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Discussion Starter #1
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It's been too long TPT!

I joined this forum shortly after deciding that I needed some glow fish. Turns out, dozens of fish in a black light engulfed ice tea pitcher is a bad idea.

Just to play catch up for all those tuning in for the first time. I got hooked on planted tanks after receiving a "FREE" 30G tall tank. I soon found that I had to go bigger, in comes the 75G.



The tank quickly filled out and set the pace for my "style" moving forward: Overgrown, Unkept, Jungles.



We moved, the tank was all but donated and the live stock (plants included!) were given away to members of the community. The next tank was bigger in every way!



Humble beginnings for this tank as well, but not for long.



Not to delve too deep into stories, but there were lessons learned at every turn. My 75G had a 55G sump and a DIY overflow, kept me up at night! It also required an INSANE 30" hood to space the CFL lighting far enough away from the substrate. My 125G had a 75G sump and a bean animal overflow, simply perfection. Unfortunately, $80 acrylic tanks found on craigslist are more like a ticking time bomb than a deal. The euro bracing top detached and caused permanent stress to the corner seems even after bracing. She developed a leak.

I have all but decided on the next tank size as well as stocking, details to come upon their arrival. I have grown found of big tanks with large flowing vals, so they will be returning. The rocks from my 125G ended up being a lot of fun! More boulders will likely return. The wood utilized in all my builds has been Blooms and Branches manzanita, which is likely to return as well. I ordered some simple sticks to test the tap water at our new home. Looking back at previous journals, the parameters are close to my last two houses. Seems like my intended stocking should be no problem.



For reference:



So there you have it! Most of the equipment is left over from my previous tanks, but I have ordered new pieces here and there. I will be picking the tank up Friday, fingers crossed! It's been a couple years, but I'll be starting my fishless cycle with a couple of filters in the garage, 5 gallon buckets, and pure janitorial grade ammonia. I'll be looking through the RAOK as well as for sale threads shortly for my favorite low tech plants. I've forgotten what many of the species are called, so leave suggestions if you don't mind.

Thanks mates,
-Freeman
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I made the hour or so drive to a neighboring Petsmart to grab what seemed like a decent deal. It is an Aqueon 125 gallon tank, with stand, glass lids, and LED lights for ~$400 (ignore the sticker, the sale sticker is MIA).



I was pricing used tanks on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, LetGo, etc. They were all in the $200+ range. Most of the $200 ones looked questionable as well. Many were asking more than this setup new! So I went ahead and took the leap. I'm particularly excited about the 1/4" glass lids, with hinges and handles!



I have some leftover acrylic to cut for the rear pieces. I'll cut them to side, make arrangements for the plumbing, and then paint them black.

I'm impressed with the reccomendations actually. I didn't go with a FX6, but it is a good filter. A couple of 300w heaters, conditioner, 200lbs+ of substrate; not bad at all!



I did pick up some Seachem Matrix. I know it is basically just pumice, but I didn't need much more than a gallon of bio media. This is likely overkill anyway.



Popped a few holes in the bottom.



Commenced the draining! I always recommend cleaning out matrix or pumice. As it travels, it rubs itself into a fine dust.



My tank shall utilize only the finest Chinese filtration available, a pair of 304bs. For my stocking, one may have been enough. But I think the mirrored lay out and additional water flow will be nice.



Onto the lengthiest portion of the whole tank setup, cycling. I've done this before and it worked, so I loaded up the baskets of one of the SunSuns.



And hooked it up in a bucket! Dumped in some ammonia from Ace Hardware and started to wait.



