Neolamprolagus multifasciatus biotope, sort of. - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 104 (permalink) Old 12-03-2013, 04:45 AM Thread Starter
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I've been working on matching the color of the background to replicate the aquamarine color referenced earlier, as well as that first Flickr picture.

I ended up with two bottles of Laguna Blue, one Lime Green, one Turquoise, and one White after three trips to Jo Ann Fabrics. I wish I would have bought three Turquoise and one Lime Green. That would have been acceptable mixed together, but I just didn't know. That's the big blob on the third plate from the left.

Since I'm stubborn, and have all this blue, I kept mixing to get the color on the left side of the blob closest to the center rock. I used about two parts turquoise, one blue, one white, and one green to get it. I think watered down the amount of paint I'll get will be enough for a couple coats. Here's the picture of all my test patches.

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I also had a thought. Leave the paint a little transparent, and have a couple reflectors to direct the back light from the fixture onto the back of the tank. Just water down the background paint more, and I could mount something onto the light stand. I have plenty of scrap wood, and maybe some shiny aluminum foil. Just a little back lighting, like some murky sunshine.

No days off for a couple weeks so no chance of getting fish. No hurry figuring this out.

Stay tuned...

Wouldn't you like to beside the seaside?

Last edited by Wannaberooted; 12-03-2013 at 05:25 AM. Reason: I goofed.
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post #32 of 104 (permalink) Old 12-05-2013, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
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Sanding is done, I took everything apart to get ready for the polyurethane. Since it is apart, I took a picture of a few things I fabricated. It is definately rough, as no one will see it, and I had to figure it out as I went along. If I did another one, it would be much better.
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From the top, the fixture. It had a cord hole near, but not in the center. I removed the ballast, and grinded the hole over to the desired spot with a diamond-studded bit, using a rotary tool.

Next is the part connected to the light mount which is bolted to the fixture.

To make the slot for the cord, I drilled some 1/4" holes, and used the miter saw to cut it out. My drill can only handle up to a 1/4" bit, so I've had to do things the hard way. I finished it off with one of those diamond bits.

It was hard to align everything, I made some marks and used my hands as clamps to keep things in place. All I worried about was that there was a screw or bolt in a place of strength in a few cases. Wouldn't a drill press and some clamps be nice?

At the bottom, the swing arm. I used a drum sanding bit on the rotary tool to form the channel on the ends for the cord. I had the speed way too high at first so I took away more material than I wanted. Not perfect, but it works.

The 1/4" carriage bolts, washers, and nuts, and the block.
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Carriage bolts are cool with wood, they don't spin. I roughed up the rubber washers with sandpaper now everything is apart, as those small wingnuts are hard to crank down. A lever attached to a nut would be cool, I may have to work on that.

The block was very hard to locate. I just need to shave maybe a 1/16" off the corner to lower the light to my desired 16" above the stand. I just drilled anywhere after having to do it a second time, as it was too low. I used a Phillips bit for a countersink here and on the stand, as I didn't have a countersink. It was better than nothing, the wood tended to split without them.

Finally, the polyurethane. It's a matte finish, I hope it looks good. Stay tuned...

Wouldn't you like to beside the seaside?
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post #33 of 104 (permalink) Old 12-05-2013, 02:37 PM
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.1" thick acrylic? as in 1/10 of an inch thickness?

I think that's going to droop.
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post #34 of 104 (permalink) Old 12-05-2013, 04:40 PM
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Oh what a great Idea, shellies are soooo adorable. Just for your rockscape, try not to put the ocks all so much in a straight line, bring the smaller ones out a bit more.

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post #35 of 104 (permalink) Old 12-06-2013, 05:51 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by scapegoat View Post
.1" thick acrylic? as in 1/10 of an inch thickness?

I think that's going to droop.
Yup, 1/10th of an inch. I was going to take a picture as some people might be interested in the construction of a Deep Blue tank, but my camera needs charging. It will come later.

The tank has a center brace, and a lower ledge all the way around for the acrylic to sit on. I don't think there will be much of a droop once I cut the two pieces to fit. There will be a little space in back for filter and such.

Thanks for your concerns, I appreciate any advice.

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post #36 of 104 (permalink) Old 12-06-2013, 06:13 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by izabella87 View Post
Oh what a great Idea, shellies are soooo adorable. Just for your rockscape, try not to put the ocks all so much in a straight line, bring the smaller ones out a bit more.
Thank you very much.

