1) From the "I shouldn't have done that" department
Creating some compartments on one side of the tank seemed like a good idea at the time, and it makes the whole thing visually more appealing. But it sure added a lot of complexity, hard to reach corners, and added epoxy area. Pumping the water out of one compartment works, but whenever the sponges start to get filthy, the water level goes dangerously low. I added a U tube that creates a bypass, but making it one compartment where the pump sucks water directly through the sponges would have been better. Each time I reach down to the bottom of the center filter compartment the water tends to overflow into the dry compartment.
2) From the "I didn't think of that" department
Having a center-brace-less tank is nice for maintenance, and no light blockage. I thought if for some reason it starts to bow, I will just add a small steel rod to fix that. With the canopy going into the tank, that isn't possible anymore. Ooops.
The back of the tank is reinforced with a 3x1 brace. To be able to access the pump chamber, I cut out some wood in a half circle. However, after screwing the canopy to that top I can not access the chamber at all, without removing all screws and the canopy. Uhm, ooops.
3) From the "This was not expected" department
Sliding the acrylic bottom into the profiles glued to the canopy was fairly easy. After a few days of moisture, it is near impossible to remove it. Either the wood somehow moved, or the moisture makes the acrylic stick to the plastic profile, either way, changing bulbs isn't going to be fun time. I still had the protective film attached to it, removing that might make it easier to slide. At least I hope.
4) From the "Not sure if that's good or bad" department
It has been cold during the first two weeks of this tank, down to freezing in the morning, and very brisk inside the garage. The Stealth heater that I am using is failing. And still temperatures in the tank have been pretty good, between 72 mornings and 74 evenings. That means that the insulation is excellent, and perhaps that the pump and lights add quite a bit of heat. I hope the latter isn't the case, because that would mean some unbearable temperatures in Summer, when we get our 3 weeks of hot weather. One thing that could save the day is the second tank without lights and pump at a much lower temp, I could just pump the cold water up to the hot tank. We shall see though, hopefully it is just great insulation, and the tank will maintain its temperature well.
5) From the "That worked out well" department
The AC70 powerhead only draws 17 Watts, but it provides good circulation via spraybar throughout the tank. I like efficient things, and this thing is super efficient.
Having a standpipe as an overflow is neat. No worries of water level going too high or too low, and surface skimming is a snap. There is some stuff on the surface, probably from the Kitty litter that I did not rinse too well, and watching it disappear after a few minutes is neat.
Besides all that, the tank is establishing itself pretty well. Going through the first few algae cycles, some brown and a little GDA, some fuzzy stuff, no problems with lots of plants, CO2 and ferts and light. I did get an outbreak of cyanobacteria (happens sometimes in new tanks), and luckily I had some EM tablets on hand for just this reason. Now at day 5, the BGA is hit hard and flaking off the plants, a few more days and nothing will be left of it.
For some reason I ended up with my little nieces Goldfish which she got from her teacher and lived in a plastic bag
So that one is now living there along with a bunch of Endlers and Cherry Shrimp. I will send it off to the pond once temps get up a bit... if it behaves nicely and doesn't eat all the plants.
Once plants have grown in a bit more I will post an updated picture. Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions!