29g Build Idea

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psimonster

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I recently acquired a very lightly used 29g tank, just finished cleaning and leak testing it. I've only kept 10g planted tanks up until now so I'm a little nervous about this one BUT very excited at the same time! I haven't refilled it yet to start the cycling process but I hope to soon.

Here's what I was thinking of doing with it:

Tank Dimensions: 29 gallons, 30x22x12"

Filtration: Planning to go with Aquaclear 50 (I've read they can leak if you don't level it properly/overfill it with filter media but overall seem the most popular HOB out there?). I'm thinking I'll place a pre-filter sponge on the tip of the intake.

Heating: Heater came with tank, I'll have to double check what it is exactly but it should be fine for the size (I'm already assuming things, whoops).

Aeration: I received a largish air stone and a pump along with the tank, I've actually never used one before. Do I need it in there?

Substrate: Mix of Fluval Stratum + Sand? (haven't decided which kind to use just yet but I'm planning on stocking some corydoras... Do I really need sand?)

My tap water parameters are (measured with API 5-in-1 Test Strip):
GH: 120
KH: 80
pH: 7.5
Aquatell puts my city's water hardness at 161.3 mg/L (9.4 gpg).

Layout: I'm planning to find a large piece of driftwood (necessary for the bristlenose) along with a few largish smooth stones. Planning to plant heavily in front of, behind and on the wood itself with Java Fern, Anubias, Micro Sword and maybe Monte Carlo (I like easy plants haha).

Stocking (Suggestions are welcome):
1 Dwarf Gourami (centerpiece fish)
12 Tetras (mid schooling, possible mix of green and neon or just one breed)
6 Panda Cory Cats (bottom schooling)
1 Bristlenose Pleco (cleaning)
? Mystery Snails (cleaning)

Ideal Fish Parameters according to aqadvisor (I know to be taken with a grain of salt):
Recommended temperature range: 73.4 - 80.6 F.
Recommended pH range: 6 - 7.5.
Recommended hardness range: 5 - 15 dH

---

That's it so far, please lemme know if there's something important I haven't considered yet. I will update this thread as I work on this build, thanks! :fish:
 
Comments on a couple of your items. First, the filter...for the forest fish you are planning, I would not use an HOB as it has too much flow. You could do with the pump connected to a dual sponge filter, were it not for the panda cories. This cory comes from mountain streams in Peru and prefers more flow than many other cories, though it is not a bad idea for all of them. If you went with one of the "dwarf" cory species the sponge would be OK. But rather than the HOB I would suggest a small internal filter which is basically a sponge filter with a motor, like the Fluval Quiet Flow. I have one of these recommended for a 10g that I used in my 3-foot 33g, and I have a larger one in my 40g with 40 or so cories, and the flow is good without being a torrent.

Substrate...yes, cories do need sand. They filter feed the sand, and it has less bacterial problems. Non-abrasive sand like the aquarium sands (provided they are inert) or something like Quikrete Play Sand (I use this) which you can get at Home Depot or Lowe's in Canada. You also want a larger group of cories, in this sized tank I would consider 12=15+. Given the issues others seem to have, I would not mess with Fluval Stratum--and with cories, never use one of these.

Twelve is a good number for any tetra species, and you could have two or three species depending which ones. Green neons for example, maybe Ember Tetras? Or one of the pencilfishes?

Your tap water parameters are not at all bad for soft water forest fish.

I would rethink the Dwarf Gourami, unless you can get this fish from a private breeder, it is a health risk.
 
Comments on a couple of your items. First, the filter...for the forest fish you are planning, I would not use an HOB as it has too much flow. You could do with the pump connected to a dual sponge filter, were it not for the panda cories. This cory comes from mountain streams in Peru and prefers more flow than many other cories, though it is not a bad idea for all of them. If you went with one of the "dwarf" cory species the sponge would be OK. But rather than the HOB I would suggest a small internal filter which is basically a sponge filter with a motor, like the Fluval Quiet Flow. I have one of these recommended for a 10g that I used in my 3-foot 33g, and I have a larger one in my 40g with 40 or so cories, and the flow is good without being a torrent.

Substrate...yes, cories do need sand. They filter feed the sand, and it has less bacterial problems. Non-abrasive sand like the aquarium sands (provided they are inert) or something like Quikrete Play Sand (I use this) which you can get at Home Depot or Lowe's in Canada. You also want a larger group of cories, in this sized tank I would consider 12=15+. Given the issues others seem to have, I would not mess with Fluval Stratum--and with cories, never use one of these.

