I am looking to buy my young son a small aquarium and I have some questions.
1) I'm looking at a Fluval Flex 34l. Is this a good tank? Is this quiet enough for his bedroom? Are there any better suggestions? Ideally I am looking for something good quality and all integrated. The separate compartments for filter, pump, heater etc looks good in my eyes. I know it is small but that is all the space I have available.
2) My son will no doubt want a heavily planted tank. Where is the best place to buy plants from? I do have a Maidenhead aquatics nearby who were always excellent but is there anything better online?
3) Stocking - I'll be letting my son choose the inhabitants (of course) but I'll be guiding him to hopefully something sensible. I'm thinking chilli raspbora, CPDs or something else suitable small. Some cherry shrimp. Would a few otos as well be too much? Any other suggestions? Endlers? I'm going to provide him with a list of suitable options in advance rather than going to the fish shop and saying nope over and over again.
4) To protect the desk its going on I would like to put the tank on a large rubber tray (100X40 approx). Can anyone recommend anything? I know I can just google something suitable but just wondered if anyone had any good suggestions?
5) Does this exist? A small (and cheap) battery powered pump to help water changes? Given the location of the tank I won't be able to siphon it in using gravity. This would mean my son could do these himself without soaking everything .
6) Setting up the tank. In the past I had a fantastic small tank very very heavily planted which I loved. I set that tank up using fishless cycling/ammonia etc. Is this still the best/easiest way to setup? Its been 10+yrs since I last had a tank so I'm sure much has changed.
Apologies for the barrage of questions but I want to maximise my chances of getting this right from the off!!
Glad you're doing your research beforehand - well done.
(1) Fluval Flex 34L = good tank, BUT does limit fish stock choices really only to a single male betta. 'Footprint' = 33x33cm and, although a handful of species (not necessarily easily available) require a larger 45x30cm footprint, a 60x30cm/54L offers *a lot* more choice. Check out https://www.seriouslyfish.com/knowledge-base/ for different species' requirements - very up-to-date & comprehensive. If strictly limited to the 33x33cm as you say, then a lovely aquascaped tank with a single male betta OR shrimps and nerite snails are potential options. (2) I've used Pro-Shrimp, Aquarium Gardens and Aqua Essentials - all good, with the former giving consistently good service for a whole range of fish-related items I've purchased. (3) Cf answer to (1) and the link for the various species' tank size requirements, minimum shoal sizes, water hardness range, etc. It's the fact that these fish need to be in shoals, as well as activity levels, that mean they require a larger tank. If able to accommodate a larger tank, which would widen your choices, then knowing your water hardness in CaCO3/ppm or German degrees hardness would help - water supplier ought to provide this info. (4) I use an 'aquarium base mat' - various options via googling this. I do have https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/p/skvallra-desk-pad-10394935/ on my desk and a 'glass top' on the unit my fishtank is on (various options via googling this), both of which would be great for mopping up water spillages running down side of the tank but an aquarium base mat is necessary support. (5) This might help https://eheim.com/en_GB/aquatics/acces ... uick-vac-pro/quick-vacpro (6) Yes, fishless cycling with ammonia = best. Check out https://www.fishkeeping.co.uk/articles ... hless-cycling-article.htm
Hope that helps. Unlikely I'll be able to respond again today but, if you have further questions again, I'll do my best to reply as soon as able to (or someone else may be able to help).