I made the hour or so drive to a neighboring Petsmart to grab what seemed like a decent deal. It is an Aqueon 125 gallon tank, with stand, glass lids, and LED lights for ~$400 (ignore the sticker, the sale sticker is MIA).
I was pricing used tanks on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, LetGo, etc. They were all in the $200+ range. Most of the $200 ones looked questionable as well. Many were asking more than this setup new! So I went ahead and took the leap. I'm particularly excited about the 1/4" glass lids, with hinges and handles!
I have some leftover acrylic to cut for the rear pieces. I'll cut them to side, make arrangements for the plumbing, and then paint them black.
I'm impressed with the reccomendations actually. I didn't go with a FX6, but it is a good filter. A couple of 300w heaters, conditioner, 200lbs+ of substrate; not bad at all!
I did pick up some Seachem Matrix. I know it is basically just pumice, but I didn't need much more than a gallon of bio media. This is likely overkill anyway.
Popped a few holes in the bottom.
Commenced the draining! I always recommend cleaning out matrix or pumice. As it travels, it rubs itself into a fine dust.
My tank shall utilize only the finest Chinese
filtration available, a pair of 304bs. For my stocking, one may have been enough. But I think the mirrored lay out and additional water flow will be nice.
Onto the lengthiest portion of the whole tank setup, cycling. I've done this before and it worked, so I loaded up the baskets of one of the SunSuns.
And hooked it up in a bucket! Dumped in some ammonia from Ace Hardware and started to wait.
The stand that came with the tank will be cannibalized. This will be the last time it appears as is in this thread. The plan will unfold shortly! I liked the styling and the cabinet doors/decorative sides. So I will utilize those. I don't care for the pressed board 1x4 uprights holding my 1,500 lb tank. I've seen plenty use this stand and it is a mass produced production model, but I just don't trust it. Plus, I need it to be about 10" taller to work within the space I plan to utilize. A half custom stand and a DIY hood will be in the works. I need to get the tank place somewhere else to water test it for a week or so before it moves indoors.