*Note that I didn't insert any of the images because they are big 4MB files that take up most of the screen. You can view the whole album here if you just want pics. https://imgur.com/a/bU1dh
What a hectic time building this setup. Started off by buying some cheap tanks used locally. A 135 and 100 gallon. Luckily I have a truck and getting them out and transported wasn't too bad. What is bad is that they were supposed to come with a double stand and we couldn't get it out of their basement in one piece, so it had to be taken apart and was impossible to re-level so it had to be scrapped.
Next I decided to import some bucephalandra and went through a lengthy process to figure out what I wanted and acquiring permits etc, took about 2 months from when I ordered to when I received the plants. I got some el cheapo floodlights and dug up some old powerheads for when they arrived. When I got them, many were grown emersed so immediately melted and had to regrow leaves. I didn't have the stand yet so they were in the 135 on the floor for a few months as I tried to figure out what to do for a stand. The biggest tank I had before this was a 55 so I was not ready.https://i.imgur.com/E5qw2Uh.jpg
The plants sat in this tank in 6 inches of water with just powerheads for quite some time.
Then I saw a metal rack available at costco. The box said the shelf dimensions were 75x25 and could hold 8000 lbs and 2000 lbs per shelf, it was a no brainer. EXCEPT THEY LIED and the shelf dimensions were 72x23. So in order to fit the tank I had to angle grind a welded brace off, put the tanks in, and then bolt the brace back in place. Grinding through steel in the basement is not fun. Moving the tanks onto the rack without that brace on was not fun either. But it worked https://i.imgur.com/T9NAxPX.jpg
Around this time I also acquired an old CO2 cylinder and regulator, along with a bubble counter and silicone hose, and plugged that in to the venturi on my powerhead. I picked up some GLA EI package dry ferts to go along with the co2. I also began cleaning up the 100 in preparation for using it. https://i.imgur.com/e32K7ZE.jpg
Next I went an hour drive to Tractor supply for some good old blasting sand. 400 lbs for both tanks should be enough. https://imgur.com/1R1DrXh
Sand in the tank https://imgur.com/Hddq2jg
Spent 5 days slowly filling up ~20 gallons at a time to leak test https://imgur.com/6Kzhddl
Traded some fish in my tanganyikan daffodil colony for some filters, got an aquaclear 110, filled tank all the way, added driftwood https://imgur.com/95dQKwt
Used fishing line to tie buce on driftwood https://imgur.com/giAk3Wh
*next time I'm using super glue this was a huge hassle
Starting to take shape. https://imgur.com/WAhBLvT
Built some risers for the lights, they look good...... from a distance lol. https://imgur.com/6jSqrEd
Risers installed, wiring zip tied to ceiling https://imgur.com/fK3MvWc
And the beautiful plants are added, full tank shot https://imgur.com/lSD3dun
A melted pink lady is making quite the comeback https://imgur.com/dRGDxzc
A nice macro shot of the melawi https://imgur.com/CQ0JJ0w
It looks pretty chaotic and ugly right now but it will grow in https://imgur.com/DOzEUlD
Feel free to leave any tips for aquascaping, I really struggled with it and probably said the F word about 800 times while tying and planting plants.