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 New tank setup begins...

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DL Lawrence
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PostSubject: New tank setup begins...   Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:07 pm

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Hi all! After much discussion with my wife, we have decided on a smaller tank for our main "living area" than we had originally thought about, i.e., we were considering something like a 125. All our current tanks are in my office. After taking a bunch of time to consider the room, time, space, weight, maintenance, and cost, we've scaled back our project to a 46 gallon bowfront, which fits nicely between two windows in our living room, without taking up much space. Picked it up today off of CL, up in Fred-vegas. It has a pretty nice black stand, which we think will look good in the room. It's made by Marineland. I'm going to do some re-sealing (following flippercon's awesome video), and clean it up real well, and then we'll begin the build. Since August, with the help of everyone here, I've learned a few things....well, more than a few.

So..for this tank we know this:

It will be planted. UPDATE- no plants...sand and rocks....
We're going to use pool filter sand for substrate. Maybe even a "sub" substrate for the plants (I'm open to ideas on this).
We're going to "step our game up" on livestock, and get a bit more ambitious, methinks. Some dwarf cichlids, perhaps...Yep, looks like we'll have a Mbuna tank...
This one will have a black background (I don't like looking at the cords...)
Canister filter, no HOB's, on this one.
I've been pleased with how clear my water is in the 55 running one, so I'm going to put in an inline UV Sterilizer.

First question- I'd like to go the LED light route on this tank. Any advice (or anyone using) LED lighting systems on planted tanks with success? Does it make that much difference, or is it that big a deal? Advantages other than less power, and less heat? Things to watch out for?

Maybe I'll take a few pics, and make this a build thread....

Thanks in advance for all advice and opinions!

DL


Last edited by DL Lawrence on Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:00 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:20 am

Hi Liz! No worries, hope the Gouramis are acclimating well.... Very Happy

Looks like you walked out with a BUCKET of fish! We didn't get any fish; we were more on a "research mission", and to get my weekly blackworms for fish treats. We had stopped at Skoolz also a bit earlier to look at Cichlids. I am gathering info for this new tank...

AA had a tank of real small Mbunas, of different colors which I thought were real cool. He suggested that 10 or 12 of them would be a good start to a Cichlid tank. I may go that way, with a larger rock formation than I've ever had. Or, it may just be another community tank- I think we're still undecided. Lots to consider!
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:17 pm

I actually had TWO buckets of fish, lol! I got 6 gouramis, a male and 5 females to go with the male and 2 females I already have. He individually bagged them so I needed those buckets I came in with, having sold him some angels.

I like the idea of the overstocked mbuna tank, which keeps aggression down. A really neat large rock formation in the center would look great, and I'd try to get it to go almost to the top of the tank. Colorful and lots of activity.

A community tank would work well also, and there's almost too many options! This is the fun part, though. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:15 pm

Quote :
AA had a tank of real small Mbunas, of different colors which I thought were real cool. He suggested that 10 or 12 of them would be a good start to a Cichlid tank. I may go that way, with a larger rock formation than I've ever had.

That would be very nice.... but you may have trouble with plants if they are a priority for the tank.

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:26 am

The only plants I've had that survived Mbunas were some of the Java Ferns. Even then they looked pretty torn up. Anubias sp. are supposed to do alright but I wouldn't know from personal experience.

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:14 am

We're looking at that now. I read that the Java Ferns don't taste good to the Mbunas...so they are a best choice for plants. Right now, I'm thinking sand/crushed coral mix for substrate, a very cool rock formation, and a small number of java fern. The rocks and how they are scaped will be critical to the appearance of the tank. I was glad to see that the hardness of my water (well) is preferable to Mbunas.

We're spending a good deal of time looking through the google image results for "Mbunas" for ideas. This is about our favorite so far....


We do like plants, though, so we are still trying to decide which way were going to go- I don't know if we want to sacrifice plants for rocks. So we may still go planted community. Who knows- as Liz said- that's all the fun!
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:11 am

These look awesome...anyone have any experience with them?

http://www.designsbynature.net/

Thanks!
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:28 am

Nice. I have not actually seen this brand, but I have seen several made by Universal Rocks. Around the same pricing mabe a little less on Amazon. The ones by UR are really nice, and very realistic. I'm considering ordering one for one of my tanks also.

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:04 pm

I don't have experience with them, but have coveted them for years! They are amazing. I'd get one in a heartbeat. By the time I discovered them I was looking for a background for a huge tank, and I couldn't afford it!

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:46 pm

Yeah, they sure look nice- and pricey for sure, but very cool, I think!

At this point, we're thinking that we're going to "change course" on this tank (the three in the office-10-20-55- are all planted community, except the 10 which only has a school of bloodfins in it. Subject to change, of course.
We're considering, based on the room, maintenance (some plants I've had success with, and some not so much) that we're going to go the Mbuna route; however, we're still trying to decide if the tank fits the room. We're struggling with the black stand. Anyone got a nice, dark wood stand for a 46 BF?

