Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Jacobkgreen 07-03-2007 10:24 AM

The whole get-up
When setting up a 29g. tank what do you think would be best, a canister filter or just a bio-wheel? what type of lighting for about 12 tetras, and a pleco? what types of material for the caves and plants? I don't want live plants just fake ones. Also what type of aquarium gravel/sand to use on the bottom? How about the size of heater? I dont know exactlly how to set up the tank any suggestions?

mHeinitz57 07-03-2007 12:25 PM

canister filters and power HOB filters have their pros and cons and a 29 gallon tank is big enough to use a canister filter comfortably but small enough that a HOB (hang on back) filter will work well. First off, go big on filtration. For a 29 gallon tank, get a filter that will filter at least a 50-60 gallon tank, if not more.

canister filters:
pros- can be hidden in a stand, lots of water flow, larger filter media, versatility, maintanence is less often, and better circulation.
cons- more difficult to maintain it, higher cost of the filter and the media, less accessible usually.

HOB power filters:
pros- easier to maintain, lower cost, more accessible
cons- less circulation, some are not designed well, less filter media, more frequent media changes.

If you choose to go with a HOB filter, go with a Penguin Biowheel by marineland. In my opinion the biowheel is one of the best designs used to hold bacteria in a filter. Canister filters you will be good with Fluval, Eheim or Rena. Go big on either though.
Lighting won't really matter, especially if you aren't doing live plants. With a pleco you may use a more intense lighting to cause some algea growth so he has stuff to graze on. Otherwise make sure he is getting algea wafers, veggies and they will also scanvenge your other fishes foods too.
Pretty much any ornaments or plants designed for aquariums will be fine in your tank. Just make sure you provide hiding spots and plenty of cover. Any aquarium gravel will work fine, usually about 30 lbs should do well. As far as the heater, make sure it has a built in thermostat where you can set the temperature and it will adjust automatically to maintain that temp. Some cheaper ones do not do that and rely on you to make adjustments. In a 29 gallon you should be fine with a 150 watt heater, the general rule is 3-5 watts per gallon but I go with 5.
Now do you have the fish already? You will want to set the tank up and get the filter running and heater going before adding fish. A 29 gallon should run for several days before adding fish to allow any excess saturated gasses to dissipate out of the water. Then you will only want to start with a few hardy fish to build up bacteria. THrowing a pleco and 12 tetras into a brand new tank could be devastating. Look around on this forum and on websites and learn all about the nitrogen cycle and how to cycle a tank. There are different ways of doing it, some not involving fish at all.

Jacobkgreen 07-03-2007 02:05 PM

Thank you for the information! As far as cycling, i have nine guppies in there right now, and it had been running with some left over aquarium parts while my new ones come. The guppies seem to be doing fine have been in there only a day, so we'll see. I'm going to wait another week or so before i get the pleco and other fish, The more information i can get the better off i think i will be as long as its good information/advice. I have a guppy tank so guppies are plentyfull, and if the ones in the new tank die, then i'll run water tests agan, and start cycling agan.

mHeinitz57 07-03-2007 03:00 PM

9 is quite a bit to start cycling a tank and after a week you will probably have a spike in ammonia...right when you are planning to add new fish. THrowing new fish into a tank high in ammonia could spell a very quick death. Plus, you probbaly won't need a pleco till algea develops in the tank, otherwise you will need to supplement with algea wafers. My tank took several months before it even started growing algea. I would be testing the water almost daily because it sounds like you are rushing things and are setting yourself up for some disappointment. You mentioned you are using leftover filter parts right now, what parts are you using? If you were to use media from a previous filter you may be able to introduce bacteria a lot faster and cut down on the cycle time. Bacterial supplements are available too to help speed up the process but your plan to add more fish in a week still seems way too fast.

Jacobkgreen 07-03-2007 05:29 PM

Im using the extra filter off of my 20g. tank. its supposed to filter 20-35g. and it came straight from one tank to the other, and the fish followed shortly. Its a topfin something or another(cheap). i planed on supplementing the plecos diet, i have to supplement my gibbys diet. I have only tested the water three times in the past week to be honest, and the Ph levels have been a little high. The only reason for nine guppies is because i have soo many to spare, I did not think about ammonia though. I'll have to test that. The fact that most plecos eat algea isnt the reason most people keep plecos in there tank. Most pleco owners who really get into them keep them for fun. I supplement my gibby's diet with cucumber and carrot, algea waffers from time to time and shrimp pellets. Most other people just use plecos as an effective way to remove algea without haveing to do it themselves.

mHeinitz57 07-03-2007 11:51 PM

be careful with the topfin filters. Because they have no place specifically for bacteria to grow, you throw away most of the bacterial colony when you change filter cartridges.

Jacobkgreen 07-06-2007 02:47 PM

I didnt know that! but i have a penguin bio wheel 200 and a 150, i took the 150 off of the 20g. and put in the 29g. with the topfin 10. and i put the 200 in the 20g. and i might get another 150 to put in the 29g. That way the 29g. has two 150's and the 20g. has the one 200. plenty of filtration for everyone, untill i have enough money for a bigger tank. and then i can just dispose of the topfin. the fish i put in the 29g. are doing fine, i added more to clear out my other tank some, all males so they wont breed in there. Everything seems to be ok! Also thank you for the advice, I can use all the help i can get.

mHeinitz57 07-06-2007 05:18 PM

see with the biowheels in there you dont need to worry about losing bacteria when throwing the topfin cartridges. Any good filter has three stages (mechanical filtration where debris is caught, chemical filtration usually containing carbon or zeolite, and biological filtration where bacteria can grow undisturbed and remain in the tank.) The biowheel filters have cartridges that provide mechanical and chemical and then the actual biowheel that holds the bacteria. In the topfin filters, all you have is the cartridge. Pretty much all of the bacteria in your tank will colonize on those filters so when you change it, you throw the whole colony as well. The Whisper filters are the same exact way and had the same problem. In fact they use the same cartridge as topfin. They remedied the problem in the last few years by adding a second black sponge in front of the cartridge so that bacteria could grow on it and you never change the sponge out. That extra sponge allowed you to change the main cartridge but allow bacteria to remain. The biowheel is still the best design at holding bacteria undisturbed though and as long as you have those in your tank with the topfin, you should be ok. If you want to save as much bacteria as possible when you change filters, just take the foam part off of the old cartridge and slip it behind the new filter when you do changes...this will allow some of the old bacteria to transfer to the new clean filter pad.

Jacobkgreen 07-08-2007 07:11 AM

All i can say is did you design a filter? Because you know Alot!

Jacobkgreen 07-08-2007 08:07 AM


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