240 gallon square "Thai-o-tope" journal - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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240 gallon square "Thai-o-tope" journal

Now that the tank is up and running, though lightly stocked, it is finally time to post this up. Much of my plant knowledge and inspiration for this project came from this site (mostly a lurker up to this point...) and I'm proud of what it has become. Enjoy!

I have wanted to do a "cube" tank for sometime now. We have the perfect spot in the basement for a 4' tank with one wall shared with the laundry room(has a floor drain and water source), and have kept my eyes open for one locally for a couple years. Over the summer I found a custom 4x4x2 acrylic tank with overflow for a good price, and still wrapped in plastic no less. After convincing the wife that there would be nothing better than an impressive aquarium to fill in that void-of-a-corner in the basement (easier said than done) we went and picked up the beast.

Originally, this tank was purchased with an SPS reef in mind, both by the guy who had it made 3 years ago, as well as myself over the summer. In both instances money became the limiting factor in getting things set-up and running. I decided rather than let it sit in the basement until funding could be had, I would set it up as a low-tech planted asian biotope tank tank instead. No CO2, 1 175 watt 10K halide, all adaptable or low light plants (wisteria, crypts, Crinum thaianum, java fern and java moss). The idea is a "cheap", low maintinance show tank. Stocklist includes SAEs of course, assorted gouramis, a large shoal of harlequin rasboras, and possibly bala sharks. All easy to get, realatively cheap hardy fish.

So on with the stand build. I used pressure treated 4"x4"s for the legs, 2"x6"s and part of my old waterbed frame for the rest of the wood, and galvanized 3" screws.

Here are the detailed plans.


I tend to write very few details down when I build things aside from general dimensions. I'm not sure why, but it has caused me very few problems. I just like picturing the finished product, and building as I go. The stand was built 30" tall, so the thing can be removed from the house without any major deconstruction needed.

I made the frames for two sides first.


Then attached the other 2x6s, being sure everything was square often.
I added a cross support with wood from an old waterbed frame, and attached this to one side only so I could have easy access to the bulkheads for plumbing and also for more accessible storage.


Diagonal supports were placed on the two sides I would not need to work on or through once the tank was plumbed and the stand was faced.


I didn't get a shot if it, but I used a 4'x4' piece of 3/4" ply for the stand top, and then a 1/2" piece of insulation under the tank.

At this point, I pulled out the cable/phone gang box and ran all plumbing through this very convenient whole in the wall.


Shot of "back-of-house" plumbing.


Then the first fill.


No leaks (at least at first, I caused some later when I drained it and moved the tank around a bit, cracked a bulkhead.....dumb idea). The tank sat for a while like this to sink a 5 ft piece of manzanita, and because facing the stand cost MUCH more than building the structure itself.

About a month later, I bought the wainscoting and molding to face the stand. I wanted a boxed-in look, and made it with crown molding. I really like how it turned out. The last 18" closest to the wall was made as a hidden access door, and slides into place. This was made by gluing a few pieces of the wainscoting together and the trim on the side. It slips into place very nicely, and gives me enough room to completely climb under the stand if I need to.

Door off


...and on


I decided to go with black semi-gloss, and really like how it looks.


Now the hood was a little tricky. I wanted to have easy access to every corner of the tank, without reaching through, around, or over anything hood related. I came to the conclusion that two fully removable panles of sorts would work very well. Each of these would be attached to the top with industrial strength velcro, and could be removed and replaced in a matter of seconds.

I built the frames out of 2x4s, and faced them with wainscoting and the same crown molding.


From the inside.


Finished


And painted


The velcro holds very well, but to keep the two panels flush together at the corner, I did add additional support across the inside corner with a small strap.

More to come soon. Comments/suggestions are appreciated, and questions are welcome.

-Evan
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 06:36 PM
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this is going to be an awesome build i cant wait to see it up and running. where are you gonna find 4 foot long tweezers?
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 06:55 PM
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Very nice looking set up and build.
The only thing I may have done differently is maybe notched the 4x4 uprights to accept and hold the 2x6's, or placed some upright 2x4's at the corners between the 2x6's to help support them. As it is a lot of your load is being placed on the screws holding the 2x6's rather than the structure itself.


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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 06:55 PM
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Nice build! Consider me subscribed, I can't wait to see it progress.


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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 07:01 PM
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hoho this sounds like a kewl thread, subscribed

hey...my algae pearls
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by MrJG View Post
Nice build! Consider me subscribed, I can't wait to see it progress.
me too!
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 07:58 PM
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Awesome build!

(What's up with all the little boxes? )





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- Next meeting Monday, Oct 13, 2014 @ 7:15pm- See ya there!

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 10:00 PM
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Very nice. I thought the stand looked good unpainted.
How do I subscribe?
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-30-2008, 11:31 PM
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Great Job! Holy cow. . .with a tank that big, you need pictures at least daily; I say that because you will soon see how members will soon ask for pictures of every square inch of this tank every minute of this thread's existence!!!

