Rhenerie's 75g DIY display tank journal - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 05:33 AM Thread Starter
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Rhenerie's 75g DIY display tank journal

Alright it's time I started a tank Journal.

My plans for this tank are really long and drawn out, so it will be some time before there are any pics of water in the tank. However if anyone is into DIY then you may enjoy your stay. Nearly every aspect of this tank is going to have a touch of DIY. So I want to start of by setting some goals for this tank, and this thread.

Thread goals.
A place to talk to myself (maybe others)
Post pictures in a chronological order of this build so I can come back and enjoy at some point(or remember the stupid things I tried.)
Maybe share some knowledge/experience with fellow hobbyest.

The tank goals.
Be attractive in every aspect.(this is going in the living room of my new home)
Build/DIY as much as I can and take pride in it.(or shame)
Accomplish a decent aquascape that even hobbyest enjoy.(unlikely)
Incorporate a lush carpeting plant. (Currently thinking HC/Dwarf baby tears)
Automate as much as possible.(also DIY this if I can)

Ok so that's out of the way, I'll look back in a few months and can judge my failures now! So this is the current state of affairs. I just recently brought the rest of my aquarium supplies out of storage from the move. Previously my wife and I had a 40g breeder set up as a high tech tank. It was fun but relatively low budget and definitely not display worthy. Beautiful tank and plants but more of a makeshift stand and wiring and such. Upon bringing the tanks home, of which we have 8 (3currently running) the 40g had severe frame damage from spending a few nights in the back of my car in the cold. It was a Petco $1 per gallon tank so I wasn't too upset.

So with all my tanks, equipment and supplies laid out my wife and I decided we need a real display tank. We discovered Preuss pets in Lansing Michigan sells Deep Blue Sea brand 75g tanks for only $99.. Done deal, I was always disappointed with the quality of most tanks and the price at the larger ones. The Deep Blue tank has edge ground glass and great black silicone finish, and the frames are much heavier duty then the competition.

Tank done.... So much more to go.




So before we even picked up this tank I knew it wasn't going to just be sitting on some 2x4s. It really needed a nice stand. I absolutely despise particle board, and I'm not a big fan of Oak either... So this left me with two choices.. Buy a very expensive hardwood stand.... Or build one. Obviously I am going to build one. Step one is easy, make it structurally sound. Easy throw some 2x4s together. (I know I said it wasn't going to sit on 2x4's but just wait.)
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Last edited by Rhenerie; 04-17-2017 at 05:40 AM. Reason: Typo
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 06:09 AM Thread Starter
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So I've got some 2x4's cut, glued up and square.. looks great right? Not so much... Starting out I wanted this stand to be inexpensive, but look great.. I went back and forth on finishing woods and decided not to compromise.(well maybe. I didn't get burled walnut) I decided to go with Maple. I've got a really nice sliding compound miter saw(still in the box at the time) and my buddy has a decent router and table saw. One trip to the lumber yard and after 2:30am on a Saturday we've got cabinet doors and all the routing completed. Not perfect, but for my first cabinet doors ever I am pretty happy.

Now as it turns out, and unbeknownst to me at the time.. Maple is a very tricky wood to stain. It's so hard and so uniform in grain structure that any irregularities stand out... In contrast to walnut, which a fourth grader could stain because walnut is so drastically and beautifully irregular. So trial and error for a couple weekends trying multiple stains, dyes, gels, sanded finishes, pre-conditioners and so on. I finally found a combination that delivers the dark rich color I'm looking for, in this hard blonde wood. For those who are wondering, that combination is as follows. Final sanding to 120grit (150 was to fine for the stain to take well), wipe down with a rag dowsed in mineral spirits and while still wet with mineral spirits apply General Finishes "Java" gel stain liberally. As soon as you apply, wipe off completely. Two coats separated by 12hours really does the trick..

But you are going to have to wait to see the results because I still have alot of sanding and finishing to do! However I did just finish coating all the pine which will be hidden away in the bowels of the stand with a healthy coat of walnut colored Dutch oil. This will help seal the wood and prevent warping. I also did something else to this stand that I thought was clever. I created a recessed bottom and fully rubberized it. So that when (not if) I spill water, it will be contained in the stand and be an easy cleanup. It should also hold around 9 gallons of water should a leak occur.

Teaser pics attached.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 06:43 AM Thread Starter
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Alongside the aquarium stand build, I decided to build a second Co2 regulator as opposed to using the one I previously built, which is currently feeding an 8g cube. I was also never fully satisfied with the performance of the Fabco needle valves I used before, so upgrade time. The scouring of the "bay" began. This is what I ended up with.

$50 Concoa 432 stainless regulator 0-100psi range
$33 Parker SS CGA-320 nipple
$70 Burkert SS 0200 4w solenoid
$40 Swagelok SS 21RS4
$11 Swagelok elbow
$7 Swagelok tube inserts

And some spare parts laying around. Basically $210-220 invested, and I have to say so far I am much happier with the 21RS4 needle valve over the Fabco's I used in my other build. Here is the regulator porn.
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Last edited by Rhenerie; 04-17-2017 at 06:44 AM. Reason: Typo
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 06:46 AM
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I like the look of the doors! Looks like you are off to a great start.


