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 29G 4 2 Kids

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29G42KDs
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PostSubject: 29G 4 2 Kids   Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:04 am

Hello everyone -

I was at Petco Monday evening buying a 29G Tetra starter kit for my two little kids as a birthday gift. Met Ron. He was very kind to share details about this forum with me. I am glad I ran into him.

Admittedly, I am a total newbie. This is our first tank, and very likely the only tank we will have for a good while. The choice is clear, it is marriage or another tank :-)

The tank is still in the box. I am looking for a sturdy aquarium stand, preferably in dark brown/cappuccino color, to get started. I plan to place the tank next to the TV in the living room. The TV stand is cappuccino in color, for aesthetic reasons - so should the aquarium stand.

Still need to buy the gravel, the plants (and an air pump?). Haven't decided on the fish either. Of course, they will be fresh water. And there will be at least 1 black fish (I'll share the reason later, if someone is interested).

I am thinking of a children themed aquarium with SpongeBob or other character themed decorations depending on what I am able to find.

So far, I have shortlisted the following -
The Stand - http://www.petco.com/product/124341/Petco-Preferred-Winston-29-Gallon-Tank-Stand.aspx
The Air Pump - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009YF4FI
The Gravel - http://www.petsmart.com/supplies/gravel-sand/top-fin-premium-aquarium-gravel-zid36-17567/cat-36-catid-300072 (Color selection: Mardi Gras, bright colored)
SpongeBob decorations - http://www.walmart.com/ip/Penn-Plax-SpongeBob-Homes-Assorted-Aquarium-Decoration-Fish-Aquatic-Pets/20976065

How are these choices?

Is 20 lb gravel enough for a 29G tank?

Is an air pump required?

What kind of fish can I pick? My daughter wants pink ones and my son wants blue and orange ones. And I don't know how to take care of fish in any color.

Plants, real or plastic? Where to buy?

All insights from the experienced members are much appreciated.

Thank you! Abi  Smile
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verbal
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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Wed Apr 02, 2014 7:51 am

Get some filter media from someone nearby to establish bacteria(they are good) in your tank.

Do easy plants like Java Fern/Java Moss.

A 29 is a good size for a community tank. A lot of albino fish are somewhat pink. Albino cories(a group of 3 to 5) would be a good option. For blue and orange, livebearers would probably be a good option.

Important advice for aquarium newbies - feed lightly, it will make taking care of your tank much easier.
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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:11 am

Welcome Abi!
Sure happy you checked us out. One of our goals with CVAS is promoting, educating and furthering the Hobbyists experience. You have chosen an excellent educational and fun adventure for you and your children. Sadly there is a plethora of incorrect information on how to start a tank, and then find your fish getting sick and or dying which saddens, frustrates, then causes folks to leave the hobby. I think you have chosen a good plan as far as stands, and decorations. Nothing wrong with artificial plants to start with. Live plants are debatably a better way to go as they provide a sometimes more natural and healthy environ for your fish. However, they also involve a lot more work, lighting, and so on. Not wishing to deter as plants are also a great educational experience but on a starter tank where you are trying to find the right balance during the Nitrogen Cycle, the right mix of fish, and such a bit more challenging than most people want to begin with.
The setup, and water balance needs to be the first consideration before even thinking of adding fish. This is going to be the most difficult part of your process as all to often rushed due to the excitement and wanting to get the fish right away. Now is when you are going to hear and read all kinds of information on cycling your tank. Be patient, as well teach patience to your children as this is when your most frustrating problems can occur. There are two methods widely debated on how to cycle new aquariums. Some are in favor of "fish in" and others "no fish until cycled"
After setting up, adding water, arranging plants, you need to begin the "Cycling Process" If you have not purchased yet a good recommendation is to get a good test kit. You'll need to monitor the water for Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, and proper PH balance. Without one you will be making a lot of trips to your local fish store (LFS) to test for you. The process can actually take up to 4 weeks sometimes before actually being safe for your fish. There are faster ways but here's where you are going to hear a lot of different ideas. One is to use a product like "Quick Start" and similar brands. Another is to use 1 or 2 sacrificial fish to help start the cycle. In my opinion, this normally causes death or severely injured fish in the process. I like to use "seeded material" from a fully cycled tank along with a "Quick Start" or similar product. Seeded Material is usually a filter, filter pad(s), substrate, and etc. that already have good beneficial bacteria that eats Ammonia, Nitrites and creates Nitrates that may be controlled through your water changes.
This response has grown lengthy, and I'm sure you are now going to hear some great tips from our members. Take your time, learn, be patient, and you and your children are going to enjoy a fascinating and rewarding hobby. If your wanting some seeded material (highly recommended by the way) just ask. We have members that are always willing to help and assist.

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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:53 pm

I am typically the rogue/black sheep of the aquatic community, but here is what I recommend for a tank with kids for the first time, to save money and frustration.

