Planted Tank Enthusiast
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Northern Colorado
hey hows it goin
my main tank is a 29 gallon, it has been a learning experience for me. im in college and work on the side, so i cant always give time to my tank, which is why i went the low-light route.
the equipment i bought for this tank was: a coralife t5no fixture (wish i would have bought the fugeray and just dimmed it down), a glass lid, an eheim 2217 (2215 would probably be enough, but for only $20 more might as well go bigger), and an eheim jager heater. i would HIGHLY recommend waiting to get the right equipment you want for your setup before getting what "works" and having to replace it down the line. online prices are normally much better than LFS prices (even after shipping) and try to find coupons to get stuff even cheaper!
the ehiem filter is awesome imo. if you cant swing the price, and want to go with a HOB, the aquaclear is pretty well-liked around these forums. and personally i wouldnt buy any heater other than a jager. (except i may try a hydor inline heater sometime)
i used sand as my substrate, with a big honking piece of driftwood as my focal point. I used some root tabs for my crypts, and i dose fertilizer weekly. i dose the EI method, but only 1/3-1/2 of the days.
for fish stocking, i went with: 3x german blue rams, 10x rummynose tetra, 4x otos, and soon to be 8x marbled hatchetfish.
i would NOT go for a pleco. I had a bristlenose pleco in my 29 as the first inhabitant and he pooped SOOOOOOOOO much. my sand literally looked brown bc of how much he pooped. never getting another pleco again!
i really like having a large group of schooling fish and also having the gbrs as my showpiece fish. they are pretty interesting to watch. i would recommend buying fish from some of the highly-recomemded breeders on this site, or just from your cleanest LFS if you have any decent ones. i havent had much luck with online 'big-box" fish sellers.
for plant stocking, i went with: a bunch of different types of crpyts, some anubias, and java ferns. thinking about getting some hygros and cyperus. it all depends on what kind of lighting you are going to go with. if you do decide to go low-light, there is a great thread with a list of go-to plants to try.
aquariums are pretty expensive, especially the start up costs. above all that i listed, you still need to buy stuff like a master test kit, scaping tools, fish and plants, fish and plant foods, and all of the little stuff like nets and buckets. its a pretty hefty sum of money, but luckily the upkeep isnt too expensive..
keep us updated, and dont give up. you will have questions/problems but getting over them and watching your fish be happy makes it waaay worth it.