Help with my first tank!
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Help with my first tank!

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Help with my first tank!
Old 07-15-2013, 02:20 PM   #1
 
Question Help with my first tank!

I am new to the hobby and setting up my first freshwater aquarium. i have done lots of research on stocking, cycling, and more, and I am now selecting all the equipment.

Based on what I have read so far, I want to set up a 29 gallon planted 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). I will only have "beginner" low light, slow growth plants (such as Java Fern, Anubias, Crypt, and maybe crystalwort or java moss for the foreground... but still deciding on exact mix). I would prefer a low-tech setup, if possible. I need some help finalizing my setup.

For a number of reasons I want to use 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?

Heating: I like the 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? Would I be better off selecting two smaller heaters (such as two 75 watt heaters) to place at opposite ends of the aquarium, or is this not really needed for a 29 gallon tank?

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 know should choose a fixture with just enough light, and not overdo it. The tank will be in a room with good natural light but 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". 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?

Thanks in advance for all the help!
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:26 PM   #2
 
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Originally Posted by wgoldfarb View Post
I am new to the hobby and setting up my first freshwater aquarium. i have done lots of research on stocking, cycling, and more, and I am now selecting all the equipment.

Based on what I have read so far, I want to set up a 29 gallon planted 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). I will only have "beginner" low light, slow growth plants (such as Java Fern, Anubias, Crypt, and maybe crystalwort or java moss for the foreground... but still deciding on exact mix). I would prefer a low-tech setup, if possible. I need some help finalizing my setup.

For a number of reasons I want to use 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?

Heating: I like the 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? Would I be better off selecting two smaller heaters (such as two 75 watt heaters) to place at opposite ends of the aquarium, or is this not really needed for a 29 gallon tank?

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 know should choose a fixture with just enough light, and not overdo it. The tank will be in a room with good natural light but 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". 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?

Thanks in advance for all the help!
I am far from an expert, but the plants you are talking about grow well. I use the marineland hidden led system in my snail tank (bought it for the nano reef but moved it to the snail tank for various reasons). I LOVE the light it provides. I have very good plant growth with it. It is a good lighting system and I feel you ill be happy with it. Although I agree you will not need supplemental CO2, I would suggest a good fertilizer. I suggest Seachems Flourish Comprehensive. I'd dose once a week. I bottle will last you like a year.

I commend you on researching before jumping into anything. Based on that alone, I know you will be an excellent fish daddy :) Can you give us an idea of your water parameter such as hardness and ph? you should be able to find it online based on your water source. With that we should be able to help you out with fish selections
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wgoldfarb (07-16-2013)
Old 07-15-2013, 11:56 PM   #3
 
We have led lights that came with two of our tanks and our plants grow very well with them. We also use the flourish liquid fertilizer. As for a heater, I have heard of people suggest 2 heaters for longer tanks for more even heat but if your room gets that cold you may want 2 smaller ones in case one fails. Most heaters are adjustable so you should be able to turn them down if 2 is too much. Make sure you get an in tank thermometer not the stick on kind too.
I also commend you for doing your research. My husband and I have done a lot of learning along the way but I love this hobby. Caution: it is addictive!
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wgoldfarb (07-16-2013)
Old 07-16-2013, 12:15 AM   #4
 
Based on the research you've already done, it sounds like you'll be able to become a very capable fish keeper

An in tank thermometer is a must. A 29 generally isn't considered large enough for two heaters (pretty subjective). In this case, considering how quickly and how far the temperature could plummet if your heating failed, two heaters is probably a reasonable precaution.

Lighting can be tough to get right. Until you are more familiar with what your plants need, it might be easier to stick with flourescent lighting. Theres a lot more info on what works and what doesn't compared to LEDs. That said, LEDs can provide great lighting if you get it right.

Two comments on filtration. Planted tanks really don't need much filtration. They also prefer not to have too much flow, and a lot of fish prefer this too. With a canister, CO2 outgassing isn't too much trouble since the circuit is sealed. In this case however, you are setting up a low tech tank. This means that your dissolved CO2 will only be at whatever concentration the ambient CO2 produces, i.e. there is no CO2 to outgas anyway.
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wgoldfarb (07-16-2013)
Old 07-16-2013, 08:27 AM   #5
 
Thanks everyone for the replies. Extremely helpful! There is certainly a lot to learn.

I measured my water using a liquid test kit and got a pH of 7.6 and and a hardness 5.6 dH. The city here issues an annual water report, and the past two years confirm that pH is usually at always between 7.5 and 7.7, and hardness is usually at around 5.6, but over the year hardness can vary widely from about 4.0 all the way up to 6.5. Still, most of the time it seems to hover at around 5.5-5.6. Nitrate content is low: the highest it has ever reached is 3 ppm, and is usually well below that level.

The Seachem Flourish seems very easy to use. If I can get away with using just that and no CO2, I will be a very happy beginner!

