Converting 29g office tank to at home planted tank for kids - criticism welcome
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:14 PM   #1
NickRummy
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Converting 29g office tank to at home planted tank for kids - criticism welcome


Hello everyone,

Just looking for a place to start a journal on my family's 29G planted tetra tank. I won't go into much background. The tank has been running at my wife's office for 4 years or so before hand, we had a few tetras in the tank and have lost a few through the years. It was down to 1 Harlequin and 1 albino bristlenose pleco and I decided it was a good time to bring it home and start fresh (with the survivors of course).

My goal - A nice tetra community tank with a few show fish (German Rams or Apistos) and a small variety of plants. I'd love some ground cover plants.

So I cleaned the tank up good and did the rebuild about a week ago. Here's what I have currently.

- Floramax substrate
- Marineland C-220 canister filter
- Marineland LED hood

I did some DIY work with Cree LEDs on my reef tank years ago so I know the marineland hood is pointless when it comes to growing plants. I am certainly open to suggestions on lighting. It looks like companies have pretty fair pricing now. When I was into it DIY was the only way to go.

I think the C-220 is a good filter, I used existing ceramic cylinders and a sponge from the old filter to keep the tank from cycling.

I'm sure there are TONS of opinions on substrate. I did a little reading before purchasing and for starting out I think the Floramax will get me by.

My next purchase this week is a nice piece of driftwood. I'd rather have that as a center piece than rocks, and a few rocks as accents.

I think my next purchase for equipment would be lighting. After this I should be able to get some plants right?

LIVESTOCK - I did purchase some fish yesterday to add to the tank since water parameters were good after a week. I added (4) more harlequins to keep the loner we had and I added (5) Lemon Tetras. At this point I'm going to make sure water quality stays in check and work on getting the driftwood and plants in the tank to start. I'd like to get to a point where I can add a few Apistos and Rams and some cherry shrimp.

Any and all opinions welcome. Thanks!

Here's a quick photo of the tank basically how it's been for the last 4 years but with the floramax. This is before the harlequins and lemons were added. I'll have to get out the good camera now that I have a reason to use it!
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:17 PM   #2
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Figured I would share some water parameters to see if anyone wanted to call any to attention. I'm going to check out some driftwood and plants today at lunch time to see if I like them. Someone has them posted on Craigslist. Maybe I'll take a few photos and post them to see what you guys think since I don't really know what I'm looking at yet.

01.20.14 API Master Kit
  • PH - 7.2-7.6
  • Ammonia - 0ppm
  • Nitrite - 0ppm
  • Nitrate - 10-20ppm
  • GH - 150ppm (Tetra test strip)
  • KH - 80ppm (Tetra test strip)


01.23.14 - Tetra Test Strips
  • PH - 6.8
  • Nitrite - 0
  • Nitrate - 20ppm
  • GH - 150ppm
  • KH - 80-120ppm
I also think I'm pretty sold on purchasing the Finnex Ray 2 for a light and I'll use that over an acrylic canopy. I have to close the tank off because of dog hair and a cat.
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:50 PM   #3
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Still looking for new lighting? I have a 29g as well, and am running a coralife t5no fixture. I wouldn't recommend it. too low light and bulbs are expensive. I have considered upgrading to an LED fixture, namely the finned fugeray and the current usa planted+

If I'm not mistaken, the fugeray will be a little too high of light, so it would need some window screen to dim it down (you can search here for how to do it) and I'm not sure about the current usa light, but i know that you can change the intensity

edit: just saw your last post, i think the ray 2 will be way to high light, unless you are using c02
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Old 01-24-2014, 05:40 PM   #4
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Yes, still on the hunt for a light. I have read mixed opinions on the Ray 2 being too much or ok? It's an 18" deep tank so on it's stand it will be about 18" from the substrate? I also plan on having an acrylic cover on the tank. I'd rather have more light and raise the light than not enough light and want more light in the future if that makes sense?

I stopped over to look at a tank that is being parted out locally and wanted to post some pictures since I'm still learning. What do you guys think? It's in a 70ish gallon bow front so there are a lot of plants. Too much for my 29g but maybe I can put the extras in a 10g for the time being. He's asking $75 for everything, including drift wood, which I'm also on the hunt for. He'd also do $40 for the two upright pieces of driftwood with plants if I wanted to go that route.

