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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I'm a lurker but finally made an account (hope I'm doing this right, please let me know if I've misposted in some way) because I plan to get a 29gal next week . I am wanting to try a NPL setup, with a betta, 6 or so kuhlis, and a few sorts of snail.
I've kept bettas before, but this will be my first planted tank, my first multi-species, and largest size tank I have ever had. (Exciting but intimidating!)

I'm lost on which filter and heater should be best to get for a tank this size, though. I want something well made, but I am on a tight budget. (I also looked into DIY things, but figure it's best to buy one until I'm more familiar with them.)

I've decided on using a sponge filter, but I don't know which I should get. I need a decent flow, to mange to get through all the plants, but not too strong to overwhelm the fish.
I am also wondering if I should get an airstone or bubble wand as well? To like offgas the CO2 that plants will release at night when the lights are off? Or will the filter do that enough, most likely? The balance between CO2 for the plants but oxygen for the fish seems like a juggle, and I'm looking for tips to maintain that.

Secondly, I have no clue what is a good heater and will appreciate good&affordable types to get as well as the appropriate sort for a 29gal.

Thanks! I have a bunch other questions I'd like to ask/clarify later, I've done a ton of research (and therefore got a few conflicting answers lol), but I'll do it in tidbits to avoid overwhelming a single post. c: I'm really excited to be here, I've read some invaluable stuff in this forum!
 

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29 gallon tanks make a nice starter community tank and I see no problems with the stock you have chosen. I have never used a sponge filter in anything more than a 10 gallon. (only because I want more filtration than just mechanical and biological. I want the chemical filtration to help with Ammonia and nitrite buildup, and also a water polisher.) That being said I have found an Aquatop CAF-40 sponge filter (length 4.5", width 4.5", and height 6") would filter up to 40 gallon tanks and can be either air driven or power head driven, both would create enough filtration and aeration for the tank. If you go with air you will need an air pump strong enough to drive the filter. An air pump like a Whisper 40 would do nicely but I would get an adjustable valve to regulate the flow rate. And if you want to put in an air stone you would need something along the line of a Whisper 60 that has twin outlets. Now another reason I don't use sponge filters is the noise and vibration the air pumps make. On both of my 29 gallon tanks I have placed a Marineland C-220 canister filter on each. I filter 220 gallons per hour,(both tanks are well planted and stocked, needing the filtration.)I have no noise from either one of them and cleaning and changing the filters are a breeze. (But being a tight budget This is not an answer right now. It would be something to think about and save for.)
As for heaters I use Marineland precision heaters in all my tanks (well except for my 4 gallon I still use a Marine land 25 watt Visa Therm Deluxe, only because Marineland doesn't make one in their Precision line. For a 29 gallon I would say you could get away with a 100 watt submersible/Adjustable heater, or I have found that going to a 150 watt the heater doesn't work so hard to keep up with outside temperature changes.
 

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While there are many competent, experienced community tank keepers, like Betaphototramp, on this Betta side of the forum, you should consider visiting our sister site, TFK (TropicalFishKeeping), where you might get more traffic and a wider variety of suggestions from the community tank keepers who hang out there.
Beginner Freshwater Aquarium

Welcome to the forum.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both! I really appreciate the insight.
There has been a slight change of plans in my setup, though. Since kuhlis are really difficult for me to find both online and IRL, and it's bit risky no matter what, and and I am new to more-than-single-betta setups, I decided to start a little slower and instead go with a 20gal long, divided for 2 bettas (keeping the snails, too, I imagine the 9 gallon difference for snails isn't that big).
That will keep me in somewhat familiar territory, although I'll miss the opportunity to snag that bigger tank (I'm going with a 20long instead of 29 to give them more surface area to depth, as well as make lighting plants slightly easier).
There's always future sales and future setups, though.

I do visit tropicalfishkeeping, as well as a number of other forums, although I am only a member of this one. I feel much more comfortable in it, for some reason, but I'll definitely keep in mind the content and users of the forum in the future, that makes sense. Thanks again!
 
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