My wife and I decided that our Christmas gift to each other this year was going to be an aquarium. I'd kept aquariums since I was about 8 years old, but when we got married and moved into our first apartment, I was not able to keep my tank. 11 years later, we are finally getting around to getting back into the hobby (especially because our 2 year old son loves watching the fish at the pet store).
We decided on a 30 gallon tank and I set out to designing and building a custom stand for it. Stand turned out great and it matches the design/feel of the existing furniture in our living room. Total cost of the materials for the stand was about $80 and it took me a day to build and then another 3 days to paint/finish it...
Specs for the 30 gallon:
filter: Fluval 206 canister
lighting: marineland double bright LED 36"
co2: 5lb tank with in tank diffuser
substrate: 60lbs of eco complete
driftwood: purchased locally from LFS
rocks: "borrowed" from our backyard landscape.
water: treated tap water
Some of the plants I have were donated from a friend and some I bought at my LFS. Not sure of exact names on some of them.
elodia (too short to see in tank now)
Vals (back corner)
Dwarf sword rosette? (how it was labeled in store)
dwarf chain sword? (how it was labeled in store)
some sort of crypt
unknown stems (the ones in the middle back)
Have some fissidens coming in this week.
Planted the tank last Wednesday and dumped in a bottle of bacteria culture. Added 3 ember tetras on that Saturday and then 3 more a few days later.
Ideally, I wanted this to be a low tech / low maintenance tank as we go on week long trips 2-3 times per year. However, a friend of mine had the CO2 tank and regulator sitting in his garage from a failed beer/kegging veture from a couple of years ago, so I figured I'd add the CO2 since it was essentially free (had to pay $15 to fill it).
Still would like to keep it on the lower maintenance side so trying to decide what I want to do as far as ferts go.
The lighting is not ideal and it may need to be replaced in the future, but we got it used for pretty cheap so I thought I'd see how it would work. I am not a fan of the fact that the light itself is not waterproof/resistant and that you have to have a cover on the aquarium.
I've been running the lights and CO2 for about 12 hours a day and so far it looks like there has been a little growth on some of the plants, but at the same time, nothing has wilted yet either so that is good. I've also moved the filter intake to the same side of the tank as the outflow and that seems to be getting a little better circulation in the tank. Nothing in the way of algae yet (knocking on wood) and the driftwood is leeching tannin so the water is a bit tea colored.
Future plans include some cherry shrimp, more ember tetras, some otos and possibly another type of tetra (havent decided which yet).
My biggest problem right now is the protein film buildup on the top of the tank. I've been hand skimming it off every evening but I think I may just drop an airstone in and run it at night to help clear that up.
Happy to have any suggestions/tips anyone wants to offer.
I'm a bit rusty on this stuff but have been scouring the forums for weeks now (re)learning stuff.