Top Three best DIY projects - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-12-2006, 07:45 AM Thread Starter
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Top Three best DIY projects

We all do DIY for different reasons, However in terms of Bang for the buck or cost savings,

What are the top Three DIY projects?

1 Stand
2 CO2 Reactor
3 ODNO lighting

If you have a link please post it
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-12-2006, 04:20 PM
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Building your own stand is probably the biggest money saver of all. You get a strong stand, that looks like you want it to look, for much less than half the cost of a comparable stand from the LFS.

Building a hood is another big money saver, but only if you want more complexity than a simple box - AHS pre-made hoods aren't that expensive. If you want to design it so you can fold open the top, incorporate cooling fans, have it fit the exact shape of the top of the tank, etc., then a DIY hood is a money saver.

A CO2 reactor is a slam dunk for saving money. You can build an external reactor using a few cheap hardware store plastic plumbing parts and it will work as well as anything you can buy ready-made. If you want something that fits in the tank, a Tom Barr Internal Venturi reactor can be made for just a bit more than the cost of a cheap powerhead. Again, you can save significant dollars this way.

Bubble counters are something that can be made at almost no cost at all.

You can make an ADA type "drop checker" for measuring the CO2 in the water for virtually no cost, if you already have a pH test kit.

So, the best DIY project depends entirely on what you need, what tools you have, what skills you have, and how much value you put on the joy of making it yourself.

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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-12-2006, 10:49 PM
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The best one is the one you need and do.
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-12-2006, 10:51 PM
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-12-2006, 11:00 PM
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My personal Top 3?

1) Autodoser
2) Autodoser
3) Autodoser

Hoods with DIY lighting are very good ones, stands yes, if you have some basic woodworking capabilities. Auto water change / top-off is great.


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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 01:31 PM
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I agree with you that those are probably the top money saving DIY projects. I also have to agree with wasserpest that Auto Water Changers, and Auto Dosers are probably the biggest time saving DIY projects.

When it comes to CO2, the DIY Yeast is infinately cheaper, but requires much more time & maintenance than the much more costly pressurized CO2 systems.

But we all have the same goal with DIY and that is to save or improve on something...
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 05:46 PM
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DIY = Tinkering.

DIYers = tinkerers

DIY is fun and when done well, satisfying.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 06:23 PM
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DIY stand & hood on my 40 long:


And my DIY hood with ODNO, moonlights, and fans for my 75g plant tank:

Construction pics and info

Next new DIY project will be custom wet/dry trickle filter and also DIY cont siphon overflow box.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 07:31 PM
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That is a great website for building a light fixture. I bookmarked it, even though I have sworn off doing that again.

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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 07:32 PM
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I disagree on the stand. I think you're better off just buying a stand unless you already have all the woodworking tools. I don't think you can make a stand that looks as nice as an already built one unless you're an experienced craftsman. You can definitely make a stand for cheap, but it ain't gonna look as nice as one that's got nice mitred edges with routed inlays, etc.

I think a canopy/light box is a good DIY project. The AH supply kits allow you to make one that puts out a lot of light. It may be easier to start with something premade and you just customize it, though.

I personally think most of the best DIY projects involve all the plumbing, mechanical, and electrical stuff. Reactors, auto top-off, CO2 systems, etc. A DIY sump from a small tank is a good one if you're contemplating a sump. Moonlights are another.

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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 08:37 PM
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I would think a lot of us DIYers have woodworking tools and experience but your right, its only cost effective if you already have pretty much all the equipment. And also correct on having the skill to make it look as good as pre-made ones, although I have seen stands made completely out of MDF without any fancy routered edges (might have had 45* bevel just from the saw) that was painted black that looked very nice contemporary look for cheap.

Woodworking tools I used for stand/canopy:
-Sliding miter saw (but there are cheaper saws that will work)
-Table saw (for making longer cuts than the miter can)
-Air nailer & air stapler (could have done it all with screws and drill/screwdrive but the air nailer makes it go quicker)
-Drill (with bits for drilling, screwing, and countersinking)
-Misc clamps: pipe clamps, bar clamps, c-clamps
-Sander
-Measuring stuff: tapes, rulers, squares
-and of course your hardware, and finishing supplies

Thats the majority of stuff i can think of off hand, I am sure there were more tools utilized... projects seem to always need stuff you dont have or cant find

Note: dont expect to make a nice looking stand for a 4' tank out of cherry or walnut or some fancy hardwood for cheap. When your using hardwoods your mostly paying for the wood and probably will run you a couple hundred or so for all the wood for something like a 75G. I like the country look of just pine and the cost savings, so far thats all I used for my larger projects, but maybe someday some nice curly maple, or chery with walnut inlays...
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 10:09 PM
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Years ago, a old guy (before I was an old guy) told me that in doing a DIY project, always use the opportunity to buy a good tool for the job. The cost of that tool plus the material will almost always be less than the cost of ready made, and you soon end up with a well equipped shop. I did that religiously for several years and did end up with a very well equipped shop.

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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-17-2006, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy loaches View Post
DIY stand & hood on my 40 long:


And my DIY hood with ODNO, moonlights, and fans for my 75g plant tank:

Construction pics and info

Next new DIY project will be custom wet/dry trickle filter and also DIY cont siphon overflow box.
Nice job on the stand & hood.
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-19-2006, 06:25 PM
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"I disagree on the stand. I think you're better off just buying a stand unless you already have all the woodworking tools. I don't think you can make a stand that looks as nice as an already built one unless you're an experienced craftsman. You can definitely make a stand for cheap, but it ain't gonna look as nice as one that's got nice mitred edges with routed inlays, etc."

My big DIY project I am planning is an 8' by 2' by 2' glass plywood tank with a stand and a custom built canopy. The only power tools I will use in the construction will be a skill saw and a cordless drill. You don't really need a table saw, you can duplicate any cut you could make on a table saw, with a skill saw and a straight edge. The only real exception is if you want to cut moulding, then a chop saw or a sliding compound mitre saw come in handy, but if you have the patience and the skill a hand saw will do the job too. Maybe I am making this sound too easy since I am a carpenter, but I really think at the very least almost everyone has access to these few simple wood working tools. I mean a cordless drill?!? I think every house hold should have one, I,d be lost without mine..

My top three DIY projects are as above. You may not save too much money on building your own stand, depending on what you want, but I think if your going to build your own canopy and tank, you may as well build the matching stand too.

I think building my own glass plywood tank will prove to be the most cost effective part to build myself. To buy an all glass tank of the equivelent size would probably cost around a $1000, and I am planning on spending less than $500 to build my own.

And the canopy is definatly a money saver. For me to buy a light for this size tank would cost around $400 to $500 thats just the light, forget about the canopy. By making it yourself you can build it to suit your exact needs and include any features you consider important.

I think the bottom line to consider is any DIY project may take some time and patience, but you will get what you want in the end and you will most definatly save some money.
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-19-2006, 07:03 PM
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You are right about the need for a table saw, drill press, jointer, etc. Years ago I built a sofa, which we used for about 20 years, using nothing but a jig saw, 1/4" drill, and hand tools. It certainly can be done, but lots of hand labor is involved and the final size tends to decide itself. I am back to doing no table saw, drill press, etc work now, but I do have a power miter saw and some other power hand tools. Next project will be a Murphy Bed - nothing to do with aquariums, but we need it.

My father once build a big kitchen china cabinet, with a flour bin, roll up door compartment, drawers, glass doors, etc. all from cherry wood, and all with absolutely no power tools. (That was back in the 40's)

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