Hey guys and gals, I'm back after a short break and I'm tackling a project I've always wanted to do. I'll be building my own all in one aquarium out of my 55g. This 55g was purchased to be a sump under my 75g, here's a picture:
Here's a stock image from Petco, which is where I bought the tank originally.
So the plan is to create something like a Fluval Spec V, but like Freeman Spev LV. I made a quick doodle to get some dimensions:
The weir/retaining wall is black acrylic I ordered online. I will be painting the exterior of the filter area black or ordering more acrylic to wrap around the exterior to hide the filter.
I plan on making the dividers out of spare acrylic or glass, I have both lying around. Since there isn't much force on the acrylic, regular silicone should hold just fine from my experience with my sump.
The filter area is split into, roughly, 3 - 4"x4"x21" sections. The first section will be sponge/foam for mechanical filtration, something I also had lying around.
The second section will be Seachem Matrix. By my calculations, I'll have about 3 liters of space, so 2 liters of bio media should be fine. Also, the 2 liters is more than enough bio media for a tank this size.
The last section should be large enough to house my heater, an aquatop 300w I have, and my return pump. I went with the same generic return pump I have in the past, but a 400 GPH model instead of the 740s I've ran.
I will be picking up a Finnex heater controller for safety reasons. I didn't on my last tank but my heater is getting older now.
The only real decision, and cost, I have is going to be the lighting. I'm a big CFL fan and I think the domes look sharp when they are painted gloss black with automotive high temp paint. The pendent look is sharp and cheap. However, this tank will be 3 side viewable and hanging the lights isn't going to be the most ideal. Coupled with the need for several cords and light spill over, I've decided to go LED.
My two options, that I've found thus far, are either a beamswork LED that runs about $60 shipped:
Or a Finnex Planted+ 24/7 for about $150:
Obviously the cost difference is note worthy. But I'll be honest, I've got money now. Not an infinite resource, but I can budget an extra $100 to buy something I'll be happy with in the long run. Opinions on the lighting would be helpful. The tank will be low-medium lighting, non CO2, very minimalistic. I've had great success with low tech tanks and I don't plan on changing that.
The tank will be sitting on the floor for a few months. I'm moving and plan on making a stand to reflect the new living space (height wise). It will be a pedestal stand since I have no need for filters, just a few cords. I may opt for an according door on one side to give me space. It is something I've wanted to try and build.
So the plant list going to be jungle/spiral vals, wisteria/water sprite, assorted crypts, and dwarf sag. Like I've said, I had good experiences with these in the past and they really flourished for me. I'll be going with black diamond blasting sand with root tabs, a classic.
The stocking is something I want to keep small. For now, pre move, I was thinking either a small school (5-6) or a betta fish. I'm being serious. I just want to establish the plants until the tank is in a permanent home.
So, if you've read through this, I've got 2 real questions:
1) What should I stock, species only, in this tank? I'm open to anything. I was contemplating a school of Denison Barbs or maybe something like 30 rummy nose.
2) What light should I go with? Jeff was kind enough to give me his suggestion for the beamswork model, which I've used in the past with success.