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driftwoodhunter 12-08-2012 06:42 PM

The Behemoth - which doesn't look so big anymore - lol
My friend nicknamed this The Behemoth, which cracked me up so I let it stick. I was awestruck by it's huge size - it's a 125. Isn't it tragic though that no matter how big a tank you get, soon it looks small and you want a bigger one? lol

Prior to this my largest tanks were 55s, and I live in a single wide mobile home which makes this tank seem even larger. Yet I see bigger tanks on here and I admit I suffer from tank envy :icon_wink Nonetheless, I love my 125.

It started out as a near-freebie. I got it from a coworker - he and his family were sick of it and he had Discus in it. The tank, pine stand, two titanium heaters (one with a digital remote) a Marineland Emperor 400 HOB, a canister filter with quick disconnects (forgot which brand, it's in the cabinet), strip lights (not good enough for a low light planted tank but I sometimes use them alone for ambiance - lol) and three glass Versa tops; all for $75.00!

I had two larger pieces of driftwood, each 24" long that I put in it, right smack along the center line. I'm using this 6' long tank as a room divider between my living room and kitchen, that's why I wanted the wood to be centered. I'm in the process of redoing the mobile home and part of that includes moving the sink and removing the base cabinets entirely. Once they are torn out I will be able to see 3 sides of the tank clearly - the 4th side, one of the ends, is 7" from the exterior wall.

Some pics until I have time to add more info...

this dw has a rock embedded in it.

the other - but I didn't place it in this position.

here's the tank when I got it home - it has a cracked brace on the rim. I'm still using a clamp to compensate. There is a metal fabrication shop in town & I'm going to see about having a ss brace made that just slips over the rim. I have plans for a canopy, and I don't want to go through the hassle of draining the tank & trying to de-rim it. (I had thought about that & getting a ss rim made, but way too pricey for me)

epoxy won't hold, and it has since completely broken free;

playing with dw ideas. I think the one on the left looks like a dinosaur skull - lol

The next step was to make a Hamburg Mattenfilter - something I first heard about on sewingalot's thread. I really liked the idea of it, and it has worked so well for me in this 125 that I'm making them for all my present & future tanks. More about that in the next installment!

cableguy69846 12-16-2012 05:07 PM

Bout time. :)

whitepapagold 12-16-2012 10:07 PM


Originally Posted by driftwoodhunter (Post 2103518)
My friend nicknamed this The Behemoth, which cracked me up so I let it stick. I was awestruck by it's huge size - it's a 125. Isn't it tragic though that no matter how big a tank you get, soon it looks small and you want a bigger one? lol

Thats hilarious and soooooooo freakin true. I stepped up to a 125 years ago and now Im dying to go 250 or bigger...

You are right that does look like a dinosaur head... You could easily find more driftwood that looks like bones (cut up the other one you have too) and make a half out of the ground skeleton... That would be insane. All with drift wood then cover it in moss... If you found the right picture of a half buried skeleton it would be pretty simple...

But you may not want a theme type tank!

Regardless, it totally does look like a head!

driftwoodhunter 12-17-2012 02:23 AM


Originally Posted by cableguy69846 (Post 2111269)
Bout time. :)

haha! I wondered if you'd notice ; )

Guess I'd better get crackin' on updates...I'm going to order some plants this week that will really help it.

driftwoodhunter 12-17-2012 02:30 AM


Originally Posted by whitepapagold (Post 2111491)
Thats hilarious and soooooooo freakin true. I stepped up to a 125 years ago and now Im dying to go 250 or bigger...

You are right that does look like a dinosaur head... You could easily find more driftwood that looks like bones (cut up the other one you have too) and make a half out of the ground skeleton... That would be insane. All with drift wood then cover it in moss... If you found the right picture of a half buried skeleton it would be pretty simple...

But you may not want a theme type tank!

Regardless, it totally does look like a head!

Actually, I rather like themed tanks. Yours is one of my absolute all-time favorites! I'm seriously fighting the urge to turn one of my other tanks (either a 40B or a 55) into a Hobbit home/hillside. Definitely not for everyone, but I've never tired of the trilogy since I first read them in the 70s! lol

I like to make 3D backgrounds and since I did my first two I've learned a great deal. I think on my next one I'm going to carve a subtle fossil into the faux rock...I have real rocks form the local creeks full of shell fossils - I'd add a one or two in the hardscape to tie it together.

