1st timer wanting a low light co2 29 Gal
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Old 07-04-2011, 02:43 AM   #1
Sarasota
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1st timer wanting a low light co2 29 Gal


Hello all,

I have been looking through the posts on the forum and there is a lot of information. So much so, it can be a bit overwhelming for a newbie.

I see a lot of people that go and set up a tank without getting proper advice so I thought I'd take the smart approach and ask first in order to save myself some headaches and money in the process.

I do have a background keeping freshwater tanks, in fact when living in Australia I had a quarantine facility and 400+ holding tanks so... A bit of experience with just about every species... and every disease.

Just not plants.

I sold the business 7 years ago and moved back to the US and I have not owned a tank since (got a little burned out obviously)... But now I'd like to set up a 29 gallon tank in my office, low light, co2, that is primarily anubias, ferns, and mosses. Something very thick and lush but also very slow growing.

So my question is, based off those parameters, I like to get some opinions on what the best co2 system would be for that size of a tank. Cost is not an issue, I want something that works well but is not over the top ridiculous in price. Also, the lighting choice. Single 24" tube fluro??

Additionally:

I was planning to use some black gravel over an undergravel filter (with a low flow rate) with a centerpiece of Malaysian driftwood that I would like to culture with some plant.

For fish I was thinking maybe 20 cardinal tetras and some of those crystal red shrimp and that's it for wildlife. (open to other fish reccomendations)

I am not a big fan of java moss, I like the small leafy ferns/mosses like pearl moss and star moss.. for a large plant was thinking of the java fern types and perhaps one red plant to break it all up... And something like a short growing grassy plant to cover a bit of the gravel.

So if anyone would like to give me some ideas for plants to look at, and possible sources, I would be eternally grateful for that information as well.

Thanks!
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Old 07-04-2011, 02:48 AM   #2
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undergravel filters are not ideal for planted tanks. also, you probably won't be able to grow a grassy plant with low light. and check signature for regulator. It is a great regulator, you will never be sorry with it. But it is also affordable (relatively speaking).
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Old 07-04-2011, 02:51 AM   #3
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Would that also apply to tanks with 3 to 4 inches of substrate? My thoughts were the low flow rate would help keep the bed oxygenated and "healthy" but not be detrimental to plant growth.
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Old 07-04-2011, 02:55 AM   #4
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I would say it could pose problems with planting and stuff, and if you ever need to change the media in the filter or take it out, you are screwed.
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Old 07-04-2011, 03:20 AM   #5
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The roots eventually clog an undergravel filter, rendering it useless.

On the positive side, all the stuff that a UG filter is aimed at dealing with makes for pretty good fertilizer.
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Old 07-04-2011, 03:24 AM   #6
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If you are really concerned about flow and oxygenation, consider a substrate heating cable (which most regard as unnecessary) or cheaper yet, MTS (malaysian trumpet snails).
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Old 07-04-2011, 03:26 AM   #7
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Ok so nix the undergravel... the aeration would probably not be the best for the co2 also.. So what should I use for biological filtration that will not give the shrimp hell?
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Old 07-04-2011, 04:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarasota View Post
Ok so nix the undergravel... the aeration would probably not be the best for the co2 also.. So what should I use for biological filtration that will not give the shrimp hell?
same as you would use without shrimp but with a sponge prefilter over the intake
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Old 07-04-2011, 05:34 AM   #9
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actually, you would want high oxygen levels for your fish, because that would allow you to inject more co2 without gassing the fish. That is why you have some sort of filter outlet, bubbler, or powerhead to agitate the water surface.
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Old 07-04-2011, 05:59 AM   #10
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I agree but the fish are not the primary goal. My goal will be to get the plants growing well, getting the tank established, and having a period of time passing where everything has settled down and I find the right mix of co2, supplements, and plants that I can do well with. Then I will be worried about the fish. Once the tank has settled down I can see what the oxygen levels are, average ph, etc. and then make an educated decision on what needs to be done then and what fish will do best in the resulting conditions.

I have still yet to receive any recommendations on a good co2 system for this size tank or the lighting or good plant choices. Obviously not being a co2 pro, I'd like something that is pretty user friendly.

I have realized that pearl moss is not a true aquatic (despite being told locally it was) So thanks to the forum for that. My water is 7.6 out of the tap but it does not take much for it to drift to 6.6... So perhaps mixing a bit of onyx in with with fluorite would be a good idea??
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Old 07-04-2011, 06:07 AM   #11
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I personally would not mess with diy co2. With that being said, any single or dual stage regulator, with a nice solenoid(clippard mouse, burkert, or parker), along with a low flow needle valve would suit your needs. There are a few people on this forum, including myself that could build or sell you a nice system that would be very easy to use and last you for a very long time.

Myself, oldpunk78, btimmer, and bettatail build and sell regulators.
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Old 07-04-2011, 06:11 AM   #12
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For light, i had an aquaticlife t5ho light on my 29g and it was nice. Didnt have co2 but wish i did. Not too much light but enough for growing just about anything i wanted. You could go with a dual t5ho light, just make sure you have the legs mounted on it so its not directly on the tank.
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Old 07-04-2011, 06:16 AM   #13
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For plants, i would recommend any anubias, java ferns(i like needle leaf) and for the foreground, look for some mini microsword. Grows low and looks like real grass. Some fissidens fontanus would look good on some driftwood.
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Old 07-04-2011, 03:06 PM   #14
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fissidens fontanus is a great looking plant, thanks for that recommendation. I will certainly have a look at the regulators you guys are offering. It does not need to say Fluval to make me happy.

Where can I find a good selection of plant on-line, especially the fissidens fontanus. I'd like to get enough to be able to culture the wood at leat 50%, a small patch I am afraid will take a long time to spread and this piece I have is about 20 inches long, 9 inches deep, and 10 inches high.

Have you had any experience with Hemianthus Chitricholdes? height? Requirements? etc.
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Old 07-05-2011, 02:44 AM   #15
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I would post a WTB thread in the Swap and shop here on this site. Just put the list of plants you want and see what you get. Much better quality (most of the time) than inline retailers and a lower price.

For my co2 systems I pieced them together by purchasing high quality dual stage regulators off eBay, burkert solenoids from the cheapest place (I believe ap.com right now), needle valves from members and co2 canisters I got from a yard sale I found on craigslist. Now, I took my time and got lucky. But I now have a better system then ANY you will find all in one online and it cost me a fraction of the money.

I personally would do 2x18w coralife T5NO strip light. I just think they have really good color rendition and are a good value.

No one has said this yet but CRS + co2 is a recipe for disaster. They are already sensitive and then to inhibit their respiration with co2 is asking for trouble.
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