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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off, let me start off by introducing myself. I'm a long time reader, new poster here and have been keeping fish (mostly ca/sa cichlids) for about 5 years now. This, however, is my first shot at a planted tank.

I'll apologize in advance for both a lack of quality and quantity of pictures. I'm using my phone until i can find a reasonably priced real camera. :icon_redf

After looking at some incredible tanks and journals here I decided to take the plunge and give it a shot. After some scrounging around on craigslist I found a deal for a 20g long aquarium with about 40 lbs. of black eco complete for $35! Considering that my ( way overpriced ) lfs sells the 20 lb. bags of eco complete for $45 I decided that it was way too good of a deal to pass up.

I had a few decisions to make now. I want to keep the project on a pretty tight budget so pressurized co2 and t5ho or mh were out of the picture (for now ;) )

Budget

6x Cinder Blocks ~ $8
1x 2x4x96 ~ $2
2x Clamp Lights ~ $14
2x 27W CFL ~ $7
1x Wood Dowel ~ $2

Running total ~ $33

Stand

As opposed to paying a ton of money for a prebuilt stand at the lfs I opted to build my own. I'm now craftsman so I went the easy route and built a cinder block stand. The top rim of the tank sits at about waist level so it is very easy to get in the tank and move things around.

6x cinder blocks ~ $8
1x 2x4x96 ~ $2



So there we have it, a $10 stand that while not the prettiest, serves it's purpose.


Lighting

I looked around at all the t5 retrofits and thought about ODNO but none of them really suited my budget or electrical know how. After looking over the lighting stickies the thought of running cfl bulbs over the tank really appealed to me bot in terms of cost and effective lighting.

After persuing the Home Depot website for a bit i came across these:

(excuse the giant link)

A clamp on shop light rated for 100W incandescent bulbs for a mere $7 each!

http://www.homedepot.com/Lighting-F...splay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

I grabbed two of those and a two pack of 27W 6500K cfl bulbs.

2x Clamp Lights ~ $14
2x 27W CFL ~ $7

At first I thought i could clamp the lights right onto the tank rim but it turns out the lamps can't swivel enough to project the light into the tank if I do. I ended up Getting a wooden dowel and drilled properly sized holes into the rear 2x4 on the stand and gluing them into place upright. By doing this I get the lights directly over the tank and have the option of adjusting how close or far the lights are from the water surface.

Filtration

I'll be using an Eheim Ecco 2232 that I have running as backup on my wet/dry filtered 75g.

Plants

Plastic until payday. We'll see what I come home with from the lfs today :)

Fish

Currently the tank has 2 otos 2 bronze cories and a clown pleco. I'm still wrestling with different stocking ideas.

Lastly, here is a fts of the current scape and (temporary) plastic plants.



I'll give an update when i get back from the LFS! :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, the lfs didnt have much. They mostly just had Parrot's Feather, Anarchis and some vals. I'll do some digging around tomorrow for something else. The parrot's feather looked nice, but im not sure how I feel about having noxious weeds growing in my tank :\
 

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Yeah. With 54W over 20gals you're probably going to need CO2. Of course, you could just raise higher, too.

I hope that stand is steady...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In truth, most of the plants that do best in our tanks are classified as "noxious weeds"...
Well, I do suppose this is true and with that mindset the parrots feather is a great looking plant.

Yeah. With 54W over 20gals you're probably going to need CO2. Of course, you could just raise higher, too.

I hope that stand is steady...
Diy CO2 is in the works (still researching and waiting on plants). The stand is solid. If it were a larger tank I would have added another stack of blocks in the middle. there are 3 lengths of 2x4 that the tank rests on. Here is where I got the plan:

http://saltaquarium.about.com/od/diystandscabinets/ss/diyaqstand.htm
 
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