Going to start a 29g planted, would like some advice!
So I just bought a 29g tank about 2 days ago and I have been in the process of deciding how I want to cycle the tank and what I ultimately want to put in it. I definitely want to make the tank a freshwater planted and have shrimp in it. Shrimp are just awesome (in my opinion). I am still a novice in the aquarium scene but I feel like I am pretty knowledgeable in the beginners league. I have a lightly planted 5gal with some guppies and platys and looking really forward to setting up this new tank! I just wanted to share what I have found through days of googling and watching youtube videos and see what everyone else thinks are good ideas and bad! Thanks!
Set up (hardware etc)
Aquaclear 50: Been doing a lot of research and Google searches and it seems a lot of people think this filter would be good for a 29g and like the product line. I am not sure if this comes with a little spongey thing to put at the end of the intake but I if it doesn't I heard it would be good to prevent small shrimp and baby fish from getting sucked in.
Lights: I really have no idea. I went to my Local fish store and was told I needed around 96 watts total for a 29g tank. (I actually think she was a newer girl but that doesn't mean I don't believe her.) The one she showed me was $120 and I cried a little on the inside. If I need to spend that much on the lights I will, but if I can find a good product a bit cheaper I'd be happy. I am going to go with easier/hardy plants so a low light tank w/o Co2 (java moss/anubias/vals/maybe cabomba (love the look of this plant but heard it needs a co2 inject)/thinking of maybe dwarf grass?). Advice on a light that isn't too expensive would be awesome.
Substrate? Bottom Carpet?: So I have been doing a lot of search on what to put on the bottom of my tank. I really really love the Tahitian Moon black sand at my local fish store. However, I also am thinking about putting a layer of Organic Miracle Grow (potting or top soil/whichever is safer) first for the plants then a small layer of sand above it. I am not sure if there is a better sand? (really prefer black sand) or a finer gravel that I could use instead. I have no problem ordering "hardware" stuff online as long as it's cheaper.
Mesh: I have been seeing a lot of talk about living walls and I would really like to mess around with the idea of using java moss and mesh to make something like that. I just want to know what kind of mesh would be safe to use in the tank. I have fishing line and I know any metal mesh wouldn't be good.
I am most likely going to try cycling the tank in a planted cycle. I don't want to get my shrimp or end fish too soon and kill them. Also I saw some "feeder fish"? at my local store and I might use those for a fish cycle in addition to the plants.
I am not decided really on what kind of fish I want. However I have my eye on Red Cherry Shrimp and the Blue Tiger Shrimp. I am trying to stay away from Guppies/Mollies and platys because I already have some, but I am looking at the tetras/danios/barbs and they look pretty cool. I would really love a couple of medium sized fish along with quite a few smaller ones. Any fish you in particularly love? OH! before I forget, what are some mediumish sized fish that would work well in a community, if there are any?
I know this is a lot to read but I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read through it all and help me out! I just want to make sure I set the tank up right the first time.
tl;dr. what would be a good light/filter for a 29g planted tank with shrimp/fish? is miracle grow/black sand ok for fish/shrimp? What kind of medium sized fish would work well within a community? What kind of mesh is safe for an aquarium? Thanks!