The initial setup of a tank can be kind of pricey, but the upkeep is very inexpensive once the tank is established. I've found that purchasing an aquarium starter kit, which usually includes the filter system, heater (for tropical fish use), some amount of water conditioner and bacteria starter, along with samples of food, is a good way to begin. So I selected the 29-gallon size, the same size as my tank at home, picked up 30 pounds of colored gravel, a couple ornaments, an air pump and tubing, an air stone, and went about the business of setting up the tank.
It can be a laborious process, rinsing out the tank, rinsing off the gravel thoroughly, setting in ornaments, filling it with water and ensuring the initial balance is ok, and setting up the filter and the aerator system.
You're supposed to let the tank cycle for at least 24-48 hours before adding any fish, so I let it sit for about 4 days, then I went to get some live plants and some cheap fancy goldfish (4), so start off. I wanted to be sure the tank was ready before transplanting my big boys from my old store. I fully expected at least one of the tiny goldfish to die, and the smallest one actually floated belly up in the corner off and on, but persevered. All 4 were still alive after 4 days, so this past Wednesday I took a small ice chest/cooler to go fetch my 3 big boys and my pleco and move them to their new home.
The transfer went smoothly. I also picked up Worf, a glass goldfish, and a large glass seahorse that were decorations in my old tank. I promised that I would come back to clean out that tank (hopefully I'll have some time tomorrow evening), and now my big boys are comfortably residing in their roomier house.
I'm having a problem with the light on the aquarium hood. I've already gotten a replacement bulb from the pet store, but I'm going to go back and ask for a new electrical component. The light worked for one day, then stopped working, and both the fish and the plants need some direct light for a few hours a day.
So now I have a fresh, new, clean tank with 7 fish and 1 pleco in my office. As soon as I get the light situation solved, I'll take some pics and post them here. My big boys look happy, and they don't seem to be bothering the smaller fish. It's difficult to think that they used to be that tiny when I bought them a couple of years ago. I understand that goldfish can live to be 20 years old or more. That's amazing.
My favorite part of the new aquarium is a fat plastic toad that is hooked up to an air supply, so it looks like he's belching bubbles every 10 seconds. So cute. And once the plants grow in, it will really be a lovely home.
My new staff is quite enthralled with the fish.
Happy happy fishies.