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 11:54 AM
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The stand looks good! I've never ventured into CO2 and really don't plan on it, so I'm at a loss there, but the cabinet doors look nice. I wouldn't get hung up on impressing the forum with your aquascape! My tank is a disaster as far as aquascaping goes, but everyone who comes over loves it. "That's real grass!?" A good chuckle every time I hear that. Good luck though! If you do want a mostly automated tank, I would keep the light levels as low as possible so the growth isn't tremendous and doesn't require trimming once or twice a week. What is your plan for filtration? I may have missed it, but plumbing and hardware really is my favorite portion of the hobby so I'm curious.


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 05:43 PM
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Great thread so far. I'm in the same boat as you mostly... need to DIY a stand etc for the 125 in storage for my new house, assuming I can find a good wall for it when I move in!

I'm tagging along for the ride.

You bought or built the cabinet doors? What are you coating the inside of the stand with to waterproof and avoid warping the door?


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forrestcook View Post
You bought or built the cabinet doors? What are you coating the inside of the stand with to waterproof and avoid warping the door?
I built the cabinet doors from solid maple and 1/4 maple hard ply. The coating on the inside is flex seal rubberized coating. It worked alot better than I thought for something "as seen on TV". I applied it with a chip brush and foam rollers.. I would recommend it, it came out well. Other than stain the cabinet doors will just have a nice coating of polycrylic to seal up the grain.. should be fairly moisture resistant as long as I'm not dripping water on them daily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
What is your plan for filtration? I may have missed it, but plumbing and hardware really is my favorite portion of the hobby so I'm curious.
For filtration I will be using two filters, that I had laying around from a previous tank. An Eheim 2217 and a sunsun 303. The plumbing will be all DIY. I will definitely cover this more in the near future. It's one of the next steps as the plumbing will be tied into the stand.

Another idea I am tossing around is suspending my LED lights from a support built into the cabinet, and making a shade of solid maple to match the stand. This should prevent light bleeding into the rest of the room and allow me access to the tank without removing the lights.... And PAR will definitely not be a problem. . . . .
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhenerie View Post
Another idea I am tossing around is suspending my LED lights from a support built into the cabinet, and making a shade of solid maple to match the stand. This should prevent light bleeding into the rest of the room and allow me access to the tank without removing the lights.... And PAR will definitely not be a problem. . . . .
I've seen the light idea done and it comes out looking good. Not sure how large the canopy needs to be in order to prevent spilling. I do like suspending lights, it makes a lot of things much easier, including maintenance. Do you have adjustable LEDs in mind? I tend to advocate lower par than most.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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They are dimmable, all the way down to just illuminating the diodes. I definitely don't want to over do it with light, but I have always made sacrifices in the past. Not this time, I will definitely have more PAR than I need. So I plan on dialing it in.

More info coming soon.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 05:50 AM Thread Starter
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Just a little update,

I thought I'd share some pics of the tanks I'm using to grow out some Rotala to get the 75 off to a good start. The 10g is also going to be stocked with some blue dream Neo's at the end of this week.

Also threw my 40g up as an emersed setup, figured I had everything laying around might as well try... I'm only one pot of Rotala in there right now, I'll see how it goes. Running two air stones and a fogger 24/7. Thirteen hours of light, 85įF and 100% humidity..
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-18-2017, 06:56 AM
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Amazing! I am really curious to see the finalized art.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 04:57 AM Thread Starter
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Just a quick update.

Ok so the first trial coat on a finish part, went on tonight. I am pretty happy it's warm rich and dark. I'll attach a pic below. I also found what looks like a good supplier of furnature grade colored PVC. I'm going to place an order so all my plumbing will be solid black. I've painted in the past with krylon, but it's not quite the same.

As a side note, After alot of experimentation I was able to make a powerful Venturi-vacuum out of PVC as well.. more on the how's and why's later. (Trying to over engineer something again.)
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Last edited by Rhenerie; 04-21-2017 at 04:58 AM. Reason: Typo
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-01-2017, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Just a quick update for last week.

Black PVC and fittings arrived, excited about these. I've used black krylon before but it isn't as nice as the real thing.

[IMG][/IMG]

Also nearly had a mental break down. Hours of work routing sanding finishing, equated to a major staining failure. I don't even know what happened but I got hand prints. Never touched the price after mineral spirits wipe down.. all I can think of is perhaps while wiping it down I was holding it and hydraulic pressure pushed mineral spirits deeper into the grain, which allowed stain to follow... Either way had to completely resand .

[IMG][/IMG]

Re-sanding and stained.

[IMG][/IMG]
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Last edited by Rhenerie; 05-11-2017 at 10:40 PM. Reason: Typo
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