I am very excited because my old 29 gallon tank is going to be up and running again soon! My mom just called me to tell me she pulled it out of storage and we can begin to clean everything and move it over to my house to set it up. This is part of my Xmas present to myself and also my NYE resolution - to have a really awesome fish tank! I really would like to turn it into a planted sorority/community tank and am looking for suggestions.
I have never had a planted tank before, but really want to make that the case with this one. I just think they are beautiful and the fish love them, so that's amazing too. I have a bunch of old, natural colored gravel that was in the tank before (it was a healthy community tank at one time, but I plan on bleaching the gravel) and am wondering if gravel is okay for live plants? I know sand would probably be better, but it's messy and I'm not sure if I want to deal with that just yet. I also plan on getting a piece of driftwood or two that I can attach plants to. What are some hardy plants that people recommend for tanks?
How many fish should I put in the tank? Like I said it's 29 gallons, and I know I need at least 4 female bettas. I would like to have other fish in there too if possible, but don't want to overstock. I have a fascination with kuhli loaches so I would like to try and have a couple of those in there, and maybe tetras of some sort and corys? I tend to sit and watch my aquariums for hours (literally), so something that's gonna give me entertainment (and beauty) would be awesome, lol.
I plan on doing a little photo journey of the tank set up which I will include in this thread. I have been reading quite a bit about sororities on here but would appreciate any advice. I am so excited about this!
Yes, natural colored gravel is good, but it also depends on the plants. I use natural colored gravel in my 10 gallon with Amazon Swords (Not really recommended with gravel), Corkscrew Val and Jungle Val (which are both doing great). I think the natural colored gravel gives an awesome "river" look on the tank. I recommend Jungle Val (These things multiply like crazy for me!), Corkscrew Val, Hornwort, Water Sprite, Duckweed, Anubius (For the driftwood), Java Moss, and Java Fern. The thing with tanks that are planted is that you never stop fiddling around with them!
Fish - When you're trying to decide on stalking ideas, you have to look at all the options. Do you want to pay the basic amount of money at a petstore for your ordinary bunch or do you want to pay a little more for a different or more colourful fish that with entertain you? I recommend looking around first at options (pet stores, local classifieds, etc.) or minnfish.com (Minnesota fish forum) for people around you. I recently saw that Petsmart are carrying these COOL looking Blue Platys at only $3.50 where I live (Canada). Wish I could get my hands on some of those! In a 29 gallon, you have quite a few options. You want to do a sorority, so you could probably do 4 or 5 female bettas. You could also do cory's, platy's, gourami's (Stay away from Dwarf Gourami's!), some types of tetras, kuhli loaches, white cloud mountain minnows, snails, and shrimp! I would stay away from Neon and Cardinal tetras for now because they thrive in certain tank parameters like pH 5.0 and stuff that will make you go crazy.
If you need anymore help, feel free to drop me a message!
I went to my mom's house tonight and we cleaned out the tank. It had been sitting in her basement for 10 years and was very dusty. The stand got a new coat of stain/varnish tonight too! I am going to end up buying new gravel for the tank, I had thought it was all natural colored but there was a bag of pink and blue gravel mixed in, and I don't want that for this tank. I have an Eheim 2213 canister filter for the tank that is missing a part so we have to go to a LFS this weekend to see if we can replace it. Hopefully they have it in stock or can order it so I will get it soon and be able to start this baby up! The store we are going to for the part is my favorite one in the state, they have a huge selection of all sorts of fish and plants and lots of driftwood and stuff so I think I will be doing most of my shopping there. Not sure what their female betta selection is though, so I might have to stick with Petsmart/Petco for those but that's alright. Luckily my local Petsmart does a pretty good job taking care of their bettas.
I have no idea what kind of plants I want but I will check out the ones you listed, as well as see what they have to offer at the store. I will probably have to get a new incandescent bulb for my light hood too for the plants. As for fish, I'm thinking for sure at least 6 females, 2-3 kuhli loaches, and a small school of some type of cories (or a pictus catfish instead, I really like those). I would like to get some middle dwelling fish too, so maybe a few platys? I love gouramis, especially gold ones, but the last time I had one I ended up giving him away because he got way too aggressive. I'm not really sure what my tank capacity is, and I've seen people with 20 gallon tanks who have a lot more fish than I was thinking of putting in mine so hopefully it will work out.
I will be bringing the tank and stand home probably on Saturday, so I will try and get a picture of it before I add anything and then as it comes together. Very very excited.
not sure on stocking or anything
but there is an awesome website called aqadvisor.com - you punch in your tank information, what kind of fish you have/want in it and it will tell you if they are compatible, stocking percentage, and i believe filter capacity or something of the sort. I always check it out when I want to add anything to a tank
I don't have experience with this (yet), but if you read the sticky in the planted tank section (How To: Natural Planted Tank ), it doesn't seem like sand is that messy. You use a layer of organic potting soil, then you have to wash out the sand beforehand in a separate bucket until it runs clear when you pour the water out, and then you put the sand over the potting soil. Then there will be little to no problems with the water looking cloudy from the sand. Also, it's easier to vacuum up because all the junk stays on the surface. Plus if you're going to have loaches and cories, I think they do best on sand.
aemaki, thank you for sharing that website! I will definitely use that calculator, I can't believe I didn't think to search for something like that!
OrangeAugust, I will agree it doesn't seem that hard. My mom said she tried to do that with her tank when she first set it up (12 years ago, at least) and she said it was a mess and she ended up removing the soil/sand (which was even more of a mess). She does not have very good patience though, so that might be part of her problem. I will have to do a bit more research, since I am starting completely from scratch with my substrate now anyway. I know there are a lot of live plants that do fine with gravel, but even more prefer the sand/soil so I will just need to figure out what I want and go from there. I feel like I have read that sticky, but I'm going to go read it again right now, haha.
So after doing a bit of research, I think I'm going to go with the black Eco-Complete substrate, it looks nice and apparently is good for plants/fish. A little expensive but I think it will be worth it.
I put my info in the calculator, and it says if I have 6 female bettas, 6 corys, 5 kuhli loaches, 3 amano shrimp, and 6 harlequin rasboras, I am 99% stocked. This is just an example I put in there, I'm not sure if I want the rasboras or if I want to go with something more colorful, like platys instead. My filter is rated for up to 65 gallons which gives me a lot of options.
I do have a feeling that this tank set up is going to take me a while. I will probably be buying new things every couple weeks when I get paid, and making sure that the tank is cycled and plants are established and growing before adding any fish. I plan on adding the bettas last, and all at once.
I know, it does seem like a lot...I just put a bunch of stuff in the calculator and was shocked when it said I wasn't over 100% capacity!
Tomorrow when I get paid I am going to bring the tank and stand home, and buy my Eco Complete and fill it up. Saturday I will be going to the LFS and hopefully buying some plants and driftwood and getting my filter part. If they need to order in the part I will still set the tank up with the plants and stuff because they don't really need a filter anyway. I will take some pictures tomorrow once I get the tank home!
Well, I had to order my substrate off the internet so I won't get it for 3-6 business days. Still going to the store tomorrow to see about my filter part, but everything has to be put on hold for now. BOO. :(
I'll update this thread again when I actually get stuff started.
In the meantime, I'm doing research on plants. I don't really want to have to supplement with CO2, and therefore am looking at low-medium light options. I am okay with using ferts, but would prefer not to if possible. mattoboy, what are the requirements of the plant suggestions you gave me?