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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am currently cycling a 29 gallon tank. I used to, 6-7+ years ago, be very into the hobby with several Malawi/Mbuna tanks. Then I got married, had kids, and sold everything cause life was so busy. Now I am getting back into the hobby and going back to my love of cichlids. And I don't really have a direction...

I prefer keeping fish that naturally enjoy my water parameters, and that does tend to make it more selective in stocking. So here's my dilemma: My PH is 8, with a KH of 10 and a GH of 10. Depending on the time of year the KH and GH may fluctuate slightly even higher as the water dries up in the area. I wanted to keep apistos, but they are not naturally inclined to my water. My LFS also uses RO, acidic water in their SA tanks, so it would be a hard transition for them. My parameters are a bit on the low side for Tanganyika cichlids (everything I have read so far describes very high KH and GH), and I could probably make it work, but I was hoping to have plants and driftwood as I already have those items(my water is hard enough that the driftwood changes nothing). I then looked into ALL the cookie cutters for both 20g and 29g supplied here on the forum, and several CA cichlids were mentioned (they're perfect for my parameters) but they all seem like they'd be way too large for a 29 gallon. I've looked at dozens and dozens of fish profiles, and I keep drawing a blank. Maybe I have oversaturated my brain with fish profiles to the point of just feeling a bit lost. Is there a perfect cichlid I could keep in this tank? I don't care how many there are, or even if they'd prefer to be species only. And I'm also okay with doing a community style tank too. I just want fish who'd not just live but really thrive naturally with my parameters.

I am probably missing something obvious. Thank you in advance for any recommendations. :)
 

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Oh wow...
Really enjoying how studious you are in regards to those water chemistry parameters you have naturally occurring in your tap water.
Yes. Best NOT to get into fights with your tap water. The fight never ends once started, and the water almost always wins those fights anyway. :(
And well... My apologies for - SOME - of the New World 'Cookie Cutter' set ups, that I helped to originally set up. And unfortunately, those have become a bit out of date.
-
So, to begin?
Rift Lake
The 29 gallon tank is a good one for some interesting little Tanganyikan Cichlids. Shellies for example should do well. And no, your water isn't 'ideal' out of the tap for those rock-hard-water loving Cichlids. But then again, I've seen those fish quite successfully kept in worse. Adding some water amendments in a 'recipe' to raise the PH and water hardness for each water change is sometimes done. Or, just acclimate those Tanganyikans slowly to your natural water conditions with a FULLY CYCLED aquarium, and they will almost certainly adapt to your water and thrive for you.
New World Cichlids...
Yes, the smaller Central Americans are going to provide your best stocking option with the size of the tank and your natural water parameters. If you want a community tank with some non-Cichlids in it, the only Cichlid species I can recommend with near 100 percent certainty of compatibility and success would be Amatitlania nanoluteus, the Yellow Dwarf Cichlid. Peaceful and actually a bit shy, those will work well with 7 - 9 smaller growing live bearers, such as Sword Tails, Platys or Mollies. Otherwise, you could accept a bit more risk and attempt a pair of somewhat larger growing Honduran Red Point Cichlids. The captive-raised Cichlids of that species today, have a reputation of being much more peaceful and accommodating in community tanks than the wild caught, somewhat irascible and grumpy specimens I brought back originally from Honduras.
But, if you just want a pair of interesting Cichlids, without any other non-Cichlid residents in the tank? A pair of Herotilapia multispinosa, Rainbow Cichlids should work out very nicely. Peaceful, but a bit larger growing than the Honduran Red Point and certainly the Yellow Dwarf - I wouldn't trust those long-term to remain peaceful with any other fish stocked in your smaller, 29 gallon aquarium (esp. during spawning runs).
-
And yes, I DO love some bog wood and live aquatic plants in the aquarium, as well! The New World Cichlids will almost certainly dig up anything you place down in the substrate. And unfortunately, those Rainbows can also be a little hard on some aquatic plants (eating). But, I've yet to find any species of Cichlid that likes to eat ANY sort of aquatic moss. And most of them won't do much more than nip or pick occassionally at Java Ferns or Anubias types tied-off/affixed to rocks and bog wood in the tank.
Plant that thing out! :D
 

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So I am currently cycling a 29 gallon tank. I used to, 6-7+ years ago, be very into the hobby with several Malawi/Mbuna tanks. Then I got married, had kids, and sold everything cause life was so busy. Now I am getting back into the hobby and going back to my love of cichlids. And I don't really have a direction...

