I think I'm much more of a casual hobbyist than many of you out there because I didn't take any pictures of me shaking the UPS man's hand as he dropped off the box containing my tank or me unwrapping the box or all my aquarium accoutrements neatly stacked in place waiting to be assembled.
My wife makes fun of me enough for taking pictures of things like my car, my bike or my aquarium and sharing them with fellow enthusiasts on the internet. If she had seen me taking pictures of different scapes so I could show them to "men on the internet" (as my wife collectively calls you people) to solicit advice, I'd never hear the end of it.
First of all, who is Fred? Fred is a betta that I rescued from my wife's friend. The poor guy was living in 16 oz. of tepid water on a dark shelf in their house. I transferred him into a 10 gallon tank with a few plants and he looked 1000% happier.
I then decided to decommission my 10 gallon and my 55 gallon and get a small-ish tank for Fred and some buddies in the living room. I looked into an ADA-60 P but with shipping, it was twice as much as a Mr. Aqua 17.4. Is it half the quality for half the price? I have no idea, but it works for me.
Mr. Aqua 17.4 gallon (60L x 30D x36H cm or 23.6L x 11.8D x 14.1H in)
- Zoomed Aquasun 24" T5HO, with a 6700K and 10000K bulb (48 watts total, 10 hour photoperiod)
- Fluval 304
- 77-78 F, some inline heater, can't remember
- Quikrete pool filter sand
- Fred the blue betta, breeding pair of bushy nose plecos, two really really really old lemon tetras, one really really really old serpae tetra (banished to the baby pleco tank due to non-stop biting)
- anubias, tiny clump of dwarf hair grass, several varieties of crypts, rotala, something that I thought was jungle val but is not getting anywhere near as tall
- homemade root tabs (osmocote plus in gel caps), KNO3, K2SO4, KH2PO4, Plantex CSM+B, Flourish Excel
- none...for now
- insanely hard Florida tap water with decholrinator
I'm not very strict with my tanks. I fertilize macros one day, micros the next, whatever amount I feel necessary. Throw in a little Excel now and then. Do a 25% water change weekly...or bi-weekly...or whenever.
If the plants look happy and the tank doesn't look gross, than I keep on doing what I'm doing. It's just a box of water with some plants and fish in it, no need to get crazy about it.
First day up and running
After one week (not much change)
One of the 5+ year old lemon tetras
The happy couple munching on some algae wafers
Fred, in all his glory
Exposed anubias getting fried by the light