02-07-2012, 05:02 AM
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I don't know about the rest of it, but to touch on a few points...
With an open top aquarium, its especially important to be sure to give the fish a "ceiling". This mean to do pretty heavy surface coverage with floating plants, or plants that have floating leaves. (Certain plants from the lily and lotus family work well for this and look stunning when they flower!)
An open air aquarium tends to collect more dirt- dust, hair, and various debris fall easily into the water. This may affect your water quality, this is def something to research.
I would not have an open top aquarium in a house that has cats, birds, or young children.
There is no problem replacing 10 to 20 gallons a week, because you should be doing weekly 50% water changes. But if you use a HOB style filter, you must be sure the water line does not lower past a certain point or your filter will stop working and burn out. Also be aware that your heater must stay submerged to a certain point or it will burn out.
You can research open top aquariums on the web. I hope someone else here can answer the rest of your questions. Good luck!