I prefer keeping fish that naturally enjoy my water parameters, and that does tend to make it more selective in stocking. So here's my dilemma: My PH is 8, with a KH of 10 and a GH of 10. Depending on the time of year the KH and GH may fluctuate slightly even higher as the water dries up in the area. My parameters are a bit on the low side for Tanganyika cichlids (everything I have read so far describes very high KH and GH), and I could probably make it work.

I am probably missing something obvious. Thank you in advance for any recommendations. :)
Your water parameters are just fine for most Tanganyikan Cichlids. You could start up a nice little colony of Neolamrologus brichardi. I would not put the driftwood in but some nice Texas holey Rock for caves would also help buffer your water. They produce multiple generations, do not eat their young, and future generations of fry help care for new fry.
Water Fin Underwater Organism Fish
 

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I also think your water parameters are just fine as is for most Lake Tanganyika cichlids. The driftwood shouldn't be a problem if you want to use it especially since you state it doesn't change your tank water parameters. Plants may be hit or miss depending on which Tangs you may decide on.

Consider 'Lamprologus' caudopunctatus if you want a bit of color and they will use all of the tank when they are out and about. They would prefer some rocks in the tank as they excavate depressions at the base of the rocks when they spawn.

What plants do you currently have in the tank or are thinking of adding?
 

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Shell dwellers such as Multies or Similis would be great. Anubis’s or Java Ferns or both glued to your driftwood, or other items works well in the high ph, hard water.

i have Java Fern and Anubis as well as Sagittarius and Jungle Val in my multi shell dweller 40 gallon tank, with water specs similar to what you have. The multies seem to thrive and produce lots of little ones. I glue my Java Ferns roots ( just a small portion of the root to something like a small scalop shell and just toss them in with the shell dwellers, on the outer end of there shells groupings. They get moved around a bit and sometimes I have to unearth them if the Shellie’s get busy and bury them. Their roots should not be buried in the ground long term. It’s fine for s short period of time though. I have some rock work in the tank also, and just place the roots of the Anubis between rocks to hold them in place. The Sagittarius is in the back of the tank behind a shell bed, and so far the multi leave them alone. The Val I have in a back corner behind some rocks and they are unbothered, and grow up and cover the side of the aquarium.
 

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Some nice suggestions here to think about. Another Tanganyikan option might be a pair of one of the smaller Julidochromis species. I think they would be fine with plants as well as lots of rocks.

My choice (if I had suitable water and could get hold of them which I don’t and can’t) would be the Amatitlania nanolutea with swordtails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Oh wow...
Really enjoying how studious you are in regards to those water chemistry parameters you have naturally occurring in your tap water.
Yes. Best NOT to get into fights with your tap water. The fight never ends once started, and the water almost always wins those fights anyway. :(
And well... My apologies for - SOME - of the New World 'Cookie Cutter' set ups, that I helped to originally set up. Yes unfortunately, those have become a bit out of date.
-
So, to begin?
Rift Lake
The 29 gallon tank is a good one for some interesting little Tanganyikan Cichlids. Shellies for example should do well. And no, your water isn't 'ideal' out of the tap for those rock-hard-water loving Cichlids. But then again, I've seen those fish quite successfully kept in worse. Adding some water amendments in a 'recipe' to raise the PH and water hardness for each water change is sometimes done. Or, just acclimate those Tanganyikans slowly to your natural water conditions with a FULLY CYCLED aquarium, and they will almost certainly adapt to your water and thrive for you.
New World Cichlids...
Yes, the smaller Central Americans are going to provide your best stocking option with the size of the tank and your natural water parameters. If you want a community tank with some non-Cichlids in it, the only Cichlid species I can recommend with near 100 percent certainty of compatibility and success would be Amatitlania nanoluteus, the Yellow Dwarf Cichlid. Peaceful and actually a bit shy, those will work well with 7 - 9 smaller growing live bearers, such as Sword Tails, Platys or Mollies. Otherwise, you could accept a bit more risk and attempt a pair of somewhat larger growing Honduran Red Point Cichlids. The captive-raised Cichlids of that species today, have a reputation of being much more peaceful and accommodating in community tanks than the wild caught, somewhat irascible and grumpy specimens I brought back originally from Honduras.
But, if you just want a pair of interesting Cichlids, without any other non-Cichlid residents in the tank? A pair of Herotilapia multispinosa, Rainbow Cichlids should work out very nicely. Peaceful, but a bit larger growing than the Honduran Red Point and certainly the Yellow Dwarf - I wouldn't trust those long-term to remain peaceful with any other fish stocked in your smaller, 29 gallon aquarium (esp. during spawning runs).
-
And yes, I DO love some bog wood and live aquatic plants in the aquarium, as well! The New World Cichlids will almost certainly dig up anything you place down in the substrate. And unfortunately, those Rainbows can also be a little hard on some aquatic plants (eating). But, I've yet to find any species of Cichlid that likes to eat ANY sort of aquatic moss. And most of them won't do much more than nip or pick occassionally at Java Ferns or Anubias types tied-off/affixed to rocks and bog wood in the tank.
Plant that thing out! :D
Oh, thank you! :) I got into fish keeping back in 2009, and quite quickly learned that messing with the chemistry often lead me to a tank full of unhappy (or worse, dead) fish and a broken heart.

