I've been wanting a bigger tank for a long time. When I bought my 36g tank, the wife was not happy, so it's taken me a while to convince her to let me get something bigger. But I finally have it. I got a 75g on sale at Petco and have been working the last couple of months to get it up and going.
My first task was to build a stand for it. I don't really like how flimsy the store stands seem and I like a project that is a little challenging. So I looked up a lot of DIY designs for custom stands and mostly followed what was out there. I didn't take many pictures of the original build, but here are a couple.
I also really wanted to do T5HO lighting on this tank, but I knew hanging them, or any other unasthetic mounting option was not going to fly. So I decided to build a custom hood as well, so it could all be hidden inside. I looked around and found @Greggz
had built one that looked really nice and was very functional as well. As always, he was more than happy to help out and gave me lots of information and pictures of his build, that I was able to use to build mine.
I decided to paint it black, just because I like black. Here's the final product.
I spent a while trying to decide on a T5HO fixture that wouldn't break the bank. I was going to buy 4 Sunblasters. I had them in the cart and was about to hit the purchase button. And then I though to check the dimensions. They were 48" long and I only had 48.5" to work with. That would have been fine, except the power connection to them is on the end. So I had to find something else. I ended up buying 2 AgroFlex T5HO 42 fixtures. I knew with the reflectors they would be too wide to fit in the hood, but I figured I could make some modifications. I also had to get creative with the mounting as they didn't have any way to mount them flush to the hood.
As you can see I had to trim down the reflector on the one side of each fixture, essentially making it into one big refelector. And then for the mounting, I punched holes in the reflector and drilled holes through the top of the hood so that i could run a wire across the fixture and up through the hood where I secured it to some screws. Not the most elegant solution, but none of it will really be seen.
Finally got it moved into the house last week. This will be it's final home.
For hardscape, I really wanted some nice interesting pieces of wood. I was able to find some nice Malaysian driftwood at my local LFS. For rock, I went with some local black lava rock I was able to gather. In the past I've used BDBS as my substrate, which I've really liked, but with the dark wood and black rocks, I just didn't think it would look great. And I've always loved the look of the lighter sand. So I went with pool filter sand. I may hate myself later when it requires more maintenance to keep looking clean, but i like the way it looks. I played around with the wood and rock and came up with many different options for the scape. But here is the one I finally settled on.
Finally filled the tank up a couple of days ago. Got the heater, filter (SunSun 304b), and powerhead for flow setup. Moved media over from my other filter to hopefully get the cycle done quickly. I had planned on moving most of the plants from my previous tank over, since I will have to take it down eventually. But that tank is filled with Malaysian trumpet snails.....thousands of them. And I really don't want them in this tank if I can help it. So last night I pulled out a few stems of everything and put them in an Alum dip for several hours. Luckily MTS are livebearers so I didn't have to worry about eggs. But the babies can be very small. So, hopefully the Alum did it's job. I did manually inspect them all and removed anything I could find, even if they probably were dead. I rinsed them all off in dechlorinated water and put them in the tank. Didn't really put a lot of thought into where things would go yet. Just kind of threw them in where they seemed to fit for now. I'm sure I will be tinkering with them for months.
The water is a little cloudy and has some tannins in it still from the wood. I'm working on recharging my purigen right now to hopefully help clear it up. Tonight I will hopefully be moving the CO2 setup over to this tank. I've never been really pleased with the way my DIY griggs had worked in the past. I put the co2 input in the middle instead of at the top like it should be. So I figured now was the time to fix that. So I rebuilt it with the co2 up higher towards the top and I made it longer....24" instead of the 18" it was before. Hopefully this will efficiently dissolve the co2 so i can get a good ph drop on this bigger tank. I also have another order of plants coming today that i will be adding. And then I just need to wait until I'm confident the cycle is done so I can move the fish over. I'll try and get a full list of equipment, plants, and stocking put up soon.
Also if anyone has any ideas for a more descriptive interesting title for this journal, please let me know. I don't really know how to describe my tank style.