Photo Caption:After umpteen trips to various stores for lighting, plants, fish and such, plus equally umpteen deliveries from Amazon for hardware, test kits, etc., this is where I am right now with my new tank. I wanted to create a possible scene from a lake bed in which the fish will have plenty of hiding places and hopefully feel at ease, with their comfort being my first priority, but I tried to balance that with a sort of purposely unkempt/wild look to everything (without looking like no thought was given to it, which I found is harder to do than it sounds), even though I used all artificial plants (but everything else is real, including the driftwood, riverbed gravel and rocks). It's still cycling just a bit, so it's a little cloudy, but I figured it's clear enough to show enough detail to go ahead and grab a picture of it.
Visible in this one are a flame dwarf gourami, some kind of yellow-and-black-and-orange platy that I think might be pregnant, another yellow-and-orange platy, two Bolivians rams, several zebra danios, neon black tetras, a baby rainbow fish, a couple of mollies and some guppies. I have no idea where the hillstream loach is, though, but he's still in there somewhere. :)
Description:60-gallon Marineland aquarium (48Lx24.5Hx13.5W) with all-glass hood; 2 Fluval AquaClear 70 (300gph) power filters running one 11x23 undergravel filter each; 2 AquaTech 170gph power heads for additional circulation; 1 300w Eheim Jager heater; 1 glass thermometer; 2 48in National Geographic Deluxe Programmable 3-bar LED lights with daylight and moonlight (and combined) functions; assorted plastic and silk plants; riverbed gravel; assorted driftwood; assorted rocks.
Advice:Do your homework (read every aquarium site and forum you can find), get a good test kit (API master test kits are excellent), don't panic when your water clouds up when you first set up your tank, even when clarifiers won't get rid of it (this is just bacterial bloom, and it'll clear up on its own as the tank gets established), keep up on your water changes and gravel vacuuming, don't overstock, don't overfeed, don't over-treat with chemicals, and, most importantly, don't over-fuss. It's easy to take care of your tank and your fish as long as you approach it as being nothing more than a series of very simple steps that, if you follow them, will just work out.
About Yourself:A photographer and graphic designer by trade, I've long enjoyed taking care of an aquarium, because it's a lot like working in a darkroom. There's chemistry and method and skill involved, but it's very relaxing, and when you see the results of your work, there's a sense of accomplishment, pride and even peace.
I prefer a natural-looking environment in my aquarium, though I do also prefer artificial plants, because planted aquariums are a bit more work than I have time for (much like saltwater/reef aquariums).
Video of my aquarium can be seen at: http://youtu.be/iVifqpdDWb0