And no need to apologize, all the cookie cutters are still quite helpful! I would have never even considered CA cichlids unless they had been mentioned. And it's nice to have a starting point, even if you have to adjust. Plus, I can't imagine how much time and research it took to make those at that time. Quite the feat, and one I am thankful for. :)

Thank you for the helpful Tanganyika information. I probably would slowly acclimate them rather than recipe dosing, if I go that route. I will further investigate the various shell dwellers of that area to see if one seems like the right fit for me.

As for the CA cichlids, both the Yellow Dwarf and the Honduran Red Points are of particular interest to me, though I think I'm more drawn to the Yellow Dwarf. With the Yellow Dwarf, would this also be a situation of having a pair? And I am assuming that the live-bearers mentioned are better than say a guppy because of their size right? I imagine anything smaller than those larger live-bearers would become snacks. I am also consider the Rainbow pair in a species tank.

I have a sand substrate, so nothing is planted. I have some Anubias attached to the driftwood, some guppy grass and some duckweed at the moment. I love the plants, but I figured they might beat them up a bit, so I went with some basic plants that seemed robust to me. To be fair, while I had planted tanks in the past, I'm not exceptionlly good at keeping them. :cry:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Your water parameters are just fine for most Tanganyikan Cichlids. You could start up a nice little colony of Neolamrologus brichardi. I would not put the driftwood in but some nice Texas holey Rock for caves would also help buffer your water. They produce multiple generations, do not eat their young, and future generations of fry help care for new fry.
View attachment 143007
Oh wow, what a beautiful fish! :) My LFS has some nice Texas Holey Rock, should I go this direction. What would be the ratio and amount for just brichardi in the 29 gallon? Any what would I do with the abundance of fry? I regretfully am unable to have another tank at this time, so would selling the juveniles be an option? (I guess I'm thinking about popularity and if I would be able to sell them all. My LFS does not accept juveniles from breeders/fish keepers.) Thank you for this recommendation!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I also think your water parameters are just fine as is for most Lake Tanganyika cichlids. The driftwood shouldn't be a problem if you want to use it especially since you state it doesn't change your tank water parameters. Plants may be hit or miss depending on which Tangs you may decide on.

Consider 'Lamprologus' caudopunctatus if you want a bit of color and they will use all of the tank when they are out and about. They would prefer some rocks in the tank as they excavate depressions at the base of the rocks when they spawn.

What plants do you currently have in the tank or are thinking of adding?
Yeah, the driftwood has been in the tank from the beginning, about 3 weeks now, and the tank and the tap still match in all parameters. So hopefully it should remain okay. 🤞

Oh, the 'Lamprologus' caudopunctatus are lovely! What would the stocking ratio and amount look like for a 29 gallon. I am seeing conflicting information in my research, and would hate to choose them and get the improper amount.

