New 29g tank Journal (need advice as well) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Location: Orlando, FL
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New 29g tank Journal (need advice as well)

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.

Current stats:

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.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 10:52 PM
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Welcome to TPT!

I think a large school of Cardinals and a pair of GBR sounds like a great plan. I'd go with Amano shrimp if you get the GBRs, though- others have reported their GBR to leave dwarf shrimp alone, but all mine LOVE them. Only Amanos are large enough to be left alone lol

I wouldn't do angels, IMO a 29gal is really on the small side for an adult angel.

I've got schools of Cardinal and Ruby tetras in my own 29gal along with some Tiger shrimp and dwarf cories... I love it.

Look forward to seeing the tank come together!

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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-27-2010, 01:27 AM
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I wouldnt run 2x65w pc in a 29 gallon without pressurized co2. Funny thing is that i have a 55 gallon mbuna tank and a 29 gallon planted with 2 angels lol. I run 1x65w with DIY CO2. In my experience i will nto skip pressurized co2 again when settin up a tank. Its almost as important as having a good light fixutre.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-27-2010, 02:15 AM
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Quiero los fotos.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-27-2010, 02:24 AM
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Of the three 'centerpiece' fish you're considering, I think that Bolivians are by far the most interesting. I agree about the fact that angelfish are too large for this set up. Gouramis are cool (my fave is the chocolate gourami and I have one), but Bolivian Rams are really awesome. If you have a pair, it's quite likely that they'll breed for you, too. They do get large though (males up to 4"), so they would definitely eat any juvenile dwarf shrimp, and maybe even adults. My Bolivian Rams lived with one large cherry shrimp named 'Georgia' for a year without issues. She was a really large shrimp though...

Cardinal tetras would definitely work. If you have a top on the tank, you could also have some marbled hatchetfish (along with the cardinals). They're really strange looking but they stay at the surface of the water so with the height of your tank, it'll help fill it out. They jump though, so be aware of that!

If you want another fish, dwarf corydoras are really cute, and they like to be in groups. They school very tightly, and they dart around the tank like little bumble bees. There are three main species, with the first two being more common:

Corydoras pygmaeus
Corydoras habrosus
Corydoras hastatus

I have the first two types, and they even school together. They're really cute. They take naps on leaves :-)

If I think of anything else, I'll let you know! It sounds like you're going to have a great tank. Post pics as you set it up please!
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-27-2010, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice so far guys. I will skip using both 65w and just stick with one, since I am only doing DIY CO2, I just can't afford pressurized CO2 at the moment. I will have pictures later today of what I have so far. I am expecting my lighting system to be on my doorstep later today, which I am very excited for because my tank will start looking like a real tank. Mary, from Sweet Aquatics wrote me back today and she is putting together a list for a biotope from the plants they currently have in stock. She stated that more than likely it will be an Asian biotope, so it looks like I have two options. Option 1) Say to heck with the biotope and do what I want (2 BR, school of tetras, 1 dwarf gourami, and something else) OR 2) Stick with the Asian biotope (2 gourami (thinking honey or dwarf or pearl), school of rasboras, and whatever else (need some suggestions). What do you guys think, and what are some good fish to go with a pair of gourami if I decide to go that route?
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-29-2010, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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My new 29 gallon planted tank *Update*

Sooooooo I was supposed to get my new light fixture two days ago, but apparently the guy I was buying it off Ebay got arrested and was in jail for 2 days, but everything has been worked out, and I now should have it by tomorrow . I also just got an email back from Sweet Aquatics with the list that they came up with for the plants in my tank. Take a look at it and let me know what you think.


2 Foreground-dwarf hairgrass ( I told her I liked Lilaeopsis Mauritiania better as a replacement)

Anubias-coffeffolia (cultivar)

2 bunch- Rotala Indica, water wisteria

5 Val- Italian Val ( I wasn't crazy for these, but I did like the Italian Leopard Val, as I like the look of the spots on them)


2 cryptocoryne- crispatula, pontederiifolia

crypt pot -wendtii bronze

dwarf onion (Wasn't crazy for this, any suggestions as a replacement?)

java fern (Same for this one, wasn't crazy about it.)

So the list will be tweaked a little bit, but you get the idea. I can't wait to get this thing started. Hopefully the fixture comes tomorrow *fingers crossed*. I'll get pics up when I get my light.

