First of all I just want to say WOW!!!! and THANKS for all of the great responses in my original thread "just getting started". Responses were very informative and helpful.
I am now leaning towards the larger 29 gallon tank vs the 20 gallon. I just need to convince my wife that it's a good idea......this thing has gone from a very small, Beta tank....to a 10 gallon....to a 20 gallon....and now a 29 gallon. When I wanted to move up to the 20 (after discussions with my local fishy folks), she began to question whether this was really for the kiddo or if it was for me
. I would love to have a 55 gallon, but the reality is that even the 29 gallon is going to be pushing us to the limit in RE to available space.
The plan here is to have the tank in my kiddo's new "big boy" room. It's going to be a birthday present for him (turning 2 end of next month.....I know, I'll be doing all the work here) and he'll be moving out of the "baby" room and into his "big boy" room in May to make way for the new baby in July. So, space is pretty limited....and frankly, even if we were to put the tank elsewhere, space would be very limited given the size of the house we live in.
Actually, that raises a question for me......is a tank in a toddler's room just a truly boneheaded idea. The whole idea behind it is to have something fun and something he's absolutely fascinated with to help him along in his transition....and technically, they will be "his fish" as they are going to be a birthday present. I sorta floated the idea of putting the tank in the living room or something, by the wife scoffed a bit because, in fact, these are supposed to be "his fish".
At any rate, checked my tap water and PH is pretty high @ 7.9 and hardness averages 8.3 dKH with a 10 being the highest. I tested the PH last night and then left the water out overnight and tested again this AM.....7.9 all the way around.
Honestly, I'm a bit confused on some of the things I'm reading in RE to PH and water hardness. I have a book with a number of ideas for tropical fishes (BTW, I'm now considering a SEA tropical mountain brook theme) and all of the fishes I would be looking at to stock it say they're good to my PH level (but at the top of the threshold. Then I look around on line and I find some sites that agree with my book and others that say I should have a significanly lower PH for the fish I'm looking at. To make matters worse, I've read a number of articles now that both illustrate the importance of have the proper PH, while others say the PH doesn't really matter too much as long as you're not really over 8....and that perfect PH is really only necessary for breeding (which I won't be doing).
So, in a nutshell, I could use some clarification here I suppose.
Also, lots of comments in my previous post about planting live plants. This idea has crossed my mind on several occasions, but I have to say I'm a bit apprehensive about this. It seems to me that real plantings, while very nice, would ultimately be just an extra thing I have to worry about as a beginner, in terms of keeping and maintaining the plants and the aquarium itself. I've been fairly confident in my fake planting plan....with a real piece of driftwood or something. So, I guess I need convincing in this RE.
Sorry for the long post.....I'll post a couple other stocking ideas in another post as this has become a novel.