Thankfully my LFS has an abundance of lovely rocks for a decent price if this is the chosen direction. And I have Anubias, guppy grass, and duckweed. :)
 

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Well now....
And aren't YOU a bit unusual? Kinda nice actually, helping a 'long-termer' get back into the hobby. ;)
So, as you may have already surmised... I'm kind of a New World Cichlid kind of guy here.
Definite appreciation though, to that Neolamrologus brichardi, put up by @Aussieman57! I mean they aren't called, 'The Princess of Burundi' because of their homely, rather rustic beauty!
Oh no....
And those will definitely need a ROCK PILE in your tank (All the way to the surface) to look and be their best. Basically in the aquarium, you will replicate a behavior in the Big Lake that this species just basically EXCELS at. That is.... defend that little Rock Pile - to The Death. From all comers!! And yes.... eventually they will overpopulate and over-run the tank (this happens eventually even in much larger tanks). And since well, basically NOTHING will survive for very long in that tank with the colony. You are left with the dilemma of a LOT of possibly unwanted fry you will need to move.
-
So....
Water Organism Fin Fish Underwater

Amatitlania nanoluteus, Yellow Dwarf Cichlid (Pair with fry)
-
And OF COURSE, we are talking about a pair of Central American Cichlids! Stocking with this species is a definite possibility with medium-sized live bearers. Start things off by stocking those live bearers in the tank first. Then add 6 - 7 Yellow Dwarfs to the aquarium. Observe and enjoy the social drama and dating games it takes to establish a compatible pair from a group of substrate spawning Cichlids! But, once a spawning pair is eventually formed, pull all non-paired Yellow Dwarfs out of the tank for their safety (donate/sell them to the LFS?).
Plant the tank HEAVILY with non-substrate rooting plants (or potted plants), and you WILL succeed in your aquatic plant plans! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well now....
And aren't YOU a bit unusual? Kinda nice actually, helping a 'long-termer' get back into the hobby. ;)
So, as you may have already surmised... I'm kind of a New World Cichlid kind of guy here.
Definite appreciation though, to that Neolamrologus brichardi, put up by @Aussieman57! I mean they aren't called, 'The Princess of Burundi' because of their homely, rather rustic beauty!
Oh no....
And those will definitely need a ROCK PILE in your tank (All the way to the surface) to look and be their best. Basically in the aquarium, you will replicate a behavior in the Big Lake that this species just basically EXCELS at. That is.... defend that little Rock Pile - to The Death. From all comers!! And yes.... eventually they will overpopulate and over-run the tank (this happens eventually even in much larger tanks). And since well, basically NOTHING will survive for very long in that tank with the colony. You are left with the dilemma of a LOT of possibly unwanted fry you will need to move.
-
So....
View attachment 143018
Amatitlania nanoluteus, Yellow Dwarf Cichlid (Pair with fry)
-
And OF COURSE, we are talking about a pair of Central American Cichlids! Stocking with this species is a definite possibility with medium-sized live bearers. Start things off by stocking those live bearers in the tank first. Then add 6 - 7 Yellow Dwarfs to the aquarium. Observe and enjoy the social drama and dating games it takes to establish a compatible pair from a group of substrate spawning Cichlids! But, once a spawning pair is eventually formed, pull all non-paired Yellow Dwarfs out of the tank for their safety (donate/sell them to the LFS?).
Plant the tank HEAVILY with non-substrate rooting plants (or potted plants), and you WILL succeed in your aquatic plant plans! :)
I appreciate you, and everyone else in the thread, helping this "long-termer" dive back into this hobby. It is by far the most rewarding venture I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of.

I must say, you have absolutely sold me on the Amatitlania nanoluteus. While all the Tanganyika cichlids mentioned have been quite nice, especially the rock dwellers, but I keep looking back at the Yellow Dwarf. (I also may have had a flashback to my first Mbuna tank, and the "Falling Rock Fiasco of 2011"😂) They fit my desire to have fish that will enjoy my parameters, I can keep the plants and driftwood, and I like their personalities. I also like the idea of being able to have a few live-bearers, as I haven't actually kept that many in the past.