Do goldfish.  they are very hardy and dont require a heater (another expense).  They are relatively inexpensive, they are not skittish around kids.  There are all sorts of colorations (Black moor), calico, bronze, white, and traditional orange.  I would recommend finding a fish store or neighbor that has an established tank and putting your filter medium in there to get BB (beneficial bacteria) on the filter to reduce issues with nitrogen cycle.  I am a huge advocate of using SeaChem Prime for water changes and adding water for the first time, as well as "stability for the first month or so.

Try to locate your fish tank in an area that makes water changes easier.  For that size tank, 4-5 gold fish are fine, and keep up with you water changes 50% every 2-3 weeks.  Lots of golsfish will eat out of your hand which is fun for kids.  Enjoy!

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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:25 pm

Problem with goldfish are they will outgrow that tank and have a huge bioload.

For their color request look at the glolight fish, they are gentically modified tetras and danios. Personally I won't keep them, but decide how you feel about them and if you are ok with it.

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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:38 pm

My daughter (4 years old) has her own tank with just platies in it and she loves it. We got the "Mickey Mouse" variety-their tails have the MM ears as a pattern-and they have been a big hit with her. Another option are guppies. Both come in a huge variety of colors. I let her go crazy with the decor to get the colors she wanted-there is a purple silk plant in amongst the live plants and a few princess items. If you want to try live plants, I would start with java ferns. They are hardy and do well with the low light the tank kits come with. Definitely follow Ron's advice about cycling to avoid early fish death.
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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:01 am

Welcome, 29G!  

IMO, you have chosen a great size tank to start.  Many choose a ten gallon but this is far too small for most of the fish kids usually want to try.  A 29 has both a decent gallon capacity and a good height.  You will be able to do a lot with this tank!  

The tank stand looks nice in the pic but be advised that it is not actually hardwood, but some kind of pressed board with a stain finish.  Just keep in mind that some say this kind of construction can NOT stand up to moisture very well.  Just a heads-up.  

For the fish, I would go with a number of colorful guppies.  Get the colors your kids like - each fish will be individual and they can choose names, too.  To begin with, buy only a few - let's say, two fish each.  As they get more and more into it, return to the store to buy more fish.  This will keep the hobby alive and reduce the chance of overstocking (and straining the bio-filter.)   

Male and female guppies are easy to tell apart, so if you do not want babies, just choose males.  Many females will already be gravid when you buy them so be alert to that.  

Guppy babies are charming and I know your kids will love to see them.  (I can hear the squeals of delight from your daughter.)  BUT you will not be able to raise them all.  Some will be eaten, and this is fine as long as you don't see it happening, but some are bound to grow up in the tank.  

20 lbs. of the medium size gravel you chose will give you about 1" of depth in a 29 gallon tank.  One inch might be just about all you want-  it will be easier to clean.  I myself just bought some Top Fin medium black gravel for a new set-up, and I like the way it looks and performs.  

Good luck with your new tank and DO continue to ask more questions as you discover them.  Please post the progress of this tank in the forum Tank Setups and Layout, once you get going.  
 Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:08 pm

Very good advice Deb. Good luck Abi. Looking forward to hearing about your setup.

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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:55 pm

Hey Abi,
Welcome to CVAS and the forum...  Hello

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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:23 pm

Thank you verbal, Ron, ddavis1979, kat12, RylandVT, Deb and JohnnyAMH for your responses and such a warm welcome. Apologies for my delayed response.

I searched every store in town, yet could not find the stand I needed. Ordered a stand yesterday. http://www.walmart.com/ip/South-Shore-Storage-Cabinet-Chocolate/23428869. I plan to start cycling the tank by end of this week. I may request some "seeded material" the following week or so.

I am going with black gravel to bring out the glo-fish colors that I plan to have along with other community fish. May be 15-20 in all.

I want to have live plants instead of plastic. I have decided on bamboos, java fern and moss so far.

Would I need any other substrate material to mix with the gravel for live plants?

I have also decided to add an air pump. It may not be needed but a red volcano ornament I found in a tank at Petco caught my fancy. http://www.amazon.com/Hydor-H2Show-Volcano-Kit-Bubbles/dp/B004F441O8

I will add a new thread and post progress in the Tank Setups and Layout forum one I get started.

Thanks again! Your inputs are invaluable.
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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:29 pm

I'd go with a sand type substrate instead of the gravel. Root tabs also.

15-20 might be a bit much depending on what what types of fish. Some of the glofish are danios that will get to 2-3" each.
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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:49 pm

How is this for substrate? 144 reviews (4.6/5.0).

http://www.amazon.com/CaribSea-Eco-Complete-20-Pound-Planted-Aquarium/dp/B0002DH0QM

I can use some help deciding on a good subtrate for the life of this new aquarium.Thanks!
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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:15 am

CaribSea Eco-complete is a premium substrate and highly regarded.  It comes in two forms - regular grade, which is like a small gravel, and fine-grade, which is like a coarse sand.  

