First time aquascaper need help
hey guys i want to turn my 29 gallon into a planted tank i really like the mix of rocks and driftwood with some plants id prefer something that is low maintenance (lol?) and also stunning to look at,
colors would be great maybe some flowers, bamboo sticks? and of course the tall grass looking stuff, not really a fan of floating plants however
stuff i like so far: anubia, java fern, and Ludwigia Peruenis
also, what all is needed for a plant tank, co2?, special lights?, special filter media? substrate's?(want sand)(have a budget so inexpensive items?)
would love to have moss for the background, maybe a a slim 3d one and try to make it grow on it (suggestions?)
and here is my wish list for stocking (or my gf's rather)
2x Blue Ram
12x-18x mix (tetras, mollies, guppies)
1-4 shrimp (cardinal, amano, ghost,bamboo)
5-6 Panda Cory's
maybe an african dwarf frog or 2
Tank (LxDxH): 30 x 12 x 18 inch
Filters: Aquaclear 110
also my ph is 7.2 and hardness is 70 ppm if those are needed (measurements from my 55)
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.
As a general into to natural planted tanks, which is what we mean by low-tech using nature more than equipment, have a read of the 4-part "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" at the head of this section of the forum. You may have questions after that, but at least it will put everything in perspective.
Turning to the list of fish, there are some issues. Livebearers (common molly, platy, swordtail, guppy, endlers livebearer) require hard water. A GH of 70ppm is about 4 dGH. Livebearers should have 12 dGH at the very least, and higher won't hurt. Especially molly, which will have health issues if kept in such soft water long-term.
Tetra, corys, rams are the opposite, soft water. With your GH I would expect a low KH as well, so the pH should naturally fall (become acidic) in an aquarium with fish. This is fine for soft water fish. I would not mix the two.
You will note some of the fish names are shaded in this post; you can click on these and see that fish's profile. Profiles are all under the second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page, but names exactly as in the profile will shade in posts. You will find info on water parameters, tank sizes, numbers, compatibility, foods, etc. in the profiles.
so for lighting i should be fine with a single Full spectrum light, around 6500K
and my understandind is no bio media or carbon in the filter, just a sponge
so my only question left is, how do i guarantee adequate oxygen movement thru a sand substrate?, just by making it around 2'' deep?
also, if i lightly stock it, say 2 rams 7 tetras and a couple cory cats, could i get out of water changes altogether?
Filter. I have a dual sponge on my 29g, works very well. There are also small interior foam/sponge filters with a small motor and a foam or sponge; forgotten who makes these, but this would work too. I have one by Eheim on my 33g that I got in 1996 and that I really like, but Eheim don't make them anymore.
I have sand in 3 tanks now, soon will be in 4. A depth of 2-3 inches is adequate. You can build it up a bit with rock for more depth at the back for larger rooted swords. Sloping doesn't work well as the sand will shift. Also, have a read of the section on substrate in my article on bacteria, here:
I explain more about substrate bacteria.
Water changes. I do half of all my tanks every week, and they are very well planted. I would not jeopardize the fish by doing less. It is true (to a point) that heavily-planted tanks with very moderate fish loads [read, very few fish;-)] can manage with fewer and maybe no water changes. But I am not convinced it is a good thing. I do know from the reaction of all my fish that the water change is highly beneficial. That's good enough for me.
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