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Old 04-19-2014, 12:43 AM
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Default 29g Classroom Build

Several weeks ago we began construction on a new tank for my wife's 1st grade classroom. Currently she has a 20L but the low height has always made it a bit more difficult for the children to see the frogs. Quite frankly, it's also probably smaller than it should be for two now full grown Suriname Cobalts. It's also got a couple other nagging problems (not entirely FF escape proof) that are annoying. So we decided to upgrade to a 29g tank for next year.

We decided right off the bat that we wanted a more colorful tank, so we'll be on the lookout for plants with great coloration. To that end, I've also building a custom hood that will allow for 5 LED's. Current plan is for both a 15w and a 20w GnG along with 2-3 smaller Jungle Dawn's. Hopefully that will be plenty of light to keep plants nice and colorful. I'm building the hood with a total of 7 sockets, so if we need more it'll be easy to add.

Background is a combination of cork bark and homemade rocks. The rock work isn't as amazing as a lot of the stuff I've seen here but it was my first attempt at it! We used a slightly different method than the typical foam+grout I've seen here.

I'll be posting more photos as we finish the hood, plant, and add frogs of course!

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Old 04-19-2014, 12:51 AM
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Default Re: 29g Classroom Build

What are you using for a drainage layer? looks like sand or something.
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Old 04-19-2014, 01:00 AM
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Default Re: 29g Classroom Build

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Originally Posted by toadlicker00 View Post
What are you using for a drainage layer? looks like sand or something.
What you're seeing is just ABG. Underneath that is a weed block wrapped Matala filter. Easiest false bottom ever. The tank is drilled, don't know that I mentioned that.
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Old 04-21-2014, 12:53 AM
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Default Re: 29g Classroom Build

Finished the wiring for the hood over the weekend. Two switches, one controlling five outlets and one controlling the other two. I'll be drilling ventilation holes tonight and will repaint afterwards and will post photos then.

Still brainstorming how to mount the fans inside the hood.
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Old 04-30-2014, 09:10 PM
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Default Re: 29g Classroom Build

Figured out the fans, although I think I need a little bit more ventilation for the lights to keep the heat down.

Here's a little update after some planting:

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Old 04-30-2014, 09:52 PM
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Default Re: 29g Classroom Build

5 LED bulbs that seems like an insanly amount of light for a 29. Mine only has two simple led strips and is plenty.
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:17 AM
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Default Re: 29g Classroom Build

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5 LED bulbs that seems like an insanly amount of light for a 29. Mine only has two simple led strips and is plenty.
That begs the question, 'plenty' for what? For this build we are going for lots of color in the plants, especially the broms. Considering the brom on the far right needs nearly 'full sun' to get maximum color, two LED's wouldn't nearly cut it. Even what I have in there may not be enough. We shall see.
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:41 AM
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Default Re: 29g Classroom Build

Just wanna say I like your rocks. They look way better than my attempt at it. Kids are gonna love it!
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Old 05-01-2014, 02:51 AM
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Default Re: 29g Classroom Build

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Just wanna say I like your rocks. They look way better than my attempt at it. Kids are gonna love it!
I was just going to say the same thing. Those rocks look better than anything I've attempted. Good job! Also I'm no light expert but I think 5 is way more than enough LEDs to light that tank to color up the plants,IMO. Great job so far!
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Old 05-01-2014, 03:00 AM
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Default Re: 29g Classroom Build

Thanks all! I certainly hope so. Worst case scenario on the lights is that we turn a couple off. It's easy to take away, harder to add.
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Old 05-01-2014, 01:53 PM
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Default Re: 29g Classroom Build

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Just wanna say I like your rocks. They look way better than my attempt at it. Kids are gonna love it!
Thought I'd follow up on the process I used in case others wanted to duplicate.

I started with Touch n Foam "Pond and Stone' expanding foam. (
Great Stuff 283064 12-Ounce Pond and Stone - - Amazon.com Great Stuff 283064 12-Ounce Pond and Stone - - Amazon.com
)

I sprayed that onto wax paper to form blobs. These need to be MUCH larger than you want the final rock to be. After letting them dry fully I carved them into shapes that resembled what I wanted the final rocks to looks like. More dramatic > less dramatic because you lose some definition with the next step. After that I took a butane torch to them to remove the pits in the foam. Careful not to overdue it or you just have piles of ash! Next I took a wire brush to them to clean up any remaining crispy parts, leaving just the finished foam.

Last step is paint! Rather than grout which takes forever to cure, I used the drylok+cement coloring method more commonly used for backgrounds. I thoroughly coated the rocks in drylok a couple of times to make sure they were sealed before doing any real detail work. I found it easiest to start with the color/tint that I wanted to be the accent color first, so the first coats were much lighter. Then I softly patted on the main darker colors with a brush/sponge. Considered adding some green/brown to look like growth but decided not to.

And there you have it!
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