January 29, 2010, my goldfish bowl has been needing cleaning and new water more frequently than every week, so I’m looking at bigger “habitats” for my goldfish. I’m sure the bowl they are in is less than 2 gallons.
Acrylic vs Glass
January 30, 2010, In the last day I’ve read a lot of aquarium specifications and reviews at PetCo, PetSmart, Wal*Mart and Drs. Foster and Smith, and I am coming out of my confusion over acrylic versus glass.
Basically it appears that glass tanks come with incandescent lighting and are heavy, while acrylic tanks come with full spectrum fluorescent lighting and are much lighter in construction weight.
While many who buy acrylic tanks complain about easy scratching, many more people buy acrylic tanks than buy and review the less costly glass tanks.
For myself, I think I’ve gone from being drawn to the 5 gallon acrylic with excellent reviews at Wal*Mart to the 12 gallon Eclipse 12 by Marineland at Dr. Foster and Smith.
In any case, in preparation I’ve painted a sturdy, solid wood table to use as a stand.
February 6, 2010 – I’m not sure the table is as sturdy as I thought. But, I think it’s up to the job. (You can barely see the antiquing I did on it. Very subtle.)
My goldfish are in their old bowl on my desk. They’ve been watching me prepare their new Eclipse 12 home.
When I was putting in steaming water so my hands would stay warmer while I was planting, the fish actually looked worried and began huddling together. I wonder if fish have a genetic memory of steaming water being a bad sign for fish in terms of longevity vs. dinner for humans.
The black material at the bottom of the aquarium is Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate. It’s really heavy. (20 lb. of the substrate felt a LOT heavier than 20 lb. of flour. That’s a joke…)
I’m hoping that my plants thrive. Usually they last a few months then sort of peter out.
As deeply as I could, I planted each of the three different kinds of plants that I purchased, and the wisps of plant that had survived in the goldfish bowl. Then, I placed aquarium gravel around the bases of the plants to help keep them secure.
Later – With sun shining on the micro sword grass at the front it’s sending up a stream of tiny air bubbles. In the closeup I took you can see them, but I’m going for a sort of uniform look to my pictures here.
Time to go check the Mopani driftwood to see if it’s releasing fewer tannins. Hope so! I’d really like to place it in the aquarium so I can put plants behind it and then put the filter in place.
Oh! Oh! Acrylic is like a Mirror
February 7, 2010 – Acrylic vs. Glass — Oh Oh! my goldfish don’t appear to be able to see out of the acrylic tank. They see their reflections in the sides which are like mirrors. I’m SO disappointed. Back to looking at aquariums, and this time glass is a must. (Though I have an email in to Marineland.)
Later – Well, I’m no longer as sad as I was. The fact is I have to make a decision: do I want my fish to no longer see me? or, do I want to buy a new, glass tank, and go through all the trouble of setting it up? do I want to get a larger tank while I’m at it, since the cost is minimally more? do I want to purchase a wheeled cart for my aquarium stand so that I can put the water I filtered for the Eclipse into the new tank? (and then move it into place when the Eclipse is empty-ish) do I have another $100 to spend? … or … do I want my fish to not see me anymore??? (I used to love seeing their little fish faces looking out of the tank at me.)
Later still – Then, there’s the problem of how much I like the present table, that I antiqued. It’s pretty, and I love it. But I’m not sure it’s strong enough to hold a larger tank.
If I get the steel and chrome cart with wheels, that’s strong enough, my living room is going to be dominated by chrome, given that my plant racks are chrome.
February 9, 2010 – I’ve decided to get the 16 gallon glass tank with hood from PetSmart. It isn’t that much heavier than my 12 gallon tank. A gallon of water weighs 8.43 lb. I’m now sanding an old bread board I used to use as a drawing desk. It has ink stains, numerous cuts from my craft knife, and glue streaks… so sanding is not going very quickly. I may opt for the “distressed” look and polyurethane it with less than perfect sanding results. Time is a factor because I have to send back the Eclipse 12, and before I do that I have to get my substrate out of the bottom and into a new glass aquarium. Meaning the board has to be in place before I get started with the transfer.
