I started a new tank yesterday, a Fluval Chi 5 gallon. I picked it up off Craigslist.com for a steal. I quickly determined that the included filter and light would not meet my needs as I couldn't run the lights on a timer without turning off the filter.
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April 16th 2014:
Yesterday I started a brand new Fluval Chi. This will eventually be a Guppy and Shrimp tank. Perhaps Black Skirted Tertras instead of Guppies depending upon what my wife chooses.
The light on the tank is a Finnex Fugeray 10"
purchased from http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007URO5QG/ref=twister_B00DQCGVNO. It was cheap and had moonlights built in. I would have preferred two separate cords for either set of lights so I could run timers. I believe Finnex is working on something like that right now via their own thread in the forums.
The filter is a Fluval C2
. I read good things and the price was right. Again via http://www.amazon.com/Fluval-14001-C2-Power-Filter/dp/B003SJOLEQ. I'm kind of surprised at how noisy the motor / impeller is. I've seen lots of fixes using petroleum jelly and it seemed to help. I figure with this filter being on the market for so long they would improve upon the design. I'm guessing as the filter ages the noise will subside.
The heater is a Hydor 25w from http://www.amazon.com/Hydor-25W-Submersible-Aquarium-Heater/dp/B0006JLPG8/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1397675785&sr=1-1&keywords=hydor+25w+heater. I've use this heater before and I like it. It isn't huge and you can set the temperature. The water went from 68 degrees to 78 degrees overnight. It's been there ever since.
The substrate is Eco Complete. It got it on special again via http://www.amazon.com/CaribSea-Eco-Complete-20-Pound-Planted-Aquarium/dp/B0002DH0QM. If you have Amazon Prime then the shipping won't kill you. This is my first experience with Eco Complete. Before this I used Floramax and it was ok. On this new tank I didn't plant stem plants so I'm not sure how easy it is to plant in. I love the no wash of this stuff and the water was always clear even when filling the tank. 20 lbs was more than enough for this tank. If the tank were wider vs taller but still 5 gallons I think you would use all of it. I had some leftovers.
The rocks were purchased from Tropical World Pets
here in St. Louis. I boiled them before adding.
The driftwood was also purchased from Tropical World Pets however I had to add a section to the back so it would sit better. You can't see it in this picture but there are two screws sticking out the back of the wood. I planted an Anubias near the joint to hide it. The driftwood still wants to float even after a good boil. Each corner has a hole drilled in and fishing line run to 4 pieces of slate at each corner. Note, slate is a pain in the ass to break up. You can drill it easy but if you chisel it will break laterally and not vertically. Next time I may have to get a tile saw.
The plants are 4 Anubias Nana from Pet Smart. I can't say they are the best specimens but I bought the last packages they had. On the right is a Needle Leaf Java Fern. It's my first Java Fern so I'm interested in how it turns out. Everything is tied to driftwood or rocks via fishing line. In a few places you can see it.
Once the tank cycles I'll either be adding Guppies or Black Skirted Tetras. The only way I could get permission to have another tank is to let my wife pick out the fish. I am planning on Ghost Shrimp too. I may do something more exotic but I want to see if I can keep a cheap shrimp alive first.