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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 515
Part 2: My process

I’ve tried to purchase items outside of retail so I can maximize my student budget.

I found a stand on Craigslist. It's a hardwood stand that sat under a marine tank. Covered with salt-water stains, I cleaned it; added brushed metal handles from the hardware store and applied black paint to polish it up.

The filter was also a used filter – an Eheim 2028 Pro II filter. The specifications are fantastic and a nice upgrade from an HOB filter. I cleaned it up and it worked well – I primed it on the old tank for a few weeks.

Unfortunately, at the 11th hour, when I was attaching the plumbing the double intake cracked and I was left with an unusable filter. The fish had been bucket bound for 7 hours - I had to scramble – I called a few places with no spare parts available I had to get another filter - I rented a zip car and drove to a LFS to purchased a Fluval 406 or a Rena xp4. After making sure the 5/8 hoses work on the filter (I HATE the Fluval vacuum cleaner hoses and the fugly hoses on Renas) – I settled on a Fluval 406. Drove home – swapped the primed biomax and Purigen packets into the Fluval from the Eheim and set it up. Very easy – works very well.

I purchased an Aquaticlife’s 4 bulb fixture because it allows me to have 4x39W lights I can dial up the light to provide 156W for ~2.7W/gallon or dim down to 2 bulbs for ~1.4W/gallon. The unit has a built in timer, which allows me to manage the light banks independently, and it has one power cable, all of these things I love.

I am using prebuilt hangers because I looked into getting conduit and pipe benders/cutters but the project was prohibitive because I’d have to rent/borrow a car, buy the tools and I have little out door space to work.

The rest of the equipment was purchased through the forums, Craigslist and a couple of really helpful retailers – I’ve had fantastic customer service. PM me and I’ll let you know who helped me out.


Tank - (nearly new) Illuminata 57
Stand – Used black hardwood stand
Filter – New Fluval 406 (The used Eheim 2028 needed a part during set up Monday night), 2 packs of Seachem Purigen and Fluval Biomax. Input/output through 5/8” hose, metal clamps, and PowerMen (TM) 17mm glass Lily pipes.
Light – Aquaticlife 36” four lamp T5-HO fixture with moonlight LEDs, 6500K, and 5000K roseate bulbs. The unit will be hung with Universal Fixture Hangers.
Substrate – Up Aquasoil 4x9L (88lbs) I will use some of the old Ecco complete to seed the new Aquasoil and give more depth.
CO2 System - Atomic paintball CO2 regulator V2, 24oz (2lb) paintball tank, Atomic inline diffuser (16/22mm), CAL AQUA "Oracle" drop checker, Atomic bubble counter, brass check valve.
Heating System: Hydor ETH 300 In-Line Heater UL 300W (16mm).
Hoses: 5/8" clear with stainless steel automotive clamps.

Moving over:
• Onion Plant (Crinum thaianum)x2
• Crypt. Balansae x3
• Dwarf Anubas (Nana)
• Amazon Swords (trying to decide if I want to bring them over) x3
• Rotala H’ra (3 stems)

New Plants:
• Tiger Lotus (Nymphaea lotus 'Zenkeri') X3
• Rotalia Indicia X5
• Crypt. Balansae x5
• Dwarf hair grass x5
• Christmas Moss (driftwood)

I’ve had the Eheim priming on the old tank for the last 3 weeks to make sure it gets seasoned with bacteria.

1. Putting the driftwood together
2. Plumbing the heater, CO2 on the Eheim
3. Attach the background
4. Attach the hangers to stand
5. Moving fish
6. Move Tank
7. Set up the substrate
8. Setup the wood and rocks
9. Plant
10. Fill and ready
11. Add the fish

Last edited by sundragon; 03-13-2012 at 07:51 PM.
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