FrankTheTankCleaner 29 G, 30x12x18 - Your Tanks
User FrankTheTankCleaner
Size 29 G, 30x12x18
Date Started Apr 3, 2010
Lighting 96W, ~8000 lumens
Equipment Fluval 205
CO2 5 lb tank, Azoo regulator
Substrate Eco Complete
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2 week-old 29G planted tank:

Subjective: This is my first planted tank. I am still in the process of acquiring equipment and fish and cycling it. I was going to wait until everything had arrived before I started documenting, but since the algae is already growing, here goes! First the supplies:


  • Tank – 29 G (30x12x18) Seaclear acrylic tank ($139 from LFS)

  • Filter – Fluval 205 with two baskets of Biomax bioligical filter ceramic rings, one basket of and Carbon, and basket currently empty (120$ from DFS online)

  • Lights – Sun Blaze T5 HO 24” 4 Lamp, with 4x 24W Spectralux T5 HO 6500K bulbs ($120 from local hydroponics store), Tanda outlet timers ($2.50 at ikea, rated for 1875W)

  • CO2 – 5 lb tank ($90 filled from local welding supply store), Azoo single stage regulator with solenoid (90$ from ebay, currently still being shipped from Taiwan), 2x glass nano diffusers ($20 for three from Aquatic Magic online, two of which arrived intact)

  • Substrate - 3x bags of EcoComplete, approximately 60 lbs total ($60 from DFS online)

  • Water – Seattle tap, treated with Aquacraft Professional Aquarium Treatment ($8/bottle from LFS)

  • Test kits – Aquarium pharmaceuticals Master Test Kit, Phosphate Test Kit, and GH/KH Test Kit ($40 for all three from DFS online)

  • Fish food – TetraMin tropical flakes ($16 for 200g at LFS)

  • Miscellaneous – assorted plant anchors made from grocery store twisty ties, shattered terra cotta pot, superglue, netting from bag of tangerines, and granite rock ($0 from grocery store or outside)


  • Rotala rotundiflora/indica

  • Heteranthera zosterifolia (Star Grass)

  • Ludwigia repens (Red ludwigia)

  • Myriophyllum matogrossensis (Red milfoil)

  • Microsorum pteropus v. “Windelov” (Java fern v. Windelov )

  • Microsorum pteropus v. “Narrow leaf” (Java fern v. Narrow leaf)

  • Valisneria spiralis

  • Blyxa japonica

  • Eleocharis parvula (Dwarf hairgrass)

  • Lilaeopsis brasiliensis (Brazilian Microsword)

  • Nymphaea zenkeri (Red tiger lotus)

  • Riccia fluitans

  • Vesicularia dubyana (Java moss)

  • Hydrocotyle leucocephala (Brazilian pennywort)

  • And one more sword/val that I haven't identified, maybe someone online can chime in.

  • (all acquired from local hobbyists via craigslist or LFS via my other tank for $30 total)


  • Paracheirodon innesi/axelrodi (Neon & Cardinal tetras), 6x

  • Crossocheilus siamensis (Siamese algae eater, SAE), 2x

  • Neocaridina heteropoda (Red cherry shrimp), 14x

  • Various snails

  • (all acquired from LFS or local hobbyists via craigslist or via plants for ~$20 total)

I set up the tank and planted two weeks ago and added fish one week ago. Most of the plants are anchored into the substrate with twisty ties superglued to pieces of a shattered terra cotta pot to prevent them from floating away as I shovel around substrate. Note that I am still waiting for the CO2 regulator to arrive.

Currently, I am seeing growth of some of the plants, particularly the Riccia and Java moss, each of which is anchored to a rock with the tangerine netting. I can see the microsword and hairgrass putting out a few roots and shoots. There may be some slight growth at the apices of the Rotala at this point. The star grass, milfoil, and ludwigia are all static in size. None of the plants appear to have necrosed to any significant degree, with the exception of the tips of the Windelov which are somewhat black and bits and a few strands of the hairgrass.