Twelve is a good number for any tetra species, and you could have two or three species depending which ones. Green neons for example, maybe Ember Tetras? Or one of the pencilfishes?

Your tap water parameters are not at all bad for soft water forest fish.

I would rethink the Dwarf Gourami, unless you can get this fish from a private breeder, it is a health risk.
Wow Byron, thank you for taking the time to write out such a detailed reply, I knew signing up for this forum was a good idea!

I've never used an internal filter before, I will definitely take a look into the Fluval line of underwater filters. A quick Amazon search brought up the U2 model for 12-30g at a decent price. Do you mount your filter vertically? Any basic pointers re: internal filtration?

Noted on the substrate... I've read some contradictory things online about whether or not you need to use sand for corydoras (some arguing they're fine with smooth gravel/soil as long as the water parameters are good). Would keeping 12+ panda corys alongside 12 tetras (ideally with a centrepiece fish and the pleco) push me over the stock limit?

And do you have a species you'd recommend as a replacement for the Dwarf Gourami?

Thanks for your time!
 
You are very welcome. Here is the filter I have been using (in one or two tanks) for the past 5-6 years. I had external canisters on my large (4 and 5-foot) tanks, but smaller tanks up to my 40g were/are filtered either with a dual sponge (air pump) or one of these Fluval Quiet Flow. I rinse it at each water change as it really picks up stuff. It has a carbon insert but carbon does give out fairly quickly, and I have never replaced it, so it is functioning as simply a mechanical filter (and biological obviously, you cannot stop biological filtration). The flow is adjustable. I place mine in the right rear corner so the flow can be directed across the surface and down the back wall of the tank horizontally.

You have a standard 29g, I have two of these, one is currently running (photo below). If you stay with small fish, especially "nano" species, you can have quite a variety. I currently have 41 fish in this tank, and if I ever find some of the small characins I would like, another one or two species (12-15 each) will be added. Right now I have marble hatchets, green neon tetras, ember tetras, and pygmy cories.
 

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You are very welcome. Here is the filter I have been using (in one or two tanks) for the past 5-6 years. I had external canisters on my large (4 and 5-foot) tanks, but smaller tanks up to my 40g were/are filtered either with a dual sponge (air pump) or one of these Fluval Quiet Flow. I rinse it at each water change as it really picks up stuff. It has a carbon insert but carbon does give out fairly quickly, and I have never replaced it, so it is functioning as simply a mechanical filter (and biological obviously, you cannot stop biological filtration). The flow is adjustable. I place mine in the right rear corner so the flow can be directed across the surface and down the back wall of the tank horizontally.

You have a standard 29g, I have two of these, one is currently running (photo below). If you stay with small fish, especially "nano" species, you can have quite a variety. I currently have 41 fish in this tank, and if I ever find some of the small characins I would like, another one or two species (12-15 each) will be added. Right now I have marble hatchets, green neon tetras, ember tetras, and pygmy cories.

Gorgeous tank Byron! Thanks for the tips on the placement and maintenance for the internal filter too, I think I'll go ahead with that for filtration.

I do like small fish (especially green neons and embers) as well but my wife has asked me if we could house a somewhat larger fish in this new tank (it'll be in the living room)... She has a hard time spotting the little guys in the 10 gallon we currently have there (picture attached) although that might be my fault for not having the courage to tackle the massive Anubias on the wood, haha. Any thoughts?

Thanks again!
 

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Yes, I wouldn't do dwarf gourami as well.

Actually, Mystery Snails are not really good at cleaning and can breed quite quickly so here are some snail recommendations :
Nerite snail - cleaning (nearly impossible to breed)
Rabbit snail - a bit of clean and ornamental (occasionally breeds but not at a fast rate)
Black devil/ Cappuccino snail - a bit of cleaning and ornamental (nearly impossible to breed.

Snails in a 29 g:
4 - 5 nerite snails or
3 - 4 rabbit snails or
5 - 6 Black devil /Cappuccino snails

You may need to supplement the snails with minerals because your water is a little soft.
 
Yes, I wouldn't do dwarf gourami as well.

Actually, Mystery Snails are not really good at cleaning and can breed quite quickly so here are some snail recommendations :
Nerite snail - cleaning (nearly impossible to breed)
Rabbit snail - a bit of clean and ornamental (occasionally breeds but not at a fast rate)
Black devil/ Cappuccino snail - a bit of cleaning and ornamental (nearly impossible to breed.

