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summerboy1958 01-19-2013 06:08 PM

Helping out my son
My son has a 29 gallon tank (30" long, 12 deep, 18.5" high) with the old classic black plastic cover and lamp. The lamp is rated for 20w and has a single 17 watt bulb (no other info is on the bulb). He has plain black gravel, an Emporer 280 HOB, and a 200 watt heater. In the tank he has a blue gourami, a gold gourami, a rainbow shark, a bala shrk, 3 giant danios, a clown pleco, a spotted pleco, and two large arulius barbs. His tap water is pretty good - pH 7.5, TDS ~100, KH 5 - 6, GH 10. His tank water is out of balance and really high in nitrates right now, but he is working that down.

He would like to try live plants for 2 reasons. He thinks they make the tank more interesting and alive. He would also like to stop vacuuming gunk out of the gravel every couple of weeks. He asked me if his tank is suitable for any plants as is as he has a 18month old and money is tight. His biggest problem is light, I think.

He is way under 1 watt/gal. I tried to find his PAR value in the charts provided by "Hoppy", but I just don't know which, if any, graph I should use.

Here are my questions:

Does anyone know if one of these graphs is correct to use? If not, is there another way to figure out what amount of light he has?

Assuming that I can't figure out what he really has, I am going to assume that he has low light. Other than anubias & ferns (A & F's), are there plants that will take nutrients from the substrate? A & F's will grow in low light, but are not going to help with sucking up the nutrients.

Also, anybody know if his crew will eat plants (other than A & F's)?



Smitty06 01-19-2013 06:34 PM

Tell him to get rid of one of the gouramis, the bala shark (likes to school), spotted pleco, giant danios, and the barbs.The tank is VERY OVERSTOCKED. Then get some smaller schooling fish to replace the fish he took out. The light he ha is not really adequate for any plants, it MAY keep anubias alive, but it is not likely. To suck up nutrients, get him some frogbit (which is a floating plant) because it is a great nutrient absorber. To get good light at the substrate level that is suitable for some crypts, then you should get him a new light. I would recommend a finnex fugeray which will be the higher and of low light at the substrate level, but if he gets floaters then it should make for a nice low light tank. In general, crypts, anubias, java fern, and floaters will be good for his tank. If he wants a great, giant focal point plant, then a sword would be a great option. With the crypts and swords, he would need root tabs for the substrate, or Osmocote Plus capsules would be even better. So in short he should get:
- A better light
- Get rid of the fish mentioned above
- Get low light plants if he upgrades his light
- Root tabs/ Osmocote Plus capsules for substrate if he gets root feeders (swords/ crypts)
- Floaters to help with excess nutrients he has right now

I know it is a long post, but hope it helps :)

RickRS 01-20-2013 12:41 AM

He could probably go for a simple DIY setup of two CFL, either in something like clamp-on shop lights or with a retrofit to the hood, for a cheap lighting upgrade.

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