100th Post on Spec-Tanks

A few weeks ago, I realized I was approaching my 100th post on Spec-Tanks.com.  It’s a milestone that is hard to imagine.  It’s like a lot of things in life – time passes, and the next thing you know. . .

Humble Beginnings with a Gift from Santa:

Kids often take an interest in what their parents are interested in.  Around 2014, I started to discuss aquariums with one of our twin boys. . how I had one when I was a child and would want one again.  Lucky for us, he asked for an aquarium for Christmas.  Santa had the good judgment to do his research and get a small nano aquarium, the Fluval Spec V.

fluval spec v aquarium as a Christmas gift

The Spec V checked a lot of boxes for us: small (seemed to simplify setup and maintenance), All-In-One (fewer decisions on accessories like pumps and filters); it fit nicely in a place deemed acceptable by Valerie (on the kitchen bar).

Aquarium Research – The Internet Can Be a Strange Place:

I had a lot of fun researching the tank and learning about the Spec V and freshwater aquariums in general. Still, I experienced a strange phenomenon when poking around the internet. I discovered that information people used to take the time to post on websites had, at some point, transitioned to Internet forums. I’m thankful for the information posted on said Internet forums, but this being the only means of getting information poses a few problems:

  • Information on forums is not well organized.  I’d find myself looking for a simple piece of information, like what heaters fit in the pump section of the Fluval Spec V.  If I by chance found this information, it was usually buried in post 1,387 of a long and unorganized slug of rambling by hundreds of individuals.
  • Information on forums is difficult to verify:  When you do come across the information you are searching for, you sometimes have to wonder if it is correct.  Internet forums are generally filled with well-meaning people who are willing to share their experiences.  However, not all of these opinions are equal.  Some statements presented as absolute or fact are actually opinions.  Not only that, some well-meaning input is from people who are inexperienced and are not qualified to dispense advice.  Worse still, some people on Internet forums intentionally post false information on purpose.  Like I said, the internet can be a strange place.  The difficulty is in verifying the validity of the information and the competence/experience of the individual providing the information.
  • New Frontiers in Confusion – Facebook Groups: I’m seeing that many internet forums are dying off with increased competition from large social media sites, such as Facebook.  The issues plaguing Internet forums seem even worse on Facebook Groups.

Spec-Tanks.com – Simple Goals for Success:

With the difficulty I discovered in my initial aquarium research, I decided that I could create a website to document all that I had found and was learning through the process of setting up our Spec V.

child with planted fluval spec v aquarium

The primary vision for the site was based on the golden rule: do to others as you would have them do to you.  Simply – create the kind of website that I would want to visit. This included:

  • Thorough Information: For reviews, I would include all the information a person could want and need.  Product reviews often leave out essential information, like dimensions, product features, and specifications (electrical information, for example).  If I created a ‘How-To’ article, I would carefully include all the steps to make the instructions clear and easy to follow.
  • Good Pictures: So many websites don’t include clear pictures to illustrate the products (being reviewed) or the process being described.  That’s no fun, and to be honest, good photos help verify that the product was actually purchased and used. On top of that, a big part of the aquarium hobby is creating visual beauty – a good website should showcase as much of this beauty as possible.
  • State the Good and Bad: Many sites only post the rosy and are not honest about products that don’t work or their shortcomings.  This doesn’t do the reader any good.  Just because a product has failings doesn’t mean it can’t work for an individual, but I want to make this known so people can make the best decision and plan accordingly.

planted low light nano aquarium

A look back at Spec-Tanks – and Looking Forward:

I just checked, and I have written 142,231 words thus far on this site.  That’s not bad for a married father of four holding down a full-time job.

At the same time, I’m sometimes discouraged about what I don’t have time to do on this site.  I currently have over 40 article ideas in the ‘Draft’ queue waiting to be written.

As I presented in the Upcoming in 2020 article, I have a lot planned for this year.  I will document our adventures in Saltwater with our new EVO 13.5 and have lots to write about on planted nano aquariums.

Thanks for stopping by, leaving comments, and for the support and encouragement you have given me.  It is fun and very fulfilling to get feedback if this site has helped you out.  Here’s to the next 100 posts, and beyond. . .

16 thoughts on “100th Post on Spec-Tanks

  1. I just want to say THANK YOU for your site. I felt so prepared when buying our Fluval Spec III last year, and we just upgraded to the Spec V. I don’t think I could have set it up properly without your instructions and mods. Congrats on your 100th post!

  2. Also want to echo a really big thank you!
    I gone into the hobby with my first tank, a spec V as my first real aquarium experience and all the resources in this site has helped me tremendously every step of the way — so much so that I am hooked on the hobby and has acquired another tank ( Fluval Flex 15 ).

    Once again thanks for all the write up Nate! It’s rare to find someone that document their process so well AND keeps it clean and entertainning! I can’t wait for your full set up on the salty to take shape — that’s a realm I don’t dare to enter , yet!

    1. Awesome! That flex sounds nice – good luck!

      I never thought I’d try Saltwater and yet . . .

  3. I mentioned it recently on an older post, but it begs repeating. Thanks for the site. I’ve used it quite a few times with my Spec V. Of all my planted tanks, this one has been the most challenging to maintain

    1. You’re very welcome! Not sure what specifically makes your Spec V hardest to Maintain. I don’t have any other larger tanks so nothing to compare to. I will say when I trim plants I sometimes loose my mind maneuvering in such a tiny space!

  4. Hello Nate! Love your website and information. It has been a huge help with my own planted Spec V. I thought I recalled seeing that you purchased a random flow nozzle for your Spec V but I can’t seem to find the post about it anymore. Are you still using it and what do you think? I am finding it difficult to get good flow on all levels of the Spec V with the stock setup.

    Thank you!

    1. I posted that on Instagram. I’ve been using the RFG nozzle for a few months now – another article in the works. I like it, but it probably won’t help with widespread flow issues without also upgrading the pump (my next project).

      1. Thank you! Do you find the flow lacking in the Spec V? Maybe it is just me trying to get flow on all levels. I just turned my pump all the way up.

      2. For 95% of people the stock pump is good. I like to tinker so I just upgraded to document the experience. About the only people who need more pump flow in the Spec V are those using it as a Saltwater tank and the rare freshwater or planted tank user who likes high flow.

  5. Your website has been extremely helpful as I started my Spec V this past March. I have yet to put a Betta in it but the plants are doing very well. I have learned quite a bit from reading through your past tank journals.

  6. Thank you for creating this site! I completely agree with you on the forums and facebook – it is getting harder and harder to find actual websites vs the proliferation of forums/fb groups where every one is contradicting each other and you do not know who to believe! Love your style of writing (nice and simple), and all the good quality pictures, keep up the good work! From Vancouver, Canada

    1. Thanks for the kind words! Nice and Simple – that’s all I can hope for.

  7. Hi Nate, I wanted to tell you that I’ve been hooked on your site since I found it a couple days ago and now have a whole folder full of bookmarks to different posts you made that I will definitely be referencing back to in the future. I’m getting back into the hobby after being away for many years, and this time I am determined to do it right, starting with doing all the research I can before I purchase anything. I already planned on getting a Fluval Spec for a planted betta tank, and now thanks to you, I feel so much more prepared (it’s almost like this whole site was designed for my needs!). Scouring the internet and YouTube videos for good information gets tiring, especially when you didn’t get a specific question answered in your search. I have one request if possible – I couldn’t find posts with your experience with stocking a Fluval Spec (maybe I’m just not looking hard enough), but I’d love to read about that, especially knowing how thorough you are. Anyway, thank you so much for hard work!

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