Many people have beautiful tanks with top of the line (and price) equipment, fancy aquariums, rare and hard to find plants and fish. If I had the money for all of those things, there is no doubt in my mind that I would have tanks like that. We all share a hobby that takes true dedication, and can get very expensive at times, but this is a journal meant to showcase the true beauty of DIY/re-purposing/thriftiness. My plan is to set a final budget of $60.00 out of pocket (meaning what I paid for it per setup), and make the most beautiful thing that allows me to, so without further ado here goes nothing
Just a warning...this could be a long read. I am going to detail a lot.
Components and prices:
Old 5.5 gallon---Total cost: $0
I have had it since I was about 14. It was collecting dust in my closet for quite some time (almost 6 years since it had been put in there). I actually had forgotten about it until just a few months ago when I was looking for some other supplies.
"Custom" Azoo Palm Filter---Total cost: $6.41
This little filter needed some extra oomph for a larger body of water than it is meant for. And I also wanted the benefits of active carbon, so I cut a filter pad, folded it tight and added carbon to the pouch. Then for extra space for bacteria to grow I removed some of the intake tube and added a Fluval prefilter (meant for the Edge series)
Two 13watt screw in CLFs and a LED "moonlight" strip---Total cost: $0
These little beauties are mounted in an old "gift" from one of my high school teachers. I was given it because it was "broken" and he was tossing it, so I asked him if I could take a look at it. Low and behold, I was able to bring it back to life despite the power button being broken to bits. Though I have to unplug it every time I turn it on...it shouldn't be an issue once I get a timer for it. The LEDs were an after thought, but since I am going to have it timed and it will probably be turning off before I am really in my room to relax and look at it I wanted to be able to view it before bed. So I went digging in my extra junk and found this set of crummy Top Fin LEDs. They have no worth other than to gently light up the tank, which is perfect for what I wanted. I finished this off by taping the LED strip to the CFL strip and then cutting out a piece of greenhouse roofing plastic to keep them from getting wet and to help with evaporation.
Fine gravel---Total cost: $0
I had a lot of this in my basement from when my siblings had Betta bowls long ago. My mom used to throw it away every 3 months
(makes me cringe). We had a 25lb bag unopened, lucky me.
Mystery package---Total cost: $32.50
I recently ordered my plants for the tank from a fellow user: Adam C. He is putting a special package together to fit my needs and was very helpful. Not exactly sure all that is included yet. Should know soon, when it arrives
TBA---Total cost: <21.09
Obviously it is nothing exciting yet. This was kind of a spur of the moment idea. I had been planning another tank and I knew I wanted some kind of dynamic hardscape. This is exactly what I envisioned, so I definitely think that things are starting out well. I thought this would be a unique idea. Most of my tanks are put together with as little money possible, but this is a special case. I wanted to work on a project where the inhabitants were worth more than all the equipment that went in to making their habitat. I also wanted to make a statement: anyone can enjoy the planted tank hobby, whether it is a college kid ballin' on a budget (ME
) or a multimillionaire that pays someone to service his 500 gallon each month. Some people might think $60.00 is a steep budget but compared to a lot of other things out there I find it pretty cheap. Hopefully everyone can enjoy this journey with me. I will be updating frequently.