SIZE ISN’T EVERYTHING
Here at PFK, we’re often guilty of showcasing big and beautiful tanks. But smaller set-ups can really look the business, so here are some great ideas for those more easily accommodated two-footers.
Smaller set-ups can really look the business. Here are some great ideas for the more easily accommodated 60cm/2ft aquariums.
While many fishkeepers dream of supersized layouts, the reality on the ground is that most of us are trying to find smaller concepts to fit into more modest accommodation, so we’ve decided to bandy some ideas around for a tank that’ll fit in any home.
Just above the nano market, you’ll find the entry level ‘substantial’ tanks, and the smallest of these is likely the classic 60cm/2ft — many a new aquarist cut their teeth on one of these.
You can buy an all glass 60 x 30cm tank from around £50, or if you want a bigger footprint, you can look at TMC or Evolution Aqua 60cm tanks, but the price will be higher on these due to increased glass thickness and quality.
The best deals usually come as complete set-ups, so if you can budget around £175 to £250, you can get something with cabinet and all essential hardware. Then it’s just substrate, decor, plants and fish to worry about.
Alternatively, build the set-up to suit you from scratch, for increased versatility. You’d be surprised what options open themselves up if you deviate a little from the beaten track…
Obvious, for sure, but there’s no reason you can’t pull off a great community in a small tank. The trick is not to overstock it (really easy to do) and to get a good balance between your shoaling fish and your showcase (the standout) fish — the tendency is to go too mad with pick ‘n’ mix fish like platies, and suddenly find you’re all out of space.
If we’re going a classic community, I’d want to tick a few boxes.
Firstly, include some small tetra. So many are farmed en-masse now that they’re accustomed to wide water chemistry ranges. Avoid the bigger ones and plump for something like the adorable Ember tetra (six minimum), Hyphessobrycon amandae.
Next, I want an Asian midwater swimmer as my ‘other’ small shoal, such as one of the Harlequin rasbora species (Lamb-chop rasbora are quite lovely) in a shoal of six.
As a showcase fish, either a small cichlid or a small gourami type will be prominent enough. Avoiding those with extreme preferences, a routinely farmed fish is wise. In my case, I’d go Kribensis cichlid, just so that we’ve covered all three continents.
While it’s already a bit of a squeeze in there, if you fancied some cats instead of either the tetra or rasbora then forfeit one of the above choices and source yourself a shoal of small Corydoras. Borderline dwarf species like C. habrosus would go perfectly. • Special requirements: None.
Biotope set-ups don’t have to be huge to look effective.
Don’t try and cram too many fish into your community tank.