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pandamonium 05-30-2012 11:46 PM

pandamonium's 40BR amazon setup (update 8/6/12) New fish

Current Update: New Plants, Aquascape, Fish, and Equipment!
So after keeping a handful of neon tetras at school, I became interested in biotope/habitat style tanks, especially an Amazon biotope. While up at school I couldn't do anything (the LFS had only 1 or 2 species of Amazonian fish), so I did a lot of research and shopping until I came home. This thread is just to track/share my summer project. If anyone has comments or suggestions, please let me know :)
The theme for this tank was going to be a low-tech, DIY style tank that tried to simulate the low-lighting environment of the Amazon River. Anything that I could modify or build myself, I tried to do to save money as well as get a hand on aquarium DIY.

Tank Stats:
Size: 40 Gallon Breeder
Stand: DIY Stand inspired by an ADA-style stand
Substrate: Play sand
Filter: Eheim ECCO Pro 2232

Here are the pictures of what I have done so far. I'll continue to update as long as I add something new.

DIY Stand

DIY Stand: Side panels and top panel. The skeleton inside is a typical dual boxframe setup.
DIY Stand: Front trim piece
DIY Stand: Doors and doorknobs attached on

Total price for the stand was about $75. Panelling cost $55; Oak Supports were from my cousin's DIY staircase project; bottom 2x4's about $10; Iron-on Trim was $10.

Tank with Sand and Driftwood in Place
Filter plugged into mounted Power Strip
I intend to install a DIY inline heater following a design similar to someone on this forum. I'll be using a Eheim Jager 150W heater as the inline heater with a backup Aqueon 100W heater as a submersible heater. I'll post pics of that as I do it, as well as pics of the aquarium inhabitants.

DIY Modification on Light Hood

Lighting: 4 13W 6500K Sylvania MicroMini CFL Bulbs
Just finished modifying my light fixture. The 24-inch T8 that came with my tank was not adequate enough. Looking on some other threads I found that some people used CFL bulbs. So I got a dual socket out of a lighting fixture from Lowes as well as 4 CFL bulbs.
Here are pictures :)

The dual socket before removing the switch. Light bulbs installed.
Both switches removed on the sockets and wired together. I'll be using the switch that is already mounted on my hood.
Wired in and screwed in. Drilled two holes to fix the light to the hood. Works like a charm. All that is left to do it use aluminum tape as a reflector.

Heater: 1) Eheim Jager 150W DIY Inline Heater, 2) Aqueon 100W Submersible Heater
So I went to Home Depot and purchased the parts I needed to make a DIY Inline heater. The reason I wanted to make it inline was because this is a DIY themed tank so I had to kinda ;) And also because I read that inline heaters do a much better job of maintaining a uniform temperature throughout the tank. I read about the Hydor heaters and an issue in the way the switch works (bi-metal switch, I think it was) could cause it to jam either on or off permanently. As far as I know, normal submersible heaters do not have this issue as much.
Here we go! So I bought a bunch of parts for the heater housing. This is listed as quantity, size, and part name.
1 - 1'' Elbow, threaded on one side
1 - 1'' Tee, threaded on one opening
2 - Reducers, threaded (1'' to '')
1 - 1'' PVC pipe (approx. 7-8 inches long)
2 - '' Nylon Hose Barbs Adapter ('' ID)
1 - Reducer, smooth (1'' to 1'')
To join them, I used Teflon tape on all threaded ends and PVC cement on all smooth ends.

Assembly of the Tee and Elbow pieces. Attached the threaded reducers into the threaded elbow and tee pieces. Then put in the hose adapters. On the left side is another side project. I created an aquarium drain valve hooked into my intake tube for the canister filter. Makes draining water out of the aquarium a bit easier (I'm lazy, I know :)).
Rough assembly of housing. Thermometer not in place yet.
Thermometer assembly. I silicone glued the thermometer into the smooth reducer with GE Silicone 1. From what I have read, any 100% silicone glue with no mold inhibitors should work. There are aquarium safe silicone glues out there as well. A better option would have been to use a cordgrip, but I did not purchase one. I know Heyco sells them.
Next I cut my canister intake tube to put in a brass T connection. The 2-vertical ends were hooked back into the canister tubing. The 3rd end was hooked into the valve which has spare tubing attached so I can drain water into a bucket so my dad can use it for his plants.