Regarding heaters, I have continued looking at online stores and "discovered" inline filters such as the Hydor... since I am planning to use canister filtration, it seems like a great way to remove clutter from inside the tank. It is about $20 expensive, but the idea of an uncluttered tank is very appealing. Are those heaters as effective and reliable as the traditional submersible ones?

I also read about heating the substrate, but I am guessing it is not really needed for "easy" plants like the ones I plan to use, many of which do no even go into the substrate but instead get attached to rocks or driftwood.

@Jeffrey: not sure if your comment was meant to say that I should stick with the 2213 or go down to the 2211. I understand that plants like lower currents, that the lower flow helps prevent CO2 outgassing, and that planted tanks need less filtration. all these seem to point to the smaller flter. However, the last comment is the one I did not understand. Since there is no CO2 to outgas, does that mean I should go with the higher filter, or does it mean that CO2 outgassing is simply not an issue for me, and it would be ok to use the smaller filter?

Thanks everyone for the great help... I can easily see how this becomes very addictive!
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:05 PM   #6
 
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Welcome Wgold to the forum and the hobby. Youll get plenty of useful imfrormation, hints, tips and help here.
Id like to just chirp in with my opinion on the eheim 2213's, I used to run one on each of my 48 x 12 x 15's and never had a problem with to much current, the way to difuse this is to use a spray bar and if its slightly to quick for what you want then partially closing one of the valves on the intake and one on the return would solve it. They are superb filters, reliable as hell!!! What i would reccomend tho is if you use one then make sure the hoses are as short as possible, i dont mean cut them then find the location for the filter but site the filter then cut them. These filters are not self priming so the more direct the hoses can be the better.
Also the tubing holds mulm ( nasty fishy sludge) quite easily so try and get a pipe cleaner to keep them debris free,
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wgoldfarb (07-17-2013)
Old 07-17-2013, 08:45 AM   #7
 
@Molinious: tank for the feedback on the 2213. I will follow your advice.

The choice of the 2213 does have a consequence in my heating, though: i want to use an inline heater to keep the tank as clutter-free as possible and I am looking at the Hydor inline heaters. They offer a 200 watt and a 300 watt. The 200 watt has the same hose size as the Eheim filter, but the 300 watt does not (Eheim 2213 outlet hose is 1/2", but the connector on the heater is for 5/8"). How many watts do I need? My tank is 29 gallons, the tank temperature will probably be 77-78 degrees (pending confirmation of final stocking decisions). My room is usually at around 68-69 degrees, but on winter nights (or when we are away on vacation) can drop as low as 60.

I found this online calculator that suggested a filter of 150 watts -- but this is for submersible heaters. For an inline, would I also need a similar wattage (in which case the 200 is plenty) or do I need a 300 watt to make sure I am properly covered when the room hits 60 degrees for a prolonged period?
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:25 AM   #8
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On the heating. I used an Aqueon Pro 150 for a 37 gallon tank in 60F room temps and it did OK. I since upgraded to the Hydor 300Watt but the 200 would do fine for your 29 gallons... I overkilled it only because the price was just a few dollars more but the 200W would have been fine for me as well.

LED lighting, I'd suggest going higher than what you think you need, easy to provide a bit of shade (surface plants or just physical shade) rather than to replace the fixture to get more light later. The strip light might be good for the really low light stuff but I'd suggest going to the doublebright if your budget will allow it. It worked well for me (I upgraded to their plant system after about 5 months of good growth the the double bright).

Jeff.
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:29 PM   #9
 
Thanks again. Looks like I am slowly but surely narrowing down equipment options. Eheim 2213 and Hydor 200 watt heater it is.

In terms of lighting, the one "external" aspect I haven't yet mentioned is that the tank will sit in the middle of my living room, which took a lot of negotiating with my wife. I don't want her to regret her decision to let me have this in our living room, so I want the tank to look as clean and streamlined as possible. This is one of the reasons I like canister filtration and in-line heating so much. For the same reason i loved the hidden leds by Marineland, it would result in a very clean low profile for the tank. I know that at $45 they are more expensive than a fluorescent, but those are $45 I am willing to spend to keep the peace at home and the tank in the living room If the light proves too low I guess I will just add a second strip later, but initially I will stick with very low light plants such as anubias and java fern, so hopefully it ill be ok.
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Old 07-17-2013, 09:00 PM   #10
JDM
 
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The marineland doublebright sits right on top of the glass cover on my tanks and the top of the fixture sits less than less than 1" off the glass.

Here's a shot of the top.

My wife picked main living area as well so we see the tank while in the kitchen, livingroom and dining room which is the open concept space that we spend most of our time in. The strip might be even less visible but it might create a dark area at the rear of the tank too unless you can mount it in the middle under the lid. In the end the double may be a better price as you will only need one and I can (almost) guarantee that you will not hear that it is unsightly at all.

Jeff.
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