I just picked up an Oceanic Biocube 29 - one of those all-in-one tanks popular with reefers. I'll be running an extra Rena XP2 canister filter I have for it instead of using the rear filtration compartments, which will give me cleaner and clearer water and be easier to maintain. The tank has a hood with 2 36W PC bulbs (one is a 10000K coralife and I just picked up 2 6700K PC bulbs from AH Supply, so that I'll be running either the 10000K + 6700 or 2 6700 bulbs).
I have some Seiryu stones I saved for this setup and the substrate with be Turface Pro League gray. I'd like to set this tank up as a zen-style garden ala Amano - Seiryu stones making mountains, with some low growing plants covering the ground, and perhaps some taller accent plant that looks tree-like.
I can hook up this tank to CO2, but it will involve running about 50-70 ft of tubing from the other 125H g tank I'm setting up. So I'd like to try it without CO2 for now and just use Seachem Excel, which I had great success with when I converted a larger tank from high light/fast growing plants/CO2 to lower light/slower growing plants/no CO2. I can easily add the CO2 line if I think the tank could really use it.
I'd like to keep Nerite snails in this tank, and if the choice of fish allows it, Red Cherry Shrimp. I would give up the shrimp for a very interesting and attractive fish that might eat it.
What are your fish/invert/plant suggestions for this tank?
Good question - I should have explained the primary reason - the tank is in a room that gets warm in summer - I need to keep any heat sources out of this tank - the stock pump that comes with the tank generates quite a bit of heat - it's not very efficient. Any pump in the tank water would add some heat. With a canister the pump heat will be out of the tank.
In addition, it's easier to clean the XP2, I'll have to clean the filter less often and the water will be cleaner and clearer because there's no flow around.
Also, if you are using CO2, the rear filtration on the the Biocube uses a wet dry filter, which fizzes a lot of CO2 out of the tank. The biocube filtration also does not force the water through like a canister, but rather relies on the water to flow through a filter and fall through bio balls and then the pump pumps the water back into the tank.
Lastly, I picked it up at a steal for another tank for which I don't need it now, so there's no extra cost in using it.
From what I've seen importing fish and of course from the ADA magazine there is something about having a big school of only one kind of fish in the tank. The sight is indeed amazing!
I had about 250 Congo tetras in a 6' long tank. When you sit and watch them they act as if you are watching a Discovery channel show - school together, move as one, dash to the surface and spread in all directions. Now the school is about 50 fish and the sight and behaviour is not the same.
Also as we speak I have a 55 gal. tank (4') with about 200 Hyphessobrycon georgettae. The fish looks very much like Ember tetra but it has subtle neon green and silver on the sides. This huge school also looks stunning in the tank.
My point is - do not mix the fish. If you get about 50 small fish, like the Ember tetras for exampe, you will see and know the beauty of a single species school of fish. A few small corries will be fine too, but no fish that mixes with the main school.
Cardinals, once established, do not school. Neons are even worst about schooling. That's why I suggested the Embers - they will fill the body of water nicely, school nicely, stay small, and look better and better with age.