I'm currently trying to plan out what I plan to do with my boy's (Presto!) new home once it gets here. It is the 6.6 gallon bookshelf tank from Petco (I've seen it mentioned here several times), and the only other tank I've ever really had was a ten gallon one that housed a couple blue goldfish and cory catfish, so I need a little advice here c:
(also sorry this has a lot of mixed questions, so I was not sure which section to post in, and didn't want to make a lot of different posts because that makes me feel like I am being annoying...)
1) Cleaning. I plan to use sand in the tank when I can afford it (for now it will be gravel), and am curious as to how one goes about cleaning a tank with sand. If using a vacuum tube, would the sand get sucked up along with waste and debris? And if so, what are alternatives to cleaning (all I have ever used is the vacuum tube on my old tank, so I'm sadly clueless).
2) Tankmates. I've been researching it a bit, and have a little group picked out, but want to get feedback on the decisions. Being that the tank is 6.6 gallons, I know its not room for a lot, and I also want Presto! to be the main fish in the tank, and want the other creatures to be there mainly for the purpose of helping to keep it clean. I was thinking perhaps 1-2 Cory Catfish, 1-2 Red Cherry Shrimp, and 1-2 Nerite Snails (or maybe a single apple snail). I am unsure about getting two of each because of the space though, but I do plan on remaining vigilant with the water changes and such. I have no clue how he will react to and interact with them, and plan to start off with getting one of one of these and introducing it into his tank to see what he will do. I am hoping he'll be okay with having tankmates, but we'll see I suppose.
3) Live plants. I would like to try and make his tank a live one in the short future, and am wondering what kinds of easy to care for plants might be best. I am currently only have Java Fern on my list, since they seem easy to keep alive and look nice to boot. I might do a Marimo Moss Ball as well. What other sort of aquatic plants do ya'll recommend?
4) Filter. I'll be stuck using the filter the tank comes with for a bit, but would like to get a sponge filter at some point. Problem being is I have no clue how they work or anything. Reading about them is a tad confusing, though I've heard it is a lot easier to understand once you have one in your hands. Also, how do they work when it comes to cleaning them? Like with regular filters, you change the filter cartridges. Do you change the sponges on a sponge filter? Or are they made to be kept in the tank for a long time? I honestly know nothing about them and didn't even know they existed until a few days ago, so sorry I'm so clueless here ":c
Any help and advice is greatly appreciated, and thank you in advance c: