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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been working (although slowly) on this 75G planted tank. I figured it time to start collecting some of the photos and info into my own journal thread. I'm no photographer.....so expect some blurry ones in here. ;)

A birthday present to myself a new Aqueon (All Glass) 75G tank. 48" wide X 18" deep X 20" tall


I found the final location that I'll set this tank up in my living room. I have a one story ranch with a basement so I could easily check floor joist placement under this location. Plus I'm near an outside wall so I'll have no problems with floor support.

And there it sat while I have been spending time reading and asking others as many questions on planted tanks as I can possibly think of without frying my brain.

I did fill the tank in thirds over the course of a few days to check that the tank holds water fine without any surprises.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
I wanted a pretty sturdy stand with enough space to store all of the equipment out of sight. But I have never been a fan of the cheaper vaneer'ed particle board construction that seems to be the norm anymore. I figured that I would have to build what I was looking for.
So I searched and read up about intermediate_noob and BiscuitSlayer's 75G stand builds. I wanted the same stability and strength those seemed to offer. I ended up adding additional top space between the tank and the wall to cleanly run the inlet and outlet plumbing through. This put the top deck right at 48" wide and 24" deep. I wanted to avoid as much viable tubes and cords as possible and am planning to use those desktop cord pass throughs to run past the top deck.

A trip to the hardware store, borrowed miter saw, and a day later I had a stand frame.
I used a 2x6 top frame, 2x4 bottom frame, 2x4 legs and floaters, coated wood screws, and quick dry gorilla glue to firm up the joints.
I'll skin this in 1/4" and 1/2" oak plywood, oak trim, stained, and polyurethane coated.

The 2x4 uprights between the upper and lower frames are 18" which gives around 26 1/2" height inside the stand. This is just enough to clear the reactor length I was targeting as well as the CO2 tank I had picked up. The 10lb CO2 tank measured 22" from base to top of the tank valve. The Sumo premium regulator I'm using adds some extra height to the tank putting things at 23 1/2". The inside of the stand at to be at least this tall......plus some extra wiggle room.

The stand frame head-on.


The stand frame from the side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Decided to take a crack at building an external CO2 reactor out of PVC. I splurged for the clear PVC for the main tube and some cool hanger mounts. The mounts turned out to be a great addition, plus the same size wraps around my in-line heater perfect enough to mount it next to the reactor.

The finished reactor.


Some cool hanger mounts I bought with the clear PVC, made by Clic.


I'm planning to run a 300w in-line heater on the outlet of this reactor.



I ended up building this with PVC cement I had around from the last plumbing job. Everything went together pretty well except having "less" luck on fusing the smaller acrylic tubes to the PVC. I tried twice, both ending in slight water seeping before deciding that PVC cement was not going to cut it.
In comes the Weld-On #16 made by IPS. This stuff is still pretty runny but it fuses PVC to arcylic so much better than PVC cement.

In hindsight:
I'd probably forgo the clear PVC as it's a novelty that wears off eventually, regular PVC will be just fine for future external reactors.
As I was building this reactor it seems that most have moved on to mazzi or needle wheel CO2 diffusion methods. I bought a RIO powerhead to play around with needle wheel CO2 eventually. The simplicity of the needle wheels may eventually replace my external reactor someday.
 

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Looks good. That stand could hold a car on it without a creak. Those Hydor heaters rock too, keep my tanks stable despite my room getting quite cold at night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I've been slacking (although due to planning a wedding) but the stand is skinned, trimmed, and stained. I'm putting the last few coats of polyurethane on it before brining it back into the house. I'm hoping that I can at least get substrate and water in the tank before winter kicks in full swing.

I ended up caulking the wood joints and painting the inside in a gloss white exterior paint. I figured that the gloss white would make things easy to see, might improve clean-up if needed, and would protect the wood from moisture. With the bottom all sealed up, I think the stand could contain some slight leaking in case any occur while I'm at work.
I also drilled some pass-through holes from the different sections in case I use a water level alarm later on.
Some cheap light bars were added in above the opening to help light the way.





Not sure what I'll do for a door yet. Either a single pull-away panel on magnet catches or a lift-up hinge of some sort.
 

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Nice work on the stand! I like the look and how you are planning the interior to have plenty of room, plenty of light. This will make life easier down the road. The Clic supports are cool too.

As you seem to be doing a lot of research, how are your scape plans coming along?

Bill
 

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Very good DIY!
 

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man o man! you are on your game for sure. subscribed!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the kind comments. Although I'm not much of a wood worker, I'm better with metals. My father is an antique refinisher so I get a few tips from him along the way.