There is very fine green hair algae on many of the plants, particularly the stargrass and tiger lotus, and on the front of the tank closest to where I have the light. It is approximately 1 inch in length. I don't see any brown, cyan, or black brush growth on anything at this point.

The SAE's and shrimps can be seen nibbling continually. The tetras school and play frequently. I have fed them flake food only once since I added them.


Measured at 13:00.

Temp - 25deg C

pH 7.8 (yes 7.8)

NH4 – 0 ppm

NO2 – 0 ppm

NO3 – 0 ppm

PO4 – 0.5 ppm (tap: 0 ppm)

GH – 6 deg (tap: 3 deg)

KH – 5 deg (tap: 2 deg)

CO2 - 1.5-6 mg/L (estimated from a table found <a href=””>here</a>)


  1. Equipment: Setting this tank up has been very fun so far. There are many excellent sources of information online, particularly and I am eager for the CO2 regulator to arrive. This is the last piece of equipment that I am waiting on, although now I am wondering whether I will need to buy a CO2 reactor, needle valve and bubble counter too. The hobbyists with enviable tanks from whom I acquired plants each had a reactor and recommended them. I think I will be okay in terms of lighting, since I'm currently at 96W for 29G, or 3.3 WPG for whatever that's worth. I think the light is the right color spectrum and well reflected. I have no plans to augment the lighting, though for the next tank I set up a 48” width would be good to capitalize on the length of most commercial fluorescent lights.

    1. Await CO2 regulator

    2. Consider purchasing CO2 reactor, needle valve, bubble counter

  2. Water: Several of the water parameters deserve comment. First the pH of 7.8 is higher than I expected or desired. I have not added any buffer or pH up/down products to the tank at this point, since I am trying to minimize phosphate right now. I have heard that EcoComplete buffers at alkine pH, so this may be the cause of the high pH. I am hoping that the CO2 will acidify the water a bit. The GH of 6 deg is also somewhat higher than I expected and desired. Again, this has to be due to the substrate, as it's the only source of calcium in the tank and Seattle's water is GH 3 deg. I could probably stand to do a water change to correct some of these problems.

    1. CO2 injection as above

    2. Water change

  3. Flora: I am seeing minimal growth from the plants at this stage. Presumably this is due to the CO2 deficit. I've read that most aquatic plants supposedly prefer pH in the 6-7 range and CO2 in the 5-20 mg/L range, probably the higher end of the CO2 range for my 3.3 WPG lighting setup. I'll see how this does when the regulator arrives. It could also be that some other nutrient like iron is deficient, so I'll probably wind up needing some kind of fertilizer. Most of these plants are supposed to be pretty easy to grow, even though the redness of the rotala, ludwigia and lotus is associated with difficulty growing. We shall see! With so many different species it will become clear what the relative robustness of each is. Right now the riccia is winning.

    1. CO2 injection as above

    2. Consider fertilizer

  4. Algae: At this point, there is nothing worse than green hair algae in the tank. The SAE and shrimp are enjoying it so it's not really a problem now and presumably will improve when the plants start growing more. The nitrates and phosphates are minimal so I don't expect any outbreaks. I don't know what the silicates are.

    1. CO2 injection as above

  5. Fauna: The tetras look very nice. I will buy some more at some point, though I don't want to have to feed very much until I'm convinced that the plants and not the algae will take up the extra nutrients. I'll think about other decorative fish when the water stabilizes a bit. The SAE's are great. I think they have kept some of the rotala clean, and I'm hoping they go for the algae on the star grass soon. I could stand to buy one or two more of them. Some otocinchlus would also be nice, but probably no need to get them any time soon. I hope the shrimp will start breeding and that the fry can escape the relatively kind community members already in the tank!

    1. Consider purchasing 1-2 more SAE's.

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