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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

First topic message reminder :

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...   Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:16 am

The pool filter sand at Leslies ranges from $12 to $24. Home Depot has pool filter sand for $6 for 50lbs.

I actually have a lot left over I would give for free, but I am not coming to the 17 march meeting, so we would have to work that out another time.

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:45 am

thegundog wrote:
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....

Tracey- I'd be more than happy to! As I recall, it was ordered on Saturday, so I'm hoping so. If it's here, I'll certainly bring it.
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:11 am

I believe I paid $8 at Leslie's. I'll check out the other places if I ever need more.
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:53 am

DL Lawrence wrote:
thegundog wrote:
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....
Tracey- I'd be more than happy to! As I recall, it was ordered on Saturday, so I'm hoping so. If it's here, I'll certainly bring it.

I second this request! It would be an awesome thing to see (and feel). The videos on the Universal Rocks website are so helpful and I have to say he does a good job of explaining his product and telling you exactly what kind of set-ups he thinks each piece would work in. Invaluable advice for the customer who isn't quite sure what they need. Looking forward to seeing this background if you have it by then, DL. Smile

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DL Lawrence
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:01 am

I just checked the tracking number info from Fed Ex- it's saying it should be here Friday, which is tomorrow. So, hopefully, I'll have it for the meeting and we can all peep it down and paw on it some to check it out.
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:23 pm

OK....we're moving on this again! This morning, since there was some space on either side of the background, I siliconed some black screen on each side, and test positioned it in the tank.

The way I see this working is that the filter intake is going to be very close to the back corner of the tank, pulling in water AROUND the background (not fish, due to the screen) into the filter. The filter outlet is in the opposite top corner, over the background, aimed to the other side of the tank. The heater will be mounted back here also. I also have a small powerhead that I am going to put in the bottom left (opposite side of the filter intake-last picture) which will pull water in, and send it back to the front of the tank through a small hole in the background. I believe I can drill a hole, and screw the outlet pipe into the powerhead (though the background), which will help hold the powerhead in place (it will also be suction cupped to the back glass). My thought is that this will prevent any dead spots from forming behind the background. I'm also hoping that this will work, as I would prefer to not securely silicone the background in, should I ever need to access the equipment behind it.

With the substrate in place, and two clips at the top (which I'll have to fashion, as the ones that came with the background were useless) the background should stay firmly in place, and with screening on each edge will prevent fish from getting behind it. Looks good on paper, anyway....here's some pics; I'm open to suggestions. I might even be nuts to think this will work- who knows, as I've never done this before.

This whole crazy plan is because my goal was to have no/minmal equipment visible in the tank.

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:29 pm

Looking great! My only thought would be to move the heater vertical next to the intake. This will ensure good water flow around the heater and distribute the warmer water the best. Not to mention you don't want to remove the background just to change the temp.

I don't know about not siliconing it in, mine are not but they are up against the glass. You may want to do a test fill and run to see if it will work. I don't know how buoyant it is....but if you find you need some sand the same color as the background, if you do decide to silicone it in, you can have a piece of mine to scrape the sand off of to cover up the silicon.
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:49 am

mpowers- Thanks! Great idea on the heater- we'll do that, as it makes good sense. After the silicone drys for a week, next weekend I'll put in substrate, and see how it goes with the fasterners for the top edge. Per Liz's suggestion, I'm going to use magnets, so I'll need to get those siliconed on the background this week.

Where does one get suitable magnets for a job like that?
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:08 pm

Look no further:

http://www.kjmagnetics.com/categories.asp?gclid=CPPV5-DWlrYCFYid4AodXBMACA


Be warned! These magnets are more powerful than you think! (My husband made me post that warning - we have some magnets here at the house that could injure you - no lie!)