Thank you so much for you suggestions! I think I better start looking at all the plants I need to continue adding. :)
 

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Righteous! :cool:
_
So, can we discuss the niceties and details of a - SUCCESSFUL - planted tank now? (your past challenges you informed with those live aquatic plants, concern me a bit).
In planted tanks, there really isn't a thing called the 'partially planted tank'.
Oh no....
In this? Go BIG. Go All In. Or?
You will almost certainly..... FAIL.
Why?
It's the freaking 'Bridge Troll' we are ALL wary of in keeping those aquatic plants. Oh yes.
The Villain!
The ultimate 'Buzz Kill'.
It's.....
The Algae Monster.
EVERYTHING you do in setting up an aquarium with live aquatic plants should be to ensure your plants beat the ever-loving daylights out of that monster. Oh yes.
Placed in an aquarium, your aquatic plants will indeed be in an actual WAR with that Villain, soon enough. So, to help them succeed in those battles ahead? You will need a LOT of plants in your little aquarium.
And yes, you can go with both non-substrate plants, and substrate rooted plants.
~RECORD SCRATCH SOUND~
But.... those Central American Cichlids tend to dig up substrate rooting plants, don't they?!!
Why yes, actually.....
That is why we utilize this amazing thing called - POTTED PLANTS - in our Cichlid-themed aquariums!
As follows,
My pot of choice? A simple, glass goldfish bowl. The curved shape helps a lot to keep the potting soil in, and the rounded glass blends in perfectly with the furnishings of the tank.
Invisible.
And with a combination of a LOT of substrate and non-substrate plants in the tank? The tank looks amazing - and Nitrates/Phosphates etc. can be kept down to a low level, making things healthy and happy for everybody in the aquarium.
You can Doo Eet'! :cool:
 
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Zbbal if you decide to go with the Amatitlania nanoluteus and that is a great choice shoot me a PM and I will send you the names of 2 reputable vendors where you can locate these. Good specimens can be difficult to locate.
 

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Yeah, the driftwood has been in the tank from the beginning, about 3 weeks now, and the tank and the tap still match in all parameters. So hopefully it should remain okay. 🤞

Oh, the 'Lamprologus' caudopunctatus are lovely! What would the stocking ratio and amount look like for a 29 gallon. I am seeing conflicting information in my research, and would hate to choose them and get the improper amount.

Thankfully my LFS has an abundance of lovely rocks for a decent price if this is the chosen direction. And I have Anubias, guppy grass, and duckweed. :)
The usual recommendation is to choose 6 juveniles so you have a better chance of getting both males and females. If you are lucky, you'll get at least 4 females and 2 males once they mature within a year. If you end up with more males than females, hopefully you can rehome them, either through your LFS, by placing a advert locally or on this forum or if your lucky enough to have a local fish club near you.

I assume your 29G tank is a standard size, 30"L x 12"W x 18"H and not some other dimensions, correct? You may be able to keep all 6 long term in that size tank, at least in my experience with a 24"L x 18"W x 15"H tank.

I've also kept Anubias and guppy grass in that tank and have struggled with keeping duckweed under control and now make efforts to remove it constantly from various tanks since it grows so fast.

Since your LFS won't accept juvies from hobbyists, you may be in a bit of a pickle when any fish you choose breed. Some are much more prolific than others so without an outlet to sell/share fish with other hobbyists in your area, your other option would be to consider shipping fish to other hobbyists. Have you looked into whether there are any local fish clubs in your local area?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Righteous! :cool:
_
So, can we discuss the niceties and details of a - SUCCESSFUL - planted tank now? (your past challenges you informed with those live aquatic plants, concern me a bit).
In planted tanks, there really isn't a thing called the 'partially planted tank'.
Oh no....
In this? Go BIG. Go All In. Or?
You will almost certainly..... FAIL.
Why?
It's the freaking 'Bridge Troll' we are ALL wary of in keeping those aquatic plants. Oh yes.
The Villain!
The ultimate 'Buzz Kill'.
It's.....
The Algae Monster.
EVERYTHING you do in setting up an aquarium with live aquatic plants should be to ensure your plants beat the ever-loving daylights out of that monster. Oh yes.
Placed in an aquarium, your aquatic plants will indeed be in an actual WAR with that Villain, soon enough. So, to help them succeed in those battles ahead? You will need a LOT of plants in your little aquarium.
And yes, you can go with both non-substrate plants, and substrate rooted plants.
~RECORD SCRATCH SOUND~
But.... those Central American Cichlids tend to dig up substrate rooting plants, don't they?!!
Why yes, actually.....
That is why we utilize this amazing thing called - POTTED PLANTS - in our Cichlid-themed aquariums!
As follows,
My pot of choice? A simple, glass goldfish bowl. The curved shape helps a lot to keep the potting soil in, and the rounded glass blends in perfectly with the furnishings of the tank.
Invisible.
And with a combination of a LOT of substrate and non-substrate plants in the tank? The tank looks amazing - and Nitrates/Phosphates etc. can be kept down to a low level, making things healthy and happy for everybody in the aquarium.
You can Doo Eet'! :cool:
While I haven't had a chance to reply until now because my workload has been heavy lately (I work in healthcare), I did read your comment and went ahead and bought more plants (with even more on the way). Now there are now a decent mix of Anubias species, Java Fern, El Nino Fern (yes, I know, this is a highly debated plant but we'll see how it goes), Java Moss, Guppy Grass, and Duckweed.