You're right, the rocks still aren't right. I took them down to start painting, and really think I'll go back to Red Flint and pick up a few more. I'm just missing one or two more to make me happy. I've never done a rock scape before, it's been a learning process. Iwagumi research and staring at the rocks has helped.

I'm really looking forward to finishing this, I've never kept any African Cichlids before. It's been three months already since I first got the idea.

Stay tuned...

Wouldn't you like to beside the seaside?
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post #37 of 104 (permalink) Old 12-06-2013, 08:38 AM
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Hi Joel ,
Good job .

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post #38 of 104 (permalink) Old 12-06-2013, 09:36 PM
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I have a tank with Multies at present. You need to be prepared for their digging. They will dig until they hit bottom. Then you have bare glass looking at you.

I am planning on using a Back to Nature Slimline flat background under the sand in my next setup of shell dwellers, once we do some painting in the home. http://backtonature.se/category/rock/ I bought it in Germany when we were visiting my daughter. I plan to have her send me a few more. I visited a LFS when over there. With this under your sand, when the Multies expose it, they can't go any deeper and you get to see rocks on the bottom. Plus it is foam and it will be a good cushion for your other rocks.

Rocks of Lake Tanganyika are mostly Granite and Gneiss. Get a copy of Ad Konings book Tanganyika Cichlids in Their Natural Habitat. It will really help you. All photo's are from the lake.
Tanganyika Cichlids in their natural habitat: Ad Konings: 9780966825503: Amazon.com: Books Tanganyika Cichlids in their natural habitat: Ad Konings: 9780966825503: Amazon.com: Books

You don't need much light at all for your tank. I am using a 10 gallon T-8 reflector on my 65 gallon Tanganyikan tank. I did have high light before with Valisneria and algae. But I broke it down and now have very dim light. It works. Lower light will keep down the algae. I mostly see a brownish felt like algae growing in my tanks. I am suspecting it is an immature form of BBA. I often just turn my rocks over to hide the algae covered surface under the substrate when possible. It kills it and once the other side is covered I flip it again.

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post #39 of 104 (permalink) Old 12-06-2013, 09:45 PM
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I love this whole setup. I want to get me some of those rocks. They look great!
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post #40 of 104 (permalink) Old 12-07-2013, 05:28 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerrytheplater View Post
I have a tank with Multies at present. You need to be prepared for their digging. They will dig until they hit bottom. Then you have bare glass looking at you.

I am planning on using a Back to Nature Slimline flat background under the sand in my next setup of shell dwellers, once we do some painting in the home. http://backtonature.se/category/rock/ I bought it in Germany when we were visiting my daughter. I plan to have her send me a few more. I visited a LFS when over there. With this under your sand, when the Multies expose it, they can't go any deeper and you get to see rocks on the bottom. Plus it is foam and it will be a good cushion for your other rocks.

Rocks of Lake Tanganyika are mostly Granite and Gneiss. Get a copy of Ad Konings book Tanganyika Cichlids in Their Natural Habitat. It will really help you. All photo's are from the lake. Tanganyika Cichlids in their natural habitat: Ad Konings: 9780966825503: Amazon.com: Books

You don't need much light at all for your tank. I am using a 10 gallon T-8 reflector on my 65 gallon Tanganyikan tank. I did have high light before with Valisneria and algae. But I broke it down and now have very dim light. It works. Lower light will keep down the algae. I mostly see a brownish felt like algae growing in my tanks. I am suspecting it is an immature form of BBA. I often just turn my rocks over to hide the algae covered surface under the substrate when possible. It kills it and once the other side is covered I flip it again.
Thanks very much Jerry for the information.

I didn't consider the bottom very much, you bring up a good point. I have no way really of getting one of those foam backgrounds, but maybe some flat latex to match the sand color will do, maybe with some speckles to make it look more like sand. Latex is safe in a tank once it's cured, right? To guard the tank from the rocks I was going to use the excess acrylic, maybe rough up the edge to make it less conspicuous and paint that also.

I didn't have a whole lot of choice on rocks, the ones I got were the closest match I could find for the ones in those Flickr photos. I like them, just missing a piece or two. I looked for granite, nothing like in the lake here. These rocks flake a little, they are some kind of sedimentary I think.

I'm hoping my light isn't too bright, but I have extra fiberglass window screen if need be. I wouldn't mind some algae on the rocks, but I hate glass algae. I'm thinking of a 10 hour light cycle. Just by observations so far, it is brighter than my low tech 20G as it is right now.

Hehe, more things to do, but thanks again Jerry, I want to do this right.

