First planted tank- 29 gallon low tech - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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First planted tank- 29 gallon low tech

Five weeks ago I set up my newest aquarium, my first planted tank. Weird time to be starting a journal I know but I have reasons. First and foremost being I actually have managed to borrow a half decent camera. I still haven't even attempted to cycle the tank. In addition to this I've ordered a new light and would like to do a re-scape so now seems as good of a time as any.



Lighting: 20w Hagen Life-Glo2 T8 bulb. This is being upgraded though to a Fishneedit 2X24w T5HO.
Filter: PX-360 Finnex mini canister filter
Substrate: Eco-Complete
Plants: Cryptocoryne wendtii 'brown', Cryptocoryne lucens, Cryptocoryne undulata, Cryptocoryne retrospiralis, Hygrophila difformis, Ceratopteris thalictroides, Nymphaea stellata, three different unidentified Aponogetons.
Fauna: Pond snails

This is my attempt at an Asian biotope. I'm not too happy with the lower half of the tank and would like to change it. I have some ideas on how to change it, just not sure if it would look good. I'd like to open up the center of the tank, perhaps plant some moss around the base of the driftwood, find something better to hide the filter (Hygrophila corymbosa 'siamensis' or 'angustifolia' maybe?), move or get rid of the retrospiralis and the bulb plants. I'm open to suggestions since my new lighting should be here Monday.
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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 05:19 AM
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Looks very natural!!
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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 06:41 AM
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I like the forest effect. I'm considering the purchase of the same light for the same size tank, I'd love to hear how it goes for you.

You may be aware of this, but I think that filter might be a bit small for the tank once you have fish. The manufacturer rates it for smaller tanks, for one thing, but I think most people around here recommend 6x tank volume for gallons per hour for a cannister filter, so you might want something that rates at least 180gph. More if you overstock, I believe.

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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 04:58 PM
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Ya I agree I like the forest look too. To me at least I like how the roots look for the plants that are floating.
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys . I was trying to go for a forest lagoon type setting, not sure if I have it quite right yet, but I don't think it's too bad for a first try. It's never going to be as amazing as some of the tanks I've seen on here which to me look like living art. The floating wisteria and water sprite is probably my favorite feature. I might need to thin it out though. I suddenly have crypts melting again and need to figure out why.

ArchimedesTheDog- The light actually came today, although I didn't hook it up yet. Hoppy was the one who suggested it actually. You're totally right about the filter. I knew it was undersized (for some reason I was thinking 4X turnover :/). I actually typically overfilter (my other aquarium has a turnover of 8.75X per hour). The tank is on my dresser so I couldn't use a normal cannister filter. I was planning all nano fish, but even so it might be a good idea for me to get a second filter of this type. It is cheap enough after all. The two of them together should get me to 6X then.
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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 08:43 PM
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I look forward to hearing more about the light. The cords being on the end is going to be a bit frustrating for me, but more from a room arrangement standpoint than an aesthetic one. I also want to add some moonlights to the tank.

Those mini Finnex seem like good filters, I actually hadn't thought about duals: that might be good by having better distribution of intake from the tank, no? I am likely going to use a 10x turnover HOB (AquaClear) for my tank, though the new 6-series Fluval cannisters are sold for a remarkably good price across the street from my work and are kind of appealing, too.

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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-19-2012, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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I'll have to let you now about the light. I can't see to find a converter anywhere in the house. I think I'll use this as an excuse to get a timer though. I actually like the cord being on the side, it will help me keep it away from my ferrets.

I did freak out a tiny bit when I opened the package and saw that I got a 24" instead of a 30" fixture. Same bulbs and I planned on not using the legs anyway. So if you're reading this Hoppy, thanks for saving me a few bucks. I never would have figured that out on my own.

So far I like the mini Finnex a lot. It's in my bedroom, so I love how quiet it is. I'm definitely getting a second. I used to use on HOBs, but after getting my first cannister I don't think I'll ever go back.
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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-22-2012, 05:23 AM
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Have you gotten it hooked up? I am concerned about the 24" bulbs over a 30" tank.

