes a lot of rinsing, its about a 2:1 ratio after rinsing. I have used it before and it does not effect the water chemistry. Its cheap, looks good.
For a light, I used this from ebay, its cheap, thin, looks good but has crap light output, plus its way too blue for my taste. I suppose it would do for just lighting a tank, but it wouldn't grow anything. That's alright tho, I never intended on using the LEDs it came with.
I took all the LEDs out and replaced them with these strip lights. They are a nice cool white at 5700K and have a 95% CRI (color rendition index) rating. These are VERY high quality LEDs and you can see that reflected in the price. They make colors pop and have a full spectrum of light which is great for growing plants.
I was able to get two strips of lights in this housing. These really aren't like any other LED strips you've probably used before. The adhesive backing is VERY sticky and I'm confidant they will never come unstuck. I think I would have a hard time getting them off even if I wanted to. I wired them up to a regular ol' 12v power supply you probably have laying around.
They were too bright, giving me around 70 par at a full 12 volts. That's enough to grow the most demanding plants and CO2 would be required to prevent any algae from growing, so I needed to dim them down to around 40 par, which is more than enough for the anubias and java fern I will be using in this tank. So I got this PWM dimmer which lets me really control the output of the light.
For a filter, I just used a Sunsun 304 canister filter. It does 264gph, I chalked it full of golf ball size java rock as bio media and it came with a bunch of mechanical filtration.
The tank is in my front room and while Sunsun filters are pretty quiet, it still gave off an audible hum that I wanted to get rid of. Nothing a couple of towels and heavy blanket cant fix. Makes it completely inaudible.