That said, eight 3/4-inch x 3/16th or 1/8th discs ought to do the trick (4 on the inside, 4 on the outside). Or..... something I almost used for my Buddha mask, silicone a couple of old MagFloats on the inside, and use their outside halves on the outside, if you happen to have some lying around. The background has enough space that you could do that.

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:56 pm

Lookin good DL

You can see a lot of necessary thought process is required with the background install and the posting of images yielded some great advice on the heater from mpowers......

Looking forward to seeing the build progress.


Liz wrote:
Or..... something I almost used for my Buddha mask, silicone a couple of old MagFloats on the inside, and use their outside halves on the outside,.

Oh If you did this, you could have some real fun....

When Cvas members or other guests visit, slip one of your kids inside the tank cabinet, have the kid reach up behind the back glass and then move the BUDDHA mask allover the tank by the Magfloat to freak out your guests!

It would also be a cool way to scrape algae!!!!!!

Liz's Buddha Tank

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Mon Mar 25, 2013 8:38 am

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I'm going today to look for some magnets, if I can't find them anywhere, I'll order from the website Liz provided. I'd like to get it set up and plumbed, so that the silicone on the magnets has a few days to dry. I'm hoping to put in substrate and water this coming weekend.

On another note, It appears our plan has changed yet again. We're going back to a community planted tank, for two primary reasons:

1) We're not quite ready to get into the sexing/species selection/compatibility issues inherent with having a cichlid tank, and
2) We really like plants. As we now have some experience with quite a few different types of plants, this one should go pretty smoothly. We may even move some plants from the other tanks, and possibly some livestock.

More to come...
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:27 am

Update! We have water!

This weekend, I put everything in it's place, got to PFS for substrate, and filled the tank. It went pretty well:

No leaks, primed the filter, everything seems to be good! We didn't care for the rocks, so they eventually went away. This morning, temp was at 80 degrees- the tank warmed up much faster than I expected with the heater behind the background. Here's a shot from the front- next up, we'll be aquascaping, and looking for rocks and driftwood and plants that meet our needs- I really liked Cichlidsickness's Discus tank, and that Manzanita driftwood- I've never seen that, so I'm looking into it. Here's what it looks like now:


I'm pretty dissapointed in the big green filter intake up the left corner- I'm considering looking for a way to get rid of that. Once you learn how to prime the filter, it's really just more of a convenience, I think. I might replace this with just a plain black u pipe connected to the intake strainer if I can find one. The magnets were an adventure- Liz was right- I should have gone straight to her source- those magnets are STRONG- the ones I bought at the store were virtually useless. So lesson learned. We're pleased with the background- it looks very good.

The two rocks in there did not make the cut...still looking. Once we get some plants in there, and some driftwood, we'll go the SmartStart route, and get some inhabitants. I have added a bit of Prime and some Seachem stabilizer I had when I filled it. I suspect I'll move some cycled media from one of my three AC 70's to get things going quickly, when the new inhabitants arrive.

Best wishes to everyone for a Happy Easter!
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:01 am

You could always paint that intake pipe before you get to far into the build, it will take it out of use for several days but after that it will be black and fit perfectly. Also the manzanita would be awesome in that tank. It's so versatile because you can use it upsidedown as I did for that tree root look. I have even seen it with the branch arm stuck in the sand and the twigs facing up to look like a tree growing in the tank. Add some moss growing on it and it really makes a tank look great. Make sure it's sandblasted and not treated, that's why I use manzanita-driftwood.com.
If you make an order I would like to go in with you. If we both buy a piece you can get a free 3rd piece. I think the shipping is $28 to our zip code.


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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:07 am

Coming along very well! Looking forward to seeing you plant list. I assume your going low light with no CO2?
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:35 am

looks good! now that you are thinking community again, who is going in there? I agree, looking at Cichlidsickness' tank certainly makes you think about adding that driftwood!
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:50 pm

Progressing nicely DL. It's going to look awesome when finished. Now we're all going to have to figure out how to keep up with you. I know they are a little expensive but the Universal Rocks stones with your background would look really sharp and compliment it nicely.

