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Where it started

It all started with a birthday gift from my brother: a 10 liter Dennere Nano Cube. It is a really nice tank with all the things you need as a starter. I equipped it with some real plants -- instead of the plastic ones that came with it -- as well as some guppies. 

The guppies in the 10l tank
That all worked really nicely. We must have had the fish for more almost a year after they started 'leaving' us. As one of the guppies was definitely more dominant than the rest, he was the last to remain. Solitude didn't bring him happiness either as a short while later he left us as well...

All that being sad and all, it was time for some in-depth investigation as to how the perfect tank should look like and how I could bring maintenance time down a bit. The 10 liter tank takes up a fair amount of time as it is difficult to control algae. 

By now it was a year later so my brother gave me two books for starting aquarium enthusiasts for my next birthday. They were:

As you understand, putting shrimps in the aquarium was his advice for keeping algae under control. He also found it a low maintenance inhabitant that supplied a lot of entertainment.

In reading the books I soon found out that larger tanks take less time than small tanks since there is a more balanced environment in larger tanks. The tank thus was to become larger, but not larger than 35 liters due to spacing restrictions and my personal beliefs with regards to interior design. That sounded like an upgrade, which meant a whole new range of options and decisions. 

I didn't like the 20 and 30 liter Dennerle cubes, as their shape becomes a bit too bulky in these dimensions. I did some thorough searching on the internet and stumbled onto the tanks made by Aquatic Nature. Both the tanks in the 'Cocoon' series and the 'Evolution' tank had my attention. There are some alternatives, but they didn't seem to have the same quality standard after reading various reviews. 

Next choice to make: the fully featured, nicely built, but expensive Evolution? The cheaper Cocoon nr. 6 (7 is too big for me)?? Or a DIY alternative???

The Evolution soon quit the shortlist, as my girlfriend thought it looked like a deep frier. I then found a small company in the Netherlands that supplied the Cocoon in a tank-only delivery -- thus no filter & light. An ideal solution for me, as it brings the tank with the nicely rounded edges (as compared to squared glued edges of a DIY tank) as well as the freedom to experiment with the filter that was advised in the two books I had read: the Hamburger Matten Filter -- or short HMF. The link to shows you all the details!

I ordered the tank, as well as a LED light fixture from Superfish and a Aquapower 300 pump from Superfish. I am always conscious when it comes to energy usage, and both the LED light and the 3 Watt pump are the obvious choices in that case. 

I also sold the old tank on (eBay). I've attached the promotional pictures at the bottom for the curious folks.

Time had come to wait for delivery and start to make a building plan for the filter up front.

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