Wouldn't you like to beside the seaside?
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post #41 of 104 (permalink) Old 12-07-2013, 06:12 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by thelub View Post
I love this whole setup. I want to get me some of those rocks. They look great!
Thanks thelub, I really appreciate that. It's been a lot of fun so far, and quite a bit of work, but it's work I mostly don't mind. Not a big fan of sanding though. It's cool to have the picture of this thing in my mind from a few weeks ago in a solid form now.

The rocks were called Pewter Pride, I have no idea if that was a name Red Flint made up, or they are available elsewhere. This tank will definately be in stark contrast right next to my planted tank.

As promised, here's a picture of the center brace of a Deep Blue Professional 30 Breeder. This is the non-tempered version by the way. I'm sure they outsource these frames, it says Aquarium Masters on it. I do like the ledge, it makes my plan very easy.

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Stay tuned...

Wouldn't you like to beside the seaside?
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post #42 of 104 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 03:56 AM
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I once set up a Malawi tank and used a sheet of PVC which fit into the bottom loosely. Make sure you test the fit before continuing with what follows. I also cut the corners off of the sheet to allow my fingers to fit in to place it and remove it.

I cemented some of my substrate onto this sheet using thick body PVC cement. No need for primer. Apply a good layer of cement to a small area and sift bone dry substrate onto it. Let it dry for a day or two after you finish.

The substrate has to be bone dry or else it won't stick well. Bake it in the oven at 250F or so for an hour or so. Longer won't hurt.

This sheet will be on your tank bottom and the fish won't be able to get beyond it. Plus it will protect the glass.

Make sure all of your first layer rocks are placed on the bottom without any sand under them. The Multies can easily undermine a rock and cause your whole pile to topple over, maybe breaking the glass in the process. I always shake my tanks when piling rocks to simulate kids running by, or other disturbance. Don't want the rocks to fall.

In tanks where I have a glass bottom, I use "egg crate" light diffusers cut in small pieces to cushion the glass. I have also taken an inner tube from a bicycle and cut it up to use to cushion rocks that are resting up along the vertical panes of glass.

If you go to the link to my 65 gallon tank in the bottom of my signature, you will see how I used egg crate in some of the first photos on the first page.

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post #43 of 104 (permalink) Old 12-10-2013, 07:33 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks again Jerry, you gave me many options to think about.

I'm going to do an experiment with some thickly laid latex sprinkled with some pool filter sand, and see if it sticks. If that doesn't work, the pvc sheet sounds like it might do the trick, without it being permament which I like. I'll probably use my excess acrylic for any glass protection, as I already have it. Depending on what layout I end up with, I could cut it up like your egg crates.

Otherwise, I haven't done anything on my project lately. There are only so many hours in a day.

Stay tuned...

Wouldn't you like to beside the seaside?
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post #44 of 104 (permalink) Old 12-11-2013, 03:36 AM
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I forget if you said what substrate you are going to use. Will the pool filter sand match your substrate? If not, do you care if you see a different substrate when they expose the bottom? Your call, your tank.

Where are you going to apply the latex paint? To the bottom of your tank directly, or to another sheet of acrylic? I am trying to think about how latex paint will hold up submerged. Will it work?

You might want to look into a pool sealing paint, at least it is made to be submerged.

You could also look into a Sika cement product used to seal surfaces for water contact. Its called SikaTop Seal 107. You could actually make a sheet out of this and add your substrate into it. It uses Latex instead of water when mixing the cement.

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post #45 of 104 (permalink) Old 12-11-2013, 04:52 AM Thread Starter
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I'm using 50 pounds of pool filter sand, and 20 pounds of CaribSea substrate for Cichlids. The Pool filter sand is a tan color, the CaribSea Sahara Sand is white and black. It should look pretty close to the pictures I've seen at the bottom of Lake Tanganyika.

I'm pretty sure I read that once it cures latex is safe in a tank, but I guess I should confirm that. I was thinking of painting the acrylic under the rocks and the bottom glass a tan color to match the sand, then sprinkle a bunch of sand on top of that when it is wet. I would think if the latex is thick enough it will work. Your suggestions might be a better option though. I definately need to do some research and experiments, I'm just so dang busy at work right now.

Thanks again Jerry, you know your stuff.

An addendum. I did some research, but came up with conflicting information, imagine that, on latex paint in the water. I can see it being hard to stay stuck on glass, it won't do.

Wouldn't you like to beside the seaside?

Last edited by Wannaberooted; 12-11-2013 at 05:43 AM. Reason: An addendum.
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