Has been about a month now. I'm thoroughly "hooked"! (pun fully intended)
In the last month, I have hand-built a wooden tank-stand for my 40 gallon breeder tank that I could likely set my truck on. Made sure to leave myself about a foot at one end to use as a work-space for testing water and whatnot. Has a door on both sides and some shelves in the middle. Looks quite nice. You'd never guess I actually work in IT and not carpentry.
I did hours and hours of research and ended up going with a Penn Plax Cascade 700 canister filter. Upon even FURTHER research, I decided not to alter any of the media that came with it and use it as-is. Instead, I kept my HoB
filter(Aqueon Quiteflow 50) but removed the filter and instead filled a media-bag with Penn Plax bio ceramic rings. So all it does is bio filtering.
Just for good measure, I also have one of those cheap, double-sponge air filters sitting there building a good BB colony as well.
**Takes deep breath**
When I started up that tank, I went with the route of using Dr Tim's One-and-only bacteria in a bottle, and a bottle of Dr Tim's pure ammonia.
40g breeder was completely cycled and converting ammonia inside of a week.
I scored a large, beautiful shaped chunk of wood from a local fish store, as well as a ton of plants and a nice chunk of lavarock.
I then went and got some fish....
I found a speckled catfish that was roughly 4-5" long and decided he would be the showcase of this new tank. I also grabbed the biggest Cory(skunk) I could find and then a few zebra danios, a couple orange mollies and some guppies just for filler/food.
Within a few days, one of the guppies AND mollies had babies. That really changed the entire plan. I really got a kick out of that. So Charlie(I named the cat Charlie) got moved to the old 20L tank with JUST a couple of little albino cory cats and the mollies. He seems happy in there.
The 40g breeder is now a guppy haven! I've got 3 males and a bout a dozen females along with a handful of neon tetras in there having a great time.
I also have 2 little 2.5gallon tanks sitting on my desk to house pregnant guppies and/or fry. Yes, most of them will get to enjoy 2-3 weeks until they are big enough to go in with Charlie. But I'm enjoying watching them in the meantime.
Another fun little project was growing my own brine shrimp. Spent the $10 or so on the little contraption and some eggs, got an empty soda bottle and old air pump and there really wasn't much to it. ALL the guppies, big and small, go nuts for fresh brine shrimp! Place turns into a horror-show. It's awesome to watch.
That's it in a nutshell. Will come back and post again when there's more big changes. In the meantime, this is an educational experience teaching me how everything works, so that in a year or two, I can get a BIG tank to put out in the living room and get serious.