As you seem to be doing a lot of research, how are your scape plans coming along? Bill
Funny you should say that. The technical stuff always comes easier to me than the creative stuff. I think the scaping will be the hardest part for me since this is my 1st planted tank.
I have a pretty decent piece of driftwood already soaking to waterlog and pull out excess tannins. I also have some nice manzantia pieces as well.
I have pressurized CO2 and have yet to pick out my lighting so I could go anywhere from slow growth to faster growth plants. My thought is to tend to the medium to slow plants so frequent trimming maintenance does not scare me away. I think that tends to happen to some people with too-grand of ideas and no experience to fall back on. I'd be happy in just getting some substrate in, a bunch of stem plants, and some fish before winter kicks in.

My plant plan is probably going to be simple while I'm getting the hang of it. I really want some nice foreground carpet plants. I have a list I started before buying any equipment.....I just have to find it again. :frown:

My original fish plan was a fairly large group of schoolers. I've always liked cardinal tetras and torpedo barbs. Lots of ottocats and red cherry shrimp. Possibly some discus because they seem to have some more colorful varieties now than I can remember they used to. Although I have a friend urging me to go with african's....but I'm not as comfortable with choosing tankmates and possible plant disturbance.
 

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Hey Jarharms,

i have the same problem - the hardware is easy. Putting to gether a nice scape and figuring out how to keep it nice takes experience! Still learning and fighting algae my self!

Not sure what Africans your friend is suggesting. If he means rift lake cichlids... probably not a great choice for a planted tank. They are beautiful but you will need plants that can survive alkaline water and some pretty rough treatment from the fish. If he is talking about some of the african small barbs, they would be pretty. What ever you chose, do your homework on compatibility. I suspect it will look very nice!

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I believe he is thinking of the rift lake ones because he keeps saying they are so active. And this is what makes me think it is not a good choice for my situation. In the end I bet I'll stick to the cards or torpedos, some discus or angels, and the usual clean up crew. I always wanted to keep german rams because I think they are very pretty but they might be outside of my experience level right now. I figure a large school would be plenty active myself....at least enough to distract me while watching TV.

Figured I would list out my equipment thus far:
twin Ehiem 2217 canister filters - loaded with the supplied Eheim media
twin Eheim intake kits - added sponge intake covers
twin Eheim outlet kits - grafting on line-loc fittings instead of spraybar
DIY PVC manifold - ball valves, garden hose drain
10lbs C02 supply tank
Sumo premium CO2 regulator with bubble counter and solenoid
DIY external PVC reactor
Rio1000 power head - cut impeller to use as needle wheel to play around with
Elite 803 air pump and two 24" air curtain tubes - only at night
ETH 300watt heater
Catalina 3x54watt Solar lighting

On the list to gather yet:
20oz paintball CO2 tank and PB tank adapter - getting the 10lb refilled is not an easy task to get done right away around me
eventually an AquaControllerJR
 

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The German Blue Rams aren't all that difficult to keep. If you feel up to keeping discus, you'll be fine with them. The key with them is good stable water quality; they are pretty sensitive to ammonia spikes. So I wouldn't make them the first fish you put in the tank, but I'd say go for them for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Got the stand moved into the living room.


The rear of the tank was covered with window film as dark as I could find and placed on top of the stand.


3" of substrate (Eco-Complete) was added to the tank along with the driftwood I've been soaking. Then I filled the remainder of the tank with water.
Replaced most of the equipment back under the stand. I had to make some adjustments from the original plan....which also meant building another PVC manifold.


Spent the rest of the time drilling 2" holes through the stand to pass plumbing through (stressful times though). I adapted 1/2" line-loc fittings to the Ehiem outlets and attached the foam covers to the intakes.


Set up the twin intakes behind the driftwood and one of the outlets in the corner. I need more 5/8" hose to get the other outlet working.
One of the Ehiem 2217 filters was giving me impeller issues, even though I had it running fine a month ago. Fixed the issue and just need the extra hose now. I even set up the Rio1000 powerhead for fun.
So far I'm just going to let it run as-is until I get the other items I need soon. I would have loaded this with stems to get the cycle started but I got caught up in work travel. It will have to cycle like this for now.


There was some surface film noticed after setting it up. I think I got it all cleaned out with a paper towel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
A surface film keeps coming back. I'm certain it is from the driftwood and hope that it either clears up or is not harmful to the fish/plants. Did more reading up on what I should do about that.

**This ended up being from the driftwood pieces. The combination of tannin stained water and the organic oil slick was unappealing. Threw some Purigen into one filter canister and it pretty much cleared right away.**

Still trying to figure out what I want the manzantia on the right to look like. I wanted some branchy-ness and may build up some additional pieces higher up the right side. Once I get a structure I like, I'll be drilling and using stainless steel screws to hold parts together.
 

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I really like how you have the Eheim's plumbed. So cool to have them attached under the tank to separate lines. I like that. Of course, it's only possible if you have the cabinet build that you designed, or maybe some pre-drilled tank intakes.
 
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