Neolamprolagus multifasciatus biotope, sort of. - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 104 (permalink) Old 11-16-2013, 04:53 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carpalstunna View Post
have you thought about a 3d background? I have seem some awesome Lake Tanganyika tanks with a foam rock background and it hides your equipment.
I have, and have read that great thread on the mudskippers with that incredible foam creation, but I don't know if I could pull it off. I've never worked with any of that stuff before. Hence, real rocks was my decision. I was short on time before work to buy any rocks today, perhaps I'll do a search tonight and check into it a bit more.

Thanks for your interest.

Wouldn't you like to beside the seaside?
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post #17 of 104 (permalink) Old 11-16-2013, 04:57 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pseudomugil View Post
looks awesome!
Sorry it took so long, but thanks pseudomugil for the compliment. I'm just trying to make the best set-up I can for a reasonable amount of money.

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post #18 of 104 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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Whew, with several engineering problems solved with a rotary tool, diamond bits, and a lot of thinking, here's the light mount. Also used were a hand saw, miter box, and an electric drill.

From almost direct front, imagine a tank up to the joint in the back.

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From a little above.

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Here it's fully extended upwards, as it would be for maintenance.

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Here's a picture of how it's mounted to the stand, removable with four screws. I had to add some balsa shims at the bottom to make up for the top extending outward from the frame. It's plenty strong...

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...but it's really hard to tighten the wing nut with just fingers to keep the light from slowly drooping down. Once I get the stand in place, I'll put the tank in place, and then install the block so that won't happen.

The back of the light fixture.

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If anyone has any questions on how I did anything, feel free to ask.

Finally to putting polyurethane on all the wood after some sanding. I'm not putting any time frames on anything anymore, I'm always behind schedule on this project. Oh yeah, the balsa shade...

Stay tuned...

Last edited by Wannaberooted; 11-23-2013 at 07:23 AM. Reason: I forgot a picture
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post #19 of 104 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 08:45 AM
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Hi ,
Very nice and simple lighting , straggled up and down, swings right or left .
I waiting for the next step in the project !

If you want to be achieve something in life, work hard... nothing comes for free!
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post #20 of 104 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 09:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Claudiu.

I'm pretty happy with how it's going so far. I like designing and building stuff.

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post #21 of 104 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 05:16 PM
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This looks like it's been a cool project. I really like your stand & light mount, looks great. The pictures that you shared earlier were quite interesting to look through. Neat to see some many different species of fish. Those sponges were pretty sweet too! I'm interested to see the future of this build.
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post #22 of 104 (permalink) Old 11-23-2013, 07:27 PM
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Cool idea. Have you thought about stretching a spring over the top of the arm to help keep it up? Or an even better idea would be to run a cable and a couple pulleys with a hand crank to raise/lower it as needed. Could probably find old work out machines to salvage parts from. Maybe thats overkill but it just came to me and thought I would share lol. Good luck and keep the pics coming.
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post #23 of 104 (permalink) Old 11-24-2013, 05:50 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks folks for your interest and thoughts.

Up close it doesn't look so great, but once the tank is in place, almost all of it will be covered up. I bought the balsa wood for the light shade and cover today, as well as a quarter inch square stick to glue along the metal light fixture to make the shade slant outward. Also, I bought a power strip, extension cord, and a timer for the light. I love V&S Variety Store, they also have fish and aquarium supplies there. Every town should have one.

Yeah, it would be way cool to dive in all the Rift Valley lakes, and you don't have to worry about getting eaten by a shark. I really enjoyed looking through all her pictures.

It would be cool to mechanize the light, but for how often I need to tip it up, I don't think it would be worth the added work. I rough sanded the wood at the friction points at that flexible joint, it stays put now. I'll still put the block in for safety's sake. As there are two flex points, it would also make it very complicated to tip the light forward as the swing arm tilts back.

I made the channels better for the cord at the corners of the swing arm so it sits smooth now. Oh yeah, I also bought some cable ties to keep the cord loosely attached to the swing arm. Nothing very picture worthy.

Now, break time's over, back to finish sanding on a few spots.

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post #24 of 104 (permalink) Old 11-24-2013, 06:30 AM
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Great tank so far! I really appreciate the DIY approach. Also, I think that trying to recreate your fauna's natural habitat to the smallest detail is one of the coolest things you can do with aquarium keeping! Looking forward to seeing this flooded. I had a mixed african cichlid tank back in the day. I just had a piled rock cave structure for them and they loved it. I miss those guys!
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post #25 of 104 (permalink) Old 11-26-2013, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the kind words. I'm trying my best, though several compromises have been made.

I finished the balsa shade, and picked up 80 pounds of rocks today for six bucks. I'm thinking of this arrangement in the picture.

