Originally Posted by Blackfeet
Ok why can't you use the 200w heater. On the gravel there might be a way to cut your costs. It depends largely on your area, if you go to a local cement and/or gravel mines where they supply with aragonite gravel it would drastically cut your costs. I think pulverized brick or lime stone would work too but I need the guys here to confirm that. Lights- I have been seeing people posting decor and lights for all sorts of tank sizes on Craigslist lately. Decor you can use locally foraged rocks and use aquarium silicone and/or epoxy to hold them together just make sure you sanitize them. Lastly regardless if you were planning on it you can use flat black paint on the back instead of buying a background. It is easy to remove with a razor blade if you change your mind too. With the 10 gallon filer it would be be a good idea to use it too just use a sponge cut to size instead of filter media and it will act as a wonderfully easy to clean bio filter or a sponge filter run by air stone works great too. With these 2 filters you don't need the under gravel filter, besides an under gravel filter without a power head isn't doing as much as you would like to think. I tested it on my old 20g tank back in 1997 with blue food dye to see where the suction was, it was drastically reduced (as in might as well not have been here at all) just 6 inches away from the suction. Now without the gravel you can get play sand from home depot much cheaper
I can't use the 200W because its a glass tube heater and they have been know to knock it against the tank and crack it. According to the bf (he's working on being a civil engineer) there are two plants that have that but they don't sell it. He said we can go ask the one thats more lenient abut things and see what we can find. Now I have the lights, they work and are fine its just the cover part that was complete crap. I was thinking of going oldschool and getting some glass pieces cut to fit. I think I have enough decor, I might get more plants but that would be it. I have a bunch of aquarium stuff gathered from over the years and with the things I was given with the tank I have; two really big fake tree roots, a sandstone cave, a "broken" vase from petco, and a bag of plastic plants (I plan on siliconing some to the decorations themselves). I'll probably need some more plants but I plan on checking thrift stores first, a lot of times I've seen plastic aquarium plants in there. As for background I have an old black sheet I use. With my 20 gal going into storage it wont be needing it. I will get the under tank filter out seeing how its pointless and get the 10gal filter out and cleaned. And I have no problem with playsand in my tanks. I rather like the look.
As for fish I have looked at aquabid and If I can find one guy to buy them from I can really cut down on shipping costs. Now I have a local fish store that will specifically order the fish I want, she told me the place she orders from has a very large selection of cichlids and she would be more than willing to special order them. Now I don't know the total cost of this, but I'm thinking if I do a mix of ordering the ones I can't get at a pet shop from aquabid or her, and then getting a few of the other guys from petco/petsmart the day they arrive. So they all go in at once.
I really do like the look of the peacock guys but I'm assuming their going to be a bit more expensive. If I do get some of those what else could I put in there? Would the Jeweled cichlids and or the Yellow Lab guys be alright with them? or maybe the Demasoni? I have a chart in front of me and I'm trying to pick ones that aren't too aggressive, although the Demasoni can't be with other striped guys. Sorry I didn't put the scientific names, I can if you need me too.