Anyone know where I should be putting each plant, once I get them? I am totally lost when it comes to that.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-29-2010, 05:58 PM
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Hmmmm, just an idea but perhaps going with sweet aquatics package wasn't the best choice as it seems you aren't very happy with most of what they picked out for you. I must admit I looked into these package deals when I first started but then I realized I was to picky and would rather do it all myself.

I'll admit, I'm blessed with having not 1, not 2, but 3 really awesome aquarium stores close by and my local selections have been fantastic but my first order did come from and all of my plants arrived happy, healthy, and it was pretty affordable. When I did my order online though it was only for plants I was totally sure I wanted and was just my starting point. 4 Dwarf Hairgrass, 2 micro swords, some cobomba, water sprite, and a few dwarf clovers.

My starting point was good but it needed a few little tweaks here and there and now a few months later it's totally changed yet again. I tossed the cobomba as it was a constant nuisance in my tank. I moved most of the plants around. I added Java Ferns even though I also kinda didn't like em and now I also have a Amazon Sword and a Melon Sword. To spice things up a little bit I also went and got some water lettuce, a floating pond plant that looks incredible in that front open space at the top.

I guess I'm saying, you don't have to do it all at once. Remember that patience in this hobby always pays off. Take it one step at a time and make changes as you go along and eventually all that work will pay off and you'll be very happy with the results.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-29-2010, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice, actually I liked about half of what they suggested and ultimately she will put whatever I want that's in stock in the order, she just came up with a list of various plants for me. I noticed you are in Chicago area, I'm in the west suburbs, and unfortunately the only places nearby are Petsmart/Petco, and SeaEscapes in South Elgin (a bit overpriced if you ask me). Where are you located, and what stores are near you? I don't have a problem going out of my way for good livestock/prices. Thanks again for the advice.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-30-2010, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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So I finally got my light. It is a 30" Orbit with 1x65w Dual Daylight 6700k/10k/ 1 x 65w dual actinic (was going to swap it out for another daylight). The guy I bought it from told me I probably will need to replace the bulb which was why he sold it to me for cheap. I popped my new glass canopy on there so now I'm ready to get started finally! I should have my plants sometime next week, I was wondering what some opinions are on the driftwood I have in the tank? I've been reading some of the journals here, and looking at other people's pics, and I'm wondering if both pieces I have are too much? I like them both a lot as i think they are unique, but I want what is best for the tank. Suggestions anyone?
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-03-2010, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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So plants are on their way, and my check valves, bubble counter, and diffuser are on their way. I am going to start to read about aquascaping, but if anyone has experience with the plants mentioned below let me know please.

> 2 Foreground- Lilaeopsis Mauritiana (potted)
> Anubias-coffeffolia (cultivar)
> 2 bunch- Rotala Indica, water wisteria
> 5 Val- Italian Val "Leopard"
> Aponogeton-crispus
> 2 cryptocoryne- crispatula, pontederiifolia
> crypt pot -wendtii bronze
> java fern

They should be here in about 2-3 days so I have a little time to do some more research. I'll post pics when I get them. I also got 5 olive nerite snails. Does anyone have any experience with these? I have read that they do a number on algae in the tank, but lay eggs everywhere.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-03-2010, 08:34 PM
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For the rooted plants, try to clump them in groups. They're much easier to maintain that way.

If you want to go for a natural look, try and mimick some nice natural photos.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-06-2010, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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So yesterday I received my plants, and spent about 2 hours planting and scaping. I have to say that I like what it looks like now, but know that I will probably have to move stuff around later on. Another member suggested I take the slate off of the pieces of driftwood to have more options. I was able to get the slate off the tall piece but not the other one, and I have to say I think it looks better than before. I took the rocks out because I didn't feel I needed them. Everything is planted except for the Aponogeton Crispus, which is floating on the top of the tank now. Unfortunately when I was planting I decided to accidentally step on my glass canopy I just bought, so now I need a new one . Does anyone have a good way of getting rid of the little leaves that float at the top? I noticed they were clogging my filter yesterday. I can't wait to get some fish in there, but I think I might wait til next week to do it.
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-06-2010, 10:21 PM
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I think foreground plants would look a lot better if you took them out of the lined formation and planted them in a more natural looking way.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-06-2010, 10:27 PM
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Welcome and nice start!

Originally Posted by VincentK View Post
Quiero los fotos.
*las* fotos. it's irregular since fotos is short for fotografias.
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29 gallon, aquarium, freshwater, new tank setup, tropical fish

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