8 gallon nano with tunnel
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Old 06-22-2012, 09:43 PM   #1
s thomas
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8 gallon nano with tunnel


I got a great deal on an evolve8 in a damaged box at my lfs and planned a unique build to this funky little tank.

It is set up as a "test phase" right now to get a feel for if my tunnel idea will even work, and I'm liking the concept but not the present setup as it stands.

Here are a couple tank shots as-is:

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And based on what is working and what isn't, here are the drawings I made:

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My goals for this tank are:
Low tech.
Planted "nano" style.
Unique concept with a consistent look.
House shrimp and compatible fish.

Will update with more details later tonight as I'm getting the last of the things I need to put it together.
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:12 PM   #2
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i like the different colored sand, i would get some taller plants in there once everything is in place.
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:59 PM   #3
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Nice sketches, and the tank looks cool also.
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Old 06-23-2012, 05:24 AM   #4
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Very interesting! I was going to something like that for my killifish in 10G tank. What materials did you use?
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Old 06-23-2012, 08:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosenart View Post
i like the different colored sand, i would get some taller plants in there once everything is in place.
Thanks. I did think about putting together drawings of plants and the intended "look" but that goes more by feel in the end anyway. Will see how it goes when the hard scape comes together.
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Old 06-23-2012, 08:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bitFUUL View Post
Nice sketches, and the tank looks cool also.
Thank you- will see how close they end up being to the completed product but I'm excited about it for sure.
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Old 06-23-2012, 08:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilde View Post
Very interesting! I was going to something like that for my killifish in 10G tank. What materials did you use?
Lots of people use PVC with the substrate glued to it which ends up looking ok, and has worked for me before. I like that because it is easily moved around and cleaned etc.

For this, I wanted a more natural look to the cave so I'm using acrylic sheets to build the parts from the drawings and bend them just how I want them, both for the overhead environment and the colored sand substrate separators.

But in the "test" setup right now I have a 4" PVC pipe cut to a quarter of the diameter and opening cutouts. The lava rocks are hot glued on and i put a bead of hot glue down the PVC so it won't scratch the acrylic tank. I wasn't sure it would, but wanted to be safe just in case.

I think that would work, but it just isn't big enough to my liking. I'd like to have more viewing surface area and a larger cave so it isn't a huge pain to clean up.
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Old 06-23-2012, 08:41 PM   #8
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So I cut out the size of acrylic I wanted yesterday and tried to bend it with a hair dryer with very little success. One worked ok, but most of the other pieces ended up shattering even though it felt like it was getting super hot. I couldn't even handle the pieces without work gloves and it still wasn't enough for good bends. I'm going to go pick up a heat gun from a buddy later today so hopefully that will work better.

I am having a little trouble with the acrylic and getting really rough edges from the cuts. Most tutorials say to score it deeply and snap it, but it doesn't ever look as nice as it could. I also read about using emery board to clean it up some, but then I feel like i lose the straightness of the edge. I'll see how close the fit and finish comes together but most of it will have mossy lava rock over it so it should be fine.

What did occur to me is that I'm sure there's an easier way to accomplish this but that's part of the fun of the hobby isn't it?

Heat gun update to come.
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Old 06-23-2012, 09:25 PM   #9
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While I have the tank in a half-holding half-cycling phase, I put the moss in and it doesn't seem to be doing all that great

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The peacock moss seems to be lightening and thinning out on the side facing the light, so decreasing the photoperiod is my first go-to.

I'm also dosing 1/2 recommended flourish and excel- didn't want to overdo it and start an algae farm in the testing phase.

Here's the fissedens:

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You can see it's browning.

Not cool man! I'll look into it more, but if you happen to be reading this and know what I could be doing better, I'd appreciate the input. Thanks!

Last edited by s thomas; 06-24-2012 at 12:52 AM..
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:04 AM   #10
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Well, it turns out acrylic is not so easy to form:

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Sooo I am going a different route:

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The straight acrylic pieces will work great but getting a nice curve with the heat gun was beyond my own skillset so I went ahead and cut up an oxyclean tub for the round sand dividers. We'll see the best way to cover them up but in the meantime I'm relatively happy with it.

