Going to start a 29g planted, would like some advice!
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Old 06-25-2013, 03:10 AM   #1
Duff0712
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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.

Fish/Cycling

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!
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Old 06-25-2013, 03:47 AM   #2
WallaceGrover
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The aquaclears are great, you have to buy a sponge prefilter seperately though, and they get dirty very fast and reduce the flow.

96 watts? That's REALLY high light, unless they're T-12's suspended way above the tank. You could probably do well with 2 hardware lamps (like this: http://www.connecticutvalleybiologic...ages/a2584.jpg) with 20-something watt compact fluorescent bulbs. It's not really pretty, but it works very well for a budget. I think that would put you at medium-low levels if they're fairly close to the surface, which is good for most beginner plants.

Your choice of sand shouldn't matter if you go dirted, just whatever you like that's inert.

I don't think you should use fish to cycle, it's just as easy to throw in a little fish food to decompose, that way you don't have to put fish through stress and you do not have unwanted cycle fish once your tank is ready. You might be disappointed to hear, but shrimp are pretty hard to keep with anything other than really tiny fish (and even then, the tiny fish eat the babies sometimes). Usually it's one or the other, unless you just want small tetras or rasboras...
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WallaceGrover View Post
The aquaclears are great, you have to buy a sponge prefilter seperately though, and they get dirty very fast and reduce the flow.

96 watts? That's REALLY high light, unless they're T-12's suspended way above the tank. You could probably do well with 2 hardware lamps (like this: http://www.connecticutvalleybiologic...ages/a2584.jpg) with 20-something watt compact fluorescent bulbs. It's not really pretty, but it works very well for a budget. I think that would put you at medium-low levels if they're fairly close to the surface, which is good for most beginner plants.

Your choice of sand shouldn't matter if you go dirted, just whatever you like that's inert.

I don't think you should use fish to cycle, it's just as easy to throw in a little fish food to decompose, that way you don't have to put fish through stress and you do not have unwanted cycle fish once your tank is ready. You might be disappointed to hear, but shrimp are pretty hard to keep with anything other than really tiny fish (and even then, the tiny fish eat the babies sometimes). Usually it's one or the other, unless you just want small tetras or rasboras...
Thanks for the advice! For the lighting what wattage should I be going for? I like the lamp idea however I wouldn't mind paying a bit extra for the whole tank to look a little nicer (depending on the price difference of course). And now that I think about it a bit more it seems pretty cruel to just use the cheaper fish as guinea pigs. The shrimp dilemma is most troubling to me though haha.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:39 AM   #4
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I too am running a 29G with an AquqClear 50. I using a Finnex FugeRay2 24" hidden under the stock hood. My substrate is 3"-5" of Miracle Grow Organic, topped with one bag of Eco-complete (good for 2" of coverage). My CO2 is sent in by a Milwaukee co2 regulator. The fishes are a semi-random group of tetras, a few Cory Cats and a Chines Algae Eater and a pea puffer (to keep the snails down). The are a few local grass shrimp hiding in all the plants. Someone is eating shrimp, my guess is the pea puffer.

The Finnex Fugeray2 is a forum favorite, for good reason. The light is both affordable and bright.

I skipped the traditional 30 cycling, and used dr tims one and only (nitrifying bacteria). I had plants and fish the same day. I started the first day with a full dose of Dr. Tim's and added half doses for about a week. Things we dicey for a few days, but the water settled down and has been perfect since than.



Side note: the Edge sponge filter is an idea fit for the AquqClear 50 (
link to Amazon link to Amazon
).

Last edited by King of Hyrule; 06-25-2013 at 05:47 AM.. Reason: added picture
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:00 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by King of Hyrule View Post
I too am running a 29G with an AquqClear 50. I using a Finnex FugeRay2 24" hidden under the stock hood. My substrate is 3"-5" of Miracle Grow Organic, topped with one bag of Eco-complete (good for 2" of coverage). My CO2 is sent in by a Milwaukee co2 regulator. The fishes are a semi-random group of tetras, a few Cory Cats and a Chines Algae Eater and a pea puffer (to keep the snails down). The are a few local grass shrimp hiding in all the plants. Someone is eating shrimp, my guess is the pea puffer.

The Finnex Fugeray2 is a forum favorite, for good reason. The light is both affordable and bright.

I skipped the traditional 30 cycling, and used dr tims one and only (nitrifying bacteria). I had plants and fish the same day. I started the first day with a full dose of Dr. Tim's and added half doses for about a week. Things we dicey for a few days, but the water settled down and has been perfect since than.


Side note: the Edge sponge filter is an idea fit for the AquqClear 50 (link to Amazon).
Beautiful tank! I think i will def get a AC 50 (amazon has one for 34 atm). The Fluval light seems really good especially how you spliced it into the traditional hood however I feel like I would do something wrong and burn my apt down. Also Dr. Tim's One and Only is sounding really good, getting super excited for this tank to be set up! Thanks for the info I appreciate it. Also getting that sponge filter. Appreciate it! Is there any way to get the FugeRay2 24" in its own hood? I suppose that would probably be a lot more expensive however. Again I appreciate the insight!

Do you feel it would be smarter to get eco-complete over Tahitian black sand or wouldn't affect the plants too much more? Is there another light that I could just fit into the original light hood fixture? I figure the wattage wouldn't be correct however.
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:20 AM   #6
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The Fluval lights do seem nice, but my wife would murder me and my fish if I spent that much on a light. I went with the Finnex FugeRay2. I took the tube out of the stock hood on my 29G and hide it there -- like a ninja. Here's a link.

As for substrate I'm a big believer in a dirt'd tank. A dirt'd can provide a lot of what a plant needs to grow, but the can be very messy. I tried using dirt in two 10G and the first time was a disaster. The second not so bad. My take-away from my early attempts was a) use a fine metal stainer to get the small wood bits out of the MGO, b) the 'cap' on the dirt is critical. My first tank I only used a limited amount of gravel to cover the dirt - mistake. The too thin gravel failed to keep the dirt down and I ended up with muddy water. The tannin from the wood turned my water...

Sorry My 2 year old woke up and sidetracked my whole night.

Last edited by King of Hyrule; 06-25-2013 at 10:36 AM.. Reason: My 2 yr old
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:34 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by King of Hyrule View Post
The Fluval lights do seem nice, but my wife would murder me and my fish if I spent that much on a light. I went with the Finnex FugeRay2. I took the tube out of the stock hood on my 29G and hide it there -- like a ninja. Here's a link.

As for substrate I'm a big believer in a dirtied tank. They can provide a lot of what a plant needs to grow, but the can be very messy. I tried using dirt in two 10G and the first time was a disaster. The second not so bad. My take-away from my early attempts was a) use a fine metal stainer to get the small wood bits out of the MGO, b) the 'cap' to the dirt is critical. My first tank I only used a limitless gravel on the dir. The too thin gravel failed to keep the dirt down and I ended up with muddy water. The tannis from the wood turned my water
I forgot to change that, but by fluval light I meant the Finnex FugeRay2 that you had set up. I'm not sure if I could manage the set up procedure to do it. Otherwise it looks awesome. Do you think a sand cap would be enough to keep the dirt down? I would assume id just put the same amount of sand as miracle grow

edit: Looking a bit more. Would it be possible for me just to take out the original fixture and just place the FugeRay into the hood with its cord intact? I would probably have to cut a hole into the hood for the cord, but it might be more tech friendly for me.

