I've had fish for about ten years. That started with two bettas my mom brought home from work because they were in the same vase and she felt bad for them. The only reason this is a big deal is because she, along with my extended family, believe fish inside the home bring bad luck. She let me keep them and take care of them because she didn't have the heart to give them away, or worse, flush them. Spaz and Taz lived in vases with bamboo on the mantle. As I started getting more into it, they moved into my room in bowls...then finally into a separated ten gallon and finally one in the 10 gallon and the other in a 5.5 gallon. I kept the ten gallon going for years until I moved it to the 20 gallon.
That was a few years ago. The way it started was for a turtle, but when the turtle died, I moved the contents of my 10 gallon into it. It was really boring...fake plants, castle and treasure chest decorations, big ugly tan rock-gravel. Then I got into real plants, and I've been struggling to keep up ever since.
First move was getting a better light...I have no idea what kind of light it is but I get about 2.4 WPG from it. Then I got flourite substrate, but I hated the red color so I capped it with black epoxy. I had LOTS of plants at one point. Anacharis, pennywort, sunset hygro, and e. vesuvius are the ones I can remember but there's plants in there I couldn't pronounce if I tried.
Really really long story short, I couldn't stay in my apartment (with my mom) because someone destroyed my room, so I had to stay at my (now ex) boyfriend's apartment. This caused my tank to grow into a twisted, gnarled, crazy jungle that I only just recently hacked apart. There was one plant in particular that LOVED my tank. If I had untangled the stem it probably would have spanned close to four feet, and it's mostly been removed because I couldn't tell which way was up on the plant. I might be the only person ever to kill sunset hygro, it seems. The penny wort and e vesuvius are barely hanging on, though.
So now I'm back at my apartment and I stumbled across an ad on craigslist for a 30 gallon tank with hood and stand for $50. It ended up being $70, because I had to bribe my brother to pick it up for me, lol. I'm so excited to get this thing up and running because I've wanted something larger for a while. It would already be up if the light I have for my 20 gallon could possibly fit on my 30. BUT it's a good thing it's not, because this stand is not sealed. It has no paint or polyurethane or even a stain. The idea came to me to seal it while working out with my mom one day, so I sent my brother a text asking if he had any tips. He called me and told me I couldn't possibly do it correctly so he had to do it. (
...men) I can't complain too much because I'm working a full time job, I don't have a whole lot of time to sand, wipe with wet towel and allow to dry COMPLETELY (which he assured me is a CRUCIAL step) possibly stain (I haven't decided yet, mom says yes, though) apply first coat of polyurethane, wipe again, let it dry for 24 hours and repeat 4-5 times.
So on top of sanding staining and sealing the stand and hood, I'll also be asking him to paint the inside of the hood white to reflect more light. This is probably not necessary because the light I'm getting already has all that reflective stuff inside. I'll be asking him to rig the hood so the light hangs on it and stays hanging pointing down even when I lift the hood for maintenance. The smallest yet most important upgrade will be moving a piece of wood in the hood so the top actually opens all the way. I'll get some pictures of that next time, my camera's dead right now. The last thing will be to give the stand a floor to set stuff down on the cabinet and not on the actual floor.
Thanks for reading all that, if you actually did, here's some pictures!
I didn't get any pictures of the setup itself because these little helpers wouldn't leave me alone, but I'll get some for you guys soon.
This shows you that it's in a rough state. Scratches, dents and pretty ugly altogether.
So here's some questions about the substrate. I'll be using the same substrate I have now and capping it with more black epoxy gravel, mostly because I have cories. Otherwise I'd request some black fluorite from petsmart. Should I invest in some laterite for the bottom? I'll be getting some root tabs as well. Should I bother having him paint the inside of the hood white? Anything else you would suggest?