New to the hobby and starting a 30g freshwater tank!! - The Planted Tank Forum

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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-28-2013, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Queens, NY
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New to the hobby and starting a 30g freshwater tank!!

Hello everyone! I have recently purchased a 30 gal breeder tank (36"x12"x15.5") and cant wait to get started! Been doing ALOT (probably put in around 12 hours of research so far) of homework on starting the tank and wanted to get some feedback on my choices to make sure i am on the right path. I have read and watched tons of videos on the cycling process and cleaning of a tank.I am pretty sure i have it down and will cycle my tank with a little bit of fish food and time.

Here is a list of all the equipment i am about to purchase.

(x2) SunSun HW-603 Multi-Stage Canister Filter, 106 gph
Fluval M 200-Watt Submersible Heater
API Freshwater Master Test Kit
(x2)Flourite Red, 7 kg / 15.4 lbs
Aqueon 06232 Siphon Vacuum Aquarium Gravel Cleaner with Bulb, 10-Inch
Fluval Biomax Bio Rings - 500 grams/17.63 ounces
All Glass Aquarium AAG21236 Fluorescent Deluxe Hood, 36-Inch, Black
Prime, 50 mL / 1.7 fl. oz
I have 50#s of pool filter sand that i have washed already.

I definitely want to have live plants as well in my tank.

So i guess my initial questions are: Is this all good? What else should i get? Should i also put a layer of small gravel in between the flourite and sand? Should i get any more chems? is it ok to cycle and THEN add plants? I dont know what fish i want yet so thats why i wanted to wait for the plant selection.

Any and all feedback/suggestions is super appreciated!!
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-28-2013, 09:24 PM
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For a 30gal u could get by with just one canister filter. Also a 200w heater on a 30 gal seems like alot but depends on your area but 75 to 150 would be fine. The money saved from these changes use on better lighting T5 or better . Also if your using sand ditch the siphon gravel cleaner. Regular 1/2 pipeing would work as sand usually clogges up the one way valve.filter media if u have extra cash substrate pro or matrix instead of rings. As for plants u could add right away u dont really need to cycle for plants. Start with easier to handle plants wisteria, watet sprite, hornworth as your fast groweres to help with algae. And anubias, java, mosses are just easy to deal with

125 ga. Pressured co2. T5ho
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-28-2013, 10:32 PM
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Ditch those two tiny Sunsuns and get yourself one 302 canister. Also I am guessing you are going low tech as you will have no CO2? Since you are doing sand top you could do dirt bottom like MGOCPM (miracle-gro organics choice potting mix) instead of the flourite. Also just put biomax in the canister filter with 1 bag of purigen for crystal clear water.

Also that light choice is not very good. Go with something like a Current Satellite Freshwater+ and you got yourself a solid low tech setup.

Sunsun 302
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-28-2013, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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AWOL thanks so much for the input! i figured i would just go with the 200 heater since i follow the more is better/not enough sucks...lol I will look into the substrate and matrix definitely. and you answered one of my next questions with the list of plants to start with. Thanks!!

gus... i was going to use 2 canisters so maybe if by some reason i needed to take the fish out for quarantine i could just use one of them... but is it just not worth it? about the lights, everything i read said to use fluorescents for plants, i didnt know i could use LEDs.
thanks for the tips!!

How do i know how much substrat to buy?
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-29-2013, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cache86 View Post
AWOL thanks so much for the input! i figured i would just go with the 200 heater since i follow the more is better/not enough sucks...lol I will look into the substrate and matrix definitely. and you answered one of my next questions with the list of plants to start with. Thanks!!

gus... i was going to use 2 canisters so maybe if by some reason i needed to take the fish out for quarantine i could just use one of them... but is it just not worth it? about the lights, everything i read said to use fluorescents for plants, i didnt know i could use LEDs.
thanks for the tips!!

How do i know how much substrat to buy?
The problem with those canisters is that they just have too little flow. They are rated at 106gph but once you take into account head size you are looking at a lot less flow. For example I have a 29g tank and I am running two canister filters (a Fluval 206 and 305) and sometimes I still think I could use more flow. I like to shoot for 10x turnover in freshwater tanks and even more in saltwater.