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The rocks were quite a bit darker when they were wet after washing them.

Here it is with the light on, the balsa glows an orange-red color. The glow is brighter than in the picture.

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I anticipated the light to shine through the balsa, but not in that color. It looks pretty cool, but it doesn't match the stand very well.

I bought a couple two ounce bottles of latex paint called Laguna Blue for the background. I may mix in a little green, it could be a little more turquoise now that I looked at the underwater lake pictures again. I was thinking of using cloth for the background, but I decided the color just wasn't right.

I installed the block just below the flex joint in the back. It's a little too high, I'll shave it down slightly so the light is 16" above the stand, not 17".

That's about it for now, stay tuned...

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post #26 of 104 (permalink) Old 11-26-2013, 06:00 AM Thread Starter
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A couple additions to share.

I ditched the cardboard under the rocks and found a formation I like better.

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The cardboard was there as the rocks were wet earlier. The aluminum bar and the ruler are the footprint of the tank, the rocks take up more room than I want. The tallest rock will reach almost to the bottom of the top frame of the tank, I like that. But at the angle how I like it now, it takes up half the depth from front to back. I'll probably have to tilt it less and push the other rocks back more. I plan on using the excess 8" of .1" acrylic from the two cover pieces under the rocks to protect the glass. The rocks will be sitting directly on them, as the fish like to dig and I don't want them to undermine anything.

I figured I should show a little more on how the shade was constructed. I glued the 1/4" stick onto the 3/32" thick balsa shade for rigidity, and as a spacer to form an angle. The top part is 1/4" balsa. Both the shade and top were precision cut 4"x36" boards, so I didn't have to do anything to them. They were all glued together using my fingers and masking tape as clamps.

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Just two screws into the 1x2 attached to the metal light fixture keeps it in place. I hand drove those, as balsa is so soft. It's also very light, I don't need more than this, though I may need a shim to make it level.

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One other thing I got today I forgot to mention was a plastic cover for the bulb, so it's protected, and if it breaks the glass and stuff stays put.

I'm getting somewhat close to filling the tank, I can't think of anything else I need to buy, besides fish. More sanding, and painting finally really.

Wouldn't you like to beside the seaside?

Last edited by Wannaberooted; 11-26-2013 at 07:34 AM. Reason: clarity
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post #27 of 104 (permalink) Old 11-27-2013, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
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A new rock formation, this is getting close I think. Only takes up 8" of floor space from the back. I may slide the second biggest rock down a little. Of course the tall stuff will be to hide the filter intake and the heater. Anyone have any suggestions? I kind of suck at this.

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It's cool the rocks have some relatively flat sides, so they are stable. It's a big plus that many deep rocks in Lake Tanganyika have similar shapes to them, from the pictures I've seen.

Just a little sanding otherwise today, and work is going to get really busy soon. I may not get fish until after New Year's.

Stay tuned...

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post #28 of 104 (permalink) Old 11-27-2013, 07:47 AM
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[QUOTE=Wannaberooted;4756921]A new rock formation, this is getting close I think. Only takes up 8" of floor space from the back. I may slide the second biggest rock down a little. Of course the tall stuff will be to hide the filter intake and the heater. Anyone have any suggestions? I kind of suck at this.

inline hydor and a controller are my suggestions.

enjoying your build and jealous of your diy skills!

thanks,
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post #29 of 104 (permalink) Old 11-29-2013, 04:18 AM Thread Starter
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[quote=trailsnale;4757081]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannaberooted View Post
A new rock formation, this is getting close I think. Only takes up 8" of floor space from the back. I may slide the second biggest rock down a little. Of course the tall stuff will be to hide the filter intake and the heater. Anyone have any suggestions? I kind of suck at this.

inline hydor and a controller are my suggestions.

enjoying your build and jealous of your diy skills!

thanks,
Thanks trailsnale. I guess I should have been more specific, I suck at arranging rocks. I already have everything I need bought, except for some green paint and maybe some white to mix with the Laguna Blue I bought for the background. They have many colors of two ounce bottles of craft acrylic for about two bucks at Jo Ann Fabrics.

As for DIY skills, it just takes a good combination of laziness and cheapness. Think about it, and figure out the easiest way to do things with the cheapest materials strong enough to do the job. The internet makes it much easier.

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post #30 of 104 (permalink) Old 11-29-2013, 06:18 AM Thread Starter
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I think this may be it for my rock formation. It looks pretty majestic, but not contrived, at least to me. I wish I would have picked up a couple more rocks, this is what I have to work with.

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Boy, that took a long time. A good thing about posting all these pics of rocks for me is I can compare, and can reproduce it in the future. The middle sticks out a bit, but the side rocks slope back. I decided it was a good compromise.

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