Setting Up an Office Tank
I've managed an office tank for about a year now and I've had it recently moved to my personal office. I wanted to write a little something for anyone interested in having a fish tank in their office.
Why have an office tank? They are really fun, a great way to introduce people to the hobby because it is something your co-workers can see on a daily basis. Plus it adds a bit of relaxation on those days when work can get particularly rough. But there are a few things to consider before getting one.
1. Make sure your employer is ok with it! This should be a no brainer but it is still very important. Even if your employer okays it, you need to always be respectful of the work environment and not let it interfere with daily duties. An understanding boss can quickly turn sour when you haven't turned in your work because of a water change you are in the middle of. You also want your tank to be quiet. So pick a filter that you know isn't going to make a lot of noise. I run an AquaClear 30 and you have to look at it to make sure it is running.
2. Water source. Make sure you have an easily accessible water source that will be of minimal interference with the rest of the work staff. Remember, you probably will not be able to bring your fancy python or other type of aquarium siphon so bucket brigade is the way to go. You'll need a water source you can use well with a bucket.
3. Tank size. I would suggest that a 10 gallon tank be the maximum size for your office. It is easier to manage in the confined space of an office. Plus it is small enough to place on a desk, so additional stands are not required. This is a great opportunity to get that fancy little nano tank you've always wanted! Subsequently a 50% water change on a 10 gallon or less isn't that big a deal. One five gallon bucket is all you need. Though I do keep an additional 2.5 gallon bucket as I find this more manageable for adding water back into the tank without spilling anything. I have worked out a plan where I can get a full 50% water change done in 18 minutes.
4. Equipment. Like I mentioned above, quiet equipment is essential in order to keep the peace in the office. So that means quiet filters, air pumps, and anything else that could make noise. The rest of your tank should be simple. You should shoot for a low light tank. You just don't have the time to mess with a high tech set up. Imagine what that CO2 diffuser might be doing while you are home on the weekend. Also think about what would happen if anything were to go wrong with your equipment. A busted HOB filter will just burn out. But spring a leak on a canister filter and you'll have a tough time explaining that to the boss.
5. Fish. Keep it simple, keep it hardy. Due to the nature of this tank you can't give it the same level of care you would your home tank. If you work M-F, that is two days each week you will be away from your tank. So don't get those fancy little fish that require a lot of attention. Get hardy fish that can handle a few days without care. I am currently keeping flame tetras in mine. Fish like bettas, livebearers, and certain tetras are good choices. Additionally, planting the tank with a good stock of live plants will help keep the tank stable in your absence.
I've had a real blast with my tank as have my co-workers. You can too! Just one more way you can feed your Multiple Tank Syndrome.
Increasing your biodiversity increases your stability.
You know what this tank needs? ........................ Crypts.