The current LED+ is a full spectrum light which will not only give you good growth with low light plants but also have great color. Do a search for tanks from members who have full spectrum lights so you can see the difference.

If you got for the dirt route you could do 2" of MGOCPM and 1" of sand or even add 1" more of dirt. A $10 bag of it from home depot can easily get you that.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-29-2013, 01:30 PM
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I agree about the less wattage heater. I unplug my heaters in the summer as it rarely gets less than 75 in my house. In regards to the light, make sure you are still in the low light range if you don't want to add CO2 or you will have algae issues. See the lighting section of this website for options.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-29-2013, 05:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot for the info. I have definitely tweaked my order a lot from when I posted it. Have heard a lot of sound advice and I'm glad I decided to ask before I jumped in.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-30-2013, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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so i have laid down my sand and purchased everything i need so far to start my tank!! really stoked!!

I also purchased a light. I found the Current USA Satellite LED+ for $100. Read up on it and its good for a low-moderate planted tank. I will keep it simple for my first tank so it should do the trick!

Once i receive everything on Monday I will set it up and begin my cycling.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-30-2013, 02:15 AM
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Here is the fishless cycle.

Set up the tank, plant and start the cycle. You can fine tune the equipment and set up while the fishless cycle is happening. By the time you are ready for fish you will have figured out most of the basics and the plants will be well rooted and growing.

No, do not put gravel between the 2 types of substrate. I would just go with the Flourite, and skip the sand.

Cycle: To grow the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the aquarium.

Fish-In Cycle: To expose fish to toxins while using them as the source of ammonia to grow nitrogen cycle bacteria. Exposure to ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissue, stresses the fish and lowers their immunity. Exposure to nitrite makes the blood unable to carry oxygen. Research methemglobinemia for details.

Fishless Cycle: The safe way to grow more bacteria, faster, in an aquarium, pond or riparium.

The method I give here was developed by 2 scientists who wanted to quickly grow enough bacteria to fully stock a tank all at one time, with no plants helping, and overstock it as is common with Rift Lake Cichlid tanks.

1a) Set up the tank and all the equipment. You can plant if you want. Include the proper dose of dechlorinator with the water.
Optimum water chemistry:
GH and KH above 3 German degrees of hardness. A lot harder is just fine.
pH above 7, and into the mid 8s is just fine.
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation.
No toxins in the tank. If you washed the tank, or any part of the system with any sort of cleanser, soap, detergent, bleach or anything else make sure it is well rinsed. Do not put your hands in the tank when you are wearing any sort of cosmetics, perfume or hand lotion. No fish medicines of any sort.
A trace of salt (sodium chloride) is OK, but not required.
This method of growing bacteria will work in a marine system, too. The species of bacteria are different.

1b) Optional: Add any source of the bacteria that you are growing to seed the tank. Cycled media from a healthy tank is good. Decor or some gravel from a cycled tank is OK. Live plants or plastic are OK. Bottled bacteria is great, but only if it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label and do not waste your money on anything else.
At the time this was written the right species could be found in:
Dr. Tims One and Only
Tetra Safe Start
Microbe Lift Nite Out II
...and perhaps others.
You do not have to jump start the cycle. The right species of bacteria are all around, and will find the tank pretty fast.

2) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This ammonia is the cheapest you can find. No surfactants, no perfumes. Read the fine print. This is often found at discount stores like Dollar Tree, or hardware stores like Ace. You could also use a dead shrimp form the grocery store, or fish food. Protein breaks down to become ammonia. You do not have good control over the ammonia level, though.
Some substrates release ammonia when they are submerged for the first time. Monitor the level and do enough water changes to keep the ammonia at the levels detailed below.

3) Test daily. For the first few days not much will happen, but the bacteria that remove ammonia are getting started. Finally the ammonia starts to drop. Add a little more, once a day, to test 5 ppm.

4) Test for nitrite. A day or so after the ammonia starts to drop the nitrite will show up. When it does allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.

5) Test daily. Add ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. If the nitrite or ammonia go to 5 ppm do a water change to get these lower. The ammonia removing species and the nitrite removing species (Nitrospira) do not do well when the ammonia or nitrite are over 5 ppm.