Except it's taken a few days to get this far haha.
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:20 AM   #11
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This is a cool idea. As for shaping the acrylic, forget the heat gun. If you have electric burners on your stove turn one on high and hold the acrylic over the burner. The slower you do this the better outcome youll get. holding it 4" or so above the burner it will begin to bow on its own. once its fully plaible you could place it on the side of kitchen pot to form the curve you desire. If you look into it you can actually place the acrylic in the oven at a specific temp to make pliable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by s thomas View Post
Well, it turns out acrylic is not so easy to form:

Attachment 49798

Sooo I am going a different route:

Attachment 49799

The straight acrylic pieces will work great but getting a nice curve with the heat gun was beyond my own skillset so I went ahead and cut up an oxyclean tub for the round sand dividers. We'll see the best way to cover them up but in the meantime I'm relatively happy with it.

Except it's taken a few days to get this far haha.
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MlDukes View Post
This is a cool idea. As for shaping the acrylic, forget the heat gun. If you have electric burners on your stove turn one on high and hold the acrylic over the burner. The slower you do this the better outcome youll get. holding it 4" or so above the burner it will begin to bow on its own. once its fully plaible you could place it on the side of kitchen pot to form the curve you desire. If you look into it you can actually place the acrylic in the oven at a specific temp to make pliable.
Thanks for checking in on this.

I like the idea of doing it over the stove, but I have gas burners and had a similar result to the heat gun.

As far as putting it in the oven, that can be pretty dangerous as the acrylic out gasses as it heats up, and the mixture it releases is potentially explosive so a lot of sites with instructions for forming acrylic warn against using that process.

However, what you're saying about going slowly is totally helpful. I ended up trying it with a blowtorch too and got a little better result when going really slow. Still, it didn't work out as nice as the oxyclean bucket. (we'll see what I have to say about that once I flood and how it looks then)

I think it also came down to the fact I was using the cheapest acrylic at home depot which is pretty thin, so it is more sensitive to heat swings and shriveled faster than bending. I may have had more success using boiling water or steam or a balance between a hot hair dryer and a cool heat gun and more patience. I say a lot of this for people who may end up wanting to try the same thing or form acrylic for other projects.
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s thomas View Post
Thanks for checking in on this.

I like the idea of doing it over the stove, but I have gas burners and had a similar result to the heat gun.

As far as putting it in the oven, that can be pretty dangerous as the acrylic out gasses as it heats up, and the mixture it releases is potentially explosive so a lot of sites with instructions for forming acrylic warn against using that process.

However, what you're saying about going slowly is totally helpful. I ended up trying it with a blowtorch too and got a little better result when going really slow. Still, it didn't work out as nice as the oxyclean bucket. (we'll see what I have to say about that once I flood and how it looks then)

I think it also came down to the fact I was using the cheapest acrylic at home depot which is pretty thin, so it is more sensitive to heat swings and shriveled faster than bending. I may have had more success using boiling water or steam or a balance between a hot hair dryer and a cool heat gun and more patience. I say a lot of this for people who may end up wanting to try the same thing or form acrylic for other projects.
Well gas burners rule out my method.... you make a good point about the cheap "thin" acrylic. Im sure that plays a big role in how smoothly its formed. If you stop into your local glass shop usually you can buy scrap acrylic for next to nothin. Just an idea. Thanks for the heads up on baking it, Never tried it myself and glad i didnt Still I really like what you got goin, its something new and fresh.
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MlDukes View Post
Well gas burners rule out my method.... you make a good point about the cheap "thin" acrylic. Im sure that plays a big role in how smoothly its formed. If you stop into your local glass shop usually you can buy scrap acrylic for next to nothin. Just an idea. Thanks for the heads up on baking it, Never tried it myself and glad i didnt Still I really like what you got goin, its something new and fresh.
Oh cool I'll totally check in on glass shops. I have gotten countertops on the cheap buying leftover granite from yards near my house so I bet I could wring out some good deals from the right spot. Especially because the current solution is kind of ghetto, not gonna lie.

Update to follow...
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MlDukes View Post
: Still I really like what you got goin, its something new and fresh.
and thanks for saying! I'm excited for it to play out.
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