Howdy all I have been given a 30 gallon tank I am needing to get everything else. I am on a budget and would like to keep it under $300 if possible.
Welcome to the forums! As I'm sure you know, the glass box is typically the cheapest part of setting up a nice aquarium. But getting in free is never a bad thing! Do you have anything else that came with it?
-Substrate thinking just black blasting sand and use what I currently have for ferts (Thrive all in one and root tabs)
I hate sand like poison, but tons of people have success using it. I dislike vacuuming it, the way it scratches glass, can wear impellers, and how it can compact over time. But there's not a less expensive route and if it works for you, go for it.
- Plants - Going easy to grow with Anubis, Java Ferns, Vallisneria, Amazon swords, Crypts - I will just pull from my other tanks.
Never anything wrong with using existing plants for new set ups. It's been a long time since I've started a tank any other way.
Don't know that particular light, but there are lots of affordable LED units out there that will grow plants great. I've used cheap Amazon Finnex lights and they've done well for me. IMO a timer is mandatory and a dimmer might be worth looking into.
- Filtering - I am not sure what would be good here for a tank this size
I'd go with an Aqua Clear 70. 300 GPH and a nice reservoir for media. No brand loyalty outside of the option to use your own media and I have an AC 2000 that they discontinued in the 90's that still runs. I can't even say that about expensive Eheim's and such I invested in decades ago. Aqua Clear filters will go and go. But all HOB filters will work fairly similarly.
- Fish - I am thinking of just going with guppies making it simple, but have a good variety of colors(males only)
Not a reason in the world to critique guppies as a choice.
- Co2 - on my other tanks I just use the good old DIY Baking soda / Citric acid which has worked really well these tanks are 12 gallons and below though. I am guessing it would not be cost effective to do this on a much larger tank?
If there's one thing I've had a worse run with than using sand, it's dirtied tanks and DIY CO2. You can grow everything you've mentioned just fine low tech, but if you want to go pressurized, look in the for sale forums here for good prices on regulators. And dry ferts (also offered by many sellers here) will be the way to go if you go high tech. Root tabs aren't going to cut it once the light intensity and CO2 are added.
Any help or comments is greatly appreciated. I know the forum has several sub forms for each of these questions just seems easier to make one post about this
Sounds like you're on your way to setting up your favorite tank!