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So I just started a 30 gallon planted aquarium.

Here is the breakdown:

It's dirt. Organic soil topped with Flourite.

I have a single fluorescent bulb. Nothing fancy on the lights just yet. I hope to get there eventually.

No CO2 but just like the lighting-I hope to get there.

Since I'm not running heavy lights or CO2 I currently went with Amazon Swords and Tropical Hornwort. Hardy yet still look really good.

I sunk a piece of driftwood. Not sure of the wood itself. I found it in a local parks creek. Treated it and soaked it for days. Seems to be fitting in with the exception of growing an odd cotton like fluff stuff around it. I've read into it and from what I gather it seems to be no problem and after time will go away.

I have a AquaClear 30 filter and a Aqueon heater.

Today I added 2 Black Kuhli Loaches. The guys simply hide all day which is, from what I've read, pretty normal. I plan on adding about 3 more this weekend.

I'm treating the water with the basic "make tap water safe" stuff and I have an ammonia test kit that came with the tank.

So with everything mentioned what could I add to brighten things up?

I really love the look of Angelfish and Skirted Tetras. I also like the random untraditional stuff like dwarf frogs and shrimp.

I work with Seafood filleting 20 to 30 lbs Halibuts and Mahi Mahi everyday. I'm hoping to counter some of the killing I do with fish by maintaining some aquatic life as well so I'm really hoping to not kill anything anytime soon. I understand though-[censored][censored][censored][censored] happens.
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I'm fairly new to this too :icon_redf , but I have to agree with Gooberfish. More plants definitely makes a big difference. I don't know what kind of backdrop you have, but I went with painting the back black (in my 55 gallon tank), you can see it in my album if you are interested - here is my second hand tank . It's cheap and will not get messed up like the plastic backgrounds. On the other hand, changing it to something different will take more time, so if you plan on changing it often, i wouldn't suggest it.

If you have low light (about 1 watt per gallon) stick with lower light plants, others will likely be ok, but may not thrive well and become discouraging to your tank... a few I know of off hand are:
Wisteria
Anubias
Crypts
Bolbitis ferns
I think most mosses (i.e. Java) which would go well on your driftwood
Bacopa
Vallisneria

There are many variations to these, some varieties have red hues to them that look really good.

Livestock wise, I have a few Ghost shrimp, and they are cool, but hard to see most of the time. I think the Red Crystal Shrimp are awesome, but can't see spending the money on those right now. I have recently purchased a Dwarf Gourami which looks awesome in the tank (better than in the LFS).


I also have a few Opaline Gouramis one is less colorful than the other and get a bit larger, but they look great in the tank too... (please note these are random pictures i found on the net, they are not my fish... i unfortunately do not have any pictures of them at this time)


The Gouramis have an interesting way of managing their eggs during breeding too, if you get into that kind of thing.

Australian Rainbow and Silver Dollar fish are a good contrast to darker colors too as they both are shimmery silver and have other coloration to them as well.

Ok that is enough ramblings and misspellings for one post, this is all from what i have read, so if someone notices something I have misstated, please correct me, I don't want to mislead anyone!!:flick:
 

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288 Posts
I'm fairly new to this too :icon_redf , but I have to agree with Gooberfish. More plants definitely makes a big difference. I don't know what kind of backdrop you have, but I went with painting the back black (in my 55 gallon tank), you can see it in my album if you are interested - here is my second hand tank . It's cheap and will not get messed up like the plastic backgrounds. On the other hand, changing it to something different will take more time, so if you plan on changing it often, i wouldn't suggest it.

If you have low light (about 1 watt per gallon) stick with lower light plants, others will likely be ok, but may not thrive well and become discouraging to your tank... a few I know of off hand are:
Wisteria
Anubias
Crypts
Bolbitis ferns
I think most mosses (i.e. Java) which would go well on your driftwood
Bacopa
Vallisneria

There are many variations to these, some varieties have red hues to them that look really good.

Livestock wise, I have a few Ghost shrimp, and they are cool, but hard to see most of the time. I think the Red Crystal Shrimp are awesome, but can't see spending the money on those right now. I have recently purchased a Dwarf Gourami which looks awesome in the tank (better than in the LFS).


I also have a few Opaline Gouramis one is less colorful than the other and get a bit larger, but they look great in the tank too... (please note these are random pictures i found on the net, they are not my fish... i unfortunately do not have any pictures of them at this time)


The Gouramis have an interesting way of managing their eggs during breeding too, if you get into that kind of thing.

Australian Rainbow and Silver Dollar fish are a good contrast to darker colors too as they both are shimmery silver and have other coloration to them as well.

Ok that is enough ramblings and misspellings for one post, this is all from what i have read, so if someone notices something I have misstated, please correct me, I don't want to mislead anyone!!:flick:
OH!! I almost forgot to warn you... The silver dollar fish are related to piranhas, but are herbivores... So don't get many if you like those, or make sure you have quick growing plants, because they do nibble on your plants!!! :icon_eek:
 

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Good for you! I have a 29 gallon myself, and it is planted, all low tech. Skirted tetras are awesome. I have a school of black skirts.....freaking love those guys! My only suggestion is to add a little bit more filtration. You can add another Aquaclear 30, or even a 20 if you aren't going to go overkill on the stocking. And no need to rush into the lighting and/or CO2. There are a ton of low light/maintenance plants out there that look great. Again, I am going that route myself. Hornwort is awesome! The hairy crap on the driftwood will go away on its own. If you want to speed up that process, a couple of shrimp will have at it! Good luck with the tank!
 
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