Need help getting started 29 Gallon Tank

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by greenindirt, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. greenindirt

    greenindirtNew MemberMember

    Alright so I'll need some help with my first tank. I got a 29 gallon aquarium and it was a starter kit and came with these things: a Power Filter 30 (I believe it is for 10-30g), a 100W submersible heater, a hood with a fluorescent light and some other things. It claimed to come with a digital thermometer but it was some sort of strip that stuck on that I (not knowing what it was) accidentally destroyed.
    The filter is rated 10-30g, is a HOB power filter, and has only one charcoal filter. I don't know how well the sediment filter works as it is just a grid on the intake tube. There was some fish food sediment on the charcoal filter which I imagine should have been filtered by the sediment filter.

    I set that all up and, aware of the nitrogen cycle, followed the guide's advice (from here) and placed a small piece or raw salmon into the tank (I also sprinkled fish food in the tank prior, before reading that this can lead to algae down the road). Fast forward to this morning and it smells. Quite alot. Removed the piece of fish, checked the filter, there was a small amount of yellowish froth right before the chemical filter (charcoal I believe, and only 1 of them). In the filter the chemical filter was what smelled the worst and after rinsing with cold water was fine. However, the tank still smells, likely the water.

    I also tested the amount of ammonium using a liquid Nutrafin test kit and there is none yet.

    My questions:
    My filter. What are your thoughts? Will I need a larger filter with more than one charcoal pad? Should it contain a better sediment filter, should the sediment filter have removed the fish food?

    Should there have been some ammonium from the salmon being in the tank overnight?

    I do have live plants (a couple amazon swords), does this affect anything and should the light be adequate?

    Is the heater adequate?

    Should the tank begun to smell overnight and what cycling method can I use to avoid that in the future?

    Anything else you think of.
  2. Craig-D

    Craig-DValued MemberMember

    Many brands call their 30 gallon filter "Power Filter 30" from Aqueon, to Whisper, and PETCO, etc., so I'm not sure which one you have. But it doesn't really matter, as long as it can pump 150 gallons per hour. That's enough to turn over all the water in a 30 gallon tank 5 times an hour, which is adequate. Some will say it needs to be 10 times an hour for a hang on back ("HOB") filter, but I personally think that's overkill. The charcoal pad you refer to is actually carbon. The amount the filter came with should be adequate, but you have to change it every 4 weeks.

    Your filter will not catch all fish food in the tank. Some of it will sink to the substrate and stay there rotting.

    You aren't likely to get a reading of ammonia in just 24 hours from a single piece of salmon in 29 gallons of water. It could take a few days.

    It's hard to say whether your lighting is effective for your plants without describing the lighting more. You say it's flourescent, but how many watts the bulb is it?

    Your 100 watt heater is adequate for a 29 gallon tank.

    Carbon is supposed to remove smells in the water, but I suspect your smell is coming from the rotting piece if fish in your tank. I am personally not a fan of this method of fishless cycling because I think it's kinda gross for obvious reasons. Carbon won't remove that smell.

    Another method of cycling that allows you to add fish immediately and is much quicker and cleaner is to use Tetra Safestart. It is a product that contains the bacteria needed for a cycle that you add immediately with fish. It tends to work in mere days. The downside is it's expensive and hard to find.
  3. OP

    greenindirtNew MemberMember

    The lighting is in the hood and it doesn't state what the wattage is anywhere on the box or in anything that came with it, so I'm not sure on that end.

    The filter is an Aqueon Power Filter 30, not sure on how many GPH as it doesn't say anywhere either.
  4. Craig-D

    Craig-DValued MemberMember

    The bulb itself should state its wattage rating. You want at least 1 watt per gallon to grow some of the lower light plants, while other varieties will need even more. Your Aqueon PF30 is rated at 200 gph. That is more than sufficient for a 29 gallon tank.
  5. OP

    greenindirtNew MemberMember

    It's 17 watts, so I imagine that won't be enough. Are there any submersible lights that can be used )because I will be wanting to keep plants)?

    I've also picked up pure ammonia so I will be using that to start the cycle.
  6. Craig-D

    Craig-DValued MemberMember

    That is definately not going to be sufficient to grow plants in your tank. That wattage in that sized tank means it was meant for a fish-only setup. The only submersible lights I know of are decorative LEDs that come with bubblers and stuff. Just buy an identically-sized bulb with a higher wattage (make sure your light's ballast can handle the extra wattage - it should be marked indicating the maximum wattage it can handle). Assuming your hood is rated to handle a 30-34 watt bulb, that's enough for lower-light plants in your 29 gallon tank. If you don't see a max rating on the ballast (the part the bulb plugs into), contact the manufacturer of your kit and ask them.
  7. midthought

    midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Amazon Swords are a very hardy plant and will live for quite a while in a low-light setup, but they will eventually melt because they are a high light plant. To get enough light for them, you're probably looking at well over 100 watts of lighting (2x 65watt bulbs for example), and you're going to have to get a different hood and light unit.

    This Fishlore's basic breakdown of lighting and the kinds of lighting available, but there's not really information on pricing: You can look at online shops like and for more of an idea of what's commercially available. You can also try the if you're so inclined, but I don't know the first thing about that.

    Lighting for planted aquariums costs a pretty penny (speaking as someone who just bought a whole unit herself), and retail establishments will typically charge well over 150 dollars for something. You could try to save yourself some money by checking out craigslist or similar sites.
  8. crystalized

    crystalizedNew MemberMember

    I tried UVB light bulb and it seems to work just fine , my guppies seem to swim round it, and yes temperature matters a lot, depends on what kind of fish you have, and also the filter depends on what kind of fishes you want, but would recommand you to buy a filter that can filter a bigger tank than yours, more air flow better for fish..and good luck!!!

    PS..god i had so many problems with my plants in the past too..but got rid of em since my guppies don like em so

    good luck!!!