30 Gallon Build

Discussion in 'Freshwater Aquarium Builds' started by JRS, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. JRS

    JRSWell Known MemberMember

    I bought my son a 29 gallon tank and am planning on replacing his 20 high. We aren't doing it immediately, so i want to start getting ideas. He would like to reuse the "bonsai" tree (for a fake tree I think it looks pretty good and the fish love to hide and play around it), the driftwood and the asian helmet. He will likely add something lego maybe aquaman or underwater ruins/ship..... He has asked to switch the substrate to black sand instead of gravel and would like to add some natural rocks.
    He would also like to make it a planted tank. He especially would like something tall to replace the orange glow "plant". I love to garden outside but do not know where to start in an aquarium. I would love some beginner low light plant options that would do well in a sand substrate. I am thinking not heavily planted to start with.

    Any ideas would be great. I want to be able to show him good options instead of heading to a store with no knowledge and making bad choices.

    [email protected] I would love if you could give me your input as I know you have been working on your planting and 38 build.

    Thanks all!
  2. Morefiend

    MorefiendValued MemberMember

    Cryptocoryne is fairly easy to grow...but it does require medium light
  3. OP

    JRSWell Known MemberMember

    Can you define medium light for a newbie? I have a good broad spectrum light, but we don't keep it on a lot.
  4. OP

    JRSWell Known MemberMember

    I am going to make the switch from the 20 to the 29 this weekend.

    I have a 20 gallon tank that has been in the shed for a year. It is pretty clean, just a couple of tiny spiders. I washed it out with water and wiped down with paper towels. I am going to use this to move the fish to temporarily while we remove the 20 they are in, do a small house repair behind the furniture that tank is sitting on and then set up the 29. Maybe will take a few hours. My husband is going to finish the floor trim that we never got to before. Then move the fish over to the new 29.

    Do I need to do anything else to that tank before using it?

    The plan is to set up the spare 20 using the water from the first tank and setting up the hob on it. I will move the decor to keep it wet (in case there is even a tiny amount of BB on it) in to it during the switch. I figure except for the lack of substrate it will be the same as they are in now. I believe I won't have to acclimate them to this as I will be using their water and filter.

    Then we are going to set up the 29 with a new black sand substrate. I have never used sand before - any tips?
    I need to rinse the sand off in buckets first right?
    I am thinking 1"-2" deep. I have 40 lbs. I think that would be enough.

    Do I need to do anything but rinse out the new 29 that I got at petco?

    My big question is since there is ammonia in the water and the tank is in a "mini" cycle
    - Do I reuse this water to help it along?
    - or do I give it all clean water dechlorinated and KH, GH and temperature adjusted and acclimate the fish to it? I would think the latter but I have been wrong before.

    Or is just a bad idea to do this while it is in a mini-cycle?

    On the new 29 when I get it filled with water, I will place the existing HOB and add the new AC 70 to start with, moving the matrix media in a bag over to the AC from the existing HOB along with more matrix, carbon and sponge. Then move the fish over. Scary!

    Sorry for all the questions, I want to be prepared before I go ahead and do this. I am a bit (understatement) nervous.
  5. AngelTheGypsy

    AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    I never got the original mention! . Plants to start with:

    Java fern
    Amazon sword
    Water wisteria

    The first 2 have rhizomes you don't want to bury. The other three plant like regular plants, and will benefit from root tabs. The wisteria is a stem plant, if it doesn't have roots to begin with, let it float until they grow, then just stick it in the sand. Root tabs aren't necessary for this one, but will help it get established and grow even quicker!

    What info do you have on your light? All those plants are low-light so they should do ok, but a light will be the difference between surviving and growing.

    I wouldn't bother using old water. You can fill the tank with fresh prime water, heat it to temp, and use the stuff you do to fix your pH. Then just move them over. It'll be like a big water change, and should be fine as long as temp and ph are the same. Old water is just dirty, unless you just did a water change like the day or two before.

