Thank you! I took a liking to the black sand. It would really show off the fish better.
I have to make one HUGE confession here: I got into fish b/c of my cat. I am owned by a blue bi-color Ragdoll who is smarter than I am. He gets bored easily but he adores the fish tank at the (unbelievably expensive) boarding faciliity he goes to. I have to pay extra for fish-watching time; $4 per hour. If I hold him up to the bettas, he enjoys them briefly. My goal is to have some flashy fish in a tank that's at a level for him to enjoy watching. Growing up, we had 4 cats and a nice 20-gallon guppy tank that they all enjoyed. One day, my mom left the top of the tank open; one of our new sword-tails shot out of the tank right into the mouth of my "personal cat", Mimi. I don't need to tell you that Mimi was an avid fish-watcher for the rest of her days!
Well, so long as you enjoy it too, I don't see why that could be a bad thing! xD All us keepers end up in the hobby somehow! I've heard of lots of people whos cats really enjoy their fish tanks and seen several pictures, it always looks so adorable!
Oh! One more thing I forgot to mention in my last post....the test strips are notorious for being inaccurate. I would highly suggest investing in a liquid test kit, the API brand is a good one and you can find it just about anywhere. It may be a for more bucks up front, but with 800 tests and a much better chance of accuracy its an extremely useful and necessary investment for any keeper IMO.
Anyway, I hope I've answered most of the questions you might have for the moment, and I'm glad that I could help. If anything else comes to mind, please feel free to Post a thread, send me a PM(if you manage to get it working), or post a comment on my page. :)
I am a vegetarian and love all animals. I adore fish; the fact that they beg for food and seem to show emotions! If I can make Jax (my cat), me, and fish happy, it's a win-win all around! I just wish I could get Jax to do water changes. I'd bet he'd drink the fish water, though! Back in the early 70s, the hoods were metal and had to be pulled back entirely to feed the fish and otherwise maintain the filter, etc.- allowing naughty tabby cats great opportunities if the fish-tank supervisor slipped up. Thank the fish god that designs have changed. Look; don't eat or go fishing, kitties!
I haven't encountered much about UV sterilizers, but I'm doing a little reading up on them and it looks like the ones made specifically for aquariums are supposed to not kill off the BB.....but they can get really expensive, and it looks like its not really necessary however unless you're really getting into the breeding or care of some more expensive delicate species of fish or you're keeping Saltwater. I'm sure no one here on this forum has or uses one(or if they do its never been mentioned that I've seen).
I'm not seeing anything that has to do with live plants in relation to them.
I'm sure the pet stores use them; the tanks are always perfect w/ no live plants.
UV's kill plants but not fish?
Chocolate, is there a plant filter 'method' or do you just mean live plants? I put as many live plants as possible. I only have 2 purple plastic plants as accents in my purple-themed 5 gal. Purple gravel, purple rock, purple fish!
For a normal setup with most species of fish you can have a nice, perfect, clean tank just by keeping up with the needed maintenance. A UV sterilizer is not needed to make a tank look perfect, that all depends on the care and diligence yo provide to your setup, even with one.
I used to work at a local pet store with a very stunning, large, and very well maintained fish section. We had 200+ tanks, all separate setups, ranging from 20-200 gallons or so and we didn't use any kind of UV sterilizer product. We just had a water changing schedule, watched tank levels, and kept an eye on algae growth.
Live plants do do some 'filtering' of their own as they will absorb the ammonia your fish produces and turn it into nutrients, so healthy live plants really do a nice job at assisting in the overall health and maintenance of a setup. I do believe that is what CB was referring to.