Newbie: Help convert SW Nano-Cube to FW Planted - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 11-11-2009, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie: Help convert SW Nano-Cube to FW Planted

I just realized that I'm very allergic to salt mix so I'm converting my saltwater Nano-Cube to a freshwater planted tank. I'm an equipment dummy so I need help.

I hear that the pumps in my tank are likely too strong for FW. What pumps should replace them? My current pumps are Accela SP1-1000 rated at 266 gph.

My filtration system was meant for saltwater. Three-stage filter has sponge, activated carbon (like pebbles not sand-sized), and ceramic rings for biological filtration. There is no bio-wheel. Does this make a difference? Should I try to fit on on my sump in lieu of the rings?

Also, I'm wondering if the standard lighting is too strong and if the bulbs should/can be changed. I have 105 watts of power compacts - 10,000k daytime lamps and 7100K blue actinic. Should/can the actinics be removed and replaced?

Thanks. All!
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post #2 of 5 Old 11-11-2009, 01:45 PM
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Welcome to the forum Terri!
In order to tell you whether or not the pump is too strong or not it would help to know what size tank you got (gallon)?
IF you re-use your filter, clean it out with hot water & vinegar, toss all existing filter media (soaked with salt) and buy new ones.
The 7100K lamp will be fine for plant if you have a 40-55g tank. If its a 5g tank it'll be some slight overkill. Many plants start being o'ish at 6500K however if you have a larger & deepter tank and if you'd like to grow nice lush big plants that thrive on high intensity of light, I'd not recommend less then 7K.

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post #3 of 5 Old 11-11-2009, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Angel079. It's a 28 gallon so I hope the 10,000K will be fine.

I called the manufacturer. The standard bulbs they make must be used in this aquarium. THey said weaker pumps might not pump water to the back compartment. So I must use as is. They say the lights should be fine for plants.
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-11-2009, 01:51 PM
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Sorry I don't get that? Why should you NOT be able to use lower Kelvin bulbs in the tank, that makes no sense to me.

Again for the pump...all depends on the size tank and what pump it is. I'd def NOT advise using it with the filter media you got in it, all that salt is a good guarantee to kill your freshwater fish.

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
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post #5 of 5 Old 11-11-2009, 03:20 PM
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Hi Terri,

The concept behind a freshwater planted aquarium is somewhat different than saltwater when it comes to equipment. Although I don't know your specific filter system, I am guessing from your stats that it will be far too much for a planted tank. One benefit of planted aquaria is that the plants are the real filters; the "filter" equipment-wise is only necessary to create water movement [the strength of this depends upon the fish species, some native to fast streams prefer/need a current, those from forest pools do not] and remove suspended particulate matter with the filter pads/media. Chemical filtration (carbon, etc) in a planted tank is not recommended. I don't know how much fiddling can be done with your present filter, but a simple sponge filter would be adequate on a 28g planted tank. Canister filters work fine on larger aquaria.

Your existing light is not good plant light. Plants use blue and red light, and while your tubes will certainly provide the blue they are lacking in the red. Plus the green, which is useful to create a natural appearance in fish and plant colours. A full spectrum tube with a kelvin rating of 5500 to 8000K is best, and when you have two tubes I suggest one full spectrum at 6500K and one cool white. Plants have been shown to grow strongest under this combination. And there is sufficient green light in the full spectrum to give a natural appearance. Actinic blue light such as one needs for corals does not work well with plants.

And 105 watts over a 28g is too intense. There has to be a balance between light (intensity and duration) and available nutrients. There are 17 required nutrients, including carbon normally obtained by plants from CO2 expelled by the fish and biological processes. Plants grow by photosynthesis, and will do so up to the requirement that is lacking, what we term the limiting factor. Light should be the limiting factor, as it is the most easily controlled by the aquarist. Nutrients can be supplemented with liquid fertilizer once the CO2 and light are settled. If you can indicate the length of the fluorescent tubes in your fixture, I can suggest some suitable types. I also find it difficult to imagine other tubes won't work, but I can check into that via the website if you can tell me the name of your fixture.

You'll probably have more questions, so this will get you started.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 11-11-2009 at 03:22 PM.
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