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 Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.

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Deb
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PostSubject: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Fri May 22, 2015 12:24 pm

On Saturday, April 4, I picked up a 56 gallon aquarium from Ron, who is moving out of town.  The tank is 30"x18"x23" tall, and sits on a nice, open-design stand.  

For years I have wanted to set up a tank for Lake Tanganyika shelldwellers, and this tank will be perfect.  It's tall and deep, and has a wide, almost square bottom for the fish to spread out in.  

The whole process will be logged here, start to finish.  Pics and information will follow soon. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Fri May 22, 2015 6:57 pm

The tank.
The first thing to do with a used tank is to get it cleaned up and ready.  This wasn't hard to do as the tank was in great shape.  After removing the remainder of the sand, I cleaned the inside with a mild hydrogen peroxide solution.  Any calcium or white deposits were removed with plain white vinegar.  Both of these products, H2O2 and vinegar, are safe to use.  The tank was rinsed afterward.  

There were some inset stains on the glass, which looked like they might have been made by suction cups from equipment.  Really, I don't know what they were, or ARE, as they did not come off, even with Barkeeper's Friend (an abrasive cleaner using oxalic acid.)  
http://cvas.forumotion.com/t1881-tricky-glass-cleaning-issue  

Here is the tank and stand, all cleaned up and in place.

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Sat May 23, 2015 12:04 am

Looks good already. I also could not get those suction cup marks out. They were there when I bought the tank. Oddly though, unlike a scratch that seems to magnify when you put water in those marks did not show unless the water got low. I hope the same happens for you. Good luck and anxious to see the end result after you set up and add fish.

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Sat May 23, 2015 9:57 am

That's good to know. The suction cup marks are near the top and don't interfere with viewing. The pane with a few small, but deep, scratches is facing the back. It's looking good!

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Sat May 23, 2015 11:14 am

The sand.
The sand removed from the 56 on moving day filled four buckets.  It was a nice light brown color, but I wanted something more gray and not as bright.  To get this effect, I mixed some of the brown sand with a few handfuls of African Cichlid Mix, which I happened to have on hand from Mark Snead (Cichlid Lover).  It pays to hang on to things, sometimes.  

Mixing small amounts in a little glass bowl led to the final result.  The ratio is about three quarters brown sand to one quarter cichlid mix (black and white sand.)

The mix is a nice mushroom brown color.    


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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Sat May 23, 2015 11:53 am

I cant wait to see the entire process.
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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Sat May 23, 2015 5:52 pm

A 40 Breeder footprint with more height - Nice!

The stand is really cool, different from the normal typical stand - I like it!

This is going to be a nice set up, I'll be following the thread.

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Sat May 23, 2015 7:07 pm

The entire process will be logged here, even some tiny details which may not matter.  Like the bit about the sand.  I remember when Mark shoveled it dry out of a tank he had taken down and scooped three or four pounds into several large plastic fish bags, a bag for each of us, if we wanted some.  I took some because it was dry and pretty, never thinking I'd use it for cichlids one day.

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Mon May 25, 2015 6:41 pm

It is going to be a great tank - I am looking forward to the process (which can be almost as fun as the end product) as well as the mature tank down the road. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Tue May 26, 2015 2:35 pm

Today, I took a break mid-day and went out to Pete Rose to get the rocks I need for this set-up.  Pete Rose Inc. is a big landscaping supply yard off Staples Mill Road.  There you will find gravel, river rock, and sand of all descriptions and sizes.  It's cool the way they do it - you drive up on to a giant scale, weigh your vehicle empty, fill up, and weigh again.  I bought 1% of a ton, or 20 pounds, of Chalet rock.  Total cost $2.53!  Will post pix soon.

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Tue May 26, 2015 3:06 pm

YAY! I love love love that place, it is no secret! I've never had them weigh my car, though. I usually carry it inside and they use a scale at the checkout, but that's a pain, since they don't have carts or anything to carry rocks in. I could poke around looking for pretty rocks all day. 

The great thing is they don't bat an eye at a $2.53 purchase.

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Wed May 27, 2015 2:41 pm

@Deb wrote:
Today, I took a break mid-day and went out to Pete Rose to get the rocks I need for this set-up.  Pete Rose Inc. is a big landscaping supply yard off Staples Mill Road.  There you will find gravel, river rock, and sand of all descriptions and sizes.  It's cool the way they do it - you drive up on to a giant scale, weigh your vehicle empty, fill up, and weigh again.  I bought 1% of a ton, or 20 pounds, of Chalet rock.  Total cost $2.53!  Will post pix soon.

Great idea. It pays to think outside the box. Everything we need does not have to be purchased in a traditional pet supply. Frankly, I don't care for the tank toys sold at many of them...Cool

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Wed May 27, 2015 8:02 pm

The background.
Thanks. Very Happy  Usually I collect my own rocks but Liz gave me the heads-up about Pete Rose. @Liz.  The rocks are fantastic; they are just the sort of round, water-worn rocks that I've seen in underwater views of the lake.  I can't wait to clean them up and put them in.  

