I debated whether I should start a tank journal when I do not have a tank yet in the actual journal. Eventually I decided that folks might enjoy seeing progress of a complete build starting from scratch so here it is. If this is inappropriate I will remove it.
So it begins. The Wife has been cajoled (coerced/lovingly persuaded) into allowing a 120 gallon tank. I have had fish off and on since I was a child. Never a larger tank and only recently have I been keeping plants. My current tank and the one The Wife thinks of as the perfect size is a Fluval Spec V.
Meanwhile I also stumbled into the realm of native fish keeping. Specifically north american native fish. I am quite taken with the idea so while my tank will not be a true biotope since its unlikely all animals and plants will be found in the same location, all plants and animals will be native to the continental United States.
The reasoning for going this route is that 1) I think it will be neat, 2) I find it a fun way to really focus how I go about designing the aquascape and choosing stock, and 3) I can catch my own fish, and find my own plants in the wild, which is fun!
Regarding the actual tank, it will be 4 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet. And hopefully I will be making it myself. However, I am conducting an experiment currently with concrete to determine whether I can use concrete for 2 of the 5 walls of the tank. If successful I will be going that route and making my own tank. The Wife has however given the go ahead to purchase a glass rimless tank should the concrete experiment fail. So one way or another I am getting a 120 gallon tank.
Filtration will be a DIY sump that will feature a moving bed with K1 Micro for biological filtration. I am attempting to come up with a good way to silently use K1 Micro for a static bed for mechanical filtration as well the way pond people do. The sticking point is the "silent" part of this. I suppose I should mention a cornerstone of my build is that everything needs to be silent. To that end I will not be using air to move my K1 for the moving bed. Instead I will be using water. My moving bed will be held in a 3 gallon cylinder of some kind (likely a 12 quart food service container) so that the jet of water used to move the bed will spiral around the cylinder. Thus I should need less force to move my "bed". If I can't find a good way to use static k1 for mechanical then I will be using filter socks submerged to do my mechanical filtration.
Lighting will be a DIY COB solution that will be suspended above the tank. Substrate will likely be decomposed granite if I can find a good supplier near me. CO2 will be an experiment as well. I am going to use a 10lb tank with a reactor. I saw a brief video describing a "gas contactor cone" and really liked the idea. I am going to try and make one out of common pvc parts. It obviously won't be a perfect cone but I think it will work well enough for my purposes.
I will also be using a bean animal style overflow system but minus the actual overflow. I just plan to use the pipes for a quiet and reliable sump intake.
So while I am waiting on my concrete experiment to succeed or fail, I have not been idle. I am going to need a stand for this tank. To that end I am making one myself. I watched a LOT of videos on youtube of folks building stands and came up with a few variations for my own needs. I am using pocket holes to put the stand together. I am also using construction braces as well because.. well they are cheap and just seem like a really good idea. All joints are glued as well because glue is good. I just finished up the frame a few minutes ago so here it is:
So next up will be wrapping the frame in plywood. I am going to be adding a few architectural details in the form of some trim. The door will be held in place hopefully with rare earth magnets. The plan is to use enough of them to make it difficult/impossible for a small child to open. I plan to use a simple sliding method for adults to open the access door. Also visible in the picture are some parts for the CO2 reactor. Obviously the 4" pipe needs to be cut down a bit. The top of the stand will be made of concrete because I am having fun with concrete and I think it will look really neat to have a 2" concrete top. I plan to reinforce the concrete with glass fibers. I will likely also dye the concrete a little darker then normal. The stand will be painted white hopefully with a milk(style) paint. Dependent on whether I find a good primer or paint with decent waterproofing.
Hopefully this will be enjoyable build for folks. Clearly I am not afraid to experiment and see if something works or fails. If folks have ideas or feedback I am very open to it. I also really like to experiment with new ideas/concepts, so even if folks think something won't work; I may try it anyway just for the fun of it.