I additionally added some lovely Dragon Stone from my LFS because it looked the nicest. Regretfully, it isn't the right stone for a truly authentic look and feel of South America, but it was what was available to me. I am currently trying to convince my 4 year old of the merits of live plants, so maybe she'll one day let me part from the pink and purple plastic plant monsters she bought for the tank. Otherwise, the tank is all natural components.

I already have several small glass fish bowls and the necessary products to do the planted fish bowl option, so that is on the horizon. I think a lot of my past failures have been when I started messing with CO2 and ferts. I'll just have to read up more before I start down that path.

Currently, the tank is going through literally the worst fishless cycle I have ever encountered. I seeded the tank with media from my sister in law's Pleco tank, added Fritz Turbo Start fresh from my LFS (though to be fair, didn't think it would work, but I've been out of the hobby so long that refrigerated "live" bacteria sounded interesting), and have followed the fishless cycling guides to a tee....and the tank still remains stuck cycling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Zbbal if you decide to go with the Amatitlania nanoluteus and that is a great choice shoot me a PM and I will send you the names of 2 reputable vendors where you can locate these. Good specimens can be difficult to locate.
Awesome, thank you! I am pretty sure this is the direction I am going towards, so I will definitely shoot you a PM soon for the info. I appreciate the help, as I have not been able to find any anywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The usual recommendation is to choose 6 juveniles so you have a better chance of getting both males and females. If you are lucky, you'll get at least 4 females and 2 males once they mature within a year. If you end up with more males than females, hopefully you can rehome them, either through your LFS, by placing a advert locally or on this forum or if your lucky enough to have a local fish club near you.

I assume your 29G tank is a standard size, 30"L x 12"W x 18"H and not some other dimensions, correct? You may be able to keep all 6 long term in that size tank, at least in my experience with a 24"L x 18"W x 15"H tank.

I've also kept Anubias and guppy grass in that tank and have struggled with keeping duckweed under control and now make efforts to remove it constantly from various tanks since it grows so fast.

Since your LFS won't accept juvies from hobbyists, you may be in a bit of a pickle when any fish you choose breed. Some are much more prolific than others so without an outlet to sell/share fish with other hobbyists in your area, your other option would be to consider shipping fish to other hobbyists. Have you looked into whether there are any local fish clubs in your local area?
I think I have decided to go with the Amatitlania nanoluteus, but I really appreciate the information. My husband (who is now suddenly interested in the hobby lol) asked me to also thank you for this information as he loves the 'Lamprologus' caudopunctatus after I showed them to him and he's currently looking at starting a tank of his own soon. His tank would also be a standard 29g like mine.

