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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I've been browsing the forums for a a while so thanks for the advice. I'm setting up my first tank and slowly getting items together and had a few questions.

I'm looking for advice on lighting, plant sourcing and care, stocking, and a general critique of what I have so far and plan to do.

I tried to provide all the info someone would ask for, then add specific questions below. I can post them in subforums if that would be better.

I've seen threads were the op is asked what their goal is, so mine is to find a balance between a beautiful tank and and one that isn't too demanding timewise. I'm willing to spend the money on gear to make a tank that will look great, and a desire to put in the time, but I have a demanding job and family life and there might be a delay on getting to regular maintenance from time to time. While cost is a factor, its much lower on the list than spending a few more bucks on an item or species to have a good looking tank that's less sensitive. I'm not planning on adding co2.

So far. I have:
29 gallon tank
-Fluval 307 canister + purigen and mesh bags. Was planning on leaving carbon in until fishless cycle was complete, then swapping a mesh bag of purigen for the carbon unless advised otherwise
-2 bags (9L ) ADA Aquasoil Amazonia Ver 2
-Nicrew ClassicLED Plus 30"
-Beamswork DA80 30"
-API Master test kit + API GH & KH test kit
-API Leafzone
-Aquavitro Seed
-3 pieces of Manzinita Driftwood (purchased from manzinita-driftwood.com)
various stones
-a net
-seachem pirme

Stocking has been at the bottom of my list in terms of research and in the end I'd just like a nice looking planted tank with some interesting fish, so if there's something dead wrong about my idea, thatr's why.
I would like to stock the tank with
-School cardinal or neon tetras (Based on appearance. size and hearing about them being hardier, I'd prefer cardinals but I can't find them locally and if I can keep a few more neons for lest $$ i'd go that route),
-School of cory's (leaning towards albino because of price and availability, but would rather spend more or purchase online pandas or salt and peppers if I can keep more cardinals / neons),
-Honey or dwarf gourami (would prefer honey based on appearance and hearing they're more peaceful, but again cant find them locally)
-Nerite snails
-Later on adding some amano or cherry shrimp (I've heard the gourami may eat them, but I'd be willing to wager a few shrim after the tank has grown in with hiding spots to see if they'll make it)

As far as plants go, I'd like to have vallisneria, bacopa, and an amazon sword in the background. I plan to decorate the hardscape with java fern and anubias and maybe some moss after further research. At this point I think I'll wait on adding something to the foreground so the fish stand out, but may consider adding microsword later on if I think it'll add to the asthetic

Now for the questions

As far as lighting goes, I purchased the Nicrew, then read some reviews about beamswork so I ordered that with the intention of returning the nicrew. The the return and the arrival overlapped and I had the opportunity to compare the two. I much prefer the color of the nicrew, but the beamswork defintiely appears to be brighter. In a low tech 29 will there be a substantial difference between the two in terms of plant growth / health? I prefer the color of the nicrew so much, I'd be willing to get a second one instead of keeping the beamswork, but I would rather have health and growth over color, so I'd love to hear which way to go between these two, or a fixture under 80 or so that will offer the color and health / growth.

What's the best site to buy plants today? I've seen multiple threads of people recommending a vendor, then later saying quality has gone down hill. Do the plants I list make sense for a newbie or should I change something.

In terms of stocking, How many of each species would you recommend? Would you suggest switching something?

Is there anything missing from my list of supplies besides plants and fish? I'm planning on adding substrate, hardscape, and plants, then dosing with leafzone and seed for a week, then adding fish. Should I slowly add fish or just add the whole community after a week of seed? (I live in fl and the house stays between 72 and 80 year round so I'm planning on skipping the heater).

Thanks for any advice.
 

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A few accessories:

a dedicated pot
1/32, 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1 teaspoons
gram measuring spoons
bottle brushes (not too many)
10 ml and 50 ml volumetric cylinders
500 ml beaker
a good scale
Nitrate test kit
Ammonia and Nitrite test kits for cycling
small plastic reagent bottles
brown Boston round bottles
1 3/4" x 1 1/4" permanent bottle labels
10 ml dropper
turkey baster
5 ml syringe with pointless needle
large oil vinegar bottle with pour spout
timer
forceps with curved tips
5 ml medicine dropper
medicine dosing bottles
medicine dosing syringes
2 gallon plastic funnel
small powder funnel
5 gallon bucket
1 gallon plastic water bottle
a UPS for your filter
glass 1 ounce measuring cup
5 gallon bottle of RO water
battery air pump
air stones
batteries
Calcium Chloride for emergency heating
a small flashlight
scissors
8 inch or longer stirring rod
150 ml min porcelain mortar and pestal
4 ounce water sample bottle w/fliptop
quarantine tank (just in case)
Erythromycine antibiotic (external)
Seachem Kanaplex antibiotic (internal)
Seachem Focus (for mixing med in food)
Seachem MetroPlex
Hikari PraziPro
Ich-X
Epsom Salt
infrared thermometer
little suction cups for airline tubing
5" net (got to have it)
shelf organizers to put all this stuff on

Don't even get me started on the chemicals. This is just the periphery stuff.
 

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The Nicrew doesn't appear to be full spectrum. I do have a Nicrew light similar to the Classic in my low tech tank, and it certainly grows my plants. The question is, could the Beamswork grow them better (stronger as well as bigger and faster growth)? I would say if the Beamswork is full spectrum it should be better for overall growth. Especially when balancing it out with ferts. But the fact you don't like to look at the light could have you replace it sooner or later.
 

