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Choices, Choices!

Author Topic: Choices, choices!  (Read 2047 times)

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Offline TrenchyLs

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Choices, choices!
« on: May 12, 2017, 03:04:42 PM »
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So, after moving my computer on to the floor I now seem to have a very empty flat surface.
By some happy coincidence this has coincided with my birthday so I think it's time to treat myself to a 30(ish) litre tank so I can try a bit of proper scaping and then keep a Betta and/or some CPDs and/or shrimp.
I've narrowed it down to the a couple of choices, but would appreciate some more experienced people throwing in their opinions and picking apart my reasoning!

There's THIS complete setup from Dannerle that looks lovely and has some very nice extras (although I would probably need add more substrate).

Or a late discovery was the Fluval Edge 34L which is cheap enough HERE to be a definite contender.

The third option is to just pick up a tank and then add everything I need afterwards.  I estimate that if I don't go overbord then it would probably work out about 20 less than either of the above in the end.

So, the Dennerle setup:
PROS
1.  Great quality, professional, grown-up stuff.
2.  Just absolutely lovely.
CONS
1.  I'll be spending a fair bit of time sitting at the desk so the external LED migth be right in my line of vision while using the computer.
2.  The filter looks a bit.....limited.  It's just sponge and a pump.  You can get an add-on that provides room for some additional media, but with a 30L tank, space is at a premium.
3.  Nowhere to keep the filter and heater so layout would have to take that into account.

The Fluval Flex:
PROS
1.  Proper covered light so no chance of being dazzled while gaming (yes, I'm a geek!).
2.  Good filter out of the box (apart from the shrimp-eating intake) with scope for lots of improvement through adding proper media and extra mechanical filtration, probably leading to a more stable tank.
3.  Equipment all hidden away behind a panel
4.  Completely unnecessary gimmicky lights (with a remote).  I am a bloke after all!!
CONS
1.  Final cost probably higher than the Dennerle set.  Forget that, the new price I found roughly evens the cost.
2.  Not as nice as the other one.

Buying the bits separately:
PROS
1.  Bit cheaper
2.  I get to spend ages building and pricing dream setups and looking at tanks and stuff in shops and on-line.
3.  I potentially finish up with exactly what I want.
CONS
1.  I have to spend ages building and pricing dream setups and looking at tanks and stuff in shops and on-line. ;D
2.  I potentially finish up with a mismatched load of stuff that doesn't do what I want it to.

What would you guys do?

Offline Sue

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Re: Choices, choices!
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2017, 04:09:34 PM »
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I'll add some comments.

The link is to the Fluval Flex not the Edge. Which one did you mean?
I agree that the filter might suck up baby shrimps, and could be too powerful for a betta. The only way to shrimp proof it would be the unsightly one of wedging some filter wool over the intake.



The filter in the Dennerle is quite adequate for a small tank. I have an air powered sponge filter in my betta's tank. It looks to be shrimp proof as the sponge fits against the grill. I have Eheim biopower filters in my big tank; their bottom basket has a sponge behind a grill and the adult shrimp graze on this basket.
You can buy the dennerle tank without lights, filters etc so lights that can be tilted slightly away from you are a possibility. I have a Hidom led on my 26 litre tank. Look on Ebay or Amazon to see different designs. (I had to buy a new light after the transformer plug on the light that came with the tank fell apart as I was unplugging it  :o )



Before buying a tank, I would decide which fish you will put in there.
As you are aware, some filters will suck up baby shrimps.
Some filters will be too strong for a male betta though a female or male plakat (short finned) betta would be OK.
Bettas are better alone, no tank mates. Bettas eating shrimps is common. I would have either one betta and perhaps a small snail, or cpd's and shrimps.
Deciding on the stocking first should help you choose the tank.

Offline Matt

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Re: Choices, choices!
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2017, 09:01:30 PM »
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I must admit I love the Fluval Flex as the kit is hidden away and it has a nice 'clean' look. This is probably the best way to achieve this look (v hard to replicate yourself). I have taken just as much pride in modifying my Interpet Insight as I would have done building anew.

