The Fluval Spec is an excellent value Nano tank that can be used for tropical or cold water fish (Although tropical looks better).
It comes in 2 sizes, 19 litre and 10 litre and a choice of colour. I’ll be reviewing* a white 19-litre tank that will be set up as a tropical step.
Our review will cover setting up the tank, some tips to get it running well, possible design ideas, and general maintenance of the aquarium.
Whats in the box?
Tank – It says on the outside which colour it is so double check before you open it.
LED lighting kit – This is easily attached as we’ll show you shortly.
Filter sponges and filter – This is all in place and ready to go after a quick soak. This is all built into the back of the Spec like most Fluval tanks.
Aquarium cover – With a hole where the light strip goes.
There’s no heater in the tank or any stones/ decorations so we’ll add these later after the initial setup.
Tropical tank heater
If you want to run this as a tropical tank you’ll need a heater – The recommended one for the tank is the Fluval Edge 25w Heater – Buy it here.
Some stats on the latest version of this tank
Setting up the tank
What we like about the Spec tank (and Fluval tanks in general) is the absolute breeze to set it up. This is the quickest tank we’ve ever set up, and if you’re nervous about setting up your first fish tank, then this is the tank for you.
Step one – Clean the tank
Use a clean cloth and just water, rinse out and clean over the tank thoroughly. Rinse over the filter sponges and replace them as they were.
Step two – Setup the filter
Once the tank is clean, the next step is to get the filter fitter correctly. Before you put it in set the flow rate on the filter box if you’re unsure just start it in the middle of the setting.
It goes in the end compartment as shown below, push it right down to the bottom (we used a bit of cardboard to push it down as its a bit of a tight fit).
Then pass the nozzle through the hole and connect the output nozzle.
Step 3 – Setup the lighting rig
This screws into the end section where the filter is really easily, just slip it over and the tighten it up to secure in place.
You’ll need to tank this on and off to do water changes, float new fish, clean the filter and its easier to take it off to clean the glass too.
Step 4 – Adding water
Now there is a neat trick you may not know of how to get the water in the tank without disturbing your setup – Bubble wrap!
You place a piece of bubble wrap in the aquarium and very slowly pour the water in over it.
As the tank fills you can increase the speed.
Our thoughts on the Fluval Spec
User Review( votes)
In the instructions Fluval recommend doing a 20% water change every week.
This really depends on what you have in the tank in my opinion, but with this size of tank a 20% water change only takes 5 minutes so I’d stick to it initially and see how it goes.
These need cleaning every 6-8 weeks, again this depends on what you have in the tank.
If the water is looking murky it may be better to do it more often.
The correct stocking of cleaner fish will help with keeping your water clear just as much as cleaning the filter will.
Here is how you take the pump apart to clean the separate parts
Setting up the tank with accessories
I’ll soon be adding a guide to setting up a bogwood tank/wall in your tank but here’s how I did it in the Spec tank. I do think this would work better in a deeper tank as it would be easier to setup.
To start with I cut up lots of bog wood and started building it all up (I used this Juwel silicone to stick it to the tank and together like this:
I then built it up to the hight I needed and added JBL aqua basics soil to it -poured down the back to fill most of the space behind.
I used some more wood to plug the holes where the soil cam down. I was than ready to add the plants.
I placed the pants in the soil using my Aquascaping tweezers.
I added the moss by super glueing it to the wood (see the bog wood wall blog for how this is done but its soooo easy!).
Then used some bubble wrap to pour the water over to avoid disturbing the setup I have (This is my top tip for filling your aquarium!).
You can see below the video of the installation after its been up and running for 1 week.
Here’s how it looks before the water was added.
My tank setup – Week 1
Here’s my tank fully setup after 1 week.
I’ve added 35 pieces of bog wood and filled it in with aquatic soil.
Then added the pants where there is soil and added moss to the wood using super glue – Yes it really works!
My nano tank – Week 4
And here’s how it looks on week 4. The plants have started to take and the fish are adding some nice splashes of colour.
Other design Ideas
I put some sand in the bottom and dug out some bog wood and rocks to come up with some ideas for designing the tank.
If you want to do this add some sand or aquatic soil to the bottom so you don’t damage the tank.
I bought this bogwood off eBay a while ago, it fits perfectly, and the hole in the middle makes it a little more interesting.
I always think bog wood looks a little boring in a larger tank, but in a small Flex tank with some pants around it can be quite a feature.
After some messing around I’ve decided to build a bogwood wall background in this tank – A full blog for this will follow shortly.
My advice at this time is to mess around with what you have already. Then settle on a layout you like.
There are no rules to what you can do so be as creative as you can be.
Then I tried to prop it up
And finally another piece going straight across the tank for a different effect.
I think this one would work really well with a heavily planted back drop.
I also played around with some stone layouts and this is the best one of the bunch.
Again this would be planted around to make a better look than just the sand but you should get an idea from these layouts.
I’ve now been running the tank for 4 months and I’m delighted with it.
It’s really easy to clean and maintain and due to its size water changes and filter cleans only take around 15 minutes.
Mine is well planted and the open top makes it east to give the plants a quick prune if needed.
*Disclaimer – I was kindly sent the Fluval Spec free of charge to do this review. The opinions on the tank are mine alone and not the view of Fluval.