jets18 asked in PetsFish · 10 years ago

Help making planted tank?

I am converting my 29 gallon freshwater fish tank witha few plants to a fully planted tank. I have 11 fish in my 30 inch fish tank, and it has been running great and has great conditions. I have a 20 watt light and I just have regular black gravel with no additives or iron or anything, not really for plants but it has kept my small amazon sword alive along with a java fern-not sure if thats what it it-and some micro sword clumps. I want to add a stronger light and better gravel, and try to get a planted tank with a good foreground plant that covers the bottom of my tank and also keep other plants like my amazon sword or others. I really don't know much about plants, so please give me as much information or ideas as possible. Any comments will be helpful. Thanks. Light recommendations would be very helpful along with what plants I could easily maintain as a beginner.

3 Answers

  • Colby
    Lv 5
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    How would you like some relevant information instead of a petco ad? I will try to break this down without overwhelming you but understand that these are not the only options, just suggestions. Due to the fact that you already have fish in the tank, changing out all of the substrate would be rough on the fish and a lot of work. I would add a bag of eco complete live planted substrate over top of your existing gravel. It contains many good trace elements and it has live bacteria in it so you shouldn't see a large spike in ammonia or nitrite. You will need to remove some water so that you don't overflow the tank when adding the new substrate (it is black so it should match what you have already). The best way to add this will be to carfully cut open the bag of eco complete and scoop out a plastic cup full of gravel and cover the top with your hand as you lower the cup into the tank. Then you can spread the substrate out on the bottom. The other option is to cut off the corner of the bag and lower the whole thing into the tank and then slowly pour the new onto the old. It is like icing a cake (if you have ever done that.) This will still cloud the water some but not as much as just dumping it in from above the tank.

    The best lighting depends on how much you want to spend and what plants you want to keep. I think the best option would be a fixture that has two or four T5 high output bulbs. Aquatic life makes a nice two or four bulb fixture that is made for freshwater tanks. If your budget is limited, you might look for a used compact fluorescent fixture but you should get new bulbs for it. Plants do well with 6700k spectrum lights (more red/yellow/orange spectrum) or 10000k light (white). They are some bulbs that are 5300k that are good for plants but the fish won't look as nice under them. If you get high output lights, you should be able to keep most plants available including the red species and the carpeting species, but many of these plants are quite finicky.

    You asked about beginner plants, so if you don't mind being limited with the "easy" ones you can keep any cryptocorynes, anubias, java ferns, java/flame moss, and some swords or hardy buch plants (some rotala species, hygros, elodea, to name a few) with the light you have, but I would get a lifeglo bulb (Hagen makes them) to replace the bulb you have.

    If you want to really make a stunning display, you should invest inbetter lighting though. With an increase of lighting, a CO2 source will be a big help in achieving better growth and plant health. A DIY yeast reactor sytem isn't too difficult to rig up or you will have to spend some big money on an injected CO2 system. I have had great success with the DIY sytems but they do require you to mix up a new batch every 3-4 weeks. The only other option is to use Seachems Flourish carbon which is a liquid addative that is decent.

    If you can't tell, I love planted tanks and they can make amazing displays. I could write for hours, but that isn't goin to work here so I will tell you to check out some of the online planted tank forums if you want to check out what olther people's tanks look like. The planted tank forum ( i think) is a good one as is both are worth registering to imo. Hopefully you have a good local fish store, not a chain store, to go and get some help with your tank. Otherwise you might find out if there is an aquarium club in your area as this can be a great resource for info and cheap/free plants or equipment. If you get stuck, just ask here and we will try to help you out. Good luck.

    Edit: mentioning putting koi into a 29 gallon tank is not a ringing endorsement for your "expertise" on the subject there Petco "Owner", or did you forget to read the question becuase you were too busy salivating over a free advertising opportunity?

  • pat
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    All you decide on for a powerful planted tank is a nutrient wealthy substrate, good lights, and in the experience that your going to do Co2 you will choose a 2 liter bottle, some airline tube, a million and a a million/2 cups of sugar, and a million teaspoon of yeast. seem up DIY Co2 on YouTube and you will locate each and everything you may desire to grasp. good success.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    It depends on the kind of fish you have. If you have any of these following fish, then you cannot get any plants:

    African Cichilids

    American Cichilids



    These following fish are sometimes able to live with live plants:



    These are the plants I think are beautiful:

    You can go to and check out more plants in the fish section. I trust Petco the most.

    Hope this helped! :)

    Source(s): Owner
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