EDIT: These are currently being grown with a 4' T5HO fixture about 8" over the tank (was on stands on the tank). No CO2, he is using Flourish and Excel I believe he said.

Last edited by NickRummy; 01-28-2014 at 06:16 PM.. Reason: remove photos
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Old 01-25-2014, 02:12 PM   #5
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Ended up buying this piece yesterday. Going to take a little trimming but loved the branches. Not sure if I want the branches in the substrate or flip it and have the trunk in the substrate.
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Old 01-25-2014, 02:25 PM   #6
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personally I like it when the drift wood has the branches in the subtrate so it looks likes roots. However it would look good both ways and it is your tank. Good Luck!
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Old 01-25-2014, 02:36 PM   #7
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That was my original idea when I seen it but when I flipped it "upside down" it looked cool as well! I'm thinking branches down though because I'd like a few rams and have a few tetras now. I'm sure the rams would love the lower cover and the tetras would like the open room up top. Will also help get light down to mid/low of the tank.
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Old 01-25-2014, 02:46 PM   #8
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Branches down for sure. Like you said it gives the fish tons of hiding spots and it looks like the root of a tree. I prefer the natural aquascape look, not a big fan of making aquascapes look like forests etc.
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Old 01-25-2014, 03:34 PM   #9
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the Ray 2 will be adequate at 18 deep. I ran one solo on my 90P with good results. I recently added a MonsterRay to round out the color spectrum; plants seemed to respond. But a single Ray2 is sufficient.
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Old 01-26-2014, 04:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigL_RIP View Post
the Ray 2 will be adequate at 18 deep. I ran one solo on my 90P with good results. I recently added a MonsterRay to round out the color spectrum; plants seemed to respond. But a single Ray2 is sufficient.
Thanks. Is it going to require CO2? I'm not opposed to doing CO2 but rather not have it required this early in the adventure. I'd really like to get a planted + but can't find them anywhere.
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Old 01-26-2014, 04:50 PM   #11
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Don't trim that driftwood!

Have you thought about an open top tank with your light either hanging from anchors in your ceiling or on a stand? Then if you have a green thumb along with your green toe, you could attach a plant or two that can live with roots submerged and foliage above the water. Look into pothos, heartleaf philodendron, creeping fig, syngonium, peace lily, fittonia, any of the pileas, draceana sanderiana, dieffenbachia, Chinese evergeen, sweet potato vine, purple crinkle plant.

Either way, that is a great piece of driftwood, you should get some shrimp for the tank.
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Old 01-26-2014, 06:10 PM   #12
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That is a wonderful idea! Afraid it's not really an option though. We have a cat and a few dogs. I'm planning on covering the tank to keep paws and airborne fur out...

I'm planning on RCS. I had them in the tank a few years ago with really good success. Over time my wife stopped seeing them when the tank was at her office and didn't mention it until it was too late. Looking forward to trying again now that I can keep a closer eye on them.
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Old 01-28-2014, 02:32 AM   #13
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Driftwood is in place where I think I want it. Didn't trim much off. Just enough to get it to sit even. Wish it were a tad taller but I'm pretty happy with it.

I also believe I'll be using a Zoo Med Aquasun T5HO fixture to start thing off. Found one for $20 on craigslist and feel like it will be a good starting point.
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Old 01-28-2014, 06:17 PM   #14
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Well here's what I'm going to try for a light to start. Cut a new protector panel so should be good to go.... Was hoping it would be a 30" fixture but it's just 24" bulbs. Apparently they are about a year old. Is it worth getting new bulbs or should I just go right for the Planted + and use this light for a back up?
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:48 PM   #15
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Ok a little bit of progress. Full tank shot using a camera. Quickly realizing how horrible the tank is scratched... Need to find a new one before scaping. This also has the T5HO lighting. 22" bulbs, one is a Zoomed Ultra Sun 6500k bulb and the other is a Zoomed Flora Sun 5k bulb, both are supposedly about a year old. I'm looking for suggestions on new bulbs......





Took forever to get it trimmed right to sit in the tank correctly. ended up placing it to try and hide some of the equipment.



Took a quick snap of one of the Lemon Tetras. Been out of practice with the camera. Need to bring the ISO down and try and get some clearer shots. Looking forward to taking more photos though.


Last edited by NickRummy; 01-29-2014 at 01:11 PM.. Reason: added lighting info
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