Need help picking substrate and plants...

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fishyfriends876

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Hello! After jumping around all sorts of options, I settled on one... A planted guppy breeding tank!

The tank is a 29 gallon. I don't know the exact lighting wattage and such, it goes across the whole tank though. I don't want to use fertilizers and such for the tank. Any suggestions?

What I am looking for in the substrate:
- Will help plants grow
- Looks natural, but not too common, like normal gravel
- Won't cloud the water like crazy even after washing
- More like gravel than sand
- Cost-effective
- Aren't picky

What I am looking for in the plants:
- Will provide good shelter for the guppy fry
- Grows fast
- Cost-effective
- Common to find
- Doesn't need a heater

How many pounds of the substrate should I get? The tank is 30 x 12 on the base.
Apart from this forum and local, are there any websites you recommend to get plants?

Thanks!
 
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jkkgron2

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I recommend Black diamond blasting sand as the substrate, it might not look natural but it’s cheap and grows plants well. Did the light come with the tank? If so, I doubt it’ll be good for many fast growing plants. You could try Water wisteria and some floaters light frogbit but not many fast growers will thrive in those conditions.
 
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fishnovice33

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Random light and substrate and no ferts or supplements pretty much leaves you with basics. Java fern, swords, anacharis, dwarf sag, anubias...pretty much anything you’ll find at petco and pets mart. For hiding fry, something like guppy grass, hornwort or java moss are indestructible. I always have a heater so not sure about that with these plants and what your temps are, if they’re not extreme they’ll be fine but not ideal.

As far as growing fast I mean the above plants are hardy, growth rate really depends on conditions. No ferts, heater and not tracking light, these conditions are not really ideal to grow anything fast...you’ll just have to dial it in and get what you get, which won’t be much.

I would not use BDBS. It’s cheap but has iron and can have issues. Eco complete would be good for you but since you it cost effective and aren’t adding ferts...why not just use regular gravel? Pea gravel is nice like some Carib sea peace river. You’ll need about 60 pounds or 25L give or take.
 
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fishyfriends876

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jkkgron2 said:
I recommend Black diamond blasting sand as the substrate, it might not look natural but it’s cheap and grows plants well. Did the light come with the tank? If so, I doubt it’ll be good for many fast growing plants. You could try Water wisteria and some floaters light frogbit but not many fast growers will thrive in those conditions.
No, the light did not come with the tank.
I did a bit of poking around and this is what I think I ordered:
"Aquaneat Aquarium Light 0.5W 24" Marine FOWLR White and Blue LEDs"
30 LEDs - 1800 lumen 25x10000K, 5x Actinic
I have been using it for 1-2 years now.
 
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fishyfriends876

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fishnovice33 said:
Random light and substrate and no ferts or supplements pretty much leaves you with basics. Java fern, swords, anacharis, dwarf sag, anubias...pretty much anything you’ll find at petco and pets mart. For hiding fry, something like guppy grass, hornwort or java moss are indestructible. I always have a heater so not sure about that with these plants and what your temps are, if they’re not extreme they’ll be fine but not ideal.

As far as growing fast I mean the above plants are hardy, growth rate really depends on conditions. No ferts, heater and not tracking light, these conditions are not really ideal to grow anything fast...you’ll just have to dial it in and get what you get, which won’t be much.

I would not use BDBS. It’s cheap but has iron and can have issues. Eco complete would be good for you but since you it cost effective and aren’t adding ferts...why not just use regular gravel? Pea gravel is nice like some Carib sea peace river. You’ll need about 60 pounds or 25L give or take.
Thanks! The light I have is:
"Aquaneat Aquarium Light 0.5W 24" Marine FOWLR White and Blue LEDs"
30 LEDs - 1800 lumen 25x10000K, 5x Actinic

If I were to use fertilizers, would it create a big impact on growth? If so what do you recommend? Like earlier, I am looking for something cost-effective.
 
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fishnovice33

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fishyfriends876 said:
Thanks! The light I have is:
"Aquaneat Aquarium Light 0.5W 24" Marine FOWLR White and Blue LEDs"
30 LEDs - 1800 lumen 25x10000K, 5x Actinic

If I were to use fertilizers, would it create a big impact on growth? If so what do you recommend? Like earlier, I am looking for something cost-effective.
I am not sure if that spectrum is ideal for plants, 6500k is for plants as a marine light, but plants will still use it, just not as well. I say this because the the thing about ferts is if your plants can’t process it with a lack of lights there’ll be some fluctuations and algae issues. But if you stay on top of water changes, keep phosphates low, and keep nitrates around 20 you’ll be fine.

Cost is subjective because you’ll pay a third for something like seachem flourish but is not as concentrated as something like Thrive.

If I were you, trying to stay as money conscious as possible, I’d get the pea gravel or use dirt (cheaper and better for plants but messier and will need to research, could cap it with gravel), get cheap oacillium root tabs or make them yourself ( ), get thrive C, it’s expensive but will last you forever by dosing extremely lightly (maybe 1/3 the dose), and buy a testing kit if you don’t have one already that will enable you to dial all that in - which will take some trial and error.

