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?