Happy ~ Happy ~ Aqueon glass aquarium
February 13, 2010 – I am so happy with the Aqueon glass aquarium. I’m delighted to see my two fish, as opposed to seeing them and a half dozen reflections of them.
Because the Marineland Bio-Wheel filtration was broken on the Eclipse 12, the water is somewhat cloudy. I’m hoping that clears up. I bought a 30 gallon system, almost twice as big as I need, in the hope that the added water processing will make up for the hours the system is turned off each night. I can filter the water only when there’s sunlight for my solar electric system.
February 14, 2010 – the water is more “foggy” than cloudy today, but, it’s not clear. I hope that the improvement tomorrow is equally great. Then, in a few more days the water should be lovely clear. Hopefully.
Other than that, I’m no longer quite as happy with the Aqueon aquarium: the light appears to be something other than full spectrum.
February 19, 2010 – Aqueon tech support has been wonderful and explained to me that the lights are 8000 Kelvin, which is the spectrum for “daylight”.
Time for another New Aquarium
4/1/2012 – It’s time for a new, larger aquarium for my goldfish, which grew proportionally to the additional space they had in their previously new tank, shown above. The Aqueon Planted Aquarium is 9 gallons bigger and has a much more lovely hood. The light is meant for growing plants.
It turns out I didn’t plant the plants correctly last time, so they didn’t spread the way I had hoped. On the other hand, there was masses of algae which spread “gloriously”. It isn’t particularly helpful to leave some algae to deter algae growth, and not turning on the lights hurts the plants more than it deters algae.
This time I got a rolling cart, and it’s dynamite. Also, this time I watched videos on planting an aquarium. The one by a man from Tropica was very helpful.
A Warning about AquariumPlants.com
Many of the plants I bought from AquariumPlants.com were not in good shape upon arrival. The Anacharis was a pretty reddish
color, which turned out to mean it was dying. One of two micro sword grass was lovely but the other had only a tiny amount of
grass, maybe about the size of a dime. The dwarf hairgrass was brown and slimy, both top and bottom. I tried to salvage the middle, which I hoped would grow. Some did. And, I didn’t cut off enough of the Mermaid Weed stem bottoms for the roots to grow into the substrate. Instead the roots were hanging off the stems. When I pulled the plants up for replanting, I discovered that their bottoms were rotting.
I called AquariumPlants because they advertise that they have great customer service, only that turned out not to be true. They said they’d be glad to refund my money for the plants that died if I sent them pictures I’d taken when the plants arrived. LOL! I hadn’t thought I needed pictures and they hadn’t said I would. So, be warned.
How I’m Planting This Time
I put the EcoComplete in and just barely covered it with filtered water, so that the nutrients wouldn’t cling to the glass and invite algae. That worked really well.
Also, I planted the aquarium then waited three weeks to put the goldfish in so that the plants could root. During that time I had the aquarium only half full because Aqueon tech support said that it was alright to move the aquarium on the rolling cart as long as I didn’t create a huge wave when going over the edge of a rug or anything. A huge wave could damage the corner seals. It seemed to me that less water was one way to control the size of the wave, since indeed I had to move the tank over the edge of a carpet.
With the aquarium only half full I couldn’t run the filter so by week three there was hair algae ~ not so pretty. On the other hand, there was a LOT less algae than I’d gotten in the previous tank, and that may well have to do with the CO2 I provided for the plants via Seachem’s Flourish Excel. The reviews for it said it deterred and even killed algae.
Flourish seems to have made my trapdoor snails ill. They can’t cling to the side of the aquarium anymore. Their “feet” are a pale color. They all died, which made me feel really bad about how they may have been in pain.
I called Aqueon to ask if the filter, now that it was running, would pull the algae off the plants. The tech said… “No.” He helpfully suggested Japanese Trap Door Snails to eat the algae… so I ordered some, and WOW, do they ever do a lovely job!!!!!
I don’t think they have as much room in their large aquarium as they did in their punch bowl when they were tiny. So, a new, larger aquarium is probably going to happen… only after the next size up I don’t have a large enough place to go larger still.