Setting up my free 46g bowfront...pic heavy journal. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-26-2013, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: nj
Posts: 442
Setting up my free 46g bowfront...pic heavy journal.

An introduction:

My name is Joe, and I have a bad case of MTS: Multiple Tank Syndrome. Last winter I bought my 2 year old daughter a 15g tank that houses a single betta as a Xmas gift. This did me in, as I was now bitten by the fish tank bug! Never did I think a year later that I would have 7 different tanks, along with a fish and plant obsession. I'm a full on junky. This will be my fourth planted tank, my previous tanks have been successful in growing plants, and a tremendous learning experience, but I'm never satisfied with anything I do! I want to improve on what I've learned and see what I can come up with. I'm definately no Takashi Amano, and I'm still a planted tank rookie, but I'm having a ton of fun in this hobby.

The Tank
The tank I'm using is a 46g bowfront, and was found on the side of the road with a FREE sign attached to it. It's black silicone, glass top, and black stand, and when I got it was hard to tell if it was ever filled with water. It was mint.

It's been collecting dust in my small fishroom I have in my backroom/laundry room space. Here you can see it with my other tanks.

Anyway, I have a 29g tank in my living room that I'm just sick of. I would show you a pic of it but it's not worth it. It's not big enough for the Rainbow fish that are in it, it has no aquascaping at all, and I'm just tired of looking at it, hehe. It's mainly just filled with java fern, a medium sized Amazon Sword, and some small Crypt Wendtii Bronze plants. I have been slowly accumulating equipment and all the fun stuff you need to set up a new tank over the past few months, because I'm saying adios to the 29 and setting up the free 46!

The plan is to have a simple driftwood based aquascape, using the existing plants I have in the 29 gallon, and a few more I have in this little 10g growout tank I have running.

Basically I want four or five species of plants in this tank, to keep it very simple: Java Fern, Amazon Sword, Crypt Parva and Wendtii, and Anubias Nana. I may do some Jungle Val in the background. Java Fern is one of my favorite plants, I love a nice thick dense bush of Java Fern. Big Amazon Sword leaves swaying gently in the current can put you in a trance watching them, they're another one of my favorites!

Fauna will also be coming from my 29g, as I'm hoping my Rainbowfish will appreciate their upgrade to bigger accomodations! I haven't decided if I'm going to add any other fish, but if I do it will probably be a school of Cory Cats, or a Pleco or two. I would like some kind of bottom dwelling fish, and Cory's are pretty cool when they school around with each other.

For filtration I'm keeping it simple with a HOB. A few weeks ago Amazon had a sale on a Whisper 60 HOB filter for 21 dollars, so I snatched that up. I'm a Whisper guy, I like their filters, and have them on all my tanks.

I'm using roughly two bags of Miracle Grow Organic Potting Mix, which I have used in 3 of my other tanks, and I'm pretty comfortable with it, and happy with the results I get. I will be adding clay to the dirt as well for an added bit of Iron.

The soil always comes with lots of wood pieces and sticks, and I don't really like that, so I usually screen that debris out. This time around I used a plastic tub, and an old hang on tank fry refugium that I had laying around. It worked awesome for screening out the big pieces of wood. Scoop up the dirt, shake it, and you seperate the soil from the wood chips!

After you're done, you're left with a much cleaner dirt, and it cuts down on any wood pieces floating up in the tank after its full.

I filled the tub with some water and I have basically have a soupy mud now. I'm going to let the mud sit for a day or two and skim any other wood pieces off the top, along with the excess water, until I have a nice thick workable mud.

For driftwood, I wanted something pretty bold and tall. My LFS has Malaysian driftwood, but it's upwards of 100 dollars for the big pieces. I'm on a budget, so I scoured eBay and found a pretty sweet piece of driftwood for 25 bucks including shipping. It wouldnt sink on it's own, so I used some stainless lag screws, and some slate I had on hand to help it sink. A masonry bit made drilling a hole through the slate a breeze.

It still didn't want to stay level in the water when I filled up the tank to test it out, so I drained it, dried it out, and used some silicone to "glue" it to the bottom. I'm letting the silicone cure as I type. The tank is still in my fishroom until I move it into the living room, and I couldn't get a shot of the driftwood in the tank without massive glare on the glass.