The stand that came with the tank will be cannibalized. This will be the last time it appears as is in this thread. The plan will unfold shortly! I liked the styling and the cabinet doors/decorative sides. So I will utilize those. I don't care for the pressed board 1x4 uprights holding my 1,500 lb tank. I've seen plenty use this stand and it is a mass produced production model, but I just don't trust it. Plus, I need it to be about 10" taller to work within the space I plan to utilize. A half custom stand and a DIY hood will be in the works. I need to get the tank place somewhere else to water test it for a week or so before it moves indoors.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It's been a long day. Here are some photos of the morning. Took apart the petsmart stand and it is scary how little support there is. Four 3/4"x18" made of particle board! The skinning was kinda falling off and would grab on things as I slid it. I started cutting down the 2x6s I used to frame out the stand. I still have some work to do today and I'll post a timelapse with some post photos.



 

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Always interested when people include carpentry in their builds since that is one aspect of the hobby that I absolutely have no ability, tools, or space to do. I like the style of your old tanks, jungles are the best!
 

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Always interested when people include carpentry in their builds since that is one aspect of the hobby that I absolutely have no ability, tools, or space to do. I like the style of your old tanks, jungles are the best!
I simply could not live that life! I enjoy my garage space regularly and it has become my shop. I've slowly accrued numerous tools over the past decade or so. I think the carpentry aspect of the hobby is one of my favorite parts. I really enjoy the setup portion of a tank build.

The manufactured stand I received with the tank was rubbish! 54sq-inches of vertical support, according to my maths. The new stand has nearly 100sq-inches of vertical support. It may be just pine, but it is certainly better than OSB style pressed board.

Watch the one minute time lapse.


Here it sits, ready for paint tomorrow. Double 2x6 uprights in the corners with a pair of 2x10s in the middle to form the shelving area. I modeled this after the Petsmart stand. I am reusing the doors, the end caps and shelves (albeit a bit of modification).



A few 1x2s to hold the bottom plate as well as the one middle shelve. I utilized 2x4s for the side area supports as I will be placing a filter in each of those.



A new home for my DJ rack mount panel! Up above the canister on the left, it is close to the outlet where the stand will be placed. I did some preliminary measuring and everything SHOULD reach the back of the DJ rack.



The stacks of modified pieces! Doors, end caps, floor bits, center shelves and the block off plate for the rear!

 

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I simply could not live that life! I enjoy my garage space regularly and it has become my shop. I've slowly accrued numerous tools over the past decade or so. I think the carpentry aspect of the hobby is one of my favorite parts. I really enjoy the setup portion of a tank build.

The manufactured stand I received with the tank was rubbish! 54sq-inches of vertical support, according to my maths. The new stand has nearly 100sq-inches of vertical support. It may be just pine, but it is certainly better than OSB style pressed board.

Watch the one minute time lapse.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6dSsS0OSyA&feature=youtu.be

Here it sits, ready for paint tomorrow. Double 2x6 uprights in the corners with a pair of 2x10s in the middle to form the shelving area. I modeled this after the Petsmart stand. I am reusing the doors, the end caps and shelves (albeit a bit of modification).



A few 1x2s to hold the bottom plate as well as the one middle shelve. I utilized 2x4s for the side area supports as I will be placing a filter in each of those.



A new home for my DJ rack mount panel! Up above the canister on the left, it is close to the outlet where the stand will be placed. I did some preliminary measuring and everything SHOULD reach the back of the DJ rack.



The stacks of modified pieces! Doors, end caps, floor bits, center shelves and the block off plate for the rear!

The YouTube video you linked is private. :(

However, the stand looks like a beast! I'd be willing to hire you to help on a new stand for my 75, as it's also particle board. While it's been holding the tank "fine", at least for peace of mind, I'd like to get it on a good, overbuilt stand just like yours. Outstanding!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The YouTube video you linked is private. <a href="http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_sad.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Sad" >:)</a>

However, the stand looks like a beast! I'd be willing to hire you to help on a new stand for my 75, as it's also particle board. While it's been holding the tank "fine", at least for peace of mind, I'd like to get it on a good, overbuilt stand just like yours. Outstanding!
I would gladly build anyone a stand! Nut Florida is a looooong ways. Particle board stands work until they get wet and swell. I'm not particularly careful with water, so this is just foresight.

