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LittleWatty 07-21-2013 08:48 AM

New 35G - Want to do NPT, Need Help
As the title states, I have a new 35g tank that I really would like to set up as an NPT-type tank, but I've never done this before, so... I need help. I honestly have no idea where to start. I have some planted tanks, but algae (black-beard and some diatoms) has been taking those over lately, so I obviously need help with something//everything. I have been reading threads on NPTs; how to set them up, take care of them, etc. but I still want help specifically for this tank. There's only so much you can read up on your own.

The tank itself is 36"X10"X12" (lxwxh)

The only store I have within close reach is a Petco, and their plant selection is sometimes slim, so if you list a selection of plants and/or fish, please keep that in mind!

I would really like the tank to be relatively heavily planted, because I want it to cater to my African Dwarf Frogs. They are my babies, and I want what is best for them. If possible, I would like to have a tank that does not need a filter system. That might just be wishful thinking, but if it's possible, I'd like to do it (if a filter is a must, please tell me the KIND of filter. Links to examples welcomed). Minimum maintenance preferred. I'm a rather busy person, though I do have time to take care of my tank when it is required. I just prefer to avoid high maintenance tanks if I can.

With all that said... post anything and everything you can think will help. Plant and fish suggestions ARE welcome. Anything listed as a maybe is just that. I don't know if I'll go through with it. If others say it is a good stocking choice, I'll do it. If they recommend against it, I definitely won't. Only things I will most likely be stocking are:
3 ADF (possibly 5 at some point in the future)
A shoal of Cories (not sure specific breed or number, probably between 5 and 10)
Maybe a bristlenosed pleco, a school neon/cardinal tetras, a zebra nerite, amano shrimp
Natural/Real Driftwood from Here
Anubias, various types
Crypt, various types
Java moss and fern
Amazon Swords
Maybe:kleiner bar sword, Money/Pennywort, Frill/Hornwort, aponogeton, lily (the bulb kind - I have a few growing, not sure exactly what they are)

Boredomb 07-21-2013 01:12 PM

NPT can be as attention oriented as you want them to be. With that said making one that's low maintenance is do able depending on the plants/fish. Before one can really start suggesting a stocking list for fish we need to know you water hardness and Ph level. Plants are a lil easier to suggest but what kind of lights do you have in this tank? Filterless tank can be doable also. I have never had one but it needs to heavily planted with fast growers and floating plants to filter the water. I have always ran at least a sponge filter in my tanks if I didn't have an actual filter. What kind of substrate are you wanting to do in this tank?? This will matter to some fish and to an existent for the plants.

LittleWatty 07-21-2013 01:27 PM

I don't know exact hardness, as I have no testing kit, though I will get it tested at Petco tomorrow. Its supposed to be high, but my apartment building may have a softener. I don't know. Ph is relatively neutral every time I check. Around 7.4.

This tank is very bare. Just the glass frame. It has no lid or lights at present, so I can get just about anything for it. I'd like to have a variety of plant types (short, tall, carpet, bushy, floating, etc.) So the more general the light source the better.

I might go sponge filter (ot similar) over filterless. I want it heavily planted, but not to the point where I can't see my fish/frogs)

For substrate, I was thinking soil with a sand cap, but I've been reading a lot of negative views on that, so I may stick with just sand. I will not be doing gravel. I would also like to know a cheaper place to get sand than Petco/smart. But I don't reallh want the really bright sand that is so easily found. Not sure if there's any place that would fit the bill (Petco is my LPS, there is nothing else)
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Boredomb 07-22-2013 03:36 PM

Depending on the carpet plants you are thinking you might need bright lights such as T5HO as many need them. If you go with plants like pygmy chain sword or dwarf sag. Then T8s will work. For cheaper sand I use Sakrete sand from Lowes. Its a mult purpose sand. Its super cheap at like $8 for a 60lb bag.

Boredomb 07-22-2013 03:43 PM

At 12" high you could probably get a dual T5NO and grow most plants you are wanting. With maybe the exception of carpeting plants other then the ones I mentioned above. The problem with getting too bright of lights is that moves you into a different class and then you will need to dose Co2 and do a dry fertilizer regiment.

Boredomb 07-22-2013 03:51 PM

Here is a close up of how the sand looks in my tank.

LittleWatty 07-22-2013 07:53 PM

Well, being a complete airhead, I totally forgot to bring my prepared water samples to Petco for testing. I'll just have to do it later this week. Also, I already purchased a big bag of black sand from Petco, since I wanted something darker than the "average" sand. Currently, there is about "1 of sand on the bottom of the tank, maybe less in some spots. Should I make it higher, or leave it be? I don't know what would be best for the rooted plants. Also also, I measured the tank again, and it's actually 20" high. (36"x12"x20")

Assuming I have hard water, and assuming my pH is 7.4, I would like suggestions/recommendations/thoughts/etc. on the following stocking list:
1 (or 2??) bristlenose Plecos
5 (or 6) Amano Shrimp
20 Cherry Shrimp
?? Julii cories
?? Neon/Cardinal Tetras

Anything with ?? I would really like suggestions on stocking numbers. For the cories, I was thinking between 5 and 10, the more the merrier. For the tetras, I really have no idea. Also, I want to know if Tetras are nippy fish, and if they'll cause problems for my frogs/any other fish in the tank.

Also, I have these plants that are on their way/already in the tank. Suggestions for exact lighting would be wonderful. I have multiple tanks, so if some of these absolutely would not work together, I can move things around.
Willow Hygro w/ roots
Temple Plant
Rotala Inclinata stems
Needle Leaf Elodea stems
Alt. Reinekii stems
Amazon Sword
Crypt, various kinds
Water Lily (the kind grown from bulbs purchased at Petco)
Asian Water Grass
Anubias, various kinds
(will probably be adding: more crypt, Kleiner bar Sword, and Ludwigia)

Roughly how heavily would I have to plant this tank to make it filterless? I'm leaning that way again, as long as my plant and fish selections don't require a current.

Boredomb 07-22-2013 08:19 PM

For the Crypts and the Swords I would make the substrate 2-3" in those areas for them as they have extensive root systems. The rest of the areas you can have less but it is usually easier to plant stems in more then an inch of substrate. For the plants you mentioned and the height of the tank I would use a a dual T5NO if you can find one or a single T5HO for lighting.

I personally wouldn't leave that tank unfilter with the amount of fish you are wanting. Usually filter less tanks are very heavily planted and have minimal stocking.

LittleWatty 07-22-2013 09:42 PM

Would Petco have a T5HO light (and hopefully one that doesn't cost a fortune)? The tank will also get some natural light, but very minimal (if any) direct light if that makes a difference.

Any idea where I could find a cheap sponge filter if it's not ideal to go filterless? I don't trust myself to make one on my own just yet.

Boredomb 07-22-2013 10:10 PM

Depends on the store. The one thats closest to me doesn't but there is one about 25 miles from that does. I would make sure its just a single bulb fixture. Also make sure the bulb is around 6500 Kelvin or a specific plant bulb.

As for the sponge filter that's going to depend on whether or not you want it driven by an air pump or at powerhead.

If it was me and I was going to run a sponge filter in this size tank I would use a Hydro sponge filter.
Aquarium Sponge Filter | ATI | Bio Filters & Replacement Hydro Sponges

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