December 02, 2011 Aquarium Project!

  So I have been working on our aquarium for just under a year now and I have learned a lot!  As most of you may know, I work selling aquarium products for American Aquarium Products, so this aquarium has been a training tool as well as a fun project! 

   We have a 55 gallon freshwater tank with fish and plants. I found the tank on Craigslist for only 35 dollars!  We have 5 large fish; A Pleco, (Sucker Fish) leporinus, Black fin Shark, (catfish) and 2 Chiclids.  One Chiclid is a Jack Dempsey, and one is a Convict. All of these fish are aggressive, but they all get along just fine thankfully!  This has been a very slow project as funds and tools are not always available when we want or need them.  We started with some Walmart fish against all my nay saying, as my children are too impatient to wait for the aquarium to cycle.  Needless to say, the fish all died, as ALL Walmart fish do.  This was very hard for my kids to handle, but a valuable lesson either way.  Mom is always right.  (Don't tell my kids this is only mostly true!)  So we had to cure the tank of Ich while it was continuing to cycle so our next fish didn't die as well.  We added a hang on back filter as they are easy to maintain and run, and also a sponge filter for aerobic filtration and redundancy.  These are great simple filters, except the Pleco likes to eat the sponges.  I cannot keep him off of them!  (They make a bit of a mess when your fish is spitting chunks of sponge in your tank)

   For lighting I went with the newer technology of T2 Lights.  They are compact and are 6400K Daylight bulbs which make the tank really bright and my plants LOVE them!  Eventually I will build a hood for these.  (Currently these are just sitting on the tank sides.)

   We put a large rock in the bottom and also a cool chunk of specialized driftwood.  (It won't kill your fish or bring in any disease)  It looks great!  The only problem with driftwood is that it adds tannins to your water.  In other words, it makes your water a yellow brown color.  So back to learn more tricks and filter media to counter this ugly look.  Carbon!  I brought some extra carbon home and added it to the HOB filter.  Lightened the tank a bit, but not much.  Ok, maybe Purigen.  I added purigen to the HOB filter and within 24 hours the tank was clear as day!  It was very nice to see my work look good! 

  My next task was to add a CO2 system for my plants.  I wasn't sure how to do this so I went to our webiste of all knowledge.  Sure enough, Carl had how to make a DIY, CO2 cartridge.  I grabbed all the needed supplies and headed home with my mind excited to try a new thing on my tank.  I set it all up within minutes and my plants are green and growing like crazy!  My tank is really coming along, and I cannot wait to find more fun things to do!  (Maybe Santa will bring me a new tank some day for saltwater....)

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