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:17 am

DL wrote:
I'm pretty disappointed in the big green filter intake up the left corner- I'm considering looking for a way to get rid of that.

Cichlidsickness has a good idea. Another idea is to let a vining houseplant twine around it until it is completely disguised. A couple of stems of a Philodendron type would do the trick. Leave the cut stems in the tank and let the vines grow down. If they get too long, cut them again. If you need any, I have some for you. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:37 am

Update!

Great idea on the vining plant, Deb- we're going to look into that! I think I'd prefer that to painting. We'll see.

Anyway, after a couple days of Smart Start, I have moved some plants and the 6 bloodfin tetras and one assassin snail from my small 10 gallon tank. Actually, right now, we really like this look- minimalist!

I'm thinking maybe one more sword, a piece of manzanita, and that's it. Our feeling is that we don't want to put too much up front of the tank, taking away from the background, which we really like- so this is probably what it's going to end up looking like (yeah, sure...)


The light is a 24" T5HO that I had on my 20 gallon upstairs. We have ordered an LED fixture (Marineland Double Bright) and we'll see how that goes. I really had an interest in the Finnex, but unfortunately, their silver color does not fit into our room/plan. If I were them, I'd offer a fixture in black as well. So that's the next experiment - it should be here tomorrow.

We're still kicking ideas on more around inhabitants.



The Bloodfins seem to LOVE it in this tank- they have a LOT more space, and really dig the "shelving" in the background. I'm watching the numbers closely to make sure the tank is cycled, and gets all of the water changes it needs.
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:56 am

The tank looks great.
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:47 pm

Nice! You'll like the double brights and should offer more than enough par for low light plants (heck my single brights even grow java ferns!).
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:46 pm

mpowers- yep, I looked at the "planted tank" LED's, but man, they were pricey. So, I'm hoping that I can get by with low light plants, and double brights. I'm looking forward to seeing the tank at night with the "lunar" setting...should be cool!

Still waffling on the Manzanita- that stuff, with shipping, is rather expensive. We'll see. I'll keep my eyes open for a suitable piece around town.

Any suggestions on inhabitants? We know we're going to get some colorful Corys for bottom feeders, but other than that, we're undecided. We looking for colorful, peaceful, community fish- no fighters or bullies.

I should be able to keep a few fish in here, although I do not want it to be crowded. The AQ Advisor says I have 1,500% filtration capacity (!), so I'm comfortable adding a few more fish.

Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:27 pm

WOW!!! Looks great. I too agree with the minimalist idea. One or two plants perhaps and maybe the Manzanita or something like it. You have caused me to start saving for a background for one of my tanks. I've been wanting one for about a year when I first saw a display in a FS in Ohio. You've done a great job.

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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:06 am

Looking good Smile
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:17 pm

Fish ideas: Emperor, black phantom, red phantom, diamond tetra, white-tip rosy (HY-511), rams, honey gourami, cherry & checkerboard barbs, peacock gudgeons, rasboras, ... & maybe some blue-eye rainbows if your water is not too soft (at least 50 mg/L or 3 dGH).
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PostSubject: Re: New tank setup begins...   Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:37 pm

Looks great DL, nice work!

Now for the hard part; what to stock Smile

Keyhole Cichlids might be an option, thy are a peaceful, cute but a somewhat shy cichlid. I've never kept Keyholes, but from what I've read those who do seem to adore the species.

Everyone mentions Rams and for good reason they are stunners, but Bolivian Rams are pretty awesome as well.

You could do Apisto's or Kribs and mix in some of your favorite community fish.

Pearl Gouramis are beautiful too!

It's all about finding that species which you like best, the center piece, and then working around it.

You may have to rethink your planting, a lot of fish really do appreciate plants.

Keep taking your time, don't want to rush this part!... And maybe others will throw out additional ideas that you can research.


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