So I have been bitten by the aquarium bug! My fiance bought me a 55g tank this past Christmas which I have fully stocked with African cichilds in a non-planted tank. So since I am finished (is it ever?) I have since purchased a 29g tank, and have decided that I would like to try my hand at a planted tank. I have always admired how the tanks have looked and feel that it would be a great addition. I have been doing much research on the subject, but would love some advice along the way. I will start by describing what I have done thus far.
Size: 29g glass aquarium
Heating: 150watt Hagen heater
Filtration: Aquaclear 50 HOB
Substrate: CaribSea Eco-complete
PH: Around 8.0 (It's hard Chicago tap water, I'm hoping with the addition of CO2 for the plants I can bring the PH down to 7.0)
Lighting: 30" Current USA Orbit 2x65w Compact Fluorescent light (has dual daylight and dual actinic bulbs but i plan on pulling the dual actinic bulb as I have heard it isn't needed with freshwater tanks) and got this for a steal
Decorations: 2 pieces of driftwood, and some rocks.
Plants: I have ordered a 29g plant package from Sweet Aquatics and am waiting to speak with them about my selections.
CO2: I have also put ordered parts to make a homemade CO2 generator(I have ordered check valves, a bubble counter, and diffuser, and am using Lee's black airline tubing and a juice jug.
This is where i'm having difficulties, and need the most advice. I like the idea of doing a biotope, but am having difficulties with stocking. Here are some criteria:
1. I'd like to have a breeding pair of some larger fish. I'm thinking gourami or Bolivian Rams or angelfish (they are readily available in my area, but I prefer the gourami or BRs more)
2. I'd like to get a colorful shoaling fish. I really like how Cardinal Tetras look (I'm a Cubs fan) so I'm leaning towards them, but open to suggestions.
3. I think shrimp would be kind of cool, but would like to have at least 2 other different kinds of fish in the tank besides the last two mentioned.
Any advice here is welcome!
I am completely lost here, so if I could get some advice as to what I can grow with my lighting (potentially 130w, but 65 for now) and CO2. I'm not looking for anything really really high maintenance, but really like the look of grass carpets (Dwarf Baby tears maybe?) I'm open to all suggestions, and think this will be really interesting.
I know I have written a lot, but I hope that other aquarium geeks like me can understand. I'm excited to hear your responses. I will try to put up some pictures of the tank asap.