Bought a small aquarium, now what do i do?

I bought this chest of drawers the other day to hide some of the crap i’ve got laying around. Then suddenly i stumbled on an aquarium on sale that fit the top of this furniture, so i kinda bought it on impulse.
It’s a Fluval Edge 23l (6 Gallon), so it’s very small, but it looks very nice.

It’s this one only i got the white version.

I have one plan: It’s going to look amazing!
Now i just have to figure out how…

I’m thinking tropical freshwater with one or two Ancistrus. I also want live plants, but i’m considering a combination of live and fake plants. Not shure about anything really.
I’m open for saltwater too, but i really don’t want to spend a fortune on this and i want the least possible work once i’ve set it all up. I’m hoping i can make it pretty much maintenance free except for the feeding part.

I want to create an illusion that it’s bigger than it is and i don’t want it too crowded with all kinds of stressed fish. I want to make caves for the ancistrus and hiding places (plants?) for other fish or shrimp or whatever.

So, anyone else with this hobby that can give me some advice?


I was thinking more of some cute fishes in a relaxing setting and not so much terror and anxiety. :P
A 5 foot python would be a bit more heavy metal though, maybe i should just get a pirahna?

Set it to ping pong loop and go fuckin bananas :ph34r:/>

I’d try some Amazona swarm fish that don’t want their own territory. Those are easy to handle: Make sure to get at least 8-10 of them so they can get that swarm feeling.

Oh, I just saw it’s VERY small (23 liters). Hm. Maybe 7 or 8 then? I’m not so sure now, I’m not really an expert, and this is really tiny - I had 160l. I’ve read that very small tanks aren’t that easy, because water quality can get bad much faster with less water.

Salt water isn’t really for beginners. Starts with you’ll need cooling for example. Salt water is below your average cozy room temperature.

Maintenance free? I hate to say, but forget it. You’ll need a filter which has to be cleaned once in a while. The water has to be changed now and then. You’ll have to check the water quality - the water in your city might not be what your pets want. Also fish don’t go for a walk - anything you feed them will end up in that tank sooner or later. ;)/>/>

And don’t forget a heating to control the temperature. (Ok, this last one isn’t much work.)

I had a tank (100x40x40 cm) with fresh water for a couple of years. It’s a nice hobby, but it sure needs some time. Anyways, have fun and show pics!

Thanks for the tips!
I thought maybe the plants would eat the fish poo and the ancistrus eats the algea. I’ve seen some setups on youtube that needed very little maintenance, so it shouldn’t be impossible? Changing some water now and then and cleaning the filter once a month or so isn’t that bad though, think i’ll survive that.
I’m very fortunate that the tap water here is very clean and pretty spot on 7 ph, some traces of chlorine, but that shouldn’t be a problem to remove.

A guy in the store told me salt water is pretty easy once you have set it up. The live rocks and stuff will clean the water for you, so you don’t have to do much mainenance. It sounds a bit too expensive for me though.
Here is a thread where a guy uses this aquarium for saltwater:

Will get pics up when i have something to show.

I will ask the guys in the zoo store too, they probably have some nice suggestions. :)

Of course. :rolleyes:

Yeah, better do that. As said, I’m not really an expert, didn’t know salt water isn’t that hard to manage. You’re right, some fish and snails can help with algae. I had a few ancistrus dolichopterus, and they did a great job. (Actually I only kept those after some time - I really loved them, and they even made babies, yay!)

Went to the biggest aquarium shop in Norway today and the guy i talked to there said my aquarium is a bit small for ancistrus. It’s a bit bigger than i thought.
Didn’t ask about salt water, but i ended up with a book about nano aquariums, so i’ll be reading a bit before i jump into buying fishes and plants.

I used to have a 29 gallon set up with a couple of large spotted lace catfish and a male betta, and a separate 5 gallon with a single male Malawi golden cichlid (African cichlids don’t mix with anything; they’re vicious little killers). It’s been a few years since I’ve had either up and running, but I still remember some of the important bits.

Salt water is pretty much out of the question. 6 gallons is simply too small for anything but shrimp, sea horses, anemones, or other very small things that don’t move around much. Salt water is also terribly expensive to start out in. It’s also very high maintenance. And the fish are very expensive. Add it all up, and one small mistake could cost you hundreds of dollars (or euros) in fish.

Fresh water fish are much easier. You’ll need to cycle the tank for about one week before you try to populate it. Cycling it means buying one very small fish, like a minnow or a small gold fish, and giving it free run of the take. This builds up ammonia (which is toxic to fish) and starts a culture of nitrifying bacteria on everything inside the tank. These bacteria turn the ammonia into nitrite (which is slightly less toxic to fish) and starts a second culture of nitrifying bacteria. Those bacteria turn the nitrite into nitrate (which is reasonably harmless to fish but great for live plants). There are also tank additives you can buy to jump-start those bacteria cultures. Most new tanks fail because people put too many fish in before the bacteria cultures are large enough to keep the ammonia and nitrite down below toxic levels.

Most people also overload their tanks. Tropical freshwater can support approximately 1 inch of fish per 24 square inches of surface area (not per liter or gallon like many pet stores will say). If your tank has 360 square inches of surface area (fully exposed to the air for CO2/O2 gas exchange) then it can reasonably support up to 15 inches of fish. Cold water requires roughly 30 square inches per 1 inch of fish.