The dirt is going to be capped with play sand, and various size gravel. I have a few larger rocks to add to the scape as soon as the dirt and cap is in.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading...!

Last edited by jhays79; 01-27-2013 at 11:22 AM. Reason: added info
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Obsessed
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Location: nj
Posts: 442
94 views, no comments. Wow.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 11:22 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Fremont, CA
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Free 46g bowfront...pic heavy journal!

Nice score!
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 11:55 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: East Coast
Posts: 546
Glad you ended up grabbing it. Other people would have turned it into a quick $100 bill.
  • What material is that shelving made out of?
  • How deep is the center part of the tank?

I need to build something like that in my basement, but I have field stone & granite instead of cinder block.

Nice pictures & great explanations on what is being displayed in the photographs.

Looking forward to updates on your progression.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 12:07 PM
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Location: United States
Posts: 64
Congrats on the free tank! I can't really offer much advice or anything because I don't know much about freshwater, but I will be following your build. Have fun!
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone!

Are you referring to the shevling my other tanks are on? It's just 2x4's painted black to protect it from any water spills.

The bowfront tanks is 16.5" deep from the center of the bow to the back of the tank.

I ordered an Odyssea 36" dual T5HO light fixture on eBay for 50 bucks shipped. I have Odyssea fixtures on all my other tanks, and I know they're cheap, but I have yet to have a problem with them. The price can't be beat IMO. It comes with two 39 watt bulbs, but I will probably take one bulb out to cut the wattage in half, as I don't plan on using Co2 initially. Maybe I will daisy chain three or four DIY bottles together until I get a pressurized system.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 03:17 PM
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youre so lucky
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 03:58 PM
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Location: Cary, NC
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Nice find! Look forward to seeing this one pan out.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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Got some more progress done on the tank.

The old 29g being put out of it's misery, hehe. I moved this tank down to my fishroom and its still running, (although in a now bare bottom state) housing the Rainbows until I'm ready to move them to their new home.

Got the 46g in place and all dirted up. I went with a slightly smaller amount of dirt as I don't intend to heavily plant it as.

I think an external canister filter will be ordered when I get the money for one, probably a Fluval 305. As much as I like the old standy Whisper HOB filters, you need too much of a gap between the wall and back of the tank. It's a minor annoyance, but it still bothers me.

Sand cap added, with a bit of gravel to break it up a bit. Pic looks messy, this is before I spent 2 hours trickling water into the tank with a hose to keep the sand from getting stirred up.

I've got Java Fern attached to the wood, but no pics of it yet. I need to start using my wife's fancy digital camera instead of my phone camera to take pics, i'm just lazy.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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some better pics with Java Fern

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 02:03 PM
Algae Grower
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Location: South Africa
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great start. free? joh okay. good find. like the scape
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, did some planting this morning. Got a small outcropping of rocks underneath the upward bend of the driftwood. Surrounded that with some Crypt Wendtii Gr. I lined the far left front corner of the tank, where the driftwood meets the sand, with Crypt Parva. A Crypt Wendti Bronze sits to the right of that, but I'm not sure I will keep it there. Last but not least the Amazon Swords. I grew these from little baby plants, I love them, but they are big. Right now they aren't planted, just used some small rocks to weigh them down so I can get a feel for it. I took two different photos, one with two Swords, one with just a single Sword. what do you guys think? I think the dual Swords are a bit over the top...

I think I will probably remove the second Sword and put a small Indian Red Sword in it's place. I also have a small Red Rubin Sword I could use...
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 06:37 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Los Angeles
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Hopped on to get inspiration and saw your pix

It looks great! I love the way your driftwood is so dramatic, but I think I agree that the second sword is too much... Maybe something with a rounder leaf? or a variation of color...

I really like the way the small rocks look under/in front of the driftwood! Nicely done!
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 06:43 PM
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Location: Brewster, ny
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Your driftwood with java on it - is amazing. I agree with others the second amazon sword is too much. You are off to a great start.

Btw. Lucky bum getting that tank free. I wish it had been in my neighborhood.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-02-2013, 06:48 PM
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I like the swords! I'd keep them both and add an IRS as well, don't take one out .
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