Yeah, don't wanna lose any cute li'l guys.
If you ever need proof that lights have different colors and that those colors affect plants, here you go. I have 5 lights over my tank in the DIY light box and those lights are 3 different colors. In the direct middle of the tank is a 100 watt equivalent CFL light (I want to say it's a 5500k, but I'm not positive.) on either side of that light, you can see small circles of blue. Those are 90watt equivalent 6500K grow lights. That's close to the right color temperature but (amazingly) not bright enough for what I need. On the outside ends of the light box are 120 Watt Par38 Outdoor Flood lights. You can see at the ends of the tank that this is the only light that gets to the bottom of the tank as brightly as I'd like. Unfortunately, the color is wrong so it's still not helping the plants as much.
so what does that do to the water and plants? Well, Look at the next picture. Green Water and algae covered plants. No Fun! I'll have to look into other options for light which is really frustrating for me since I worked so hard to build that light box and thought I had a nice mix of color to keep the plants happy while letting it be bright enough for people to enjoy as well. Grrr....
In this shot, you can see the holes I drilled. I will put the outflow from my canister in the diagonally opposite corner, facing the back of the box in hopes of avoiding any low-flow dead spots.
The original plan was to coat the box in sweet water epoxy to water proof it. Home Depot and Lowes don't sell that as far as I can tell, so I went with another plan. I spread clear epoxy around on the wood to fill holes and knots, then scattered white epoxy around the bed to acts as both waterproofing and glue for some black painter's plastic that I'm hoping will keep things waterproof.
In this pic, I have started to lay down the plastic and kind of rub it into place to bond it to the caulk, eliminate as many air bubbles as I can, and get it read to staple and trim. I just kind of threw the black plastic on the box, making sure that the lengthwise fold looked like it was in the middle, then I started smoothing from the middle out. i'm not sure how to fold or trim the plastic to avoid it bunching in the corners, but I'd like to have started at one end and worked my way across, smoothing as I went in order to avoid the air bubbles I still have a few of now.
The other problem I had was a small rip (the white you see in the photo) where one of the sides met the floor and there was an air bubble I was trying to push caulk toward. so I finished pushing caulk towartd it, hoping to fill the hole in the plastic and behind it. Then I caulked more over the top and smoothed it with my finger. Here's hoping it's enough to keep it water-tight.
After I smoothed the caulk and plastic as much as I had patience for, I stapled the plastic to the outside. I didn't do it a consistent distance between staples or anything, just shot the staples into where the plastic looked a bit loose.
Here's the semi-finished product. I will wait for a couple of days for the caulk to set, then I will use a razor blade to cut an "x" into the plastic at the drilled holes and try to install the PVC and DIY bulk heads.
on the location of the Holes I drilled - I kind of wavered between putting the holes halfway up the back wall and putting them where I did. In theory, with the holes halfway up (as I said in a previous post), it would hold some water in the tank if the power died or the filter/pump lost its siphon for some other reason.
This time around, though, instead of making the bulk heads with male and female bushings, I'm making them with female bushings and a Thread to smooth coupling. I think the female couplings will stick up into the grow bed enough that it will hold a small amount of water in the tank still, so I ended up going with holes in the bottom.
here's hoping it holds water. all that's left now is to wait and see.
Also in that last pic, you can see the coffee table/hamster cages that I built. That's just proof that even though I'm having difficulty with this particular project, I CAN actually build diy stuff that works.