Snails in a 29 g:
4 - 5 nerite snails or
3 - 4 rabbit snails or
5 - 6 Black devil /Cappuccino snails

You may need to supplement the snails with minerals because your water is a little soft.

Ah ok good to know! The black devil/cappuccinos are beautiful, never seen them in my LFS before. I'll have to keep my eyestalks peeled for them in the future! Noted on the supplement as well, thank you.
 
I do like small fish (especially green neons and embers) as well but my wife has asked me if we could house a somewhat larger fish in this new tank (it'll be in the living room)... She has a hard time spotting the little guys in the 10 gallon we currently have there (picture attached) although that might be my fault for not having the courage to tackle the massive Anubias on the wood, haha. Any thoughts?

What most consider "centrepiece" fish is difficult to manage in smallish tanks (anything under 3-feet in length). My suggestion would be to look for the more outstandingly colourful but still not large characins. The Coral Red Pencilfish comes to mind, Nannostomus mortenthaleri. This brilliant-ruby-red pencilfish will always be noticed, especially among the green plants in your tank.
 

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What most consider "centrepiece" fish is difficult to manage in smallish tanks (anything under 3-feet in length). My suggestion would be to look for the more outstandingly colourful but still not large characins. The Coral Red Pencilfish comes to mind, Nannostomus mortenthaleri. This brilliant-ruby-red pencilfish will always be noticed, especially among the green plants in your tank.

Ah I see... Next tank then (just need a bigger house haha)! Thanks for the helpful hints... that is a beautiful fish.

So an updated list for potential stocking:

12(?) Pencilfish (coral red)
12 Tetras (green neon)
6(?) Corys (not sure what kind just yet... could I go with a slightly larger species than the pygmy varieties?)
1 Bristlenose Pleco
4-5 Nerite Snails


Heavily planted wood with sand substrate (Quikrete Play Sand) and internal filtration (Aqueon AT10).

Thanks!
 
6(?) Corys (not sure what kind just yet... could I go with a slightly larger species than the pygmy varieties?)

I would go close to double the number, with the non-dwarf species. With the "dwarf" species, 15+.
 
Finally an update!

Just finished up cycling this tank... it's not looking like I imagined it would just yet 😅

Currently stocked with what I had left in my older established 10 gallon tank, 2 endlers (planning to rehome them), 4 ember tetras and 3 green neons. I picked up 3 nerite snails as well from my LFS. They've all been in there for about a week and seem to be happy.

Plants so far are just Anubias and Java Fern... I'm thinking I should probably look into some floating plants (frogbit or pennywort?) before adding any more fish and to help shade things a bit as my lights are maybe a bit too bright.

As far as future stockings go, I'm planning on adding 8 more ember tetras (I don't want to surrender the 4 in there), 9 more green neons, 12 julii or 10 pepper corys and one bristlenose pleco (probably in that order).

Lemme know what you guys think so far! Any recommendations are welcome and appreciated.
 

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Finally an update!

Just finished up cycling this tank... it's not looking like I imagined it would just yet 😅

Currently stocked with what I had left in my older established 10 gallon tank, 2 endlers (planning to rehome them), 4 ember tetras and 3 green neons. I picked up 3 nerite snails as well from my LFS. They've all been in there for about a week and seem to be happy.

Plants so far are just Anubias and Java Fern... I'm thinking I should probably look into some floating plants (frogbit or pennywort?) before adding any more fish and to help shade things a bit as my lights are maybe a bit too bright.

As far as future stockings go, I'm planning on adding 8 more ember tetras (I don't want to surrender the 4 in there), 9 more green neons, 12 julii or 10 pepper corys and one bristlenose pleco (probably in that order).

Lemme know what you guys think so far! Any recommendations are welcome and appreciated.

Sounds good. Definitely get floating plants. And when you add the fish, add the entire intended number of each species at the same time. They will settle in faster with much less chance of ich or other issues if there are more of them.
 
Sounds good. Definitely get floating plants. And when you add the fish, add the entire intended number of each species at the same time. They will settle in faster with much less chance of ich or other issues if there are more of them.

Gotcha, thanks Byron! I forgot to ask in my earlier post as well but would you recommend adding each species slowly over a few months(?) to see if the tank can handle the bioload?
 
Gotcha, thanks Byron! I forgot to ask in my earlier post as well but would you recommend adding each species slowly over a few months(?) to see if the tank can handle the bioload?

Assuming the plants are growing well, including floating and other fast growers, you could literally never add too many fish. There is no reason to wait months...days and even hours is unnecessary.
 

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