I'm new around on the forums, but not new to fish-keeping. I'm living in Cebu, Philippines. Finally, I'm at a point where I have a bit of free cash ready to setup a high-tech planted aquarium. I first came across planted aquaria when I picked up a Takashi Amano book when I was about 18 years old. Since then, I really wanted to setup a planted aquarium, but I lacked the financial resources and the know-how. It's wonderful that information is now so freely available.
I finally found the tank I was looking for a few weeks ago. Someone in Cebu was selling their 180cm x 60cm x 60cm tank (with a hardwood stand) at a reasonable price. So I jumped onto it and went the next day to pick it up. The original owner did an amazing custom build; it must have been a long process! The tank was surprisingly big and took around 5 or 6 people to move it. The wooden stand itself is also really heavy, taking around 4 people to move it. We managed to fit it into a flat bed truck with about an inch to spare on either side.
I am totally not a DIY guy. I have a drill and a hammer and that is about it. But some parts of this project are DIY and I'm sure will be quite fun.
The first thing I did was buy some cabinet doors. They are made from Germalina wood, the same wood as the stand. The tank and stand are to be viewed from two sides, so we installed cabinet doors on either side (4 per side). They did not have the number of cabinet doors we needed, so we had to pick some slatted doors too. I paid two carpenters to cut and fit the doors and they did a terrific job. I am really pleased how it turned out. I don't really like the original wood stain and most of the wood in my house is dark, so I am going to get a painter in to sand it and stain it dark.
I'm not sure about the canopy height. I find it a bit distracting and would prefer something more low profile. I could certainly pay the carpenters to come back and alter it. If I want to leave it unaltered, I think the lights are going to sit too high above the water unless I use spacers?
For the lighting, I'm going DIY here. I read up a bunch on the lighting. This has changed a lot in the last 20 years! I bought 4 x 50W LED floodlights. Not sure if it's overkill, but I was basing it on this thread: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/10...llon-tank.html
. I know people say they don't last very long, but these are relatively cheap and production quality usually improves over time. I found the LED floodlights to be a bit too 'white' and I liked nicholz's use of the RGB floodlights. However, I did not like the cones of colored light that they cast. So I instead bought some RBG strip lights to correct the color. I will probably set one strip to blue and one to magenta.
Next I went to the local fish-store because they had the Eheim 2250 filter. My tank is 650l, and I suppose the real volume is less if you compensate for the displaced water owing to the gravel and rocks. I could have purchased the Eheim 2217 for about half the price, but I really think the 600l limit of the 2217 is the absolute max you want to push the filter. I'd rather oversize the filter and be sure. Of course, I could have gone with two 2217s, which has redundancy but also two sets of pipes. Just personal preference I guess
. Probably I'll buy the 2217 for another tank I have. At P6k ($129), the 2217 is a steal. I think they come with filter media too.
Since the water is Cebu is very hard, we'll be using bottled water. The store suggested using Oynx sand on the base, both to prevent an anaerobic soil condition and to add some hardness to the water (to buffer the pH).
Currently waiting for the delivery of the filter, stones and soil. So more pics to follow when that arrives.
Spend so far:
AQUARIUM AND STAND
Aquarium + Stand + Driftwood + ADA Amazonia Soil (18l) - P18k - $387
Transport - P2k - $43
Cabinet Doors + Hinges + Handles - P10k - $215
Labor for Building Cabinets - P3.5k - $75
4 x 50W LED Floodlights - P2.5k - $54
2 x 5m RGB LED Strip lights - P1.6k - $34
Eheim 2250 Filter - P12.5k - $269
Filter Media (some kind of volcanic pebbles) - P4.5k - $97 (Perhaps I overpaid for this)
Dragon Stone (11.75kg) - P3.5k - $75
ADA Amazonia Soil (6 bags or 54kg) - P10k - $215
Oynx Sand - Price Update to follow
Total Spend ~ $1,500
STILL TO BE PURCHASED
CO2 bottle (2l) - P4.5k - $97
CO2 regulator + solenoid - P4.8k - $103
Reactor - ~P800 - $17