The 90 Gallon Bliss Box - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 60 (permalink) Old 07-31-2010, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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The 90 Gallon Bliss Box

I was casually lounging on my couch a few weeks ago and snapped a shot of my 90 Gallon planted discus tank with my new iPhone.



I looked at it for a while before I thought to myself: "What a freakin' mess!"

My hastily assembled PVC light rig was not only UGLY, but it was also not particularly functional. Admittedly, it was a short-term solution to a long-term issue. I thought somehow I could make this tank look like an ADA setup if I ignored away the oak trim and stand.

Denial is a terrible thing.

So, I finally drew up the plans I have been considering for so many ages for a DIY hood for my tank. One that at least matches in color the stand. I considered all of the things I wanted it to do.

I hate DIY hoods that double the height of the aquarium. It draws focus from the glass box, and makes the eye wonder why such a tall hat is needed on such a short head (so to speak). So, I decided it needed to be less than 1/2 the height of the aquarium itself. This poses an issue when considering I need to get in there for maintenance, changing lamps, and - oh yeah, the lights. So I spent some time figuring out the best height for my T5 HO lights. fortunately, I had gone a little overkill on the lights. 6x54W T5HO over a 90 is a little much. So, I decided to cannibalize my gigantic hydroponics light to retrofit it under my hood.

I built a 1/2 scale prototype out of foamboard as proof of concept (moving parts and all). This was wise. Sorry, no pics.

Here is the only pic I got of the assembly, as an ill-adjusted fence on a particularly grumpy table saw frisbeed a sheet of plywood at my left hand. Yes, it was a bit messy. And assembling two projects in three days with one hand is a bit of a challenge.



So anyway, after all the fun there, I finished. I stained it in a golden oak to match the stand, sealed the inside with concrete sealer, and finished the piece in a satin polyurethane.

Two issues. First, the top lifts open to facilitate lamp changes and any major access I need to the inside. However, the wires for the light switches are too short to let it open fully. I'll fix this later. Second, the front door only opens straight out, so it's right at head level when it's open. The hinges are less than functional. I used 3 110 degree euro hinges and two friction arms to prop it open. I'd like to replace them with toybox spring hinges that will open wider (closer to 180 degrees than 110) and hold up the lid.

All in all though, I'm pleased with the result.

Next, came the rescape.

I have had a bunch of manzanita that has been sitting around for about 6 months. I knew I wanted to use it, but have had difficulty applying it in a pleasing fashion. I broke down the 90 and relocated all the residents to semi-permanent quarters for the duration of the renovation.

Initially, I wanted to get some seiryu stone, as it's just fantastic. Unfortunately life does its thing, and we had to re-appropriate some funds for the moment. So I used what I had, which was about 170 pounds of basalt. Sounds like a lot, eh? I arranged and re-arranged for three days trying to get the right layout. Here is one shot of the hardscape in one of its later incarnations:



I sat on it for a few days before filling it with water. When I did, the cluster of wood in the middle-right floated as wood is wont to do, so I had to zip-tie it all together. I covered the haphazard joinery with riccia (which will probably be replaced by large quantities of moss, as I want this to be a little lower maintenance than riccia will allow). I added my other plants, subtracted the eyesores, added some new things, shifted them a bit, ordered some bright red stems to accent the focal areas, and let-'er rip.

I had purchased 6 more Congo tetras to fill out my current school of 7. Vancouver City Water didn't like that idea, and proceeded with the wholesale assassination of my fish by chlorine poisoning. I tested the water afterward, and it was off the charts. Thankfully, I age my discus water, so it is not an issue, but the damage was done.

So, for the moment, there are no residents, but just as well, as I'm still stabilizing and tinkering with things. Here is a list of the glass box contents:

Equipment
AGA 90 Gallon, oak trim
2 XP3 canisters with DIY spraybars
2 300W Rena Smartheaters
Pressurized CO2
Milwaukee regulator and controller (soon to have Ideal needle valve installed)
5x54W T5HO lights retrofitted
R2 moonlights for backlighting

Water Treatment
Aged Tap Water
Treated with Amquel Plus
PPS modified fertilization
Seachem Iron 2x/week
Seachem micros as needed

Fauna
7 Santarem Discus
7 Congo tetras (will be adding to this school)
6 Otocinclus (they leave the discus alone)
5 julii corys
1 farlowella acus
1 BN pleco
1 Long fin BN pleco
5 or so nerite snails (more to come, as well)

Flora
Rotala Rotundifolia
Rotala Magenta
Nesaea Red
Ludwigia brevipes
Giant Hairgrass
Anubias Nana
Anubias Nana 'petite'
Anubias minima
Cryptocoryne parva
Cryptocoryne wendtii 'bronze'
Cryptocoryne pontiderifolia (?)
Riccia fluitans
mini pellia
bolbitis heudelotii
Java fern 'narrow leaf'
Java fern 'needle leaf'
Marsilea minuta

Sorry for the crap quality of the pics, but here's the FTS:





And I got my ADA style tank, anyway. It's going upstairs as soon as I move all the discus and congos and such back into the 90, but here is my little aquarium corner:



I will update as everything grows in and fills out. It should be pretty cool when it does. Hope you agree!
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post #2 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 12:34 AM
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You dont need Seiryu stones, everyone is clambering on that bandwagon anyway. The basalt looks great. Nice scape.