Last edited by Duff0712; 06-25-2013 at 08:33 AM.. Reason: researched more information and wanted to add to my current post so I wouldnt make a new one.
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:54 AM   #8
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My daughter woke-up, and a quiet evening in front of the TV with the iPad ended.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duff0712 View Post
I forgot to change that, but by fluval light I meant the Finnex FugeRay2 that you had set up. I'm not sure if I could manage the set up procedure to do it. Otherwise it looks awesome. Do you think a sand cap would be enough to keep the dirt down? I would assume id just put the same amount of sand as miracle grow

edit: Looking a bit more. Would it be possible for me just to take out the original fixture and just place the FugeRay into the hood with its cord intact? I would probably have to cut a hole into the hood for the cord, but it might be more tech friendly for me.
- That's what I did. My next project is to remove the glass and install some type of support for the Finnex. I found some plastic bars at a local hobby shop. I'll try prototyping something, I'll take pictures and post the results. I cut the wires to the FugeRay2 to connect them into the hood. YOu don't have to that far; you could just cut an access hole into light cover.

As for sand -- I worry its too light and will be easily disturbed. There are a few post about sand in the substrate section. Eco-Complete isn't perfect. I find it difficult to install some plants, into the stuff. It just doesn't hold like standard gravel. However, once the roots get into the underlying soil, the plants are locked it.

Here's a cross-section of my substrate. Notice on the left side of the picture I used standard gravel to create a raised area within the tank. What you can see it that the stand gravel is capped with Fruval Planting substrate and than by eco-complete. I still put in root tabs.



On the right you can see how deep my MGO is and how much Eco-complete I'm using as a cap. (Link to thread I posted about setting up my tank substrate.)
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Old 06-25-2013, 01:40 PM   #9
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If you need more help on the dirted aspect of setting up a tank, there's a guy on YouTube that has some great advice:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wu2...e_gdata_player

I know his tutorials helped me when I got started with dirt.
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Old 06-25-2013, 01:45 PM   #10
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if you never used sand in a planted tank, i suggest you get a small glass jar and sand and try it out. personally i wouldnt recommend it for a planted tank. I read the new eco complete comes in a smaller granual size. I have two tanks with eco complete and have success but now solely look towards for Safe-T-sorb as my plants, carpet, midground and background have done very well after several months of use. something for you to consider. a 40lbs bag will cost anywhere from $10-20 shipped. cheaper if you can find a shop to pickup.
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King of Hyrule View Post
My daughter woke-up, and a quiet evening in front of the TV with the iPad ended.

- That's what I did. My next project is to remove the glass and install some type of support for the Finnex. I found some plastic bars at a local hobby shop. I'll try prototyping something, I'll take pictures and post the results. I cut the wires to the FugeRay2 to connect them into the hood. YOu don't have to that far; you could just cut an access hole into light cover.

As for sand -- I worry its too light and will be easily disturbed. There are a few post about sand in the substrate section. Eco-Complete isn't perfect. I find it difficult to install some plants, into the stuff. It just doesn't hold like standard gravel. However, once the roots get into the underlying soil, the plants are locked it.

Here's a cross-section of my substrate. Notice on the left side of the picture I used standard gravel to create a raised area within the tank. What you can see it that the stand gravel is capped with Fruval Planting substrate and than by eco-complete. I still put in root tabs.

On the right you can see how deep my MGO is and how much Eco-complete I'm using as a cap. (Link to thread I posted about setting up my tank substrate.)
The FugeRay2 is starting to grow on me. I might look around a bit more but it seems like a cheaper way to get a good light (since I already have the hood fixture to put it in makeshift).



Quote:
Originally Posted by WallaceGrover View Post
If you need more help on the dirted aspect of setting up a tank, there's a guy on YouTube that has some great advice:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wu2...e_gdata_player

I know his tutorials helped me when I got started with dirt.
Thanks for the link! This should help me a lot.



Quote:
Originally Posted by acitydweller View Post
if you never used sand in a planted tank, i suggest you get a small glass jar and sand and try it out. personally i wouldnt recommend it for a planted tank. I read the new eco complete comes in a smaller granual size. I have two tanks with eco complete and have success but now solely look towards for Safe-T-sorb as my plants, carpet, midground and background have done very well after several months of use. something for you to consider. a 40lbs bag will cost anywhere from $10-20 shipped. cheaper if you can find a shop to pickup.
I appreciate the insight. I think that a smaller granual sized eco might be better suited. Depends on cost for me as well though haha.
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