Gareth's 45 Gallon Slate Tank Journal (56k Warning) *Pics added July 02nd/07*
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Old 01-20-2007, 02:09 AM   #1
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Gareth's 45 Gallon Slate Tank Journal (56k Warning) *Pics added July 02nd/07*


Day 1

Today was a busy day. Today I emptied the tank out (it had old gravel in it still, dead plants etc, it was a rather gruesome process), painted the inside of the canopy white, and painted the back of the aquarium black.

I managed to get all of the old equipment from my 135 Gallon tank removed and set up for use on this tank too.



The setup is pretty straightforward. Water flows down the intake tube from the tank into the CO2 Reactor, flows from there into the Fluval 404, and from there it is pushed through the UV sterilizer and back into the tank. I know my hoses look disgusting, but I could not find my hose scrubber before I took the pics.. My bad..

Here is the stand set up in my living room, I am really hoping that 220 watts of Light isnt going to overpower the plasma TV.. lol



Tomorrow the project continues with plans for wiring the canopy, moving hte tank upstairs, adding flourite and hopefully filling the thing with water...
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Old 01-20-2007, 11:32 AM   #2
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Day 1 (4am)

I was impatient, and waited just long enough for the paint to dry. Moved the tank upstairs, put in the flourite and filled the tank. Took half an hour to get the filter primed with all the tubing, but I thought all was well.

An hour later I start noticing that a lot of air bubbles are passing through the Fluval so I start nosing around. Much to my dismay I discovered that the original fluval tubing connecting the CO2 Reactor to the Fluval had eroded and was leaking all over the carpet behind the tank. THankfully I caught it in time and replaced the tubing with some 1/2" stuff I had lying around, its not pretty, but will do untill I can get some 5/8" tubing thats a little "stiffer" (This stuff seems pretty flimsy, kinks easily, etc).

I am going to get some sleep, tomorrow I am going to finish rebuilding the canopy, wire in a Fulham Workhorse 5 and a Fullham Workse 7 ballast to drive the 4 x 55 watt GE bulbs, and hopefully experiment with a few layouts.

I am going to post a few of the different layouts here and get some feedback before I settle on a final design. So far I have a few ideas, keeping in mind that I want to cover the entire bottom of the tank in a moss carpet.

Layout 1 - River Rock, and something with this piece of driftwood. Sorry about the quality of pics, it is 4am after all, and I had to take the pics on my kitchen counter (only place with bright enough lights)








Layout 2 - Slate Walls. Any of you who remember me know I love my slate, Something akin to my old 30 Gallon Krib tank (see pic)



Layout 3 - Mopani "islands". I have a ridiculous amount of mopani on hand.. Enough that I could stuff this tank full of really cool pieces. However this time I was thinking about maybe setting up 1 or 2 groups of mopani with the branchy ends facing upwards, sort of like overturned stumps. These would have moss "tufts" on the top surfaces to grow in carpets similar to the tank bottom. Here are some pics of some of the mopani I have on hand (pics from the old 90 Gallon, which is now a turtle tank for my Red Eared Slider, and the old layout for this very tank)




I have a "lot" more, but these are some of my favorite pieces

So I'm not so sure... I'll have to actually see what I can do with the materials I have, but I think I can come up with something pretty unique this time around. So here we are, after a days work, we have the tank cleaned, filled, and now just waiting for the flourite cloud in the water to settle.



It is DEFINATELY time for bed.
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Old 01-20-2007, 02:29 PM   #3
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wow I love your tanks, im really excited to see this one set up. I love it when people make the " natural backgrounds " out of wood and rock. I personally like the layout you are thinking of with the overturned stumps i always wanted to do that in my 75 but could never get the right stumps.
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Old 01-21-2007, 08:36 PM   #4
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Wow those tanks look amazing! Can't wait to see how you go with this But remember to get your rest
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Old 01-22-2007, 04:27 AM   #5
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Ok so I experimented with a few layouts, but so far I like this one the best. What do you guys think?



