This was our first tank, an http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005DGHJO6/ref=oh_details_o03_s01_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 my father sent for my daughter's 1st grade graduation; she's 7.
This is where we began in June 2013
We set up the tank in early-to-mid June with Glo-gravel, Anacharis, a plastic plant and faux coral from Petco and two Neon Tetras from a local aquarium-specialty store; the fish at Petco did not look good.
After about a month we added another Neon Tetra as the two were fin-nipping (which I suppose is normal in a small school/small tank) and my addiction for a planted tank began. The term "scape" had become very relevant to us
Over time we've upgraded both the lighting and filtration and have super-stocked the tank with plants. It's growing in nicely, and a bit overgrown too, but it's fun!
This is where we are as of posting, early October 2013
Lighting was the first thing we upgraded, that was in late July, about a month and a half after starting the tank up and loosing a few plants.
We're using using these http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009P05DL2/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1. They fit up to 1/2" thick wall. I'd say these are medium to high output depending on height from substrate. I have not PAR metered it yet. We get good growht
That's the original filter that came with the Aquarium kit... noisy little sucker but it did work and it aerated wonderfully.
Even though the internal power filter that came with our tank was doing a good job keeping the water clean, it was loud and splattered water at every water level we tried it. So it's gone.
Now we're using an http://www.amazon.com/Azoo-Mignon-Filter-150-Power/dp/B006KY1MF2/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1377494645&sr=1-1&keywords=AZOO+Mignon+Filter+150 and set it up with http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=3630 and two grades of foam, the Azoo black foam and AquaClear 30 Foam cut to size. I seeded these in our grow bucket with an excess plants and old filter media from our 6-gallon tank's original filter. This has been running since August 8th, right after the tank finished cycling.
Had to rescape this tank! Plans included swapping heaters, swapping substrate, and a complete, planned planting with a bunch of stems, crypts and driftwood. I really liked this piece of wood for this tank from the moment i saw it at Mark's Tropical Fish in Studio City, CA. I immediately saw it positioned sloping downward in the center and flanked with plants, leaving the entire front perimeter open
Labor Day weekend 2013, that became a reality and our first scape was born
Since then we've done quite a bit...
Here's a brief photo antholgy of the evolution of our first and most challenging tank so far
June 14, 2013
July 6, 2013
July 25, 2013
July 27, 2013
August 3, 2013
August 19, 2013
September 18, 2013
There is so much more I want to do with this tank, and eventually it will become our betta silo tank. The Azoo 150 filter can be tamed and with a wake-barrier of floating plants he might actually like it; he is in a 1 Gallon bowl on the window sill for now, anything will be better!
We love, and hate this tank. It's difficult to work in, requires draining half way+ to comfortably get to the bottom.
I wish I'd used a different substrate, EC is not nutrient rich at all, but it has a high CEC, though we are not dosing macros yet like we should. Or perhaps we'll go PPS-Pro.
Time will tell