    I found it easier to clean the sand outside in a bucket with a water hose. It took me three buckets to do 50# of pool sand. Fill about half way with sand, stick the hose in, and rinse. You can keep the bucket tilted slightly and let the water just keep running out. Stick the hose down into the sand over and over to stir it all up and keep going till the water is all clear. Dump all the water and do it again. It's a long process, but worth it. 40# should be plenty.
    I would put all your media in the AC and not worry about the biowheel.

    And just keep asking questions! I'm subscribed now!
  6. OP

    JRSWell Known MemberMember

    The light is supposed to be a good one it is a Fluval Aquasky LED, according the guy at the LFS. It has a crazy remote, you can program and it has many pre-programmed settings. You can even do a lightning storm - though I don't know why you would do that to your fish. It has a temperature of 6500K with tri-color RGB LEDs. I know I have seen your posts mentioning the temp of lights, but I don't recall what was good for plants.

    Just found it gives off 1250 lumens.

    Thanks for the plant info! I am so afraid of getting nuisance snails. So I have to figure out where to get the plants. The petsmart lady said all there plants have snails.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  7. FlutterFish

    FlutterFishWell Known MemberMember

    Fluval Aquasky would be fine (it's a good light, I've tried it before - it just didn't have a very long life, ran out after 6 months), but if you want medium-light, I'd go with Finnex FugeRay Planted.

    For low-light, I think a better option might be Finnex Stingray, but it's up to your choice :)

    For plants, if you're worried about pests, I usually do a bleach dip (19 cups of water, 1 cup of bleach), and it doesn't really harm them if you do it correctly. I think Lifewithpets has a really good video on that, just search it up. If you have floating plants, tho, I wouldn't recommend it.

    Subbed, want to see what happens!
  8. OP

    JRSWell Known MemberMember

    Ugh, I hope it lasts longer. I bought this about 2 months ago, not really planning on getting plants at the time. I had replaced the plastic hood with built in light that came with the original kit with a flat glass and this is the light the LFS recommended. For now I will go with it, but if the plants do poorly or it dies, I will check into those you mentioned. This is really my son's tank, when I get my own, I will be looking to get the best light I can so thank you.

    Why wouldn't you recommend the dip for floating plants? What is the difference? I have many gardens outside and even in little patio pond, but with the fish it is a whole different ballgame.
  9. AngelTheGypsy

    AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    I've not treated any plants, probably a bad idea, but I just didn't want to do all the work to keep snails away just for one to sneak in anyway. and I'm more worried about the bleach than the snails...
    I rinse them really well in tap water, rubbing all the leaves, etc. I have found 4 total snails I think, and one plant had some eggs I washed off. I put the snails in my son's tank, I think his betta eats them cuz I haven't seen one in a while.

    I wouldn't bother with bleaching the floaters either. It's unlikely a snail would hang out on them, and their root systems are generally more fragile.

    Is there any name or model # or anything on your light? Just curious cuz if it does do well...
  10. OP

    JRSWell Known MemberMember

    Fluval Aquasky LED A3997 (24"-36") They have 36"-48" and larger.
  11. AngelTheGypsy

    AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    I totally missed that post!!!

    It has the right color temp and has all colors, including red, so that's good too. I'd say you should probably be able to plant any low light plants, and possibly mid level. It sounds similar to the finnex planted + 24/7 with the remote and different modes.

    Those plants I listed just happen to be my favorites, and ones I have had do well so far. There are lots to try.

    I enjoy a lightning storm. Also, some wild fish react to weather in certain ways. Bass will go on a feeding frenzy before and during a storm, but won't bite (a hook) for a couple days afterwards. I'm sure all that has more to do with temp, static electricity, and barometric pressure than the light, but still a thought. Hubby said it's the pressure...had to ask!
  12. OP

    JRSWell Known MemberMember

    Sorry I never thanked you when you posted this. Had some fish issues so plant ideas took a backseat.

    In case you are curious, I saw in the LFS today there is a model above the one I have called a pro and it specifically says it is for planted tanks. Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0 A3990 for a 24"-36" tank.

