Office tank setup advice

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NellysDad

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Hi all

I've finally managed to convince my two workmates to get an aquarium in our shared office space and I'm looking for some suggestions.

Let me start with our water. The water in our work and area in general is VERY hard and on the alcaline side. pH is around 8-8.2, GH is 8°d, KH is between 15-20°d so the calcium content is absurdly high. This limits the number of fish we can keep without constantly struggling with our water as the buffer itself is large.

For the tank we have two options, both old tanks of mine. One is 2gal (7 lit.) and the other is 5.5gal (21lit.).

Our filtering options are to use an internal filter with replaceable cartridges or a powerhead with a small sponge on the intake. I would prefer the latter but the flow is kind of strong even in the 5.5gal. Alternatively I have thought of engineering an external canister filter from diy parts so there is always this option.

The substrate can be either lava rock (I use that in my tanks and have plenty left over) or gravel. It doesn't really matter, whatever suits the fish best. I do keep my tanks planted with Limnophila Sessiliflora (legal in Europe) and Taiwan moss, so I can always take some pieces to plant the tank. I would prefer a planted tank as not only it would seem more anesthetically pleasing but also give the fish a distraction to play in.

I would appreciate some comments on the above and a few ideas for fish that could possibly work for us.
 
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Ghelfaire

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Have you considered keeping shrimp instead? They come in all sorts of colours and would fit in either size tank.
 
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JettsPapa

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NellysDad

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Many of you may find this strangely entertaining, but sponge filters aren't really available here... The only sponge filters I can find are either expensive (we're talking in the 20-25$ range which is insane for a sponge filter without even a pump!!) or available abroad and will have to get them shipped... It seems that these days for 10$ and under you can only get powerheads... That's the reason I mentioned these options before and didn't go for the obvious choice of a sponge filter with a silent pump from the start. That and the fact that I already have some spare of both kinds :oops:

yes I could make a diy sponge filter but if I go the diy way I may as well go all in and try building a canister ;)
Yes shrimp may work (and they'd probably love the calcium rich alcaline water too). I do have my eye set on some RCS at my LFS for my item tanks at home. But I was really hoping for a fish aquarium. A few guppies would probably be fine in a 5.5 gal, or a betta. I have kept both these fish and wanted to see if there's any other options out there that would much my water+size.
 
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Ghelfaire

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A pea puffer might work in the 5.5. Needs to e heated with very good filtration. You also need to feed it blood worms or black worms (that type of live/frozen food). Small snails like bladder or pond also work as food. They don't have a beak like other puffers so no need to worry about that.
 
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NellysDad

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Yes naturally a heater will be used if the fish is not a cold water fish. I actually think there might not be any cold water fish in the hobby that would do well in 5.5 gallons anyway, so we might as well take it for granted that a heater will be needed.

The amount of filtration required won't be an issue, I can always go higher provided I can find the right fish. It's mostly the water parameters and tank size I'm worried about because these limit my options a lot. Anything bigger in tank size would be... frowned upon and fighting against the water all the time is not fun at all, especially with so much buffering capacity.

We've settled on a few guppies for the 5.5 gal as a couple of my females are pregnant. I still haven't ruled out a Betta if I can find one that is unwanted as I'd rather rehome one.
 
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Mazeus

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+1 for betta, for a small tank I really don't think there is anything better! Fun, interactive, bright and colourful!
I hear you about the sponge filters! I live in the UK, and while you can get them they just are not that common. From youtube it seems like in America they are everywhere and quite cheap too!
 
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mimo91088

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Is the internal filter something you could modify to use different media? I have a 2.5 gallon at work, and I'm running the factory filter it came with. But I ditched that cartridge day one and used coarse sponge instead.
 
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NellysDad

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Mazeus said:
+1 for betta, for a small tank I really don't think there is anything better! Fun, interactive, bright and colourful!
I hear you about the sponge filters! I live in the UK, and while you can get them they just are not that common. From youtube it seems like in America they are everywhere and quite cheap too!
Yes, it's the same here where they sell mostly internal filters with cartridges or external canisters. Some go so far as to sell powerheads with sponges. I have built my own tiny diy sponge filter for under 30 cents so these prices for a factory-made piece of plastic and sponge are just ridiculous.

mimo91088 said:
Is the internal filter something you could modify to use different media? I have a 2.5 gallon at work, and I'm running the factory filter it came with. But I ditched that cartridge day one and used coarse sponge instead.
I can hack it, no problem. The stock cartridge has so little media inside anyway that it's a joke. And the cost is outrageous. I have a variety of sponges (suitable for aquariums), filter wool and unlimited amounts of lava rock to use as a medium.
 
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mimo91088

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NellysDad said:
I can hack it, no problem. The stock cartridge has so little media inside anyway that it's a joke. And the cost is outrageous. I have a variety of sponges (suitable for aquariums), filter wool and unlimited amounts of lava rock to use as a medium.
Then I'd roll with that instead of a powerhead in such a small tank for sure.
 
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fishkeepinginaisa

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NellysDad said:
Hi all

I've finally managed to convince my two workmates to get an aquarium in our shared office space and I'm looking for some suggestions.

Let me start with our water. The water in our work and area in general is VERY hard and on the alcaline side. pH is around 8-8.2, GH is 8°d, KH is between 15-20°d so the calcium content is absurdly high. This limits the number of fish we can keep without constantly struggling with our water as the buffer itself is large.

For the tank we have two options, both old tanks of mine. One is 2gal (7 lit.) and the other is 5.5gal (21lit.).

Our filtering options are to use an internal filter with replaceable cartridges or a powerhead with a small sponge on the intake. I would prefer the latter but the flow is kind of strong even in the 5.5gal. Alternatively I have thought of engineering an external canister filter from diy parts so there is always this option.

The substrate can be either lava rock (I use that in my tanks and have plenty left over) or gravel. It doesn't really matter, whatever suits the fish best. I do keep my tanks planted with Limnophila Sessiliflora (legal in Europe) and Taiwan moss, so I can always take some pieces to plant the tank. I would prefer a planted tank as not only it would seem more anesthetically pleasing but also give the fish a distraction to play in.

I would appreciate some comments on the above and a few ideas for fish that could possibly work for us.
You can never go wrong with a betta, but I'd used the 5.5 gallon.
 
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fishkeepinginaisa

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NellysDad said:
Many of you may find this strangely entertaining, but sponge filters aren't really available here...
Really? That's so interesting! I'm American and sponge filters are really common. I'm always fascinated by how fishkeepers around the world do things differently. For example, here in China, they put a sump on top of their tank instead of beneath it. I mentioned this already, but I think a betta would be a great pick for the 5.5.
 
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