It's a very rich medium and good for plants that do well in rich soils.  (Some plants do not.)

My 55 gallon Asian was set up with Eco fine-grade.  It's gorgeous, soft for substrate-dwelling fish, and does not end up in your filter. *lol*
You do not need to mix it with anything else - it's complete as is.


The round white things are snails that aren't getting enough calcium.

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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Mon Apr 07, 2014 1:02 pm

The "Bamboo" or "Lucky Bamboo" sold in aquarium shops is a terrestrial plant (Dracaena) that will survive several months underwater but it slowly dies unless the upper stem and leaves can grow above water. Some other good easy-to-grow true aquatics besides Java Fern and Mosses, are Cryptocoryne wendtii (i think that's wendtii in Deb's photo above), Anubias nana, Bolbitis, Vallisneria (Corkscrew Val is cute but the tall straight kinds grows easier for me), and if you want floating plants I suggest Frogbit (Limnobium) or Hornwort (Ceratophyllum).
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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:32 pm

Here are the items I ordered today. Did I go overboard with shopping or this isn't such a cheap hobby after all?

I am yet to add fish, plants and decorations, but the tab is already $325. I am sensing first year cost would be $450.

Did I miss anything as far as supplies and setup?


-------

gerald -Thanks for the info on plants. Are aquarium plants always store bought or there are other avenues to find them?
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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:21 pm

Rule number 1 Abi, NEVER break down the cost.....you probably already see what they forgot to tell you at that great sale on your new tank. Also it makes us all stop and think how much we  have spent instead of planning our retirement...lol
No it is not an inexpensive hobby but it is certainly is educational, relaxing, yet entertaining. In the long run you will experience a very rewarding experience for you and your kids. It looks like you are planning well, and appears by the new order you are comitting to doing things right. Looking forward to hearing about your journey in setting up, cycling. and fish introduction.
Good luck, and be sure to ask if you have any questions or need help.
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Last edited by Ron on Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:26 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:47 am

Hey Ron, thankfully my kids do not have any concept of money in the wallet yet... so money in action is pretty rewarding. I plan to share pics at each stage in the setup... it may help you guys help me get it right :-)
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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:06 am

Welcome, and kids tend not to get the concept of money until they have part-time jobs or have to spend "their" money. You really lucked out meeting Ron at the LFS. He's given me and many others great advice. I just got back into the hobby and will not add up the money I've spent. I think I would go into a comatose state if I did. Again, congrats on getting into the hobby.

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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Thu Apr 10, 2014 12:04 am

My plants are mostly freebies that fellow aquarists bring to aquarium club meetings. I dont think I've paid for a plant in many years. For one 29 gal community tank I would not buy more than 1/2 pound of food at a time, otherwise it'll sit around too long (more than 6 months) and lose nutritional value. I also dont recommend disposable filter cartridges. Use filter media that you can reuse forever, like foam or lavarock. And do you really need a 50-ft water changer for one tank? A 5-ft piece of hose and a bucket works great. (I'm cheaper than most, if thats not obvious).
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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Thu Apr 10, 2014 2:04 am

Thank you Nick_B and gerald. These are wonderful tips. As you can tell, I shopped like a newbie. The order has shipped. Once the tank is set up, some of it (food, hose, filters) may go back. You see, I cannot tell the difference between filter media and disposible filters right now. I didn't want to take any chances with the water changes on a carpet with a short hose and a bucket and two kids insistent on helping. Sorry, didn't think fish don't like stale food. Would it help if I save some of this food in a vaccuum pack (Food Saver)?
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PostSubject: Re: 29G 4 2 Kids   Thu Apr 10, 2014 7:30 am

I'd think you could vacuum pack the food and freeze it, and if it is already on the way I'd either share it with another hobbyist or freeze it like you suggest.

Once you get rolling you'll see what works for you and what you prefer, and as you get to know more and more people in the hobby you'll naturally start swapping and trading - it is inevitable! A sprig of this and that from other folks tanks soon turn into a forest, and you'll be swapping out plant trimmings yourself. I used to regularly swap uncommon high-light and fussy plants with a guy in California. He'd see something I had in my tank online, and ask me to send him a bit of it, and vice versa. I got some awesome plants that way, and we did that for years using Priority Mail.

As for the filter cartridges, when I have a filter that may come with the premade cartridges I cut a hole in the top or bottom and shake out the carbon before I use it, when its dry, and then I can use the cartridge for a good long while before the filter floss falls apart. Then you can buy a small roll of the floss material and wrap it around the filter cartridge frame, rubber banding it in place, so it will fit properly in the filter, and use that.

Gerald is right - keeping it cheap makes sense, and there is more than one way to do it.

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