    I was originally thinking I would move old water to the temporary tank and mix like 50/50 with new to make a slow adjustment. But now I am thinking that will just be a waste of water if not necessary. I am thinking I should fill the temp 20 with all new water (all adjusted) and put the fish in. Then when the 29 is ready, move say 10 gallons of the "new" water from that tank to the 29 and add about 9 more from the tap (adjusted) and then move the fish over. Then move the rest of the "new" water in the temporary 20 to fill up the 29.

    Sorry just want to make sure I have a plan before i start. Between moving the fish twice in one day and fixing the wall behind the tank, I need to make sure I have it figured out.

    From the thread about growing lettuce in the fish tank for eating, now I realize I am going to use my old tank water (in warm months) to water my flowers near my front door. Supposed to really make them grow well.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  13. AngelTheGypsy

    AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    I'd see how the one you have does before you replace it. Also I have crypts doing very well under cheapo lights. I think it depends on the variation.

    And when I use buckets, I use the water for the flowers too. Not so much now with the python, but it does all go in the aerobic septic system and eventually waters the grass!
  14. OP

    JRSWell Known MemberMember

    I don't plan on replacing it for my son's tank unless it stops working. I think he will be fine with low light plants or he may have to go back to fake if it doesn't do well. He isn't that picky. But when I do my tank, I will definitely be checking out the Finnex Planted and the Pro Fluval - depending on how this one lasts.
  15. Punkin

    PunkinWell Known MemberMember

    Tissue culture plants are supposed to be snail free as they are supposedly grown in a gel like substance in a lab and not in water. You can get them online, and at chain pet stores, though I'm not sure how well you can trust them. So far I am still afraid of live plants because I don't want to deal with snails, but that's my personal anxiety.
  16. OP

    JRSWell Known MemberMember

    I feel the same way. I don't know why though, so many people seem to love the snails even the nuisance ones. I have the same issue with shrimp and so many people love them. Maybe someday I will try and like them..... I guess I don't love the idea of a snail or shrimp escaping.
  17. Punkin

    PunkinWell Known MemberMember

    I'd like to have shrimp but I'm afraid I would siphon them! I did have a nerite snail that I loved, never tried to escape. I only had him 2 months though. :( I want to get another, but am waiting to see how the cories do.

    Oh, I do have pothos roots in my tank. I knew they didn't have bugs/snails as I've had it as a houseplant for about a year. If your interested, I can tell you about it. Here's a photo it hangs on the left side of my tank through a hole in the lid for an airline tube.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  18. OP

    JRSWell Known MemberMember

    I think when I put a tank in my office/sunroom, I might like the pothos. I think it would look really nice. I used to have a lot of house plants, but my cats tend to eat them. I couldn't do it in my son's tank because of where the tank is. What a pretty tank. You have very nice plants for fake ones. My son has mostly the glo type. He wants real now though. It that doesn't work out, I will have to look for some realistic ones like you have.

    @Punkin @AngelTheGypsy

    Hope all is well with you and the fishies!
    I have a question about the AC filter. Do (did) you stack the filter - sponge, charcoal and media as the directions say? Or is the charcoal on top? I have been reading the charcoal should be last? But Aquaclear has it in the middle.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  19. AngelTheGypsy

    AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    I think I had it above the sponge and below the biomedia.
  20. OP

    JRSWell Known MemberMember

    So it looks as though my plans have changed. While making the move from the 20 to the 29, I put a spare 20 I have on the bookcase at the end of my son's bed. (Very very strong as my husband built it) Well, my son liked it there so much he asked if we could put it there. I was all set, filter, sand, cover and a good plan. Oh well. I think the new plan is to get him a 30 instead. It is longer and will be better supported by the bookcase. Thought about a 38 but it is 3 inches taller and neither of us are exactly tall.

    So I think it will be ok to have a tank not against a wall and be seen from both sides?

    Also, is anyone familiar with underwater/in tank filters? An HOB will not be ideal in this case. Will have to use my AC70 on my tank I do this fall. I may be using the 29 myself or selling it, I don't have the receipt and took it out of the package - oops. I have been looking into the Fluval U4, but have just started looking. It says it is for 34-65 gallon tanks, but has an output of 260 gph.

    I thought the $1/gallon sale went on through today, but Petco says the discontinued the sale. ?