“ Brand: Penn Plax / Type: Aquarium „
My daughter is Spongebob mad and at the beginning of 2012 she was treated to a fish tank from my mum. I'm not really an animal lover so as far as pets go, fish were about the only thing I would keep in the house (she's welcome to have all the pets she wants at other people's houses!). As my daughter was Spongebob crazy, this fish tank was perfect.
My mum paid £30 for the Spongebob Squarepants aquarium kit from our local Pets At Home. I haven't seen it available to buy from anywhere else but Pets At Home also sell it on their website.
--- Contents ---
The fish tank comes packaged in very little cardboard, it is sort of packaged with a lid and a bottom and sandwiched into place so it doesn't fall out, minimal packaging is always good in my books as long as the product is safe inside. Being a Spongebob Squarepants product, the packaging is bright yellow and features Spongebob detailing. Inside the tank comes everything you need (apart from the fish!) to start your aquarium. There is a filter, backing cardboard, lid, gravel, stickers, plant and accessory. We got Spongebob's house as an accessory in our tank but normally it's Spongebob sitting in a chair (we've since purchased this one too). The overall size is 38cm long, 25cm high and 28cm deep and holds 15 litres of water.
Putting the tank together is fairly straight forward, I started by putting the backing cardboard into place, this simply just rests against the back wall of the tank and features a scene of inside Spongebob's house. Next, I let my daughter put the stickers into place, we decided on putting the 'viewing area' sticker next to the viewing area then she put the rest toward the bottom of the tank so it wouldn't obscure the view into the tank. After doing this I put in the little bag of gravel that came with the tank, this was really disappointing as there wasn't enough for even a small layer across the bottom of the tank so I did end up purchasing a separate bag of gravel just to make an adequate amount. Putting the plant in with no gravel was a nightmare as it just didn't stay up unless it was weighed down with stones. The ornament didn't need too much gravel around it to stay in place.
Before putting the lid on the tank, I placed the sponge filter inside the casing. The casing is easy to open by pushing a little notch on the side then it just simply comes apart. I pushed the sponge into place and put it back together so I could put it into the tank. There are four small suction cups on the back so that you can place it on the side of the tank and not have to worry about it falling in. There is a little hole in the corner of the lid so that the wire can come out through it without the lid having to come away from the top of the tank.
--- Spotty and Goldies new home ---
Once everything is in place and you've filled it up with water, it's recommended that you leave the water to settle for three days before introducing any fish to the environment. After the three days were up, we went back to our local Pets At Home store to buy some fish to put inside. Talking to the nice staff member, he told us which fish would be best to fit inside the tank without over filling it. My daughter settled on two small sized goldfish, Spotty and Goldie! Once home, we opened the bag the fish were inside to let some of the water into it so the fish could get accustomed to the new surroundings instead of being thrown straight it. After a while we let the fish swim into the tank.
The fish took to their new surroundings really well. Initially, I thought they look a little lost as they looked tiny once they were inside the tank, I would have purchased another fish but the man in the store said that they are still growing and need enough room to grow into and the ones we had were plenty big enough.
--- The tank ---
The overall look of the tank once it's first set up is lovely, the Spongebob Squarepants theme is definitely a hit with my daughter but I think any fish tank, whether it be character or not, would have been a hit. Although it's a Spongebob tank, the design isn't too in your face and has just the right amount of Spongebob designs. I really like the fact that it had stickers that my daughter could place where she wanted as it involved her in the whole set up process.
My daughter was mesmerised by the viewing area on the top right of the tank. It has some sort of magnifying properties so the fish are easier to see and look bigger. There is a flip top lid in-cased in the main lid above the viewing area so when you feed the fish, the whole idea is that they will come to the viewing area so you can watch them eat. This doesn't happen though as the filter over the other side of the tank makes the fish flakes drift towards that end of the tank instead of staying around the viewing area.
The size is nice for the two small fish we have and I wouldn't go and purchase anymore, not just for the fact that the fish are going to grow, but we have purchased a few more accessories to go in the tank until the fish grow a little more. They enjoy, well I think they do, swimming around the different ornaments and have places where they can hide if they want.
--- Fish tank care ---
When it comes to cleaning then tank, the filter does most of the work. Around once a month, I take the filter out of the water and change the sponge inside as this is where the muck and dirt gets built up over time. Every few weeks I also change some of the water. I get rid of about one fifth of the water then add in some clean dechlorined water to put it back upto level again. When I'm changing the water I tend to clean an ornament or two at the same time but don't always need to do this. It may sound a bit like hard work but after a month you get used to what you are doing and it takes no time at all to keep the fish tank in a nice, clean environment for the fish.
--- Overall ---
I think this is a great first fish tank. At £30, it is slightly more expensive than non character fish tanks but as my daughter loves Spongebob Squarepants I'm glad we've got this one. It is a shame that there isn't enough gravel included to cover the bottom of the tank but that's the only negative I can think of. It's a nice size, looks lovely, comes with everything else you'll need, I definitely recommend it.