I need to pick up a little more slate to finish off the top 3" of the tank, but so far so good, I'm pretty happy. Its a little cloudy from kicking up the substrate while arranging hte slate, and the lights just make the haze "glow" but you get the idea..
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Old 01-22-2007, 05:16 AM   #6
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Decided to experiment with a few pieces of mopani.. trying to mimic the appearance of tree roots coming under hte waterline... I think they might look neat when covered in moss...



Couple different pieces..

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Old 01-22-2007, 05:52 AM   #7
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And yet another arrangement..

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Old 01-22-2007, 01:11 PM   #8
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i love it. Its different. It gets alittle boring watching all these relatively flat tanks with a few rocks and hairgrass/hc. Once plants take root on the slate(moss/java/anubis) and fills it it'll look amazing. I bet the nooks and crannies provide nice hiding spots for shrimp and small fish.

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Old 01-22-2007, 03:52 PM   #9
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Is it possible to make a slope with the slate? I somehow think that making some areas of the wall come "forward" at the base would make it more interesting than just a wall.
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Old 01-22-2007, 08:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven_Chong View Post
Is it possible to make a slope with the slate? I somehow think that making some areas of the wall come "forward" at the base would make it more interesting than just a wall.
I think it may be possible to make it slope forward or even make so that the slate extends out more on top so that there is a cliff. IF GDominy USES ALOT OF SILICONE TO HOLD THEM TOGETHER.
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:07 PM   #11
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Since the tank is only 12" deep (front to back) it really makes "sloping" difficult. The slate uses up a lot of room when its stacked this way, the upside being the weight of the slate (which is leaning down and back against the glass) keeps it from collapsing. I'm doing this without silicone, although it would be a good idea. I rebuilt this wall 7 times last night to make sure everything locked together tightly.

I'm also trying to preseve the plantable base of the aquarium which now only ranges from 4-7 inches front to back.

I also have to consdier the light. It's difficult to see in these photos (I'll take some better ones in a few minutes) but many of these pieces stick out quite far, creating little caves all throughout the slate. It creates a lot of shadows and blocks a lot of light that the moss carpet will need to grow the way I have planned.

The upside to this design at least, is that with all the nooks and crannies in the stonework there should be tons of room for shrimp to hide, breed etc. They will be able to go all around the slate where the fish can't go.
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Old 01-22-2007, 09:27 PM   #12
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Here is what the tank looks like now after 7 wall rebuilds. The piece of wood in the center is now actually built into the wall, the rest of the wood is wedged in place using the top edge of the tank, pressing the wall into place. I had experimented using Plant shaping wire (the thick stuff used for shaping bonsai tree's) to "hang" and drape the wood across the slate but that ended with disasterous results (small collapse).



When I had this tank made a few years ago I purchased a heavy dutier glass that would support the rockwork I wanted (We have an aquarium manufacuter within a 20 minute drive). I have no doubt that If I were using standard glass my tank would have shattered during the cave in. I managed to escape with only a teeny tiny little scratch near the gravel line, but it was definately "change your shorts" scary.




I am still deciding on what plants to put in here. Since Java Moss is going to be such a prevelent feature in this tank I think I will stick to some nice java ferns and some crypts. We'll see.. I'm gonna wander around the stores today and see if I can find anything cool.
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Old 01-22-2007, 10:04 PM   #13
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Nice layouts, but i think your tank is umm...full.(see air bubble touching top)
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Old 01-23-2007, 02:09 AM   #14
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lol yes.. the water level went up quite a bit when I added the slate... I have since lowered it.
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Old 01-23-2007, 05:48 PM   #15
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I am really enjoying your slate wall. I was originally going to do one, but then I realized I don't have money ATM for it.

I really am enjoying these nartual looking backgrounds composed of rock and wood.
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