75g aquarium and glass top: FREE
Wood stand: FREE
Rena XP3 filter: $120.00 (great sale at Big Als awhile back)
Multiple Duetto100 and 50 filters: $15-$20 each (Drs. Foster & Smith)
50 lbs Black Blasting Sand: $6.99 (Menards)
4'x2' eggcrate: $11.4 (Menards)
Two boxes of slate tile: $15.90 (Menards)
Plants: $20 (Aquabid, Planted Aquariums Central, PT swap n shop)
Jager 300w heater: $22.50 (Drs. Foster & Smith)
Grapevine: ~$15 (Petco)
Digital Thermometer: $7 (Drs. Foster Smith)
First, I rinsed out the tank. Since it came from a trusted source and she'd done a great job cleaning it up, this didn't take too long.
Then, I cut the eggcrate to fit perfectly in the bottom of my tank and put it in. After rinsing the sand (black blasting sand is a PAIN to wash and since the particles are sharp, injuries are possible), I put that in the bottom, completely covering the eggcrate.
I then filled the tank with water, hooked up the filter, and was done for the first day. I put a bit of fish food since I hadn't been able to find pure ammonia to feed the filter.
The second day, I managed to find pure ammonia. Dumped in WAY too much.
The third day, I did a large water change to reduce the ammonia.
Next, I cut a small piece of eggcrate and put the roots of my vals through it:
After that, I put it in the tank, weighed down with some grapevine (this has been sitting in another tank for years, so it's waterlogged. It took A LONG TIME to get the grapevine waterlogged):
Next, I covered up the eggcrate with sand:
And here's where I stand:
Next, I plan on building the slate caves and putting them in. Additional plants should be here this week or next week, and the mbuna are arriving on February 15th!
I am still deciding on plants: as of right now, there will be vals, java fern, anubias, and amazon sword. I have a few more plants I ordered for a low light 20g long that might become high light so I might throw those in there, too.