It's been about 10 years since I've had an aquarium, but I've had a lot of experience in the past. At one point, when my daughter was small, I was raising hibrid angelfish and Victoria Lake mouthbreeders (messy, but cool!). I had fifty or-so aquariums set up in a one bedroom apartment. It was a great extra income!
Now, and since then, the aquariums in the house have been limited to one really nice unit. The one I have right now, a 28 gal
bowfront with two external power filters...one has a "bio-wheel" which is a cool concept. It has levebearers and mostly easy-going fish (see profile). I have it well-planted and landscaped.
My cats sit on a kitty bed in front of it and stare for hours. I use it for meditation and something to create white noise when I read.
I've been using multi-function test strips, which were new to me since I set the tank up in December. While they show everything balanced, in general, they are indicating a high nitrate level and low alkalinity. I think I'm past normal break-in cycle stage. For now, I'm going to try a partial water-change.
I've recently heard that the multi-function strips can be relatively inacurate. I have an internal one-year amonia gauge, which seems fairly reliable. The water board in my area adds amonia to its treatment plant operations, so I need to be careful.