Here is the background I've been working on.  It's made of wax paper and black construction paper and looks better in person.  The black paper is supposed to look like the rocks going on endlessly, and the waxed paper represents the sunlight slanting in.  The layers add to the illusion of the rocks fading in the distance.  

Getting started:


Further along:  
 

The mixed and ready sand will go in next, and the "real" rocks will be piled in front of the background.

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Wed May 27, 2015 8:18 pm

That's a awesome idea and looks great.
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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Thu May 28, 2015 10:48 am

Nice! Thanks for keeping us updated. The discussions and sharing of ideas here are fantastic... Cool

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Thu May 28, 2015 11:00 am

This is such an artistic way to go! I love how the wax paper gives it the "hazy in the distance" perspective that you get with the limited visibility underwater. Nice work!  great

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Thu May 28, 2015 11:40 am

Very Happy @cholt,Johnny,and Liz.  Thanks!  

After I fixed the background to the back of the tank with clear tape, I filled the tank and got the filter running.  That was about a week ago.  The filter is an HOB Marineland 400 which is mounted on the side of the aquarium.  Funny story, the brace on the 56 made the openings on each side of it too small for the 400 to hang on the back.  I simply forgot to measure, but I like the filter better on the side, anyway.  

A quick product view of the filter and heater in the box.  

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Thu May 28, 2015 1:39 pm

The rocks.
I laid the rocks out on the driveway, took a pic, and then washed them with a hose.  They dried in the sun quickly, and I examined them for dried areas of dirt or debris which hadn't washed off.  Actually, they were very clean, with just the one hose-down.  At the building yard, they either sit in the sun or get washed with rain.  They were pretty much clean when I bought them.  ThumbsUp  

Here they are before washing:
 
Looking good!  I should have gotten more.  Before adding them to the tank, they will get a quick soak in dechlorinated water.  

Question  Here is a question for those of you who might know - should I make piles out of the rocks or just lay them out near each other?  I have no idea.

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Thu May 28, 2015 1:45 pm

I would pile up (slightly) any that are flattish and will be stable. I would avoid anything that would be like "balancing" of the rocks because they could be disturbed and fall. I would definitely cluster them together, at any rate. Clustering/stacking them will create definitive territories, which is always important.

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Fri May 29, 2015 12:09 am

Just a question, Deb. Are you going to put egg-crate (ie...light diffuser) on the bottom to help protect against rock damage? I had never done so until I saw it recommended either here on the forum or YouTube. (information overload I guess or poor memory)

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Fri May 29, 2015 8:18 am

Egg crate works great. Only bad thing is it is almost like a under gravel filter in that it holds a lot of waste.
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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Fri May 29, 2015 8:39 am

Egg crate is kind of ugly and I was hoping to avoid it. Do you think I'll need it? The rocks will be laid out like the photo above, just kind of jumbled side-by-side and not stacked.

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Fri May 29, 2015 8:43 am

I have used it before, and you do protect the bottom of the tank from scratches, but, as Fward mentions, it tends to accumulate debris.

It will be exposed and visible by fish that tend to dig, make sand pits for spawning (they can't really do that properly with egg crate there) or that rearrange the decor in any way.

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Sat May 30, 2015 9:14 am

Egg crate is good for some applications but I don't think I'll need it for this tank. Very Happy  Shelldwellers like to bury shells and move sand, so the egg crate will just get in the way.  The rocks for the rockdwellers are clustered, as Liz suggested, not stacked, so there is no danger of them falling.  

The sand is 3.5 cm, or ~ 1¼", deep, which is a nice cushion.  It's a mixture of about a gallon of the brown sand, which came with the tank, and a quart of black-and-white cichlid sand, which I had in the house already.  

The heater is plugged in and set to 79dF!  

Next, I'll inspect and clean the shells.

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PostSubject: Re: Lake Tanganyika, 56 tall.   Sat May 30, 2015 10:17 am

The shells.
After doing a lot of research, I've decided that a variety of shells is best.  Shelldwellers are very choosy about their shells.  Some, like Neolamprologus multifasciatus, known as "multis," need several shells per fish, and like their shells in piles.  Some, like N. stappersi (meleagris), known as "pearly occies," like their shells more spread out, and spend time burying them.  All of the shelldwellers I've read about or been told about like to move, rearrange, and sometimes bury and unbury their shells.  It's a busy life for these tiny cichlids!  

A few years ago, I began collecting the shells for this set-up.  Most of them are from an online outfit that is no longer in business, Cichlidbreeding.com.  The guy there could not have been more helpful about the various shells, their weights, the sizes of their openings, the internal whorls.  The truth is, I probably bought more DIFFERENT types of shells than I need, but we'll see how it works out for the fish.  
http://cvas.forumotion.com/t1880-breeding-dwelling-shells  

The shells in the photo have been cleaned and are soaking in some dechlorinated water.  The cleaning tool is the spray bar brush that comes with a Marineland 400 HOB filter.  It was very handy for this job!  



This is just the first batch, there are many more.  If anything, they will keep the water hard, and the pH up. *lol*  In the end, I will probably switch them all out for whale's eye shells, a very popular shell that many use.

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