That’ll maybe cost you 100 bucks plus plants. But you could always skimping as much as possible, get gravel and plants and see how it goes which would probably put you around $50 but that maybe be wasted if your plants die or substrate doesn’t work or you can’t test anything and have more algae issues that you want etc.
 
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Cody

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My biggest input is regardless if you go with a commercial aquarium substrate or an alternative, go with either finer grade grave or sand(not a sand person personally). But something finer does make planting a little easier in my experience.

I find with finer gravel you can just force the plant down to plant it where bigger gravel it seems like you need to move the gravel aside and essentially dig a hole and fill it back in.
 
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fishnovice33

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Cody said:
My biggest input is regardless if you go with a commercial aquarium substrate or an alternative, go with either finer grade grave or sand(not a sand person personally). But something finer does make planting a little easier in my experience.

I find with finer gravel you can just force the plant down to plant it where bigger gravel it seems like you need to move the gravel aside and essentially dig a hole and fill it back in.
I agree with this. Stay away from sand or large gravel grain when dealing with plants. Which is why I suggested the super naturals peace river, which is a fine gravel and does really well (for gravel) with plants. It’s what I would use after an aquasoil then eco.

 
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fishyfriends876

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Wow, thanks for the reply! So is my light considered a low light? Maybe I could try the "low light" plants?

If not, any suggestions for a new light? I could pay up to $40 for the light, not too much since there's all the other stuff I need too.
 
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Cody

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fishyfriends876 said:
Wow, thanks for the reply! So is my light considered a low light? Maybe I could try the "low light" plants?

If not, any suggestions for a new light? I could pay up to $40 for the light, not too much since there's all the other stuff I need too.
If your looking to just do simple floaters or moss for fry cover that light should be fine. It looks like it’s a light for marine tanks so it’s going to be a bit different spectrum. But a tank like that is for function more anything. If you don’t mind the way it looks I wouldn’t worry too much.

otherwise Nicrew lights a good for budget light. You’ll find with a planted tank that it’s easy to get hooked. I wanted easy plants and did Not want to fertilizer first and then the plant bug kicked in.

You can get an all in one liquid fertilizer like thrivec , Easy Green, UNS, etc. they will be around 20-25 dollars with shipping. Or you may find them local. They are crazy simple to use and for a 29g tank a bottle of one of those will last well over a year.

but if the goal is mor about Providing fry cover, I wouldn’t worry about getting too carried away
 
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fishyfriends876

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Cody said:
If your looking to just do simple floaters or moss for fry cover that light should be fine. It looks like it’s a light for marine tanks so it’s going to be a bit different spectrum. But a tank like that is for function more anything. If you don’t mind the way it looks I wouldn’t worry too much.

otherwise Nicrew lights a good for budget light. You’ll find with a planted tank that it’s easy to get hooked. I wanted easy plants and did Not want to fertilizer first and then the plant bug kicked in.

You can get an all in one liquid fertilizer like thrivec , Easy Green, UNS, etc. they will be around 20-25 dollars with shipping. Or you may find them local. They are crazy simple to use and for a 29g tank a bottle of one of those will last well over a year.

but if the goal is mor about Providing fry cover, I wouldn’t worry about getting too carried away
Hmm, yes, my main goal was fry cover but I didn't want it to look like some breeding for profit room. I really want to breed guppies, but not for profit, instead of enjoyment.
 
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Cody

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fishyfriends876 said:
Hmm, yes, my main goal was fry cover but I didn't want it to look like some breeding for profit room. I really want to breed guppies, but not for profit, instead of enjoyment.
I mean that might should grow easy plants like mosses, hornwort, jungle Val, Java fern, Anubias, water wisteria, Amazon sword, crypts and plenty others. I’m not sure what the exact light you have is because it did not link properly.

dosing fertilizer goes a long way and the plants will appreciate it! It’s really just as simple as putting a few squirts I per week. You start by dosing lightly and going up or down from there depending how heavily you plant.

I know when I first started I was hesitant because I thought I would be mixing fertilizers and dumping them in the tanks like i was doing lab experiments but it’s not like that! But its really up time you and the planta you keep. But any plant easy or not does better with fertilizer and Quality lighting. Which a quality light is was simple as anything better than stock that puts out a little stronger light.
 
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jkkgron2

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fishyfriends876 said:
Wow, thanks for the reply! So is my light considered a low light? Maybe I could try the "low light" plants?

If not, any suggestions for a new light? I could pay up to $40 for the light, not too much since there's all the other stuff I need too.
The hygger full spectrum light has done wonders for me :). It’s a bit better quality compared to Nicrew but the prices are very very similar.

For plants I think Java moss, anubias, Java fern, water wisteria, Marimo moss balls, and also crypts are all good if you were to get that light :)
 
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fishyfriends876

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jkkgron2

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fishyfriends876 said:
Yup! I use it on 2 of my tanks and I’ve been able to grow Java ferns, water wisteria, dwarf hairgrass, crypts, some unwanted duckweed, Pygmy chain swords, and I’m currently trying out rotala indica, a dwarf lily, some hydrocotle (might’ve spelled that wrong), and jungle vals. For Both tanks I use thriveC for ferts but I think some of those plants would do ok without any.
 
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