What's new

Nephew's 29 gallon jungle tank


Tank of the Month!
Apr 6, 2013
Reaction score
We have a nephew that we took in and the other day he said he wanted to have a fish tank in his room. I had almost everything needed in the basement and in my current freshwater tank to setup a 29 gallon for next to nothing. He said he wanted it to look like a jungle. I took him to the LFS and let him pick out a fish he really liked and he liked platys. I have never kept hard water species before so I had to do some research on how to keep a tank stable with higher pH and alkalinity than I get from my source water. So I figured I would keep a journal to track the progress of the build and cycle.

Started with a 29 gallon standard aquarium I hadn't used in years. I had a T5 light in the basement with a 10000K bulb and blue light bulb. I'm sure they aren't good anymore so I will have to get some new bulbs and later I will upgrade to some LED when we have the funds. I also had a Marineland canister filter that I had on my 110 gallon tank which means this tank is ridiculously over filtered if there is such a thing. It was sitting dry for the last two months with its filter media still in there so I rinsed it all out thoroughly and hooked everything up. I had some old wood that I wasn't using and used that. To raise the pH I used a cichlid sand substrate and added some crushed coral to the substrate.

I waited a few days and then added the ammonia yesterday, 3.5 ml to get the ammonia to 3ppm. Today the tests results were as follows (Using API):

pH 7.4

Ammonia 1ppm

nitrite 0ppm

nitrate < 5ppm

I am assuming that there was still an active bacteria to take care of nitrite and some for the ammonia in the old filter. I know that these can survive dormant for a few months.

We went to the LFS today and picked out some plants. 2 african swords, cabomba, 2 anubais to start the aquascape. My nephew picked this plastic ornament he thought would look nice. Usually I hate fake stuff in a tank but its his tank. I made "trees" out of some wood and java moss I had in my tank and also a little wisteria to simulate a jungle canopy. I used a piece of drift wood to hide the intake for the filter. If all goes well the cycle will be done in a couple weeks and we can add the fish. Honestly, I'm kind of pumped cause I have been itching to start a new tank. I figured we would start with the platys and some guppies and maybe a sailfin molly for a centerpiece fish. And if I can find them, some amano shrimp for jungle "bugs".

Here's some pics. I hope it will look more "jungle" like once the plants start filling out.

steven's tank 1.jpg
Steven's tank filter.jpg


Staff member
Global Moderator
Tank of the Month!
Oct 29, 2018
Reaction score
It’s always fun to start a new tank and watch it develop.


Fish Fanatic
Aug 18, 2019
Reaction score
Keep us informed as the aquarium progresses :fish::fish::fish::fish::fish:


Most reactions - Past 7 days