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  1. #1

    Default Help finalizing a 29 gallon setup

    0 Not allowed!
    I am new to the hobby and setting up my first freshwater aquarium. have done lots of research on stocking, cycling, and more, and I am now selecting all the equipment for the aquarium.

    As background: Based on what I have read so far, I will set up a 29 gallon community tank. I want to stock it with smaller schooling fish (still undecided on final stock as I am still trying to match fish to my tap water pH and hardness, but limiting myself to the hardier and smaller tetras, danios, rasboras and platies... i think). Based on everything I have read and some feedback from forum members here I decided to try a planted tank. I will only have "beginner" low light plants which don't grow too fast (such as Java Fern, Anubias, Crypt, and maybe crystalwort or java moss for the foreground... but still deciding on exact mix). I would prefer plants and a low-tech setup requiring no supplemental CO2, if possible. I am trying to keep the budget for the equipment below to around $200 so the wife doesn't complain too much

    Tank: Petco is having their "$1 per gallon" sale, so i will get the 29 gallon there next week. I assume these are good tanks, reliable over the long term? $29, plus $15 for a glass canopy.

    Filtration: Based on feedback from others in this forum I decided to go with canister filtration. The EHEIM filters look great. In some places I read that you need filtration capacity twice the volume of your tank, so i had selected the EHEIM classic 2213. However, I also read that in a planted aquarium too much current can be bad, as it depletes CO2, so I am concerned that the 2213 could be too much. Should i stick with the 2213 or, since I will have some plants in my tank, use the smaller 2211? 2213 is $80 (the 2211 is $63)

    Heating: I like the newer non-glass heaters, and for now selected the Aqueon Pro. The room I am putting the tank can get cold at night (down to about 60 degrees) so for safety I am using a 150 watt heater. Is this overkill? I'm guessing having too few watts is a problem, but having too many is not... right? Are there any recommendations on other reliable non-glass heaters? The Aqueon Pro is $27

    Lighting: This is the part I am least clear on. I know that for a planted tank I need light around 6400-6500 K. I am sticking with low-light plants, so to avoid algae I should choose a fixture with just enough light, and not overdo it. The tank will be in a room with good natural light but facing west (so no direct sunlight coming in). The tank will be far from any widows and not exposed to direct sunlight. I love the idea of LED lighting because of their low profile. I also know that the rules of "X watts per gallon" do not apply to LEDs, so I am having a hard time selecting a fixture with the right amount of light. I saw and loved Marineland's hidden LED system. It says it has 25 PAR at 12" (the tank is 18" high, minus 2-3 inches of substrate, and the light hangs just under the lip of the tank, so the distance to the plants will be just over 12"). I read that low light plants need around 20-30 par so, in theory, I should be able to use this light with no need for supplemental CO2... right? For comparison, I believe the Marineland double bright 24-36" is rated at 35 par at 12". Any thoughts? Are there any other "hidden" LED systems? The 21" hidden system is $45

    Total with current selections is $196 If I go down to the Eheim 2211 and a less costly heater I could use those funds to upgrade the lighting.

    Thanks in advance for all the help!

  2. #2


    0 Not allowed!
    Ok.. I apologize for all the questions thrown in all at once in the post above... I'm trying to learn everything at once!

    Here is a brief "update". On doing research for heating, I found the Hydor inline heaters. A bit more expensive, but I love the idea of reducing clutter in the tank (one of the many reasons I am planning to use canister filtration, BTW). Are these as reliable and effective as the traditional submersible heaters for a 29 gallon tank?

  3. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    if you are willing to wait a little, check out, You can get the hydor heater and eheim filter plus other things you need for cheaper than petco

    my thoughts would be:
    eheim 2213
    hydor heater (not sure the size needed)
    bottle of prime
    python water changer (or parts to build your own -not too hard)
    glass lid
    substrate - depends on the look you want, the "plant" stuff is a bit pricier but works ok. I have tried a few different things and all seem to work well

    What sort of fish / plants are you thinking

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    Hardy85: thank you. I don't mind waiting at all. I want to take my time to make sure I get the correct equipment, and don't mind going online to save money! Hadn't thought of the water changer... i guess changing 20% of 29 gallons with a bucket can be painful! Thanks for the suggestion. My goal is to have the tank up, runnign and cycling by mid-august.

    In terms of fish and plants: I would like a good number of small schooling fish, such as Danios, tetras, rasboras, etc. I know not all of these are compatible in terms of temperature preference, so i am still deciding on the final mix. I am browsing this forum for ideas. So far I have seen a few that I like, such as Harlequin, Esme and Glowlight rasboras (Harlequins probably for later after I have some experience, as they seem the least hardy of the three). In terms of tetras I seem to like the ones that are somewhat less well suited for beginners: glowlight, black and jewel. I have heard that danios and white cloud mountain minnows are good beginner fish, but they seem to prefer lower temperatures than the rasboras and tetras I like, so I will probably won't get those. I also know that some of these prefer water that is harder than what I have. So, I am still trying to decide! But in short, I would like a good number of smaller, colorful, schooling fish.

    In terms of plants, nothing fancy. I want a low-tech tank, so probably will start with some Java ferns, Anubias, Java moss and Christmas moss. Most of these don't go into the substrate, so i am not too worried about substrate right now. One plant i'd love to have is something like the cabomba caroliniana (Green cabomba?) but I know it is delicate and requires high light, so not really a choice for me. I am trying to find a low light plant that looks similar -- ("needle" like leaves instead of broad ones, almost like a pine tree).

    So, still a lot of decisions to make!

  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    Sounds like a good start! I too am in the process of piecing together a 55gallon. So many decisions...!
    A photograph is usually looked at - seldom looked into. ~Ansel Adams

  6. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Ok hears a few ideas/tips for you...

    Go with a sand substrate, some driftwood and have the plants tied to the driftwood - sand is a cheap, good looking substrate since you can use pool filter sand for white looking, or black diamond for a black sand

    Plants: Do a few java fern, 1 or 2 anubius, and a floater like hornwort

    Lighting - get a stock light that uses the screw in bulbs and use cfl - will provide enough light for low / med light plants

    Pick 1 or 2 types that you like and stick with them, some people try a bunch of random types and it has a few issues
    1. Doesn't look as good, seems just tossed together
    2. Many of the fish you list like schools, and they will only school with the same species
    3. More types of fish = more complicated since that will mean many fish with higher chances of having problems

    I'd say pick two schools, then add 1 bristle-nose pleco, and a pair of dwarf cichlids like kribs, rams or apistos

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks for the stocking suggestions! I haven't yet leaned much schooling plecos or cichlids, sop it sounds like I still have some reading to do!

  8. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    schooling fish and a pleco, not schooling plecos

    But take you time and make sure you have the right conditions, you may want to test you tap water to see what pH you are working with...

    Many fish can adapt, but will do better in pH that is closer to their natural water conditions

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Hardy85 View Post
    schooling fish and a pleco, not schooling plecos
    LOL... I know... it is what happens when you try to reply from your smartphone! I don't know much about plecos, but I do know they are not schooling fish.

    Still, for now I am more focused on the equipment. You suggested the 2213 filter -- I have no idea what type of current these filters would generate in a 29, but you think it will not be excessive? the 2213 is rated for 65 gallons with a flow rate of 116 gph, and the 11 for 40 gallons with a flow of 60 gph. If the flow is no concern, I guess you can never have too much filtration, right?

  10. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    i'd say the 2213, the spray bar will help make the current lighter, put it on the side of the tank (shorter length) and have the intake on the other end, should work great.

    And using the in-line heater will give you a very clean look in the tank

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