You’ll also need to change 25% of the water once a week. You can stretch it to every two weeks, but never remove more than a third of the water in the tank. Never use any cleaners on the inside or outside of the tank. Buy yourself an algae brush and use it before you change the water. Live plants will help keep the algae under control, but they won’t eliminate it. Keep your tank out of direct sunlight or algae will take over. Snails will eat algae, but they’ll also eat your fish if they can catch them. Snails also reproduce worse than rabbits; once you have them you’ll probably never get rid of them. Your tank is probably too small for an algae eating fish, so don’t bother. Plecostomus (a kind of algae-eater) start small but can get over 2 feet long.

Vacuum out the gravel to get rid of all the fish poop and uneaten food. Shrimp can help keep things clean, but they get eaten by fish and each other. You’ll still need to vacuum the gravel even with shrimp (be careful not to vacuum the shrimp up). A gravel vacuum will clean out the gravel and empty the water from the tank all in one go.

Don’t overfeed your fish. This is probably the biggest mistake after overpopulating. Fish will eat as long is food is available. Gold fish have been shown to literally eat themselves to death. They don’t need to eat every day, and they don’t need to eat more than once a day. I fed my fish 3 times a week, in the morning on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and I had those fish alive and healthy for years. Give your fish 5 minutes to eat, then remove anything they don’t eat. That’s all they need.

And turn the light off at night. Fish need day and night cycles like everyone else.

Thanks for your thorough reply, this is definately not as simple as i thought when i bought it, but i’ll take the challenge. :)

I’m reading in my book that i may have about 1 cm (mature size) fish per litre of water, but it depends on the species of fish. I’m kinda hoping to have an almost fully planted tank and start with some shrimps. Maybe i can add a pair of fishes later.
It also says that some species of snails are beneficial to the aquarium and that some even won’t reproduce in freshwater, so i consider adding a couple of those.

First i’ll just buy some plants and make it look nice and good water quality, just have to wait for money.

The hardest part is setting things up. Once you’ve got a stable tank, you’re looking at maybe 1 hour a week for maintenance.

Once you get the technique right, moving to desktop aquaponics can also be quite a nice challenge.

Who knows, maybe one day, but for now i have enough in my hands with this one.

Actually i have been thinking about starting a business with this aquarium thingy, offering luxurious custom made aquariums with a running service/maintenance deal. That would be awesome. Need some experience first though, but maybe in a few years. The building part is no problem, but all i really know about fish is what i catch with my rod and dead fish i sell at my job. I can say, without lying, that i have a lifetime experience with fish though. :D

Well, i sell fish at work, i hunt fish in my vacations and i just bought an aquarium, hmmm next thing will probably be to marry a fish or something… :lol:

I totally forgot about this thread! I just bought my first fishes now so it’s a bit more interesting, than my first snail project. :stuck_out_tongue:


Here’s the whole thing. Doesn’t seem that much is happening, the tiny shoal of 10 fire tetras or what they’re called, seems to have found their safe spot under the pump intake. There is also anbristlenose pleco here, but it likes to hide and is mostly active at night. I had another one as well in the previous setup, but it managed to get stuck inside a tree stump full of holes and overgrown by plants and die. It’s a shame because i really liked that one, it didn’t seem scared of me like the others tend to. Think i’ll have to replace it, maybe they’ll get babies, that would be fun.

So i removed the whole root and replaced with smaller pieces where things like that won’t happen.

I wonder if i should get more tetras for the shoal, because they do not seem very comfortable in open water.



And finally the little bristlenose pleco in a deep conversation with a snail:


I have an idea!! and it’s great I tell you.

Click here now!

I can’t refrain myself from suggesting you to put a brand new CAT inside, take a picture and post it in the Redux thread.


I feel much better now I’ve shared my mind… :stuck_out_tongue:

I have an idea!! and it’s great I tell you.

Click here now!

Haha, even better would be a tiny RC fish so i could try to catch those tetras. The last time i had to put them in a temporary bowl, they were impossible to catch, so i ended up using a hose to vacuum them into the bowl. That must have been an awesome ride for those buggers. :stuck_out_tongue:

I can’t refrain myself from suggesting you to put a brand new CAT inside, take a picture and post it in the Redux thread.


I feel much better now I’ve shared my mind… :stuck_out_tongue:

I’d like to see that myself, but i asked the fish and unfortunately they strongly objected to the idea. :smiley:

Just a small update, my bristlenose has got bristles and a new female companion, which he likes to chase. Isn’t she beautiful?


I can’t really tell though, anyone with pleco experience, it is a male and a female right?

A nice way to get a beautiful planted aquarium going if you live in a cold country without that much light is to do a cold water aquarium with cloud mountain minnows and some local water plants or cold resistant plants, letting the plants grow before adding the cloud mountain minnows.

Lucky bamboo and dwarf hairgrass can take the cold quite well, although the hairgrass will take ages to grow even next to a window, without the expensive lighting. However once those plants get their roots into the soil and really start growing they filter the water and the ecosystem stabilises so there wont be hair algae or cyanobacterial problems down the line…

Also, its good to keep some local pond snails in there, let them clean up and break down stuff…

The key to planted aquariums with no algae is not allowing too much nitrates to build up from overfeeding fish or the wrong substrate.

check out the diane walstead method.


I have one more planted aquascape coldwater fishtank tip.

If a person cant be bothered with an expensive C02 infuser to make the plants grow faster you can just point the filter nozzle up towards the surface, from not far under the surface, so that is makes a little fountain (or almost making a little fountain if you don’t want the water noise).

That way a lot more oxygen and CO2 from the air gets into the water. You will see the fish don’t need to hang out near the surface as much because they have more oxygen and the plants grow quicker because they have more CO2.

However if annoying water noises and humming noises from pumps are not an issue, the airstone with pump, or the waterfall style pump also lets more O2 and CO2 into the water.