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Old 12-25-2006, 05:24 PM   #1
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Need advice on starting a small aquarium.

In the past, I have had 80gal and 30gal aquariums but never an aquarium smaller than a 10 gal. I want to start a small freshwater one from scratch but am having a little trouble deciding which equipment to purchase.

My space is fairly limited so I have been looking into the Eclipse 6 gal, the Mini-Bow 7 gal, and even the 6-8 gal bio cubes for my home office. Each have their positives and negatives, as I have been researching here and other forums. I just want a nice looking, semi-easy to care for(maintenance/upkeep), and quiet system.

So far the Eclipse looks like the best bet for the money, but I am not too crazy about acrylic and the cracking/scratching. Also the filter system on these I hear is sub-par.

The Mini-Bow is a bit more expensive than the eclipse, but is made of glass which is a bonus. Only problem here is what filter system do I pair with a 7 gal aquarium??? HOB? Also, is the lighting on these units any good for mild to moderate planting???

Finally, the bio-cubes are one of the nicest and most expensive all in ones I have come across, but I have heard horror stories about them cracking. Unfortunately, I don't know if this is true, because tons of nano reef keepers seem to love them and not have any problems.

I just don't want to come home to dead fish and water on my floor, although it wouldn't be a first!

BTW, I will probably be doing a min/mod amount of planting and have a puffer or 2 as a star attraction with plenty of hiding places for some small shrimp. Oh and maybe a snail.

Any suggestions from owners or previous owners would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-25-2006, 09:52 PM   #2
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Hi.

I have 2 Eclipse 3's and I haven't had any issues with them or the filtration. I haven't had any problems with scratches either, but they're at the end of the dining room which doesn't get alot of foot traffic very close to it. The only issue I'd see for you with either an Eclipse or a MiniBow is the lighting upgrade for planting the tank. You're probably better off trying to find a 5 Gal glass tank and then putting a glass top on it with a lighting fixture on top.
The Aquaclear 20 HOB filter can be used on tanks 5 - 20 gallons. It has an adjustable flow and a large area for filter media. Many people here use them and they're highly recommended. I just bought one but haven't set it up yet, so I'm going from what I've learned on the site.

I have a 10G with three dwarf puffers and they are really awesome fish - inch for inch I'd have to call them "pretty amazing". Shrimp are iffy with them - some DPs will live peacefully with them, some won't. As for snails - well, snails are food for a DP and even a large mystery/ apple snail will get picked to death.

Before you add the fish to the tank you'll want to make sure that it is fully cycled (ie: that the "good bacteria" needed to convert the ammonia produced by the fish into nitrites and then nitates are established). Here are some articles I'd suggest reading:

Nitrogen Cycle
Fishless Cycling
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2.5G - Spot (beautiful betta - Soft pink with red spots on his fins. Java Moss.
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Old 12-26-2006, 04:38 PM   #3
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The mini-bow has a 15" light fixture I think. Which will give about 14 watts. Roughly 2 wpg. I would like to bump that up to about 3wpg. Would it be possible to do so with a single 15" bulb?
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:36 PM   #4
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The bulb that comes with the MiniBow is incandescent, I believe. It's less efficient than a compact flourescent bulb, and will really heat up the tank. The good news is, you can buy screw-in CF bulbs in 10 or 20 watts. Make sure that the fixture can handle the 20 W bulb, otherwise you may want to go for the 10W- it will still be a lot brighter than a 15W incandescent.
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Old 12-28-2006, 09:49 PM   #5
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I have an eclipse 5 hex and I will never go that route again. The in-hood filtration system works when it feels like it, and for the cost to repair and replace pieces, you might as well go for a standard 10g. Oh, I forgot to mention..it leaks. I tried sealing it with aqurium sealant with no results...still leaks. I can only fill it so far or there's a huge mess in my kitchen. As a matter of fact, there's a puddle in there right now. Yes, it looks good. I have a large blue prawn in there. But, never again.
I'd customize a 10g system. It'll last longer. The parts are easier and cheaper to replace (if you ever need to replace them).
I kept 1 puffer in my 10g and he did great. Keep in mind that most are brakish, and cannot be kept with too many choices. They will bite and eat other fish. Make sure you post pics when it's set up!
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Old 12-28-2006, 11:05 PM   #6
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Finally did some research and made some purchases.

I went with the Mini Bow 7 since it is made of glass and has 14 watts of fluorescent lighting which is 2wpg and a good start. I am adding a Aquaclear 20 for filtration and a small 25 watt heater.

I am putting down eco-complete for substrate and will probably be adding a Hagen CO2 semi-diy system for a moderately planted tank.

I will decide on the fish after the plants take hold, and will proabbly add some dwarf gourami.

Thanks for all your help.
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Old 12-29-2006, 12:40 AM   #7
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Cool ! Don't forget to cycle the tank first and post some pics - we want to see it being set up
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2.5G - Spot (beautiful betta - Soft pink with red spots on his fins. Java Moss.
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Old 12-29-2006, 02:30 PM   #8
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Absolutely!

The fish won't be added until the plants take, in about 2 weeks. Should be plenty enough time to cram in a fishless cycle.
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Old 12-29-2006, 02:57 PM   #9
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The MiniBow 7 is nice little tank. The one in my office (see thread in my sig) has a Fluval 1+ internal filter, 50w Stealth heater, and 24W of PC lighting. Since it's a planted tank, I got rid of the factory 14W flourescent fixture. 24W on a tank this size (3.4wpg) still puts in the low-mid light category. The Fluval filter is a nice size filter for this tank. I previously had a AC30 on it with the flow turned way down, so the AC Mini should be perfect. If I had to do it all over again, I'd probably go with the Mini myself.

I used to have a DIY CO2 setup on that tank in its previous life. I now use Flourish Excel. Being such a small tank, I find Excel to be a very easy and cost effective way of providing carbon to the plants. For the other ferts, I use Greg Watson macros (potassium nitrate, potassium sulfate, and mono potassium phosphate) and CSM+B. All of these are dosed from solutions I made using online calculators. I've been using Plantbrain's EI method of dosing and have had nothing but good results.
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Old 12-30-2006, 12:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxwell1295
The MiniBow 7 is nice little tank. The one in my office (see thread in my sig) has a Fluval 1+ internal filter, 50w Stealth heater, and 24W of PC lighting. Since it's a planted tank, I got rid of the factory 14W flourescent fixture. 24W on a tank this size (3.4wpg) still puts in the low-mid light category. The Fluval filter is a nice size filter for this tank. I previously had a AC30 on it with the flow turned way down, so the AC Mini should be perfect. If I had to do it all over again, I'd probably go with the Mini myself.

I used to have a DIY CO2 setup on that tank in its previous life. I now use Flourish Excel. Being such a small tank, I find Excel to be a very easy and cost effective way of providing carbon to the plants. For the other ferts, I use Greg Watson macros (potassium nitrate, potassium sulfate, and mono potassium phosphate) and CSM+B. All of these are dosed from solutions I made using online calculators. I've been using Plantbrain's EI method of dosing and have had nothing but good results.
Maxwell, I have been looking into upgrading the lighting. What brand is your 24w PC. I was trying to find a DIY upgrade for the stock hood, but the one I found was about 32w and I am not really sure if it will work.

Also, exactally which Greg Watson products do you use; the individual compounds or just the PMDD pre-mix and CSM+B Plantex.

Thanks
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