I got the Petco Bookshelf over the weekend and set it up! Hurray!!! Sparkie seems to be really enjoying the new space. Here is a picture.
* 6.6gallon Petco Bookshelf aquarium, using included filter and hood.
* Replaced filter media with Aquaclear sponge and biobag.
* Fluval Edge pre-filter sponge on intake
* Replaced bulb with 15W T8 "LifeGlo" 6500k bulb
* Heater: Hydor Theo 25W
* Substrate: eco-complete
* Live plants: java fern, anubias, mossball, hygrophilla, and some "unknowns" - the LFS threw in some extras for me to try.
* Real driftwood, fake "betta log", and fake cave. - I was trying to go all natural, but couldn't get rid of those last two as Sparkie likes them so much.
* Chemicals: Seachem Prime for conditioning, Seachem Flourish excel for plants
My review of the aquarium itself:
Well, so far, mixed feelings.
I love, love, love the size of it. Love the long horizontal space. Fits great on my kitchen counter. Seems like a great amount of space for betta swimming.
Filter seems ok. Pretty quiet, although I do hear a "hum" if I listen closely. There are no water flowing or bubbling noises. With the flow turned down as far as possible, I don't think it is bothering my fish. As I wrote above, I replaced the media in it. No problems with the light so far, although I have noticed that it gets pretty hot on top when I put my hand there, and it seems to heat up the water quite a bit. As I wrote ablove, I replaced the bulb with one that should be better for the plants.
Now for the bad. When I opened the box, the back corner of the clear plastic cover was cracked. That really sucked. After a night to think about whether to send it back, I decided to go ahead with setup. The crack is not visible behind the light hood anyway. I super-glued it and it seems to be holding.
Next bad. I read all the reviews about this tank scratching easily, and I thought, "Well, I'll be careful." and "Should be the same as other acrylic tanks, right? Like I already have, and haven't scratched yet." Well, right away, putting in the eco-complete (which is very sharp and gritty, unlike usual rounded aquarium gravel), I put some major scratches on the inside. Argh!!!! Is all acrylic the same? I don't know. But it seems to me, that this tank is scratching easier than our other acrylic one.
Well, that's it for "bad". Everything else seems good. I am a little concerned about the light getting so hot, but not sure what I can do about that. I mean, I could replace it with that Marineland LED strip that I wrote about in the original post, but that costs more than the aquarium itself! So I will probably stick with this set up for now and hope it doesn't cause any problems. The tank being "non-standard" size means you can't just go and replace the light hood with a different one. It is 22.5inches long - definitely not standard. Although it uses a regular 18" bulb. A 20" hood would fit on top fine, but leave extra space on both sides. The Marineland LED strip is adjustable from 18 - 24" so that would work, but it would not cover up the view of the filter and stuff so well.
So, my heater keeps the tank around 78, which is perfect. With the light on during the day, the temp climbs up to 82. Then drops again at night. Maybe this is not a problem, as it mimics nature, right? Usually temps rise a bit during the day. Is 82 too hot? Another idea I had was to put the light on a timer and run it 5 hours in the early morning and another 5 hours in the evening. Those are the times when we are at home and like to see the light on anyway. During the day when we are out of the house, the light could shut off and therefore avoid building up so much heat. Does anyone think that kind of "divided" lighting period would be a problem for the fish or the plants?
Whew long post. If anyone else is thinking about this tank, I thought my information above might be useful.