I changed the video to unlisted! My bad. Link should work!
 

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Hey Freemananana, I was just doing my morning browse of TPT and came across your post. I have been debating about pulling the trigger on this setup myself. Up here in the Midwest the assembly is priced at 500.00 which I think is still a decent deal. My hesitation is due to the stand that is included but, like you I thought about building my own stand which is not a big deal as this would be a much smaller project than building a house which I use to do for a living lol. At any rate I have subscribed and am very interested in your progress. If you don't mind can I pick your brain at anytime about other aspects of keeping a tank this big? Will definitely be watching!
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Hey Freemananana, I was just doing my morning browse of TPT and came across your post. I have been debating about pulling the trigger on this setup myself. Up here in the Midwest the assembly is priced at 500.00 which I think is still a decent deal. My hesitation is due to the stand that is included but, like you I thought about building my own stand which is not a big deal as this would be a much smaller project than building a house which I use to do for a living lol. At any rate I have subscribed and am very interested in your progress. If you don't mind can I pick your brain at anytime about other aspects of keeping a tank this big? Will definitely be watching!
Absolutely! I'll keep the updates coming. I have done a time lapse of the stand build. this will be my second 125. Feel free to ask anything here. If you want, send me a PM and we can setup a call or something if that is more your speed! Anything for a fellow hobbyist.

A stand is quite easy. This is a tried and true design. Just keep lumber ontop of lumber and it is incredibly strong.

Edit:
This was from my mobile
_____________________
$499 online here as well. Still a decent deal in my opinion. Stores do additional mark downs. Stand appears to have been assembled by the employees, there were a couple "mistakes". Just breaking it down:

18x36 (2) versa lids $60 +
22x24 doors with magnet latches and handles $50+
Misc bits used from the stand $20
The lights make good viewing or shop lights. I used the DC adapters, saved about $10.

You can get some use out of the adder bits. I'll detail my cost for this project as well. I'm making an excel spreadsheet. No reason to not share it IMO.
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I uploaded the build of the stand as a time lapse. Nearly 20 minutes! That's at like 30 times speed or something. Took a long day to build this stand. Feel the grief of an unlevel quadrant in the garage as I tackle a warped 2x6. Enjoy my daughter play with screws for 15 minutes.


I haven't taken much time to add subtitles or anything to make it "interesting." I could do some quick voice over bits or captions. It isn't a how to, just a cheap DragonCam3, or some other awesome Chinese brand, left on time lapse. Not sure how interesting this stuff is to anyone else. Try to ignore me eyeing the camera as I changed the batteries over and over again.
 

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Such determination on that face lol. Thanks for the video, very excited to see more.
With a camera tripod as cheap as the one I'm using, determination is the only way it stays put! I'm surprised it hasn't fallen during some of the time lapse shots.

With that, another short update, but one none the less. I uploaded the final portion of the time lapse for the stand build itself. I believe it is mostly assembling the top and taking it apart to prep for paint.


There is only one portion of the tank build that is "pending" if you will and it is an AC to DC adapter. Other than that, I have everything to get the tank running up to the point where it is ready to be planted. I need to move the stand out of the garage so that I can start building the hood. The hood will be a new experience for me and should be quite a bit more interesting. :wink2:
 

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Another day, another evening doing a bit of work.

I painted the stand one more time for an even coat as well as coated the edges of the top as it would clash as a matte black on gloss black. Also painted the rear of the tank, black. All in all, had to be done tonight so it can move in the house tomorrow. Leaving the stand semi apart to make moving slightly easier.