Ehfipimp #340!!!
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone, that work completed in that first post was spread out over about 2.5-3 months on days off, and really went pretty smoothly.

Jinx - I am not too worried about the load, most if it is supported by the vertical 4x4s, and each joint is held by 5-7 screws. Though this isn't an extremely overbuilt stand, it is more than enough for this project.

lauraleellbp - The little boxes were a convenient way to paint the stand and not the tank/walls/carpet.

NstyN8 - you can subscribe in the thread tool drop down at the top of the page.

fishboy87 - I do have quite a few pics, but most of them are of the stand/hood build. I haven't taken too many of the scape yet, as it isn't finished and still needs A LOT of planting yet, but I will be posting up to where I am now later today.

-Evan
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 02:23 PM
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On 2nd read I noticed that you said you put 3/4" plywood on the top. I missed that the first time around, and you're right it should be pretty well supported the way you have it.


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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-02-2008, 06:30 AM Thread Starter
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After the fill, and the 2 weeks for the manzanita piece to sink, I collected rocks locally, and played with the hardscape for a while. I had planned on not having a long list of plants, this was meant to be a simple scape, and I think it is turning out to be just that. I wanted a nice thick stand of wisteria to fill in the entire back corner, and divided the bottom with this in mind.



Didn't take many pictures during the next stage, but I did a nice think layer of peat under two 6 gallon buckets of gently rinsed Aquariumplants.com substrate, then 2 bags of eco complete from a tank that I tore down many months ago in the back corner. This sat and aged for about a month, and the manzanita grew a nice thick layer of fungus on it during this time. I did a few 100% water changes, and pulled the wood once to dry it out to sand off the bark, hoping to limit the amount of fungal growth. It did come back a little, but the first fish I added, 2 T. trichopteris gouramis I had been keeping in a 10 gal seemed to relish it, and it was gone in a matter of days.

I had to get a little creative to stock a 240 with almost no money. I was able to harvest quite a bit of wisteria and a good number of C. wendtii plantlets from one of the exihibits I maintain at work, a 210 gallon with native endangered least chub, Iotichthys phlegethontis - high light/CO2. The wisteria grows like a weed in there, and the mother crypt is very well established, so I toss out quite a bit of it regularly. I'm glad I chose these plants a year ago when I set that tank up. I had no intention of setting this tank up at home at that point. These plants along with the 2 Crinum thaianum I had growing in a RCS tank went in as well at this time, a couple weeks ago. The wisteria has grown quickly, and the tallest few are starting to grow out of the top already (about 4" from the top when I planted it), and the wendtii still looks very healthy, no melting.

I had 10 rasboras that I had purchased a while back in anticipation of getting this going, and they were added the same day I planted. The next two mornings they spawned for about 2-3 hours.. I am not running RO at all, and Utah water is very hard. Parameters are TDS=360 ppm, KH=16 degrees, 78 degrees, pH 7.6. Kinda surprised me after reading about the conditions they normally spawn in. The two gouramis had a feast!! It was a good was to start this tank up.

I also breed snakes, and was able to trade in a small lot of cornsnakes at the LFS. I used this to purchase a very large piece of malaysian driftwood, and the first group of fish -
4 moonlight gouramis
30 harlequin rasboras
1 SAE (was all he could get in at the time....)
1 skunk loach
1 red-tail shark
1 male betta splendens
Would have picked up more then, but I didn't have room to hold them all in quarantine first.

So I did a two week quarantine on these and they all went into the tank a few days ago. So here is the tank as it sits now (I really need to work on my aquarium photo skills....) The driftwood has added a tinge to the water, and diatoms are very apparent, but the plant growth has been good so far. The wisteria seems to have adapted to no CO2 pretty well.

From one viewable side




...and the other




The front corner that is unplanted as of yet will be other various crypts, and much more java fern will be attached to the manzanita. I plan on adding at least 70 more rasboras, 6-8 more SAEs, some sparkling gouramis, and eventually snakeskin gouramis when I can find them. I still have quite a bit of store credit left, so I should be able to get most of the rasboras with that. I do need the SAEs in there soon though, and more plants. I'd rather not deal with too much algae.

Here's a shot with one hood panel off. I angled the halide a bit, and really like the shimmer as well as the point of reference effect the single halide gives.


Thanks for looking!
-Evan
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-02-2008, 07:17 AM
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Gorgeous! Very jealous over here

110 Tall in progress!


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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-02-2008, 07:20 AM
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very good.


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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 12-02-2008, 11:32 AM
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Dude, that tank build rocks.

You need plants!! Lots and Lots of plants!!

You could use about 100 more rasboras, although, this would be a killer Discus tank.

What pumps are you using from the sump? Is that two outflows I see?


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