I haven't been able to find a fish club locally, but there's a few groups on Facebook that communicate in the area. If all else fails, I will ship any offspring off to other hobbyist. I have shipped a few times in the past, so I should be able to do it again. Thank you again for all this great info! :)
 

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Sounds like you're on your own pace, and on the right track. S.L.O.W is fast in this thing, so don't - REALLY - don't, rush the cycling process!
We've been having way too many members here lately with partially cycled tanks, that have just so many problems later to deal with.
And no, I've never used CO2 for any of my tanks.
If you get a chance to read up a bit on your aquarium, check out Diana Walstad, Ecology Of The Planted Aquarium, A Practical Manual And Scientific Tretise. It's all there, and CO2 may not be something ($$$) you'll think is necessary to keep a really nice planted aquarium.
A Game Changer!
Plus.... DON'T introduce any aquatic plants to the aquarium, until it is fully cycled. Reason is, the plants are quite greedy with their appetites for Ammonia and Nitrite. Even to the extent that they will keep the beneficial bacteria you need from growing out properly in your biological filtration media. So, once the tank is cycled and the filtration media is properly colonized with the bacteria colony you need - then add those plants and start setting up the tank. That way, if the plants have any problems or setbacks, your biological filtration media will be able to pick up the slack and keep the tank safe for your fish.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Sounds like you're on your own pace, and on the right track. S.L.O.W is fast in this thing, so don't - REALLY - don't, rush the cycling process!
We've been having way too many members here lately with partially cycled tanks, that have just so many problems later to deal with.
And no, I've never used CO2 for any of my tanks.
If you get a chance to read up a bit on your aquarium, check out Diana Walstad, Ecology Of The Planted Aquarium, A Practical Manual And Scientific Tretise. It's all there, and CO2 may not be something ($$$) you'll think is necessary to keep a really nice planted aquarium.
A Game Changer!
Plus.... DON'T introduce any aquatic plants to the aquarium, until it is fully cycled. Reason is, the plants are quite greedy with their appetites for Ammonia and Nitrite. Even to the extent that they will keep the beneficial bacteria you need from growing out properly in your biological filtration media. So, once the tank is cycled and the filtration media is properly colonized with the bacteria colony you need - then add those plants and start setting up the tank. That way, if the plants have any problems or setbacks, your biological filtration media will be able to pick up the slack and keep the tank safe for your fish.
Oh absolutely, I wouldn't dream of it. Cycling is so essential. My very first fish, a red eyed tetra (yes just one) died cause I didn't understand cycling, so I was determined to learn it after that point. My purchase of the "live" bacteria was purely academic in nature. I added it very early in the cycling process, and gave it two weeks before deciding it was a bust. A waste of money, one I won't repeat again, but was interesting to see if it would contribute in any way.

And maybe that is where the problem lies. I added the seeded media from a long established Pleco tank with good parameters (tested myself with my API Master Test Kit, I don't trust her test strips) at around that two week mark. She gave me one of her entire filter medias, as she has additional filtration she trusted to keep her tank cycled. Then added driftwood right after. Then at around the 4 week mark with nitrites rising and ammonia lowering added the plants. Not many, but probably enough to mess it all up. I added more plants this week (week 6), but so far for around 2 weeks now my testing has showed 1ppm ammonia, .25pm nitrites, 10ppm nitrates. The only number that fluctuates in any capacity is the nitrites. They can change in a 24 hour period between 0ppm and .50ppm. But the average is .25ppm. My tap is 0ppm across the board, so the numbers from the tank are indicative of the cycling process. I'll pull the plants to another place and just let the cycle try and continue without them. But it is a bit strange that those were the numbers I had on the day I added the first plant, and the same numbers I have today 2 weeks later.

Well drats. Here I was thinking I was off to a decent start after coming back. But eh, what kind of journey would it be if it didn't have it's ups, down, and wild twists? Life's boring when you quit learning. Got to keep this old brain working. Thank you for the help!

(I hope my weird timeline makes sense, I am reading my log of events but...my handwriting is trash. 😂 )
 

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From what you've described, I think you're doing great with this process. EVERYONE has problems getting the Nitrite-eating guys to settle down and do their thing initially.
And, the Nitrate conversion you are having in this case is a very good sign. Just keep dosing with the Ammonia and measuring the results. Trust me, those little guys are (slowly) growing out for you.
So, if you do have some established media from another tank? You have an opportunity to speed things up just a bit.
If you have already done some work with filter media inoculation? You may want to get just a bit more aggressive with the process. For example, I had a new 180 gallon tank, w/50 gallon sump, cycle out in 13 DAYS by using the two sponges from a single, Aquaclear 70. The 'trick' was to just keep vigorously rubbing the fully established sponge media onto the new and uncolonized filter media. I was doing that work daily! (The AC70 remained running and happily in service on a 20 gallon tank).
 
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