Return of the Crustaceans - 10G I.M. Shrimp Tank (Current - Dry Start) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2018, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Return of the Crustaceans - 10G I.M. Shrimp Tank (Current - Dry Start)

I have been out of freshwater for a couple years now, taking an excursion into the dark side of the hobby. Was heavily into shrimp back in the day...was one of the first people on the board that successfully raised and bred Taiwan Bees as a hobbyist. Ultimately I miss my shrimp, and want to start up a small, low tech, low maintenance tank. The low maintenance is important to me, so I want to automate as much as possible. Luckily I have some extra equipment from saltwater venture that will work pretty well for that duty.

I'll try and keep this post updated with the most recent shot of the tank:

Current Progress:
Dry Start Begun


Previous Progress:
Stand Build Complete


Last edited by Jorge_Burrito; 06-03-2018 at 08:16 PM. Reason: Update Photo
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2018, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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A little bit more detail about what is being planned:

Aquarium: Innovative Marine Fusion 10
Lighting: Re-purposed nanobox reef mini (NanoBox Reef | Home)
Filter/Filter Medium: All in One Filtration using CerMedia Marine Pure Balls
Substrate: Aquasoil Amazonia
Hardscape: Ohko Rock, driftwoor
Misc: Tunzi-nano Auto top-off, Bubble magnus doser, Temp Controller with fans for cooling

Fauna: TBD, Taiwan Bee Shrimp of some sort though. No fish, shrimp only.
Flora: TBD, minimalistic. As of 6/3/18 - HC, Alternanthera Reineckii Mini., Ludwigia Mini, Mini weeping moss

This is going to be a slow project. Partly because I am free time limited, but also one of the biggest mistakes I see people make is to rush into filling a tank. Taking the time to do things right from the start alleviates so many head-aches down the road. Since keeping this low tech, I intend to do a dry start to give plants a head start. Plus I am building a stand from scratch.


Last edited by Jorge_Burrito; 06-03-2018 at 08:18 PM. Reason: add photo
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2018, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Stand Build:

I am a couple weeks into the stand build at this point. The stand is quite a bit larger (~18"x24") than the aquarium footprint as it is meant to be both for the aquarium as well as provide some additional space as I think this will go next to my bed. Also allows me to put a larger aquarium on it at some point in the future if I feel like it.

We start off with a pretty standard backbone for DIY stands using 2x4s. Cut with miter saw, 2" long wood screws and wood glue to put everything together. It is important to make sure before you put your top in place that everything is nice and level.



To this went ahead and added the inside of the stand base from cheap 3/4" plywood. Cut with a circular saw and nailed/glued in place. Nails are recessed and filled with wood filler.



Next we add the sides of the stand. I am using shop grade cherry plywood for this. Shop grade is usually a little thinner (1/2"), often time contains manufacturing defects, and the solid wood veneer is a little on the thin side. If you are picky you can usually find some pieces that work for you and it is a significantly cheaper than furniture grade hardwood plywood. Cut to dimension with circular saw and bonded in place with nails and wood glue. Not worried about the nail holes, they will all be covered up with trim



Next comes the front. Cut with circular saw from cherry plywood. Cut in 4 pieces (the better way is a single piece and cut out the hole in the middle, but do not have the tools to do that correctly). Cherry colored wood filler used to fill in any minor gaps.



Now we add the top. The top is 4/4 Maple. I do not use ply here just because top is most likely to have water spills and while all wood does poorly with water, plywood is particularly bad. So basically taking about 4-5" width boards and gluing them together and adding some nails. To get a good bond and a good looking piece it is important to heavily clamp both to the stand itself as well as to the adjacent board.



Wood filler to fill in any gaps (an advance wood-worker with proper tools wouldn't have these issues, but sometimes you just do the best you can with what you got).



Cut the top square and slightly undersized using a circular saw. Then added a thin strip of cherry on all sides as a cherry inset at the top. This is followed by a maple trim piece that mates flush with the sides of the stand. Woodglue only with clamping on these final pieces. Lots of careful measurement and cutting is required to get everything to mate flush.



Followed by a whole lot of sanding to make everything flush and level.



Adding in maple trim to the rest of the stand



This is a good stopping point for now, not quite caught up to current progress though, will continue on a later post.

Last edited by Jorge_Burrito; 05-24-2018 at 06:12 AM. Reason: x
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-14-2018, 03:50 PM
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Stand looks great! Nice work. Following


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2018, 02:29 AM Thread Starter
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Stand Build Continued

The cabinet doors are cherry ply with maple trim glued on. Did not get a photo of these prior to starting to finish them, but this will give you an idea of what they look like.



I do not like an open stand in the back, but their have been numerous times when I wanted better access from the back of the stand. My solution to this is to use T-nuts, which basically allow you to screw in and out the back panel of the stand at will. For the back panel I am jut using cheap 1/4" plywood.