I'm thinking a tank with a rock formation in front of one of those cool 3D backgrounds, that closely match, and no plants. Maybe a big piece of driftwood, if I can find the right one. The plan sure does keep changing from our original ideas!
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:11 pm

That will make a stunning display, DL. I love the simple mbuna setups with a 3D background, a centerpiece formation that looks like it is a part of the background, and a large group of colorful fish.

I think you'll be happy that you're being patient and waiting until you find just the right thing. It pays off!

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:42 pm

I have to admire your thoughtfulness and patience DL. Something I can learn from as I start making preparation to set up my 20L.

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:43 pm

Designs By Nature are top of the line.

If you get one, it will make your tank.

There's only one problem... there are too many choices!!!

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:12 am

thegundog wrote:
Designs By Nature are top of the line.

If you get one, it will make your tank.

There's only one problem... there are too many choices!!!

I agree- there are WAY too many choices. And it's rather complicated to order one- some are pre-sized (none for a 46), and others you have to order special cut, and then there'e even some that you cut and join yourself. That, with the fact that their email response to questions has been spotty at best may take me in another direction. I haven't tried to actually call them yet, so I guess I'll give that a shot. I'm also checking out Ron's suggestion, Universal Rocks.

As an update- we nixed the stand that our tank came on, so now we're looking for another...
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:25 am

I posted a short review on both brands in my tank/fish thread some time back. If you like one by DNB but can't find the size, just get a larger one and cut it. Easy to do if you have a jig saw, you will not be able to use anything short of this for good results. Also they don't flex, so if you have a center brace it could make it complicated.
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:36 pm

mpowers-

Awesome tanks! There's another guy that does backgrounds- www.aqua-maniac.com

His look pretty cool also. It appears I'm going to have to have one that's flexible...
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:48 am

Well, I ordered a background from Universal Rocks. The decision was made for a couple of reasons. The Aqua Maniac guys backgrounds are not flexible-so it would have to be put in the tank in parts, and siliconed together- not optimal. I could get no response from the Designs by Nature dude, and after seeing all the unanswered questions on his website forum, I was not comfortable ordering from them.

The Universal Rocks dude (G'day, Mate!) had a very informative website, plenty of product info and videos, and his background was flexible. He also has one in a 36 x 20 size, which is what I need for the 46 bowfront. I'm planning on having the filter intake/discharge and heater behind the background, so I'm going to drill some holes, screen them, and set up a powerhead behind it to circulate heated, filtered water throughout the tank. I'll hide these openings behind some rock formations we plan to put in.

Filling the tank today for leak testing. I'll post some pics when it gets here!

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:14 am

I can't wait for an update on the arrival of your background and some images as well.

I'd like to try one in my 20 Tall for the convience of simply dropping it in and not having to fight with center braces.

Look forward to your updates DL.

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:19 am

I'm diggin those aqua maniac back grounds.

The universal is a great choice for your planted tank! Looking forward to watching the build.
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:18 pm

Yep- I hear you. The aqua maniac product looks great- too bad they are overseas in the UK, and don't make a flexible one you can bend to get in your tank. I really liked the dark rock one...
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:36 pm

Filled the tank up today for leak testing. The silicone beads I did in the front corners look very good, thanks to flippercon's on point instructions. Keeping our fingers crossed!


We've decided the stand won't do. With the canister, UV sterilizer, and the usual "other stuff", it just does not have enough storage. We didn't care much for the glass door, either. So we're looking for options- I do have my eye on one. If anyone has an interest in owning this stand, I'll make you deal you can't refuse!


This is where the tank will live...

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:03 pm

Looks like a great spot for your new tank. I'm anxcious to see how the new background looks and your thoughts on it. Did you get one of the 3D or flat backgrounds? I've seen both from Universal Rocks and they look awesome. Their individual rocks are great looking also. I'm trying to justify purchasing one also. Funny how justification for something I really need vs what I want seems to over shaddow all rationale...lol

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:59 am

I ordered one of the "Ledge Style" backgrounds from Universal, so I guess it's a a 3D one, as it is about 3-4" deep in places. I wanted a bit of room to install heater and powerhead behind it, and have room for the filter intake, and discharge. Also, this was one of a VERY few that were a)flexible to get in a top-braced tank, and b) pre-cut the size of the tank.

The tank passed the leak test with flying colors, and the background and the new stand are on the way. Once they arrive, we'll get the build underway. Need to get a bag of pool filter sand.....
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:46 am

The ledge style are awesome. The flat ones are too but the ledge gives an amazing look of realism. I'm very interested in learning how you installed and if the instructions are easy and accurate to follow.
There's a great source for pool filter sand called CSC Equipment & Supply in Glen Allen. They are off of Staples Mill Rd on Talley Rd. Found them to have some of the best pricing and selection.

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:08 am

Leslie's Pool supplies on Broad also has 50# bags of pool filter sand.
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:13 am

DL if the background comes in before Sundays meet maybe you could bring it with you (if you coming to the meeting)? I'd love to see it before its installed....

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