I wanted to share my recent experience with building my first custom stand for my first dirted planted tank. I have been working on this for roughly a month now and it feels really good to see it all come together.
I have learned alot with the building of the stand, so hopefully next time I will not make some of the same mistakes. There is some very good inspiration on this site, so I took bits and pieces from what I could tell and I think I came out very well.
To start I made the top and bottom of the stand and vertical pieces to get the height I wanted. I stated with 36 inches, but ended up cutting it down to 33 inches, due to make everything fit better.
I attached additional support to the vertical members, which gave it the strength and weight. Some could be see this as overkill, but with the tank standing 3 feet tall I wanted to ensure a sturdy base. I did not take photos of that stage, but this photo of the back shows the frame.
I found a cheap 1/4 inch sheet of plywood and covered the front and sides. I could have gone with something nicer, but I had the intention of painting it from the beginning so cost won out. If I had wanted to stain the wood, I wood have choosen Oak for both the plywood and the trim.
I learned my lesson here with the paint. I should have painted the plywood and the trim seperately before attaching it to the frame, but it worked out ok. I had to tape off the each section twice to get the right coverage. Finally I finished it with a few layers of clear coat for durability.
I was trying to figure out how to do the door, whether I wanted hinges, one door, two doors, but I thought that all too difficult. So what I ended up going with is a removable door with magnets. I think it really was the best decision.
After moving everything into the house, I had to make sure the stand was level (crossing between hardwood and carpet (yikes)). I did put a 1/4 inch sheet of styrofoam between the tank and the stand to ease any stress on the tank from potential pressure points or leveling issues.
I added one bag of MGOCPM mixed with 1 pound of Redart Clay and 1 pound of Dolomite. The drift wood has been soaking for roughly 6 months and it still doesn't sink. So I attached it to pieces of granite I had granite I had laying around.
I attached some java fern to the wood as well as anubias nana. I also planted the larger plants before capping it with Pool Filter Sand. Plants include Melon Sword, Vallisneria, and a variety of Bacopa.
I use a heavy duty plastic to fill without distrubing the sand.
The remaining plants include Crypt Parva, Dwarf Pennywort, and Tiger Lotus. I wish I was better with scientific names. If you see something that doesn't look right, or if you can identify them, please let me know.
Let me know what you all think!