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Hello! Years ago I kept several fish tanks with success, but have been out of the hobby for some time and have never had a planted tank. I would like to set up a 29 gallon low tech (no C02), planted peaceful community tank, but of course, I have questions! I am mostly confused about lighting and substrate at this point. I will preface by saying my tap water's pH is 7.4 and very hard (although I don't have a test kit for hardness)

Can you please give me some suggestions on a not too expensive lighting set up? I was thinking somewhere in the 1.5/gallon watt range, but I am open to suggestions. I do have the option of putting the tank by a window that gets direct sunlight much of the day, but I would really like to avoid this as I'm worried about cooking the fish. I confess I really don't understand much about all of the different bulb options available today.

As far as substrate, I have thought about eco-complete, but it seems kind of expensive (and I will have to get it mail order) and I'm also concerned about whether or not it would be appropriate for cory cats. Could I get away with possibly two 20lb bags of eco-complete and cover it with a less sharp gravel for the corys? If I do use something like eco-complete, do I still need to add fertilizers for plants like java fern, anubias and floating plants since they are not in the substrate?

Any plant suggestions always welcome! :smile:
 

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Hello! Years ago I kept several fish tanks with success, but have been out of the hobby for some time and have never had a planted tank. I would like to set up a 29 gallon low tech (no C02), planted peaceful community tank, but of course, I have questions! I am mostly confused about lighting and substrate at this point. I will preface by saying my tap water's pH is 7.4 and very hard (although I don't have a test kit for hardness)

Can you please give me some suggestions on a not too expensive lighting set up? I was thinking somewhere in the 1.5/gallon watt range, but I am open to suggestions. I do have the option of putting the tank by a window that gets direct sunlight much of the day, but I would really like to avoid this as I'm worried about cooking the fish. I confess I really don't understand much about all of the different bulb options available today.

As far as substrate, I have thought about eco-complete, but it seems kind of expensive (and I will have to get it mail order) and I'm also concerned about whether or not it would be appropriate for cory cats. Could I get away with possibly two 20lb bags of eco-complete and cover it with a less sharp gravel for the corys? If I do use something like eco-complete, do I still need to add fertilizers for plants like java fern, anubias and floating plants since they are not in the substrate?

Any plant suggestions always welcome! :smile:
Hello!

1.5 to 2 watts per gallon is a good amount for most low light plants. As for a subtrate, Eco Complete is fine, but as you said it is pretty expensive. If you want a cheaper subtrate, you could try PFS (pool filter sand.) They sell it for about $5-10 for a 50lb bag. I cant really help you with fertilizing, sorry!
Regards,
 

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Welcome to TPT!

I'm running this Coralife T5NO over my own low tech 29gal: http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsU...5/cl0/coralifefwt5aqualightdoublestriplight30 It's more than enough light. I just set the tank up a few weeks ago, and the tank is also getting a lot of sunlight, so I'm having algae issues... but I think/hope it will work out in the long run once I get the photoperiod dialed in. Since you're talking about having floating plants, this light would probably work well for you.

Eco would be a good choice for your tank, and 2 bags would probably be about right... but you have lots of options. I don't like sand, but many others do and put together nice tanks with it. Turface/Pro's choice is another option if you can locate some (John Deere stores often carry or will special order it for you, it's pretty cheap). But you're right- you really don't need any special substrate at all with Java ferns, Anubias, mosses, and floaters- so just get what you want! lol

If you have a decent bioload in the tank you can probably make do without fertilizing. The plants you listed are pretty undemanding and should work well.
 

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I actually have been using this guide: http://www.sudeepmandal.com/hobbies/planted-aquarium/low-tech-planted-tank-guide/

I have had it posted in other responses to let people know what kinda guideline I was following, and no one has knocked/flamed it so I think it is a good guide for beginners (Like myself)

It realllllllllllllllllllly helped me on fertilizers. I catually bought the 2 reccomended dry ferts from aquariumfertilizers.com, one of the reccomended places in that article for 14$ shipped. Im not sure if thats a good deal, but it was after looking at a couple of other places lol!:tongue:

edit: I also used Eco-Complete "Black" in my tank when I set it up (on the 10th) and it has done a pretty good job at keepin my plants in check so far without fertz, decent light, and filtration. Many people have said that it should be fine until my lightstrip, filter, and fertz get to me...They are prolly delayed from xmas. (My setup was a kit from petco that was on a awesome sale, so nothing fancy at ALL.)
 

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I have a 29 gallon low tech tank too. I keep looking for 29 gallon tanks without Co2 injected. There aren't many. Can't wait to see what you do.

The T5 NO is the best buy for your money. I found this out after spending more on a diy light system.

When I move to Florida I will be setting up my 29 gallon tank with 1 bag of eco-complete. To ensure this will be enough 1st putting established substrate, which is mineralized, in the tank. Thus the eco-complete will be used as a topping substrate and probably only an inch. At present using river sand for topping the dirt. Got a big bag for $3.

With those non-substrate plants you are using the river sand would work great. I love the river sand for it doesn't need a lot of rinsing like the other sands I have tried, pool filter sand and play sand. In fact I just sift the bigger pieces out and put it in the tank. It clears up in a day. I

Since your water is hard you must have a lot of minerals in. Thus seems illogical to add leornate to it. No eco-system is the same. Those that do regimented dosing do well for they over dose and thus have to do weekly water changes. Since your water is hard the El Natural set up would probably work great for you. I just wouldn't add the dolomite since your water is hard. The dolomite increses PH and hardness of the water. More info here
 
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