Help First 29G Community Tank Cycle and Stocking

JonnyLightning

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First post ever here goes:

Hey all! I fell into a rabbit hole here.. This is addictive already without any fish haha. I've literally read tons of articles from here and other fish forums and you all have been so helpful, so I thank you for getting me thus far already, before I had to ask a question! This is my first real tank other than a small Betta tank that I water change often.

So, I've just bought a 29 gallon aquarium, with literally EVERYTHING I need. Timers, API test kits, PH adjusters, lids, undergravel air bubbles, heater, gravel substrate, good filter, LEDs, and a nice Fish home/hide and fake plants; Ok I'm almost 30 but my aquarium is set up with fake plants and neon gravel like an 8 year old! lol Since this is my first I wanted super simple.

I've done extensive research, I'm in the middle of my second week cycling (Ammonia at around 3.0ppm-ish, just now seeing nitrites beginning; around .25) My freaking goodness the wait is real, and from what I can see, my FISHLESS cycle (frozen table shrimp, and a tad bit of fish flakes here and there) is doing really well. Now it's the waiting game, before I PWC and slowly stock. I will be heavily maintaining my tank, since it is a fake tank and it is in my room, I will be keeping on it almost daily. I have a QT tank setup for when I get my fish, that I will be refilling the water from my PWC from my finished cycle with some media and gravel from my finished tank, when it's done to get that going. Pheww... This is fun.

I've said all that so I don't get asked anything related to those questions in unrelated answers! Yes, people do that too! ;)

For my Community Tank, I've thought about group numbers and sizes for a 29 gallon that I have running and I want the maximum number of occupants in there, comfortably.

My ideas are this if I can keep the water at around PH 6.6-6.7 Temp around 79 degrees:
1 Bolivian Ram to be the prize fish, 2 Male Guppies for top dwellers,10 Neon tetras (or 8 Cardinal Tetras) for middle dwellers, and 6 Corys for bottom dwellers, and MAYBE 4-5 cherry shrimp for the Algae Police.

Corys like to be in 6's, so do shrimp, and neons are schoolers and guppies are too but are a bit bigger... and the bolivian ram would be a little bit larger.
I know all of these species are communal and WILL do well together, on a great if not certain chance after doing research. The question I'm asking is about overstocking...

TLDR: Basically all this nonsense for "Hey, is this too many fish, will this be too crowded as adult fish? Will they be healthy with that amount?" If I were you, what population control would you edit on my list, to make them comfortable?

Thanks.

Jon

PS Here she is, and please lol don't judge me on it being next to a window... it's below it, the window is frosted and there is NOWHERE else to put this thing lol. Also, there is no AC so I have to have the window open but there IS a screen and LID and like I said I'll be on the Algea, and hopefully with the help of some cherry shrimp!

IMG_20200509_005206.jpg
 

Leighgenevera

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I'm setting up my first 29g also and I'm planning on a few more (small) fish than you. I will be using an Aquaclear 70 that I will be filling with bio rings, filter floss and seachem matrix. I recommend using Aqadvisor.com because you will be able to fill in your filter info and it will give you a decent idea on stocking percentages, etc. I'm sure others that are more experienced will be able to give you more direct advice on your specific fish, but it doesn't look too crowded to me.
 

Flyfisha

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Hi JonnyLighting
Welcome to fish keeping.
Male guppies can be jerks at times . ( can I say that?) .
Male guppies can be aggressive with each other. With a large number of guppies the aggression from one dominant bully is spread around. IMO 2 male guppies will battle one will lose a tail , eventually all of the tail will be gone and the fish will die. Then it’s possible that anything could happen to other probably smaller fish?

Do you know the hardness or GH of your tap water?
Neons , Cardinals and Bolivians are all soft water fish. Guppies are a hard water species.

All I am suggesting is leave the 2 guppies out the other 3 species of fish will be happier without them .
 
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JonnyLightning

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Leighgenevera: Awesome, I'm actually running an Aqueon Quietflow 50 for my 29 gallon since I plan on stocking nicely.

Flyfisha: Thank you for your quick response this was awesome! I mainly wanted guppies to float around the top of the tank for a top dweller since tetras are mid to bottom dwellers and corys are bottom.

I wouldn't mind getting two female guppies then, if you're saying it is because of male aggression..
Any good pretty recommendation to fill in the space of the Top dwellers or just like you said best to just take them out?

I do not know the hardness of my water, that is the only thing I do not not know of right now, and will adjust accordingly any way that I can, any recommendations for testing and adjusting GH?. I want a nice community. :)

Thanks
 

FinalFins

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two female guppies = 100 guppies 2 months later ;)

Consider 2 Bolivians? They are quite social and I have 2 in a 20 long, which is the same footprint as your tank.

If anything, skip the guppies. Flyfisha is on point and guppies are jerks. Constant annoyance to other fish and their own species as well.

