View Full Version : Rhaethe's Office Tank

02-16-2010, 04:55 PM
It occurred to me that I thought it might be fun (and a learning experience) to detail my journey is setting up my office workplace tank.

The initial brainstorming can be found in this thread (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquariumforum/showthread.php?t=59236) in the coldwater section, as I am contemplating a coldwater (or subtropical) tank.

I'll start this journal off with today, then :ssmile: I imagine it will be more of a stream-of-consciousness sort of recording, knowing me, so bear with me :11:


Planning and Pre-Work

First things first. My company leases the building, so needed to check with the proper folks to make sure a aquarium is ok. Once I found said folks, I asked, and was advised a small tank was fine. The implication was that smaller would be better in case of accidents, but no outright or specific dimensions were given.

I did find that a fellow on the same floor as I, but on the other end, has a 39g marine reef set up. He wasn't in today, but his clownfish was truly adorable.

Next step is to nab some water and test it.

02-16-2010, 05:36 PM
At the beginning of my lunch break, I went to the breakroom and nabbed water from the tap. Tested it with the kit I brought from home.

Water has no measurable hardness, as I feared. Need to put either limestone or crushed coral on the list of things I need to procure.

Will spend the rest of my lunch at a nearby petstore, to nose around.

02-16-2010, 06:46 PM
Got a better visual gauge of tank sizes. I really think I'll be going with a standard, rectangular 2.5g or 5.5g.

I also was able to see White Cloud Minnows in person. They are much larger than I thought! Pretty things, although I'm not too fond of the wierd bulging belly of the females. This pet store also has three different colors of mystery snails. Ivory, gold, and blue.

Had to tear myself away from the poor betta cups. A betta is an option. I will ponder.

I also made the decision to make this tank completely rockscaped as opposed to using artificial plants, etc. I do have some leftover black sand ... unsure if I will use that or the large pea gravel.

I am glad to have made these decisions. Will help to form what critters I can keep.

Enter days of reading now.

02-17-2010, 12:11 AM
Pause in the reading.

Enter creeping indecision.

A 2.5g or 3g would be far easier to handle as far as water changes and etc. Common thought is that is much too small to house anything properly. Then the next thought is its doable, but with good care and attention.

Need to pause and bring myself around to some facts.

The concept of the Office Tank is to allow for something soothing I can gaze at and enjoy whilst at work. I am, however, not physically at the office for 3 days out of 7. Such a tank, therefore, would need to be pretty hardy.

Fish really do need interaction. Would not be fair of me to plop a fish into a small tank in an office environment where there would be lights always on, strange people always poking around. Three days out of the week where who knows what *could* happen. At the very least, I myself would stress overmuch.

So. No fish.

Whoosh. Allrighty then. Decision made.

So, what next?

I could, conceivably, take that small tank and actually plant it out into an aquascaped thing. I could give it a light on a timer ... and cover it when I am not there ... thereby having more control over the lighting.

Hrm. Sounds doable.

Once the plants are established, I could start cycling the tank and put a few dwarf shrimp in there.

Or does a shrimp-only tank need cycling?

Hrmmmm ....


02-17-2010, 06:52 AM
Went to bed slightly bummed about realistics smacking against neato ideas.

Just woke up to get a glass of water, and had an epiphany.

I've always wanted to try my hand at aquascaping. And the little tank, because its so little, could easily be "portable" ... definitely a benefit in case I get moved around to a different office or cube.

I could learn alot about plants and planting! And learn how to make my own sponge filter. And yes, I would definitely add some shrimp. As the tank is small, again, I wouldn't need to depend on the godawfully soft tap water of the office, but simply use bottled.

Poop. Can't read or plan or sketch. Must go to bed. Have to be at work in 6 hours.

02-18-2010, 03:54 AM
Allrighty then.

I believe I have my checklist of things to purchase :

Standard glass rectangular tank -- 2.5g
Azoo Palm Filter
Nylon hose
CFL light bulb
Timer for the power socket
Interesting piece(s) of rock
Fine nylon mesh
Crushed Coral

Already have:

Cotton Thread
Flourite black sand

I decided I was going to scape the tank entirely of mosses. The key to this little project is having a plant that is insanely durable in either dim or high light, so I figured Java moss would fit the bill.

I've already scoped out where I can get all my pieces and parts ... other than the heater. I need to find a decent heater that isn't bulky and obtrusive.

02-18-2010, 04:33 AM
i got one of these, it works pretty well.


