Some sort of 75 gallon (no pics yet) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-24-2008, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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Some sort of 75 gallon (no pics yet)

Hey everyone,

I mostly lurk around due to shyness, but I'm in a social mood, so I'll share instead! I feel like chatting about my 75 gallon I'm planning / starting. I'll most likely add some pics once there's something to see.

I decided to upgrade my 55 to a 75 purely for the shape. I don't like the visual narrowness of the 55, and my boyfriend doesn't like the unsteadiness of that profile. So I shopped around and was about to drop the hundreds required for some brand new stuff, when I found a deal on craigslist. It's a predrilled 75 with a stand and sump for $150. I'm planning low light and no CO2, so I'm not too worried about the inclusion of a sump.

The tank is in good shape, but is on the old side - braced with a panel of glass. It's got minimal scratches and some hard water stains. I think the seals are ok, but I'll definately do a complete leak test before I trust them. I think I'm more likely to replace the seals due to algea built up on them than reliability, since they seem rubbery and I know the tank was holding water up until about a week before I bought it. And if the only motivation is visual, I won't bother since I'll just grow algea on new seals anyway.

The built in overflow acrylic piece is cracked and was repaired with silicone. It's the seal between the acrylic and glass that looks least reliable. The stand needs work - one of the supports along the bottom was weak and falling off. So I'll be fixing that up and restaining for the next weekend or two.

I couldn't find a light that I liked, so I decided to DIY it. I decided to do NO T5s with individual reflectors. My reasoning is that I might as well get as much light as I can out of each bulb, but I want the lights to be cool and energy efficient (I have 8 tanks and computers, plus a top floor appartment that gathers heat in the summer, driving the AC pretty hard - so my energy bill doesn't need to be higher). I've got all the parts together - just need a hood to mount it in. I will probably build something simple out of wood and stain to match the stand. I'm hoping to keep it simple and lightweight, but ideally I'll include some hinges so I can get at the tank without removing the whole thing (which is what I have to do now). My Dad is going to help me with both the stand repair and light, so I'm not too worried about any trouble there.

I've got some plain topsoil for the base layer of the substrate, and I've sifted it with a collander to get the big chunks out. I'm debating still between sand and gravel to top the soil. If sand, I'll use pool filter sand. My biggest concern with that is the light and uniform color. I know exactly what gravel I would use if I go that route, but it's aquarium gravel and is about $1 per lb instead of $1 per 10 lbs, and I'm guessing I'd need around 50 lbs. All in all, I'm pretty excited, despite the slow pace of this project.

When all is said and done, I'll be moving the 2 bichirs and 2 three spot gourami from the 55 to the 75. I'll probably add another 2 or 3 female gourami, since the male beats on the female pretty frequently (I used to have 2 females, but one passed on so now it's just a m/f pair). I have a few algea covered plants in there now, but they're not doing well and I mostly grow algea. That and pond snails.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-24-2008, 01:34 AM
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I look forward to some pics The bracing is called eurobracing I believe, which is commonly used for acrylic tanks


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-29-2008, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
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Whoo hoo. Some more rambling.

We worked on the stand this weekend (sorry, forgot my camera when we did this). We finished part of the structural repair at my dad's, and he offered to finish some of the gluing that wasn't done. The bulk of the repair was to replace the bottom boards that were too warped and weak to hold anymore. Cost was $40. Only about $20 in wood, but another 20 in misc costs like glue, screws, etc. We did some sanding too, using my dad's electric sander, and we'll be using some stuff he already has for sealing the wood too. Should be able to finish that up next weekend.

Then I'll need to do a leak test. I haven't quite figured out the best way to leak test the tank, since I live in an apartment and it's really too heavy to take to my parents to test it outside with a hose. So I may end up using my bathroom and trusty python - which is a little worrisome, but if I do it on the weekend while I can keep a close eye on it, hopefully all will go well.

Once I'm past that point, I need to get the light together. I think I may end up building a hood for it. I just wish I could find something cheap and convenient for the housing, rather than building it out of wood. I particularly want to keep it easy to get into the tank, which means including hinges if I build it out of wood. But in a lot of ways, I like that better than something lightweight that has to be constantly removed and placed on the floor for even small maintenence duties. We'll see.

After getting the light ready, all I have to do is move 3 or 4 tanks, likely placing them around my aparment on the floor (temporarily), set up the new tank, leak test the sump connection and replace anything problematic there, then order plants so that I have enough for a good start. I'm really looking forward to that part, but not so much the bits before it.

I wish I didn't have to wait so long to get this going, seeing as I'm not very patient. Luckily I have a terrible sense of time and so a month from now I'll be surprised it wasn't just a week.

Total cost so far:

Tank / stand : 150
stand repair: 40
ballast (with shipping): 30
light stuff : 100
That includes: 2 reflectors (expensive! 18 each!), 2 light bulbs ( 12 each), endcaps, a power cord, and shipping (rounding a bit)

I'm estimating costs to continue with
gravel: 60 (I'm leaning towards this, at least at the moment)
plants: 100 (I'll probably just order a bunch from some website, and try to set a limit for myself. Biggest factor will be deciding if this budget should include shipping or not)
hood: 50 (total shot in the dark)

Then I might have everything up and going!

Hmm, now I'll guess at the timeline (most of the work, of course, will be during weekends). Note that this will be sequential, rather than concurrent, most likely:
1 more week for the stand
1 week for leak test and moving all those other tanks out of the way
2 weeks for light hood
1 week for plants

Since the current setup is a 55 with 2 20s underneath, this will leave me with 2 20s floating around with no where to go. I have plans for that, but it'll surely take another couple months to decide exactly what I want and start making the changes.

I'm not really short on money or time, I just take forever to make decisions and actually get things done. Sigh. But I am pretty happy that this is moving forward, considering the 2+ months between deciding to upgrade the tank and actually buying a tank to use.

I think I'll go without hardscape in this guy (at least for now). I'm not really feeling a call for driftwood (got plenty of that in with my royal plec, and it can be messing considering the potential for rot and tanins). I'd like to have some nice large and dramatic rocks, but I haven't spotted any suitable for a 75, or even the 55. The ones at the LFS are far too small, better for 10 and 20g tanks. I've checked numerous landscaping stores, but haven't yet found much variety, and nothing I like. I'm not even sure what type of rockwork I'd like, but I know I haven't found it yet. So rather than mess with something I don't really like, I'll do without for now. 'Sides, if I delayed the tank until I got some rocks I liked, it could be next summer before I made any more progress.

Now that I've spewed some unsorted thoughts out onto the screen, feel free to read only parts of it, or none, since this will hopefully be much more interesting once I have pics. I 'spose I could take pics of the empty tank taking up 1/2 my open floor space, but honestly, I just don't think that's exciting enough to be worth the effort. Can you tell I'm lazy?
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-29-2008, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
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Wow I babble way too much. Enjoy ramblings if you're so inclined.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-29-2008, 04:00 AM
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Heh. Ya ain't got nothing on me yet... I lost count of the # of pages in my Journal, I've been going at mine since Februrary so I got a bit of a head start.

Look forward to seeing it all come together.

You should check out Mineralized Soil for your substrate- there's a great thread going in the Substrate forum right now.

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