Cardinals like it above 80... neons would be a better choice to go with bolivians as they are more of a cooler water fish?

Hatchetfish and pencilfish are some really unique top dwellers.
 
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JonnyLightning

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Thank you FinalFins, that was great.

Ok ok, I think I'm starting to see a pattern here with Guppies... bad idea haha.

I will look into Hatchetfish and pencilfish (When fish everywhere aren't sold out because of the 'Rona). Thanks for the temperature advice!
 

Flyfisha

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Skip the female guppies, they are nearly always pregnant in shops. Not much to look at anyway. Don’t read to much into this top water midwater business JonnyLighting. Yes corydoras do spend 98% of the time on the substrate and the likes of a hatchet fish is definitely a top water fish ,but many other fish like guppies swim all levels. A guppy will happily eat from the substrate. Use it as a basic guide only don’t believe half of what you read. A classic example is rocket killifish also called clown killifish. Everything the books or internet will tell you is they are a top water fish. Well for a start these fish don’t know how to read. They lay eggs near the surface but mine spend just as much time on the substrate as any other part of the tank.
A honey gourami is a beautiful fish that will spend some time under floating plants as a top water fish. But again they are not very good at reading the small print.

It’s a 29 gallon right? I am a bit of a small fish small tank person myself. I find male endlers to be a good dither fish in any tank. They are worth looking into as a great all round fish that is peaceful and colourful. Very similar to guppy’s but smaller and not known for nipping the tails off each other or anyone else.
They can be in a wide ranch of water parameters.
Speaking of parameters . You really should find out if your water is suitable for any species or not. Working with your tap water is always going to be better than chasing parameters.

There’s a fear bit of confusion on this site between hardness and PH . Or to put it another way between general hardness /GH and PH .
It’s kind of important you find out if your water supply is liquid rock . Or extremely soft water. Anything in the middle and you may never have to think about it again unless you want to keep African cichlids or breed Discus.
 

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JonnyLightning

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FlyFisha thank you so much for your time to help me out.

I definitely know PH is acidity levels and GH is mineral deposits. I worked as a lifeguard for a while in a pool and had to maintain PH levels. Anyway, I really like the look of the Hatchetfish. I will also look into male endlers. Thanks Flyfisha for kinda letting me know what's going on with the writings on the internet, I know a lot is not true and a lot is just written by whomever.

I do have a betta and 2 neons that are happy in a 3 gallon. (I know, improper fishkeeping the neons need to be in a school) but they've been there, as buddies for I'd for maybe even a year or more, I would like the neons to be the first ones to be moved out of the betta tank into the new home. :D

I am in Los Angeles... I know many aquarists here that have no problem with their tapwater other than adjusting the PH, I know acquaintances here that are very into the hobby but never asked them about GH, but I do know about PH. I've been testing regularly, PH is 8 right now, and will adjust lower to specific species level after finished cycle.

I will immediately drive to the LFS to get a test for GH, is it possible to adjust it, other than paying for the pillow? Like a powder or liquid from Seachem, preferrably? lol
 

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this might be a little out there- but what about one angelfish instead of the guppies? They hover all around the tank but often hangout in the middle to top layer. Mine is generally peaceful, but I guess you may have to watch smaller fish like tetras fin nipping the slower moving angels?

Just a thought!
 

Flyfisha

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A good aquarium shop not a pet shop will know your water supply. They will know at an instant what you have. Unless you have a summer lake water supply and winter ice water supply you will no need to add the powder/ minerals to adjust it.

I have often thought of sharing my live with hatchet fish but that’s one I have not been around.

Himm angel fish can grow to 8 inches tall probably not suitable for a 29 gallon?
 

bmuckluck

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JonnyLightning said:
Hey bmuckluck! I was thinking the Bolivian ram would be the space taker
ah yes sorry I did read that! I am not familiar with where they swim.
 
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JonnyLightning

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bmuckluck said:
ah yes sorry I did read that! I am not familiar with where they swim.
No worries at all! They just get to be large enough to kind of only need one or two in there, ,the angel would be a bit much from what I've read.

You guys are on it. lol I guess people are sticking to their hobbies in times of boredom and staying inside! Maybe the GH pillow is just the way to go...
 

bmuckluck

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Flyfisha said:
A good aquarium shop not a pet shop will know your water supply. They will know at an instant what you have. Unless you have a summer lake water supply and winter ice water supply you will no need to add the powder/ minerals to adjust it.

I have often thought of sharing my live with hatchet fish but that’s one I have not been around.

Himm angel fish can grow to 8 inches tall probably not suitable for a 29 gallon?
I guess it depends on swimming space / decorations / dimensions of the tank... but one would definitely be the max imo.
 

