Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Vegaskyle 03-06-2008 11:21 AM

Questions about possibly getting a 26g bowfront.
Ok, first things first. I am new to this. I had an 8-10gal aquarium when I was younger, but my interest in fish was sparked again when my secretary talked me into a 10g for the office last summer. I now have a 5 gal on a book shelf at home (about 3 months now). I want a bigger tank!! Now for the questions.

1. I was looking at a Top Fin brand 26 gallon (maybe it was 28, its not on the website) bowfront tank kit at petsmart. It comes with a filter, heater, hood, light and some other misc. stuff. It was on sale for $100ish. Is this a good quality tank? I could upgrade the components as i see fit but would like to start with something that isnt going to fall apart.

2. Can i use sand and gravel as substrate separately? I was thinking light colored sand and grey/black Eco-Complete would be a nice contrast. Eco-complete where the plants will be rooted and sand for the bare areas. Will this work or will the sand and Eco become muddled together? Sand across the bottom and eco over the top in the areas i want, or separate through the entire depth?

3. I would like to change the topography of the bottom. How? Is it ok to use sand/gravel to build up the high areas (6-8") or something else covered with sand/gravel?

Thanks for the help. Im sure I'll have more questions as I go.

It'sJames 03-06-2008 11:57 AM

I have that exact aquarium kit. It's 28 gallons. The tank is really great quality and it comes with a glass top. The heater is 100 wat, and it does a tremendous job for me. It's made by Marineland and has a pilot light & temp settings. The lighting is insufficient for growing live plants. I upgraded to a GLO t5 HO fixture, which is about $90-115, depending on where you look. The filter that comes with the tank is a Topfin 30 or something, and it basically sucks. My water looked gross when I was using it (some of the laterite I had for the plants was leeching into the water), even though I was doing huge water changes very often. I upgraded to a Penguin 200 and my water has been crystal clear.

As far as changing the topography goes, adding 6-8" of substrate would make the tank really heavy. Why exactly do you want to change the topography? Maybe using taller plants in back and shorter ones in front would give you the look you want.

Vegaskyle 03-06-2008 03:10 PM

Thanks for the info. I stopped by a petco and saw a similar setup. This one was by marine land ( a little differant than the top fin) and came with a penguin bio wheel filter. Would this be worth the $30 increase in price?

Flashygrrl 03-06-2008 04:42 PM

1. You'll find that people aren't big fans of Top Fin around here. There's no real way for the biological stuff to get established in the filter (unless they added something) and the heaters have been known to go on the fritz and either stop working or overheat. Besides, you could spend a few extra dollars, getting better stuff and then NOT having to upgrade later in the game.

2. Sand compacts making you have to stir it to get all the pockets of junk out. If you're planning on having live plants everything might eventually get muddled together (though I saw something somewhere where a guy put in little dividers in his tank to keep it apart).

3. You missed the argument on this one, however I will tell you that 6-8 inches of substrate is impossible to clean and so stuff will get buried wayyy down deep, decompose, and then if it gets stirred back up somehow it will release all that toxic crap and wreak havoc. Besides, if you have that much substrate you take away a LOT of swimming room. Nix the idea.

Vegaskyle 03-06-2008 10:35 PM

I looked at a bunch of aquariums today. I was set on the bowfront. I just like the look a lot better.

The 28 gal setup that petco had was nice but didn't come with a heater and the light didn't seem to fit well and was kind of cheese. The top fin setup that petsmart had seemed nicer and came with a heater. I looked at some tanks by themselves and found a nice 26 gal bowfront but only in oak trim.

I went with the top fin setup. For $99 if I have to upgrade the components its not a big deal. I'll probably ditch the filter right away but give the heater a try while it is cycling.

As for my idea of changing the topography; because of the bowfront design my idea was a mound from the center/back sloping to the front and sides. Kind of a half mound. The difficulty in cleaning is what I expected would make this impractical. I guess i can go with a rock mound or driftwood or something like that.

Thanks again for the info

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