Betta132 12-28-2012 06:38 AM

There's a sticky-out bit on the branchy wood that looks like a shoulder blade... You should totally cut that wood up a bit and make a skeleton! That'd be epic! Epic I say!

DogFish 12-28-2012 04:24 PM

Cindy - I wonder how it might look if your background took advantage of the windows behind the tank. I'm looking at the pic and thinking, what if the background blocked out the window frames but allowed some back lighting tho shine through. Then strategic planting might tank advantage of the beams of light shinning through.

driftwoodhunter 12-28-2012 05:10 PM

Oh, I didn't leave the tank there - that was where my friends & I left it after we got it in the house. The 125 was sitting there because I had to break down a 40B & move to make room for the 125. Since I live in a mobile home I didn't want to block any windows - lol.

If you can imagine it from my description, I moved the 125 tank just to the right of those windows you see. I also turned it 45 degrees - so one of the short ends of the tank is now about 7" from the exterior wall those windows are on, and about 2' from the window on the right (next to the window on the left is my front door). That way the tank extends into the room acting as a divider between my living room and my kitchen. I'm going to be redoing my kitchen this spring/summer - I already tore out the wall cabinets because I couldn't reach them and so they were useless to me (I'm 5'4"). I also want to tear out the base cabinets because they as so narrow I can't even get my pots & cookware in them and they are empty! Anyone that's ever lived in a mobile home knows what I mean. In their place I've added a pantry in a different part of the kitchen. Until I do get those cabs torn out, my base cabs are as long as the tank and running parallel to it, only 12" from the side of the tank. I can't wait to tear out those cabs so I can easily access the other long side of the tank!

The local mobile home repair place that does all the work for me that I can't do myself is going to relocate my sink so I can remove the cabinets. Once that is done I'll be able to see the 6' tank from three side clearly - it will be nice! It will definitely make doing dishes more pleasant - haha. Light will filter in from one direction via the living room windows you see in the above pic, and from the other side via the kitchen windows.

As for cutting up the driftwood - too late! It's already in the tank. Frankly, I couldn't bear to cut that piece up, I love it's intricate interwoven shape. It made a good spot for attaching bolbitis and needle leaf java fern. I just added some anubias nana to it too, but I may move that again.

I'll try to update tomorrow so you can see how's its developing!

driftwoodhunter 12-28-2012 05:27 PM

Ok, I couldn't wait - lol.

Here's a different pic showing the wall head-on. You can see the 40B to the right - that's where the 125 is now. There is a piece of dw in the center of the tank that I didn't use - I was just playing with them to see which ones I liked best. I have two pretty pieces of figured live-edge walnut, 15" x 72", and I'm going to make low narrow tables that will fit under the windows (I have another set of identical windows on the opposite side of the living room) the benches will be a combination of cat benches for good bird viewing, and a place for me to set my coffee cup while I watch the fish or the neighbors - which ever is most interesting at the time, lol.

I also have a lot of walnut veneer-like slices they are 1/8" thick and 5" wide by various lengths. I am thinking about cutting them to size and covering the framing of the pine stand with them so they match the benches, and covering the three doors with panels of tin tiles that match those I'm redoing my ceiling with, and painting the fake oak tank trim black to match all the black accents in the house (walnut's pretty dark too, so it would look ok against the walnut I attach to the stand).

driftwoodhunter 12-28-2012 05:53 PM

This is a pic of the crack in one of the top braces. The guy I got the tank from said it was completely broken for years (he had discus it all that time) but he "fixed" it with Gorilla Glue before I picked it up (that's his fix in the pic) - which didn't hold at all. I tried two part epoxy and clamping it, but that would not hold either - didn't last two days. Sam (the guy I got the tank from) said the bowing never got worse than a 1/2", which is exactly how much it bowed on me, but it scared me nonetheless and now I have a steel clamp going across the top replacing the brace. I want to price getting a ss rim made by a local company that works in metal forming, sheet metal, etc.

This is the only defect in the tank, so I'm still really happy with it considering the nearly free cost of the whole package.