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post #3 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 12:46 AM
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I agree with sanj, the natural look of your scape looks great. Very nice work on the hood as well!


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post #4 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 01:18 AM
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I love the new scape. Its gonna look awesome when it fills in


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post #5 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 01:21 AM
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Great job on the hood and rescape.


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post #6 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 01:30 AM
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Looks great.


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post #7 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 01:31 AM
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Very nice.
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post #8 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 01:31 AM
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you wallet wouldnt like the seiryu stones. Both tanks looks really nice and so does the 90 gallon hood.
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post #9 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 04:46 PM
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nice! Bliss box - very suggestive title.


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post #10 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acropora1981 View Post
nice! Bliss box - very suggestive title.
Hmm... I suppose I hadn't thought of it that way, haha...

Actually, I kind of meant it ironically. This tank has caused me some stress in the past few months, mostly related to a rash of fish poisonings - some my own fault, and some not. Also, It's been a bit of a beast to get into a scape that I feel comfortable living with for a while. I think this one will do

Quote:
Originally Posted by VadimShevchuk View Post
you wallet wouldnt like the seiryu stones. Both tanks looks really nice and so does the 90 gallon hood.
My wallet didn't like replacing appliances, either

Thanks! There are small issues with the hood, but overall I'm happy with it. I only had three days to build it and the ADA style stand for the nano. My dad has an amazing 900 square foot shop with every tool you can imagine in there, while I have a tiny 900 square foot condo and a wife who disapproves of a sawdust carpet. Needless to say, I took a trip

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Originally Posted by onefang View Post
Very nice.
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatekeeper View Post
Looks great.
Thanks!

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Originally Posted by yikesjason View Post
Great job on the hood and rescape.
Big thanks to you, yikesjason, for the extra plants! I still have to find a permanent residence for the rest, but in particular, the ferns and anubias minima/nana petite are exactly what I needed! Also, I decided to give the marsilea a shot in the foreground. I was never fully sold on the idea of doing another HC carpet, and I think the marsilea is perfect. It's a deep green, and it'll be easier to manage I think. It seems super hardy, too.

Plus, it's not like there was a shortage, haha...

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Originally Posted by MissMTS View Post
I love the new scape. Its gonna look awesome when it fills in
Thanks! I'm hoping the Rotalas all cooperate as I trim them into shape. I have also never used the nesaea red before, so I'm interested to see how it grows. Right now, it seems to be doing a similar dance to my ludwigia brevipes only in a much deeper red (I hope that makes sense to anyone other than me).

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Originally Posted by Green024 View Post
I agree with sanj, the natural look of your scape looks great. Very nice work on the hood as well!
Thanks - I was going for a natural scape, and I wanted to the wood to contrast the lines of the stone to create some tension. I think with my choice of plants, it has balanced out nicely. Now it's just time to grow it in!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanj View Post
You dont need Seiryu stones, everyone is clambering on that bandwagon anyway. The basalt looks great. Nice scape.
Thanks for the kind words I know some are a little sour on the seiryu because it gets used so much (and it's SUPER pricey), but really it was a perfect stone for the kind of scape I was looking to do - lots of detail, very natural, kind of eerie. I wanted something with plenty of detail and crevices for the smaller residents to shimmy into. As it sits, I think the basalt will be pretty well covered by the time everything grows in, and it'll be more of an accent than the dominant feature it is now.

I'll try to get some better photos up. My only complaint with the iPhone 3GS is the exceedingly crappy camera that it comes attached to.
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post #11 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by theblondskeleton View Post
Hmm... I suppose I hadn't thought of it that way, haha...

Actually, I kind of meant it ironically. This tank has caused me some stress in the past few months, mostly related to a rash of fish poisonings - some my own fault, and some not. Also, It's been a bit of a beast to get into a scape that I feel comfortable living with for a while. I think this one will do
Well, like most 'bliss boxes' they can be quite stressful to deal with... Sometimes you think to yourself 'is this really worth it?'...ususally they are, despite the stress lmao


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post #12 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by acropora1981 View Post
Well, like most 'bliss boxes' they can be quite stressful to deal with... Sometimes you think to yourself 'is this really worth it?'...ususally they are, despite the stress lmao
Agreed
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post #13 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 09:26 PM
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That hood came out great, so did the scape. Great job.


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post #14 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 09:32 PM
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Great job on the scape. Nice little corner there

-Chris

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post #15 of 60 (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 09:42 PM
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nice job on the diy hood. Tank looks great.
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