Another one to consider though which caught my eye in the past is the Flex mini scape set from Maidenhead Aquatics which I suppose is a hybrid between do it yourself and the dennerle as you'd need to choose a filter and heater (or not depending on stocking). It's a bit smaller though at 15 litres. There are often in store offers on this FYI
https://www.fishkeeper.co.uk/product/flexi-mini-scape-set

If thats too small, how about...
A cheap option https://www.fishkeeper.co.uk/product/aqua-range-aqua-expert-27-aquarium
A bit different but I like it https://www.fishkeeper.co.uk/product/superfish-home-25-aquarium

I fear I may not have helped....  ::)

Offline TrenchyLs

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Re: Choices, choices!
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2017, 12:28:58 PM »
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@Sue Ooops, thought I'd corrected that, I meant the Flex.

After reading your input I think I'll put the Betta plans aside for a while, so it'll be CPDs or similar and shrimp.

I am a little paranoid about not having adequate filtration, especially with all the information about how hard it can be to keep small tank chemistry stable!  How effective are the air powered sponge filters and how do you know what size you need?  They don't often have a rating on them like "normal" filters.
The chamber behind the intakes in the Flex is accessible and completely empty so I'd be putting foam in there as the first stage meaning small fish and shrimps would be safe.

I also spotted the Hidom lights on Amazon on Friday.  A couple of different ones are in my shopping list so I can find them again later.  Do you find yours is bright enough to keep plants happy?


@Matt As an engineer, the light on that mini scape set makes me very happy.  Not a lot of kit for the money though!

I keep looking at the Superfish tanks and for some reason they simply don't make me want to click buy.  Really not sure why, as they look like a good little setup.

Offline Sue

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Re: Choices, choices!
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2017, 12:57:18 PM »
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The Hidom light on my betta's tank is fine for java fern, anubias, bolbitis and water sprite (as a floating plant). The light is the AL-2, this one and the tank is 26 litres, with a floor area of 38 x 25 cm.

For small tanks sponge filters are perfect particularly with small fish and shrimps. The problem with them can be noise. Because they are powered by an air pump you have the sound of the bubbles breaking the water surface and some air pumps can be a bit on the noisy side. My betta's tank is on a kitchen worktop and the air pump is suspended with a piece of string from a hook on the underside of the wall cupboard. Other ways to cut down the noise include placing the pump on a folded towel - the noise comes from the pump vibrating against a solid surface.
This is the sponge filter I have. The chap in the shop recommended one with a weighted base as the type that fix to the tank wall with suckers can come unstuck and float - and then water isn't pulled through the sponge.

Offline Matt

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Re: Choices, choices!
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2017, 03:17:46 PM »
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I can recommend these air pumps:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Interpet-Nano-Aquamini-Air-Pump/dp/B00IF9NW62/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1494684975&sr=8-3&keywords=Silent+air+pump
They don't use a motor but a diaphragm pump (engineer alert!!) so are truely as silent as can be.

Offline Sue

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Re: Choices, choices!
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2017, 03:26:14 PM »
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I'll look out for that one if/when I need a new air pump. Google finds that it is in Maidenhead Aquatics  and The Range.
Interestingly, most of the links I found say it is for tanks up to 40 litres while the writing on the box in the photos says up to 25 litres.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Choices, choices!
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2017, 10:08:27 PM »
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I have that pump on the air stone in the quarantine tank.
Yes, it is very quiet.

Offline MarquisMirage

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Re: Choices, choices!
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2017, 12:05:43 AM »
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Interestingly, most of the links I found say it is for tanks up to 40 litres while the writing on the box in the photos says up to 25 litres.

It's not a powerful pump but it's great for keeping a low to medium flow in my 30 l betta cube for that reason.  I also have one for each of my 50 l - 60 l aquariums to add air and always have media available for seeding new tanks.  Surprisingly quiet.  It's promised a lot in air pumps but this one genuinely is as Matt says.  You could probably get away with one in a 40 l but for anything bigger you'll need two air filters or one larger one.

Offline Sue

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Re: Choices, choices!
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2017, 09:21:12 AM »
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In that case it is definitely on the list to replace the JBL Pro Silent air pump. I have managed to adjust the manifold or whatever it is called (the thing with taps that sits in the air line and means I can adjust the flow of air going to the filter). I use one tap to keep the air flow just right for the filter and the other to bleed air to the room. There is a point with the latter where the noise from the pump drops significantly.

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