If you did a 5.5 you could special order some of the nano fish. my favorites are least killifish. They aren't as pretty as bororas brigitae, but they are more inquisitive and less timid. They are also a native species so they can handle cooler temps.

http://www.outdooralabama.com/fishing/freshwater/fish/other/live/killifish/ here's some info on them

02-18-2010, 06:12 AM
I actually have one of those heaters :ssmile:

I wanted to see if I can find something that is very small, but has a dial. Not coming up with any thus far, though.

The killifish looks neat!

But I do think I'm better off trying just an RCS tank. I would be able to put enough in there so they could keep themselves occupied the days I'm not in the office.

02-18-2010, 09:55 AM
I actually have one of those heaters :ssmile:

I wanted to see if I can find something that is very small, but has a dial. Not coming up with any thus far, though.

The killifish looks neat!

But I do think I'm better off trying just an RCS tank. I would be able to put enough in there so they could keep themselves occupied the days I'm not in the office.

When I've gone on trips have left my various shrimp tanks alone for a week or two at a time in the past without any issues. They can forage and survive on whatever is in the tank. The hydor heater is nice, doesn't take up much space, but no temp control on it.

09-30-2010, 05:32 PM
I'm resurrecting this particular project. My work office got moved to another building, and I have extra desk space.

And of course, extra desk space just begs to have a tank placed on it!

I will probably ditch the 2.5 concept. The boyfriend has a 2.5 on his desk, and the extra care it requires in comparison to larger tanks is somewhat annoying. I will probably go with a 5.5. Depending on what tanks are available, I may go with a longer footprint, though same height. While writing this, I really like the idea of a non-standard tank that has a nice long footprint, but isn't necessarily huge.

Looking at local breeders in my area, and depending on the actual footprint of the tank I obtain, I am thinking of the following options --

Peacock gudgeons
Bolivian Ram

I'll probably utilize some of the christmas moss that grows in my 10g, and perhaps a shoot of the mystery plant that looks similar to a reedy, stemmy crypt. I have a passion for making tanks that are stream-like, but we'll see what happens when I find my deco bits.

09-30-2010, 05:41 PM
IDK if you have a Petco store near you, but they sell a very cool "bookshelf" tank that is 6.6 gallons. It's 24" long, about 8" high and 8" deep (front to back). My sister has one and it looks much bigger than it is. Cost is $50.

If you've got the space, that would be a good one. Best part is that it comes with a filter, hood and fluorescent light, so you'd just need plants and hard 'scape materials

09-30-2010, 05:48 PM
I do have several Petco's near me ... That looks like it would be perfect, actually. I shall have to investigate. Thank you for the tip!!

10-01-2010, 05:32 PM
Actually, I've been eyeing on of those for myself. I thought it would make a cool betta tank, with dividers so I can keep more than one.

Christmas is coming, the tanks are getting fat...or something like that!!

10-04-2010, 07:06 AM
Grawr. I went to the two Petco's near me, and they had none. Looked on their online site, and appeared to be no longer carried.

I have went to the GlassCages site and they have a fair number of tanks that come in "non-standard" sizes as well as the regular ones. I might opt there, as well as simply see what my local fish club has handy.

I'm still pondering possible stock. Three days out of the week I am not there, so would need to have fish that would be just fine eating only on Tuesday-Friday. I would suppose almost any fish would fit that bill ... That being said, non-picky eaters are a definite must.

10-04-2010, 05:26 PM
Looking at local breeders in my area, and depending on the actual footprint of the tank I obtain, I am thinking of the following options --

Peacock gudgeons
Bolivian Ram

I would not go with multies in anything less than a 10g. Apistos a 10g is minimum, even then I probably wouldn't do it myself. Bolivians are a def no go in 5.5g, 20g is minimum for them. They're larger than their GBR counterparts and even a lone one in a 10g is too much. I know nothing of peacock gudgeons so I won't comment on them.

Why do you say the 2.5g is much more work than the 5g? My 2.5g is planted with low light plants, houses a betta, a pair of nerites, and way too many ramshorns (stupid snails, I added 2 because they were sweet looking ones, I knew better...). I don't do any more maintenance with it than my other tanks, just weekly water changes. It's heavily planted with a subwassertang lawn, assorted anubias, some java ferns, and whatever I decided to try and grow (had some stems in there for a while, they didn't like the low techness of the tank.) Lighting is only a spiral CF in a desk lamp.

10-04-2010, 05:51 PM
I mentioned that re: the 2.5 as it is non-planted and, due to where it sits on the boyfriend's desk .. is a pain in the rump to keep up. The other 3 tanks in the house are easy. I'm sure other folks' 2.5's are simpler. However, in my only experience with one, it is a pain, and while logically I know that a different area/location would likely solve the matter (i.e. being in my office) there is an illogical desire not to bother with anything smaller than 5.5 ... kind of like me not wanting a hex tank ever-ever-ever again :sbiggrin:

The stock options I was looking at were specifically if I could manage to get the non-standard tank size but still has minimum 24 inch footprint ... which glasscages actually has. http://glasscages.com/?sAction=ViewCat&lCatID=2 With multis, gudgeons, and apistos, its less the tank height they are concerned about, and more with tank length, as they tend to hug the bottom ... at least within my experience.

