So, I currently have my 55gal running and found a smoking deal on a 120gal (100$ on Castanet) that I want to make a planted and dirted tank. The refugium will also be dirted.
I have some clean up to do on the 120 as it had sat outside for quite a while. I am going to polish the glass with Cerium Oxide.
The trim is cracked in a few spots form sun damage, that I am going to custom make some 1/8th aluminum trim for it.
This project is going to be a few months ongoing as I am DIY almost everything. Stand & canopy, CO2 system, Lava Rock features and the refugium.
Right now I have a few lava rock pillars made.
I broke down larger rocks I had found on a really close by(and I mean, like 15min away) extinct volcano to the size I wanted. Drilled a hole in each. Used hot glue to build the pillars and then more hot glue to attach small chunks and shards in the seams between the layers. I am still playing around with a few more ideas in constructing them.
And started on the stand and canopy. I really suggest to anyone who wants to DIY an aquarium stand to rent, buy or borrow a miter saw. It makes things soooooooo much easier. AND you get perfect square cuts on your wood.
First thing I did was measure (twice) and cut all my lengths for stand and canopy. Sand the edges and most of the dirt marks on the wood. As I am going to wrap everything in Maple, getting all the dirt off wasn't as critical. If I was going have it as an open stand, then all the wood would have gotten a once over with the orbital sander.
Next thing was to stain everything with a Minwax Polyshades. I don't know if this is needed, but because I am having a refugium and my 120 will not have a glass top or anything other than the canopy, I wanted to protect the wood from moisture inside the enclosed stand and canopy. I will down the road install fans, still I wanted the protection. Plus, I like the look of a somewhat finished inside.
So as of right now, all the wood is stained. I will let it sit for, probably a day. Then it's on to assembly.
Stay tuned for lots and lots more pics and posts.
Thank you in advance to all those who wish to comment or suggest. This is my first planted and dirted aquarium and welcome any feedback, as there are a lot of you out there that have tonnes more experience than I.