6) When the ammonia and nitrite both hit zero 24 hours after you have added the ammonia the cycle is done. You can challenge the bacteria by adding a bit more than 3 ppm ammonia, and it should be able to handle that, too, within 24 hours.

7) Now test the nitrate. Probably sky high!
Do as big a water change as needed to lower the nitrate until it is safe for fish. Certainly well under 20, and a lot lower is better. This may call for more than one water change, and up to 100% water change is not a problem. Remember the dechlor!
If you will be stocking right away (within 24 hours) no need to add more ammonia. If stocking will be delayed keep feeding the bacteria by adding ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. You will need to do another water change right before adding the fish.
__________________________

Helpful hints:

A) You can run a fishless cycle in a bucket to grow bacteria on almost any filter media like bio balls, sponges, ceramic bio noodles, lava rock or Matala mats. Simply set up any sort of water circulation such as a fountain pump or air bubbler and add the media to the bucket. Follow the directions for the fishless cycle. When the cycle is done add the media to the filter. I have run a canister filter in a bucket and done the fishless cycle.

B) The nitrogen cycle bacteria will live under a wide range of conditions and bounce back from minor set backs. By following the set up suggestions in part 1b) you are setting up optimum conditions for fastest reproduction and growth.
GH and KH can be as low as 1 degree, but watch it! These bacteria use the carbon in carbonates, and if it is all used up (KH = 0) the bacteria may die off.
pH as low as 6.5 is OK, but by 6.0 the bacteria are not going to be doing very well. They are still there, and will recover pretty well when conditions get better.
Temperature almost to freezing is OK, but they must not freeze, and they are not very active at all. They do survive in a pond, but they are slow to warm up and get going in the spring. This is where you might need to grow some in a bucket in a warm place and supplement the pond population. Too warm is not good, either. Tropical or room temperature tank temperatures are best. (68 to 85*F or 20 to 28*C)
Moderate oxygen can be tolerated for a while. However, to remove lots of ammonia and nitrite these bacteria must have oxygen. They turn one into the other by adding oxygen. If you must stop running the filter for an hour or so, no problem. If longer, remove the media and keep it where it will get more oxygen.
Once the bacteria are established they can tolerate some fish medicines. This is because they live in a complex film called Bio film on all the surfaces in the filter and the tank. Medicines do not enter the bio film well.
These bacteria do not need to live under water. They do just fine in a humid location. They live in healthy garden soil, as well as wet locations.

C) Planted tanks may not tolerate 3 ppm or 5 ppm ammonia. It is possible to cycle the tank at lower levels of ammonia so the plants do not get ammonia burn. Add ammonia to only 1 ppm, but test twice a day, and add ammonia as needed to keep it at 1 ppm. The plants are also part of the bio filter, and you may be able to add the fish sooner, if the plants are thriving.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-30-2013, 05:48 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
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Wow thanks for this great procedure!!!! I will definitely reference this when I start to cycle my tank!
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-30-2013, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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So i made all my purchases yesterday. i made the tweaks based an all the advice ive received. I also purchased a light!

i purchased the Current USA Satellite LED+.

Everything but the light get here tomorrow!! stoked!!
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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 06-30-2013, 03:53 PM
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To add some input I would look into root tabs for under your plants at the least because the sand contains no nutrients.

Second, the thing that has helped me the most being new also is learning to ease into my lights with the low tech tanks. I started them at 6 hours and worked my way into longer light cycles. Once I started getting bad algae I backed em off.

Oh and plant heavy to start if you have the budget!

It is better to travel well than to arrive.

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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Filter on and water in the tank! Let the fun begin!!!!
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 08:43 PM
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That canister needs to be below the tank to work efficiently. Also, since you are using a canister, have you considered an inline heater?
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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Yes the canister will go below, i just have it there for right now. I did not know those existed. are they better than a regular submersible one?

edit: i just did some quick searching and it looks like the lines for my filter are way to big for those heaters...

Last edited by Cache86; 07-01-2013 at 09:04 PM. Reason: more info
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