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Why not just make it simple and do 1-3 led floodlights, 40$ max some dirt and sand a sponge filter then scavenge plants from the wild and dip in h2o2 then get plants like lucky bamboo bacopa and hornwort and swords and crypts and wisteria and anacharis, add leaf litter and twigs and pebbles and rocks and small logs then keep some cories a trio of copella fish then a school of threadfin rainbows, you could add 1-2 more other species such as a pair of late acara and a group of swordtails
 

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The Nicrew doesn't appear to be full spectrum. I do have a Nicrew light similar to the Classic in my low tech tank, and it certainly grows my plants. The question is, could the Beamswork grow them better (stronger as well as bigger and faster growth)? I would say if the Beamswork is full spectrum it should be better for overall growth. Especially when balancing it out with ferts. But the fact you don't like to look at the light could have you replace it sooner or later.
Nicrew is trash, they lie about par and a 48” one couldn’t grow stuff well with nutrient rich substrate and lots of organic humus (mulm) in a 40 gallon 16” deep tank
 

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A few accessories:

a dedicated pot
1/32, 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1 teaspoons
gram measuring spoons
bottle brushes (not too many)
10 ml and 50 ml volumetric cylinders
500 ml beaker
a good scale
Nitrate test kit
Ammonia and Nitrite test kits for cycling
small plastic reagent bottles
brown Boston round bottles
1 3/4" x 1 1/4" permanent bottle labels
10 ml dropper
turkey baster
5 ml syringe with pointless needle
large oil vinegar bottle with pour spout
timer
forceps with curved tips
5 ml medicine dropper
medicine dosing bottles
medicine dosing syringes
2 gallon plastic funnel
small powder funnel
5 gallon bucket
1 gallon plastic water bottle
a UPS for your filter
glass 1 ounce measuring cup
5 gallon bottle of RO water
battery air pump
air stones
batteries
Calcium Chloride for emergency heating
a small flashlight
scissors
8 inch or longer stirring rod
150 ml min porcelain mortar and pestal
4 ounce water sample bottle w/fliptop
quarantine tank (just in case)
Erythromycine antibiotic (external)
Seachem Kanaplex antibiotic (internal)
Seachem Focus (for mixing med in food)
Seachem MetroPlex
Hikari PraziPro
Ich-X
Epsom Salt
infrared thermometer
little suction cups for airline tubing
5" net (got to have it)
shelf organizers to put all this stuff on

Don't even get me started on the chemicals. This is just the periphery stuff.
That is about the most thorough list I have seen in a while. I will fully well admit to not having half of this lol. My mixing bottles are spare ketchup/ mustard refillable things from dollar tree (I do not mix salts, mind you). I don't have labels for anything (I do have everything rubbed or boxed with contents written out on the box or a piece of paper). A lot of things can be improvised. I do want to second all of the emergency and back up items on this list, though. I think it's an important aspect that a lot of people don't take into consideration. Battery operated air pumps and improvised sponge filters have saved me more than I care to admit (before I got back up generators for my house). Quarantine/ hospital tanks are a godsend especially when first setting up and stocking a tank. Even if it's just a devoted bucket/ tub with a well seeded sponge filter it could potentially save you from losing your entire stock from disease. Having medication on hand is definitely another thing that will save you a ton of headache once you are ready to stock your tank.

All that being said I'll address your lighting issues as follows- what plants are you planning on planting? Are you planning on low or high tech? These are 2 factors that will greatly influence what your lighting necessities will be.

Onto adding livestock. That's best left till after your nitrogen cycle is complete. You're going to need to track your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate over the course of this. I'm not sure what you're using for a substrate but if it is not an active substrate you're going to need to add ammonia to kick off the cycling. Ammonia shouldn't get above 5, water change to ensure this once it's built up to 4, nitrites come next, same thing as ammonia, then nitrates which shouldn't get above 40. Most active substrates have water changing schedules- 50% change everyday first week, every other day second, 2 times a week the 3rd week and once a week thereafter. Tank should be cycled without livestock.

I would stay away from cardinals, their temperature range doesn't match up with the rest of the fish you want. Neons would be a better option.

I will admit to only skimming through your initial post, OP, so this is a skim over of my thoughts, hope it helps.
 

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Nicrew is trash, they lie about par and a 48” one couldn’t grow stuff well with nutrient rich substrate and lots of organic humus (mulm) in a 40 gallon 16” deep tank
I find it increasingly difficult to buy anything by brand name nowadays since a lot of products seem to be generic and rebadged a zillion times. Assuming that the majority of LEDs seem to come from the same manufacturers out of China, it may come down to trial and error, likes and dislikes. Obviously, a full spectrum light should grow plants better, but as you said yourself, descriptions are not always truthful, etc.

The Nicrew I am using does its job in my low tech planted tank, but I am certain I could have fuller and/or faster growth with a different light. When time comes to replace a light (I don't trust LEDs beyond the 2 year mark), I shall see the difference.
 

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I might have a defective model or too many floaters or not enough spread but I agree, you can get like a 6$ Chinese light which has similar power to a kessil a80 (150$)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks all.

Savetheplants, I almost returned all of my stuff and said screw fishkeeping after reading your list. I assume I'll acquire that on an as needed basis. I'll definitely get a backup air stone for power outages.

I'll return the Nicrew, and for now, keep the beamswork. I like the idea of spotlights, but don't want to complicate my first scape worying about areas with less light, which I've read could be an issue.

Plinkploop, I'll skip the cardinals and go for the neons. As for substrate and plants, I outlined all that in the OP. Thanks for the advice on stocking.

Noachlikesfish, I already have a filter, suibstrate and hardscape, I couldn't scavenge useable plant in my area.
 
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