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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-22-2012, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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I hooked it up last night, so this morning was the first I really ran it. It's definitely brighter and I like the color, but I can't speak to much more than that at this point.

I'm not sure what kind of plants you'll be getting, but I wouldn't worry about it only being a 24" bulb. The T8 I had on the tank for the first five weeks was that length.

One other thing, all of my C. undulata melted. That was the entire left side of the tank. I think the cause was me being an idiot and not realizing how much heat a glass lid will retain. The wendtii and lucens fared ok though. I'm hoping the new light doesn't make them melt as well.
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-22-2012, 08:31 PM
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Just some friendly advice from a fellow 29g'ist. First of all great scape for your first shot at it. Secondly you are going to want the tank to be cycled prior to getting the T5HO. Just put a couple of capfuls of ammonia in and the cycle will only take a few weeks. The reason being is that unless you plan to hang your T5HO a good bit above the tank you are going to have serious algae problems. This will be minimized by your floating plants but if you want to get good light to the bottom of tank you'll need to remove some. The reason I say cycle the tank is so that you can add amanos, otocinculus, and whatever else you want to add for a clean up crew. They will eliminate all algae from the tank.

You have a great start though. I just wanted to throw a warning your way. T5HO directly over a 29g is ALOT of light but with the right crew you wont have any algae problems. Keep up the good work. If you have any other questions just send me a PM.

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post #11 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-22-2012, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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I'm certain that I can come up with plenty of question given the chance. I'll just start off with the cycling. I'm EXTREMELY nervous about trying to fishless cycle. I should have been smart and done it before I bought the plants. I wasn't though. The only other time I tried it I had a lot of ph crashes and fluctuations even using crushed coral. Since I now have a medium light waiting to be used is it possible to add CO2 and some other stem plants (I have some Hygrophila corymbosa 'angustafolia' ordered anyway) to 'silent' cycle? Either of those ways would most likely melt my crypts, but I would have the option of other plants now if I wanted to replace them.

Of course the CO2 issue just opens a whole group of other questions that I need to research on.
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post #12 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-22-2012, 10:00 PM
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A fishless cycle will not harm your plants. It's actually recommended that you have plants in the tank during the cycle as they speed up the process. There's no reason why can't add CO2 to your tank. Either pressurized system or DIY will work. I prefer pressurized be ause I can put it on a timer and control when I want it where as with DIY it's all manual and fluctuates. Pressurized systems are pricey but worth it IMO.

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post #13 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-23-2012, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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I was mostly worried about the crypts with a fishless cycle. I planted them think, but oh well. I found a few local places that sell CO2 canisters. From scanning a bunch on the forum it seems like it's usually suggested to piece a system together over buying something like the Milwaukee Instruments Solenoid Valve, CO2 Regulator with Bubble Counter. I think I can manage to at least make sure to find all the pieces I need. Most of my confusion right now is in regards to fertilizing. Right now I only dose Flourish Comprehensive once a week so I'd have to make major changes for that I think. Still trying to figure out what though. The dosing regimes confuse me slightly, and most seem to apply for higher light than I have.
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post #14 of 39 (permalink) Old 05-27-2012, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
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I've been doing a lot of research and think I wrapped my head around pressurized CO2 and fertilizing enough to come up with a plan, so here goes.

The CO2 starting plan
5 lb CO2 cannister
Azoo regulator w/ solenoid (I heard some complaints about the needle valve with this so I might need a new one later).
CO2 tubing
Atomic CO2 bubble counter w/ intergrated check valve
Hagen Aquaclear powerhead with the quick filter addition (hoping that supplies me with CO2 dispersal and the additional filtering I could use)

Fertilizing:
Greenleaf's green fertilizer package: micros & macros
Dosing based on the calculator at the Nutrient Company
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post #15 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-07-2012, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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New picture time! Since I added some new plants. The new additions are Hygrophila corymbosa 'angustiofolia' and Cryptocoryne walkeri. I also received some more red root floater. I never mentioned it before because I was thinking of putting it in my other tank, but I like the affect of it in here peeking out amongst all the green at the surface. The color is really nice with the T5 lighting, which I actually am using. No sign of algae. I also haven't added CO2 yet.

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