If I just opt for the standard tank, 5.5g would be the smallest I go, and I have other ideas for stock on that.

10-04-2010, 06:09 PM
Ok, glad to hear you're not considering those fish for a 5.5g. I know my bolivians hang out in the lower half, as did the apistos. My multies actually use a good bit of the height of the tank, but I also have holey rock stacked high for them.

10-04-2010, 06:40 PM
Yeah ... I'm thinking of perhaps the smaller killiefish or female betta for a standard 5.5. :sbiggrin:

10-05-2010, 06:27 AM
So, after browsing through TPT, I've decided to opt with a standard 5.5g. I could spend the money to get something clever, but I've a passion for keeping things simple for myself :sbiggrin:

I have a box of manzanita on the way. I'll be using that, plus some rounded river stones and some small grain river gravel. I will place a plant in there, but not sure what kind. I like the look of the needle leaf java fern, but want a plant with roots I can plant. Yet another one of those weird things about me :sbiggrin:

Stock-wise, I'm leaning toward red cherry shrimp and any of the following (not all) ... danio erythmicron, danio tinwini, cpd, fancy guppy

All of my tanks tend to follow the centerpiece + dithers method of stocking. I'd like to go different this time round and just do a single school / ecosystem sort of thing.

Ahhhh ... the joy of planning out a tank!

10-05-2010, 05:15 PM
LOL...I enjoy the KISS method myself. RCS sound cool. I'd be tempted to keep a 5.5g a RCS only tank...but that's up to you and how complicated you want the tank to be. :ssmile:

10-15-2010, 05:52 AM
Manzanita arrived a couple days ago. Picked up the tank and lid today, as well as the substrate. Already have the filter and light.

I opted for finer gravel natural river gravel instead of sand.

Not wanting to wash gravel at work, I decided to prep the substrate and get the tank ready to accept water. And then just carry it to work like that. That way, I'd only need to fill with water, condition, and go. Am grabbing some really grungy filter media out of the 20g's filter in the morning and transporting it moist. Will be able to seed the tank that way.

I put the cardboard back on the tank for easier carrying.

I was aiming for a river bed. The boyfriend, after taking a look at it, said "Yeah ... you could definitely put some mini trout in there ... if they existed."

So, I think I succeeded ;)

http://img34.imageshack.us/img34/4865/officetank1.th.jpg (http://img34.imageshack.us/i/officetank1.jpg/)

http://img233.imageshack.us/img233/548/officetank2.th.jpg (http://img233.imageshack.us/i/officetank2.jpg/)

10-15-2010, 05:28 PM
You did succeed. Tank looks great so far. thumbs2:

10-15-2010, 05:29 PM
Alrighty. Got it transported, lugged up the elevator, through the security checkpoints and onto the desk.

Filled with water, filter going.

Even though the manazanita was pre-soaked, it still wants to do the floaty thing. That's fine. I imagine it will sink properly after another couple of days.

10-15-2010, 07:13 PM
Looks great!!!

10-15-2010, 07:20 PM
Thats a great looking Manzanita, gives me ideas for the very bare looking 5.5 I have in the basement thumbs2:

10-15-2010, 07:21 PM
I like it so far. Can't wait to see it progress :ssmile:

10-15-2010, 08:40 PM
Allrighty. Found a plant I like at the lfs near work. If it doesn't appear to do well in this tank, I'll take it home to my 20g that has higher light, etc. Also got a background.

Cell phone pic is not as sharp as I like. Pretty crappy pic quality actually. The background looks far better than the picture might attest.

Unfortunately I completely forgot to take note of the name of the plant in my rush to get back to work on time. Once the tank is fully cycled (which shouldn't take long with that grungy media from the 20g in the filter) ... I am considering placing cpd's in there. The almost look like little brook trout.

http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/6091/img00129.th.jpg (http://img26.imageshack.us/i/img00129.jpg/)

10-15-2010, 09:14 PM
For a cell phone pic, I don't think it is crappy! Looks really good!

10-15-2010, 10:34 PM

Two co-workers took a gander. One said "Ooo nice!" the other said "Uh, its wood in water". That one is an annoying co-worker, anyway.

I am also thinking of possibly placing a killie in there instead of the cpd's. Still deciding.

10-16-2010, 01:29 PM
Don't forget to add ammonia or something to keep your cycle alive.