need advice for new 29g low tech & aquasoil and cycling questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-14-2011, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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need advice for new 29g low tech & aquasoil and cycling questions

Hi everybody, first post. I’ve been hanging out as a guest for a bit now, but just decided to make the dive, join the community, and start my first planted tank. I’ve kept many different types of cichlid tanks for the last 10 years or so, but when my Oscar passed away a year ago…I broke everything down, sold all of my tanks, and left the hobby. I recently decided to start back again, but this time with a *peaceful* community tank with plants (which I’ve never done before). My focus this time around will be more around keeping a planted tank with just a minor emphasis on fish. I’ve never cared much about algae in tanks I’ve had in the past, but algae can’t kill rocks =P. I’m going to begin cycling a new 29g tank with aquasoil this week and had a few questions about the best way to approach it.

First the hardware…
29 gallon tank (30Lx12Wx18H), trying to do low light/low tech but dunno how realistic that is, haha
t5ho lights w/ 2x 24 watt bulbs with individual reflectors ~4” above tank top (may only use 1 bulb and lower lights or keep 2 bulbs and raise lights depending on how it goes) I ended up getting t5ho over t5no due to flexibility in case I decide to do CO2 later.
Eheim 2217 w/ inline heater – spray bar on top left side and intake on bottom right side
Ada aquasoil ‘new – multi type’ for substrate and one very large/branchy driftwood that will be on the right side of tank near intake

Aquascape ‘plan’
I’d like to have a very ‘simplistic’ look which I understand from past experience is easier said than done when it comes to achieving and maintaining…still can hope right?
I would like to have 2 main types of plants for now, both carpets. A ‘field’ of marsilea minuta to the left of the driftwood that will cover ~2/3 of the tank, big branchy driftwood as the inanimate centerpiece, and dwarf sag or possibly dwarf hg around and on the other side of the driftwood on the remaining ~1/3 of the tank. As far as fish/invert…I’d like to have a small school of cardinal tetras, a small school of pygmy cories, few otos, and some shrimp/snails.
I would prefer to keep the tank low light/low tech purely out of laziness…but would be open to CO2/upgrades if necessary. Not really interested in doing a different sized tank due to space constraints in my new place.

Phew, now for questions!
I’m still new to soil substrates & plants in general so bear with me…but I believe aquasoil will go through ammonia leeching in the first initial weeks. This actually works out because I was planning on doing a fishless cycle anyway. I don’t plan on adding any fish/inverts until the tank is fully established and cycle and am willing to wait 1-2 months if necessary. However, when will it be safe to put plants in? Can plants have ‘too much’ ammonia? Would it be safe to begin with the carpet plants right away or should I start out with hardier stem plants first and phase in the carpet later after the initial ammonia spike? Any recommendations/suggestions for optimal light setup for attempt at low tech/low maint.?

Also, a question about seeding the new filter/tank... My parents ended up keeping one of my cichlid tanks after I moved out a few years back, but the tank has gone downhill since its glory days since they don’t bother maintaining it that much. The tank is very established and all of its inhabitants have been living happily in there for years, but the tank is COVERED with all sorts of algae. I’m pretty sure you can find every single type of algae in there… there are rocks saturated with BBA in there now. I’ve tried my best to educate and help them w/ maintaining the tank over the years but gave up after my mom told me she liked the ‘furry rocks’. Anyway, from my research on planted tanks, algae is a major problem and something everyone is constantly battling with. Would it be completely stupid if I used filter material from this tank to try and seed my new tank? I would like to speed up the cycling process if possible, but will refrain from doing it if it means I could easily ‘contaminate’ the new tank.

Bleh, sorry for the wall text. Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-16-2011, 07:51 AM
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You've obviously done a lot of good research and are setting yourself up for success.

I think you are going to have to seriously tone down those lights if you are not going to add CO2. You may want to try the screen idea described in the thread below.

Here are some very educational lighting threads:

Re Cycling: You can and should plant right away. Amano recommends lots of plants from the get go.

Here are some relevant threads:

As far as the filter material goes... I dunno. That's a good question! My guess is that it would be fine since there is no way to keep algae out of your tank. Every plant and fish you bring it will have some hitch hikers. You don't prevent algae, you just suppress it. But I'm just guessing.

Good luck. Consider starting a tank journal for ongoing advice and kudos.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-17-2011, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice and links!

I looked through all of it and you're right...i'm going to need to go with co2 or do window screens. The screens just seem like a waste of energy so I'm probably going to break down and end up getting co2
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