The lighting I'm using is working out very well for me - it's a 48" shop light from Home Depot. It is a diamond plate fixture with a semi-molded reflector that bounces a surprising amount of light into the tank. Hoppy did a PAR chart for this fixture, and with approx. 22" from light to substrate, I have medium to medium/high light. I was worried that 48" would be too short, but elevating the light 7" or so casts a nice low-light over the whole tank and takes the PAR down a bit. I want this to be a low light, low tech tank - no added Co2, and a dim tank makes the tetras I have show up so much better. I think my next tank might be an all-out blackwater tank, I like the look so much.

the light from underneath;

and turned on to see how it might look (without water which cuts down on PAR)

I'm not much into stem plants because of the general light requirements and that fact that my tetras love to eat them, so my plant choices lends to low light too. I have anubias, crypts, bolbitis, various java fern, crinum, pennywort, one lonely hygro, and aponogeton in the tank so far. I still have a long way to go with plants - I would like to add 50% more at least - but it's a start!

next time; the Hamburg Mattenfilter!

jarvitron 12-28-2012 07:12 PM

re: the brace - If you sand the whole top of that brace junction, you can two part epoxy (jb weld or permabond or whatever) a metal T to it (preferably one on top and one on bottom), and it'll be stronger than that plastic brace ever was to begin with.

Or you could get a piece of 5/16 plexiglass about 3-6" wide and weld-on across both the front and back of the tank at the brace, gluing then clamping the new brace to the rim and the tank front-to-back (so the new brace is under slight tension). The only worry with this is it might build up some crud between the old brace and the new plex and be ugly. But it's also at the top of the tank, and nobody ever said you had to use clear.

I think it's an awesome deal, I am always looking for cheap tanks, but in my area I only seem to end up with hexes!

driftwoodhunter 12-28-2012 07:26 PM

Hey, that's a good idea! I never thought of using a metal T - that's definitely worth a try.
I had also thought about having a ss strip cut to the same width as the plastic brace (so my versa tops would still fit in the rim's recesses) but have the strip cut long enough so it could be bent at a 45 degree angle at each end and simply slip it over the existing rim/broken brace. The bent ends would go down & overlap the front & back of the rim. It would be much more affordable than having a whole rim made.

I'm heading out to Lowes right now to buy a shelving unit - I'll pick up a metal T while I'm there.

What epoxys are strongest? Any preferences? I think I'll post that question in the General Forum too and see if I get a consensus. Would it help to also sand the T to help the epoxy grip?

Thanks for the idea! I want to work on the tank right away with your idea, but I'm going to see the Hobbit tonight with friends - that's a bit more exciting right now - lol

driftwoodhunter 12-28-2012 09:03 PM

OK! Tomorrow I'll try the new fix! This is what I bought for my mad experiment;

It's the Original JB Weld, and it had the highest PSI, the longest drying time, and is good for metal, pvc, and plastics - so it should work providing the force of the bowing isn't too strong. Being a chicken, I'm going to leave it clamped to dry for a week, not 24 hours - haha.

I bought the 4" x 4" T braces for the most coverage (that was the largest they had, and any bigger would have been wider than my rim anyhow). The flat brace left a big gap between the rim and itself, because my rim is formed in such a way that the braces dip down below the level of the actual rim. I took a hammer to the brace & reformed it as closely as I could to conform to the plastic. Hopefully it's good enough. The pic shows it laying over the good brace. Excuse how filthy the top of my tank is!

Now my next question; the way the steel clamp is, it pinches the plastic in onto the glass just because of it's sheer force to stop the bowing - the plastic is weak so it bends to conform with the clamp pressure. I have two of these long clamps and I'm thinking I could use them together - just far apart enough that the plastic rim isn't distorted while the whole thing sets up. If I just leave it clamped like it is (one clamp dead center over the brace) I worry that when I take the clamp off the "release" as it were will put extra strain on the joint and it may pop again, since the outer rim isn't straight now. (that may be part of my previous fail too). Does that make sense or was my description as clear as mud? lol

UDGags 12-28-2012 09:24 PM

Your description makes sense.

I would clamp it on each side like you described. I can't see your bracket completely but I would consider using some 316 SS screws to attach the metal bracket along with the JB Weld.

I would also spray paint the T-bar before attaching it if you are worried about aesthetics.

driftwoodhunter 12-29-2012 04:07 AM

I'm not worried about aesthetics at all, I plan on building a canopy for this tank in time to block the lights from my eyes as I sit below the level of the light.

I'll have to take a close look to see if I can get screws into the rim without hitting the glass based on where the screw holes are in the T brace, but I know I could get screws into the part that runs along the plastic brace over the top of the tank. Thanks for the advice! Adding the screws would be a huge plus, instead of relying on the epoxy bond alone.

BTW, you guys have been awesome with your ideas and help - I really, really appreciate it!

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