Sorg67

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I would make sure you fully understand the mechanics of managing the PH of your water. I have PH 8.2 and I wanted to lower it. I was advised against it because it tends to result in unstable PH. You lower it. It goes back up. You lower it again. Etc. If you really want to do it right, you have to use RO water and remineralize it. I am going to do that for a 10 gallon shrimp tank as a learning experience since that tank requires small water changes so I will not have to buy a lot of RO water.

It is my understanding that the difficulty in bringing PH down is that it is supported by KH. Every time you bring it down it goes back up unless you reduce KH. The only way I know of to reduce KH is to dilute it with zero KH water. Zero KH water is usually also zero GH water and you need some GH. So you have to do a lot of chemistry to get it right.

People do it. I am going to try it with my shrimp tank. But it requires knowing exactly what you are doing. You have read a lot and know something about PH management in a pool so perhaps you will do fine. I do not know how pool PH management compares to aquarium PH management. I just know that stable PH is more important than optimal PH.

If you are going to go down that road, make sure you fully understand what you are getting into. I would not just follow advice from a fish store. I have gotten some bad advice from fish stores. I would not rely on any one source. There are a lot of very knowledgeable people on Fishlore and you will great advice. But I would supplement it with reading, other forums, articles, books and ask your fish store. You will get a lot of conflicting advice. But to find the truth for you, you will have to sort through and reconcile all the conflicting advice and information.

Or just keep it simple and embrace your home water. That is what I have done to date with six tanks. I am tip toeing down the road of water parameter management in a 10 gallon tank that requires only 10% weekly water changes so it is not a huge undertaking. It is for the purpose getting my shrimp to breed.

I am a water testing lunatic....

API Master Test Kit
API GH and KH test Kit
API Phosphate test Kit
Tetra test strips
TDS test meter
PH test meter

I very much like the idea of water parameter management. But if you want to go down that road, you have to know what your are doing and it makes weekly water changes more complicated.
 
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JonnyLightning

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Sorg67 this was a very knowledgeable answer and I thank you. The PH adjusting is very similar in Pools, we adjust it for human living conditions rather than fish. It can hurt us too! (and chlorine adjusting, but fish don't need chlorine)

I am starting to like this testing thing, I feel like a scientist. My friend told me he purchased the RO/DI system for his saltwater tank.. but I'm trying to keep everything simple with no bandaids (using filter media to adjust GH).. I mean I had fish as a kid but I NEVER had any of this specific stuff, and they lived for years.. Should I get a system like that? I have a sample of my water now and I can go to the LFS today and check it out, or buy an API test kit for GH and KH. Thoughts?
 

Sorg67

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Up until now, I have lived with moderately hard 8 dGH and 8 dKH, high PH 8.2 water. I have been advised that most commonly kept tropical fish have been bred in captivity for many generations and have adapted to water conditions different than their native water. And that most fish keepers who try to mange their water to be different than their tap water don’t do it right.

If you want your water to be different than your tap water then every water change gets more complicated since you have to adjust the parameters of the new water.

So changing water parameters is more work and risk of stressing fish with parameter volatility.

The choice depends on how confident your are of your ability to do it right and how willing you are to keep up with it consistently.

To me it makes sense to live with your tap water in the beginning. Get fish that will be comfortable in your water. Get the basics mastered. Then if you want to begin messing with water characteristics, do it later.

That is what I am doing. Not that I have the basics mastered. I am just learning about this. But I have learned a lot. In large part due to the very helpful advice I have gotten from people on this site.
My water parameter thread.

Water Parameter Management

A difference between aquarium water management and pool water management is that fish breathe the water and have a process call osmoregulation. Water parameters are much more important to fish health than to human health. Changes in parameters can cause osmotic shock and kill fish. Volatility in parameter can cause stress and make fish more susceptible to disease and illness.
 

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What kind of cory are you planning on getting? Different types grow to different sizes and have different temperature requirements so it's important to know which one you're getting.
If you go for one of the slightly larger types like bronze cories you could do 8 or so. If you get a smaller type like panda cories or pygmy cories you could get 8-10. 6 is the minimum but they prefer to be in bigger groups.
 
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JonnyLightning

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BottomDweller, I was thinking Adolfos or something small, and get a group of 6, because there will be other groups of different fish species occupying the tank. I am worried that If get 10 corys and 10 neons.. AND a bolivian ram AND 5 hatchest it would be too much. Maybe I'm wrong?

I went to LFS, biggest and largest one around been here for FOREVER.. young kiddos trying to tell me how to cycle properly when I simply asked about GH test kits. My goodness, they repeat information like a phone sales rep!

I ordered a GH and KH test kit from API and I also ordered the API water softener Pillow to be safe. All in all i wont be adjusting GH and KH and PH until after the cycle finishes. Phew! Maybe I should have just bought a water purifier instead! Maybe that is what I will do in the future and get a system. This piddly products is money money money!
 

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