Phase 1: Shopping
This phase is the longest, and I'm expecting it to be complete by mid-August 2013. Basically I'm just buying all the materials needed for the scape and all the equipment.
Since I'm going with a high tech setup, the first thing I decided to shop around for was the CO2 regulator. I'm not entirely sure why I started there, but I'm glad I did.
I picked up this rebranded Victor 253 A-1993 from eBay, for my DIY regulator assembly. I still have to purchase the Swagelok fittings and solenoid, but they're coming. I also put an order in with Bill from Ideal Valves, for one of their stainless steel needle valves. After all is said and done this should be a slick looking regulator assembly, in all stainless steel.
I then decided the next step would be to paint the back of my tank black. You can see a little accident in the carpet in the pic above (oops0). I spent some time studying PAR charts, and I decided on getting 100 micromols at a distance of about 18", which would be the lowest point of the substrate. I found a good deal from a guy on eBay who apparently is a distributer of Catalina new old-stock, $179.99 shipped for a new Catalina 4x54w T5HO fixture, with moonlight leds and hinged feet.
I received the fixture the other day, and it looked great, except... they didn't sent it with the moonlights or the feet. Mistakes happen, no biggie. The seller is away until next week, so I'll update on the status of my claim.
Next up, driftwood. I began by scouring these forums, and eventually came across someone's advice to check out Tom Barr's selection on his site, and wow.. He definitely has a good selection, I'd advise everyone to check it out and buy from him. I picked two pieces that he described as "scaper type" pieces, and received them a week later. They cost me $45, and $35 shipping from Sacramento to NYC.
I've set them in the tank pretty much how I want them to be. I'll probably start the initial soaking and leeching of tannins in about two weeks. I don't have much space in my place, like I said, so they will have to soak in-tank.
Here's a closeup of the "root" structure. Sharp eyed people will also spot the 20g on the bottom rack. That's going to be my quarantine tank, when all is said and done. Subscribe for more updates!
Until next time..
How could I forget my haul from the beach yesterday? Found these awesome stones yesterday at Jones Beach.
This is after boiling them, giving them a good scrub, soaking in a bleach solution, scrubbing again, H2O2 bath, scrubbing, rinsing, drying.