So just finished raising my light using some metal cord that I bent into place and drilled into the side of the light fixture.
And now the first legitimate picture of my tank since all the DIY/hardware work is done (mostly)
The background is planted with Brazilian Pennywort. Floating plants are mostly Amazon frogbit. The tank has right now 4 German Blue Rams and 3 Honeycomb Catfish (Centromochlus perugiae). I'm expecting 10 Golden Pencilfish on Tuesday. Most pictures now will be of fish additions or aquascaping :)

This is the finished product of the DIY inline heater. It is a Eheim Jager 150W heater housed in a PVC case. Parts I listed above. I will be installing it tomorrow and will have pictures of it working (hopefully).

Installed the inline heater today and started the tank running. Here are the images of it. It's hooked into the stand behind the tank.

The heater was installed about an hour ago and I unplugged my submersible heater. So far temperature is remaining quite stable, about 81-82 degrees. Looking good so far :)

So heater is having some problems calibrating but I am fixing the issue as I type. In the meantime, thought I would post some pics of the tank's current inhabitants. More are coming in soon.

Honeycomb Catfish (Centromochlus perugiae)
This is one of 3 I have in the tank. He came out for a picture, an opportunity I could not pass up!
This is all three of them the day I got them. Not used to the tank yet so they are just hanging out.


It has been a while since an update. So far, the inline heater is working wonderfully. My temperature has not fluctuated more than 0.2 degrees in either direction. I definitely recommend this :)

I received a shipment of plants and bought some lemon tetras to add to my tank. Since their addition, the rams have come out more and look really colorful.
I also rescaped my tank with the new plants. In the left most corner is sunset hygro, pennywort is in the center and on the right most side, in the middle is blyxa (under the manzanita branches), in the foreground is staurogyne repens.

2in10 05-30-2012 11:54 PM

Good looking start and a great looking stand, well done.

pandamonium 05-31-2012 11:51 PM

thanks! :) ill continue to update. next up in line is a DIY inline heater and once plants come in then those will go down. right now im searching for more species of plants and fish to go into this tank.

GMYukonon24s 06-01-2012 04:20 PM

Great job on the DIY work. Keep it up!

kwheeler91 06-01-2012 08:56 PM

Nice diy work, interested to see the heater

pandamonium 06-01-2012 09:50 PM

thanks :) the heater i will start once it arrives. its scheduled to come in in about 3 days or so. once it is in ill buy the PVC and post pics of what i do. its based off of someone on the forum, but i forget who ><

BS87 06-02-2012 02:03 AM

Sub'ed. Looks great so far.

pandamonium 06-04-2012 07:45 PM

posted images of heater and build as well as aquarium drain valve. feedback appreciated :) also, if anyone knows how to make a valve that lets me suck up water from my bucket into the aquarium that would be awesome :)

pandamonium 06-07-2012 03:36 AM

posted first pic of tank in entirety. any feedback on how to plant pennywort or how it looks would be appreciated. thanks!

Bananariot 06-07-2012 03:40 AM

Very nice, I'm liking the look. Gitsum more tannins!

pandamonium 06-07-2012 06:47 AM

thanks :) im still using the temporary carbon filter to clean the last bits of dirt cloudiness from the water and then ill remove it next week. hopefully the driftwood will stain it enough. if not then i gotta find some peat moss.

pandamonium 06-10-2012 10:07 PM

updated with 2 more pics of my GBR's first spawn! :)

Bananariot 06-14-2012 01:48 AM

Did the eggs hatch yet?

pandamonium 06-14-2012 04:04 AM

nope they were either dud eggs or they were abandoned. i think i had two females which just happened to lay eggs. they abandoned them later after i removed some dither fish. hopefully one of the others in the tank is a male and there will be pairing eventually. eggs just have fungus over them now. from what i read, rams are not known to be leaf spawners so this was strange. usually its in the substrate in a pit or on a flat rock.

pandamonium 06-14-2012 04:16 AM

update with the heater. don't know why the picture came out so small though. hopefully you can still see most of it.

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