29 Gallon Upgrade

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sharkweek178

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So I started a few months ago. I started with an idea of what I wanted. Which was basically a small desk tank with plastic plants. I have a 10 gallon with two fish in it currently, a green lantern platy and a honey gourami. Since then, I've realized that I want to do more. There's so much more that can be done in this hobby. So I am upgrading. I think journaling it here could be helpful to keep track of my own ideas and of course to get some input along the way.
Now, I'm on a budget so this will be slow going. But it's better that way. I have to think through my decisions instead of just impulsively doing something.

So here's where I'm at so far with the upgrade. I got a 29 gallon tank and a stand for it.

20220828_220907 (1).jpg

(Sorry for the reflection in the picture). I have a bag of Quikrete play sand that needs washed and added. I'll get a lid and pump soon. I'm going to use an internal filter and a sponge filter to supplement it. Once I get those, I'll start a fishless cycle with aquarium grade ammonia. I also have some bio beads in a mesh bag sitting in my current established tank that I'll use for seeding the new one. Then I'll add a lot of plants. I want to do a fishless cycle first because I've never maintained a lot of plants before so I want the bacteria present in case that doesn't work out.
The plants I have in mind are: starting with the background; Water wisteria (Hygrophila difformis), Vallisneria (Vallisneria americana), Bacopa caroliniana, Moneywort (Bacopa monnieri), and/or Rotala Indica.
Midground I would like Anubias Nana and Barteri, Cryptocoryne wendtii and parva, Java fern (Microsorum Pteropus), Anacharis (Elodea densa) and/or Bucephalandra Pygmeae.
Floating, I'm thinking Frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae). I like those dangling roots. Maybe some Water sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides). The floating plants I want to keep controlled with floating plant corrals so that the plants with higher light needs aren't smothered.
I'm also thinking some fish hideaways with Java moss (Taxiphyllum barbieri) attached to make them look more natural. And also some driftwood and a rock or two.
I realize that my eyes might be bigger than my stomach with the plants, so to speak. I probably won't have room for all of those plants. If I try to cram everything that I listed in there it's going to be a mess. And I would like some room for the fish too. I've chosen the plants because I think they'd be good for my skill level. I'll add root tabs and liquid fertilizer, but I'm not going to do any kind of additional CO2.

Speaking of fish, for livestock the plan is my current green lantern platy (Xiphophorus maculatus) and honey gourami (Trichogaster chuna). I want to also have two schools/shoals; celestial pearl danios (Danio margaritatus) and panda corydoras (Corydoras panda). Finally, some Malaysian trumpet snails (Melanoides tuberculata). I like the idea of having something digging through the substrate to keep gas pockets from forming and also helping with algae and detritus clean up (which I realize is my job and I'm not leaving that solely to the corys and snails). Maybe a nerite snail (Neritina Natalensis) or two as well. I'm a little nervous about the stocking because I do not want to overstock the tank. I think my plan is there to start off with 6 each of the panda corys and CPD's and work up to a good number where they are happy without overcrowding the tank. I'm a little nervous about the MTS' because I know they can breed out of control (stupid parthenogenetic reproduction). So I'll be careful about overfeeding and algae control (you may notice a window in the picture by the tank. The curtain is going to be secured so that sunlight doesn't get in).
So anyways, those are my plans. Basically, I have just the tank, stand and sand so far. I'll update as I progress along. I've done a lot of research and put a lot of thought into it. But I'm still pretty inexperienced and looking to learn, so any advice or input is appreciated.
 
Nice tank!

My first bit of advice would be to check your water hardness and keep the fish best suited to what you have...platy and other livebearers need hard water and gourami need softer water 👍🏻 if you can let us know what you're dealing with we can make some suggestions to livestock
 
Nice tank!

My first bit of advice would be to check your water hardness and keep the fish best suited to what you have...platy and other livebearers need hard water and gourami need softer water 👍🏻 if you can let us know what you're dealing with we can make some suggestions to livestock
Is there a good way to reduce or increase the water hardness?
 
There are ways but honestly it's a complete pain in the rear...its better, at least to begin with, to master your own water first
 
So exciting! I agree about figuring out your water first. Maybe get familiar with the ranges in your established tank before and after water changes (but know that various substrates and live plants can influence parameters). Also, research substrate options. You can go down a rabbit hole reading about Walstad (I'm currently establishing a tank with dirt from my organic garden and sand and pebbles from the stream that runs through my yard!) You can stop short of that, lol, but sand + root tabs may not be the easiest way to have a lushly planted tank. Depends on your definition of easy, I suppose. Have fun!
 
I don't mind doing the work.
Its not so much putting in the work, it's about experience and knowing what to do when things sway. We've all started at the bottom dude, don't run before you can walk 😉
 
Its not so much putting in the work, it's about experience and knowing what to do when things sway. We've all started at the bottom dude, don't run before you can walk 😉
I'm going to have to get a good test first. I got two difference results from two different test strips. I don't generally use the test strips any more. But the API test kit I have only does pH, Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates.
 
I'm going to have to get a good test first. I got two difference results from two different test strips. I don't generally use the test strips any more. But the API test kit I have only does pH, Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates.
Always a good idea. You can find your GH from your local water authority of you can't test...or you can.take a sample in to your LFS and ask them to test it for you
 
Always a good idea. You can find your GH from your local water authority of you can't test...or you can.take a sample in to your LFS and ask them to test it for you
The closest I have is a Petco. They just used the same Tetra test strips that I have here.
A quick check online for my zip code said 136 PPM (mg/L) or 8 gpg
 

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