 

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I like the stand, I also like that the stand has a stand, for painting and construction. So is the gloss black of the top going to show or are you going to put the petsmart face going to cover your custom stand?
I painted the stand one more time for an even coat as well as coated the edges of the top as it would clash as a matte black on gloss black.
I guess I was confused why gloss black center shelves/open area and flat black doors?
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I like the stand, I also like that the stand has a stand, for painting and construction. So is the gloss black of the top going to show or are you going to put the petsmart face going to cover your custom stand?
I painted the stand one more time for an even coat as well as coated the edges of the top as it would clash as a matte black on gloss black.
I guess I was confused why gloss black center shelves/open area and flat black doors?
The doors are a goofy gray fake wood. If it is too much, I'll tape and repaint it satin with low vox interior paint. The top is going to be used but the tank will cover most of it except the rim portion.

I'm winging it. Expect adjustments to be made!

Evening update:

Not telling where today will end, but I made the move inside. These photos are HORRIBLE due to my jam up Christmas decorations. But a one man move of a 125 is quite the adventure. Huge shout out to my harbor freight furniture dollies and the fam for staying out of the way.



The reason for the shims:





The stand was leaning forward a little bit. Nothing too crazy I suppose. I am displeased with this small 1/8" gap between the front of the tank and the stand. In the center it is obvious that the 2x6 was bowed downward and it pulls the center of the stand away ever so slightly for the middle couple feet. Good contact on either end, so I'll just shim it for peace of mind.
 

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The tank setup has begun! I threw the manzanita branches I had in the tank to get an idea of the scale.



I took some bags of lava rock to form a central hill, not too sure how much I like it in the end, but I'm giving it a shot this time around.



Setup the mound, wood, and dirted the tank. Little over an inch just about everywhere.



Added several bags of black diamond blasting sand and started to fill the tank. Turned out some spots were a little lacking on the cap.



Typical fog, but I saw some spots where the soil was leeching through fairly heavily and patched them with some more sand.



I setup the equipment as the tank was filling. Spray bar pointed toward the front, heater near the pickup, sponge filter jammed over the intake of the canister.



Tank setup and running to get some of the suspended particles caught by the floss in the filters.



Went to drain the tank and do some planting. Forgot I had the hose on blow a hole through my cap and send dirt all over the tank as I refilled. Mistake.



I made these cheap plastic bits inthe rear since my lids didn't come with cutouts for the equipment. It is corrugated plastic for signs painted black with super glued handles.



Moved the heater controller over. This will eventually be behind the hood, so no worries about the location. But it needs to be central so I don't have to utilize an extension cord for the far heater.



I'll post a full tank shot sometime this week as it cleans up. Still cycling the tank. I have order some more plants with the local fish store and a few forum users. A bunch of low tech classics. I somehow ruined the hinges when I moved the tank, so I have to work on the doors. The stand doesn't really need to be pretty as there is a love seat that will go in front of the tank. I have it slid out of the way for obvious reasons.
 

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Let us pick up where we left off: My failure.



Obviously I expected some cloud, algae bloom, tannin from the wood, etc. But that was just a huge mistake. Huge water change, draining it out of one corner and filling in the other. Cleaned up the debris that was blown out on top, added more sand to cap areas where it was exposed, moved on.



Still some bits of the bark and such drifting about, but not too displeased! Ignore the water filling temp probe on the side.



You'll notice some sunsun powerheads in the corner. Testing these out for adding flow since the spray bar is lack luster for movement of the corners. It does circulate the center well, but the added flow from a couple of these small powerheads was worth the $10!



Received some plants in the mail! Couple more vals, some frogbit and moss for the branches. Everything was added along with a partial water change.



The finishing touch has been started! I'll accept guesses, but it is likely pretty obvious. Time lapse footage and a completed project should be available this weekend. I hope to have the tank fully setup by Sunday and get back to just checking water parameters and waiting to add livestock.

 

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I'll be making progress this weekend, but I moved the love seat back to it's original location. It covers most of the stand, which is why I didn't spend much time creating anything "beautiful". We house the Christmas tree in one corner and a baby swing in the other. It moved the couch forward 18" which was nice, now the guests can more easily utilize the coffee table.

 
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