I put in a half shelf on the inside using standard shelf bracket hardware. This gives you some extra storage room while still saving space for taller equipment like a ATO reservoir or a canister filter. Made this from some leftover plywood from the stand bottom. Excuse the mess of shoes in the background.



Everything get sanded down at this point in prep for finishing. Not shown in photo, but then all the sawdust gets vacuumed off and wiped down with isopropyl alcohol using a lint free cloth. You have to get rid of all the sawdust to get a good finish on your wood.



Interior and bottom of the stand gets treated with spar grade polyurethane. Exterior I am using Waterlox, which is a modified tung-oil based finish, that is designed to provide some extra abrasion and water protection versus traditional tung oil based finishes. I really love the way it comes out. Unlike polyurethanes it does not leave a super-thick plasticy layer on the surface of the wood. It is relatively expensive though and not quite as water resistant as some alternative choices, but a trade-off I am willing to make. Below is after a first coat. The blotchiness is pretty typical after first coating, it will go away with subsequent coats.



That catches me up to present. Over next week or so I will apply 3 to 4 more coats of the waterlox. It will then need to fully dry for a week or two before it is ready for use.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-18-2018, 04:18 AM Thread Starter
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Things are looking a lot nicer after 3 coats. Normally you don't have to sand between coats of Waterlox, but the next coat will be the last one so I will go ahead and sand lightly with something like 400 grit just to remove any dust nibs, before applying the last coat this weekend.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-18-2018, 05:29 AM
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I'm in the proces of building my very first tank stand... wish mine looked half as good as yours!

My tanks:

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-23-2018, 11:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbachmann View Post
I'm in the proces of building my very first tank stand... wish mine looked half as good as yours!
We all start somewhere, this is now my fourth stand I've built. One thing I can suggest is finish your stand with a black matte paint, it hides a lot of mistakes or flaws.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-24-2018, 06:09 AM Thread Starter
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The stand is now complete minus some extended dry time. Mounted doors with standard external cabinet hinges...Looking back I wish I would have planned for internal hidden hinges. While certainly not perfect, it came out pretty nice and will match well to the maple/cherry table in the same room. At any rate here it is:









A couple extras to make my life easier were added at this point. The first is eggcrate underneath the top of the stand. Combined with zip ties this will serve as cord management.



The next is a DJ power strip allowing easy on/off of all equipment. Especially useful during water changes.



The last is a magnetic switch coupled to an LED strip. Every-time you open the cabinet door the light will automatically turn on. All aquarium stands should have this or some equivalent version.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-26-2018, 01:30 AM Thread Starter
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Now that the stand is taken care of, I can pay some attention to the aquarium.

Initially I was planning a Iwagumi style layout. I spent a good 2 hours playing with rock layouts and just could not find a hardscape I was happy with. I think a lot of the issue is the tank is tall, with a smaller footprint. For Iwagumi you really want a large footprint to make use of. Ended up adding some wood to the setup now and then used some of Ohko rock as well. Below is what it looks like, will keep it like this for a couple days and if still happy add some plants in. I still intend to keep this reasonably minimalist....largely carpet plants, although might add something a little larger towards the back left corner now and potentially some moss since shrimp always love to pick at moss.

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-03-2018, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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Went ahead and planted. Carpet of HC. Around the wood as a mid height plant put in Alternanthera Reineckii Mini. Stem plants in the corner of Ludwigia Mini. Mini weeping moss on some of the branches of the wood. Will be a dry start to try and establish the HC carpet.





I am rethinking a bit on whether to use CO2 or just dose excel. I want this low maintenance which moves in the dose excel column, but not sure how well some of my plant choices will do with only excel. I have about 90% of the equipment on hand to do the CO2, at the very least I might use CO2 during initial fill to ease the transition. Have some time before I need to make a decision here at any rate.

Last edited by Jorge_Burrito; 06-03-2018 at 08:24 PM. Reason: x
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 09:23 PM
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TBH. You could have a nice non co2 MC carpet. But HC main need is co2 concentration. You would have more enjoyment with a good looking MC carpet rather than a struggling at best HC carpet. Your shrimp are also going to like the non- co2 environment. Hope this helps, Skye (:
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-17-2018, 04:07 AM Thread Starter
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Just a quick update. Stems completely melted, and moss isn't looking all that great. Looking back their is really no reasons to dry start those, should have just waited for the fill. The Alternanthera Reineckii is doing really well, filling in and rooting like crazy. The HC has a little yellowing and localized die off but is also starting to root nicely.



Stand has dried for a couple weeks now so moved the aquarium onto it and stand is now in its final location. I think it has ended up looking like a pretty nice setup.

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