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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, its been a very long time coming, but I finally got my dream tank. I have always wanted a 125, and new that if I got it, I would not go bigger. Here is a story about how I got the tank and filter at amazing cost.

So back track to a little over a year ago is when I first bought the tank and FX6. Petsmart had a coupon going that was 25% off anything in the store, including aquariums.. At first I doubted it, so I went in and asked the manager and he confirmed it would work on the tank/stand. The 125 tank and stand combo was $524 on sale from $699. I also happen to find a deal online that said Office Depot was doing a gift card deal. For every $50 you spend on a gift card, it only costs $40. I took full advantage. I went to about 4 different Office Depot's buying gift cards to Petsmart. Got thrown out of a few for buying multiple even though the sign said "One per transaction", not one per customer! :icon_wink: Finally found a manager that didnt throw me out, and was stoked when I told him Im buying an aquarium. He said get as many as you need to make it happen. I purchased $800 worth because I wanted to see if I could purchase the filter as well for 25% off, even though the coupon was limited to 1 item.. I headed to Petsmart. When I walked in I went up to the gal working there and showed her the tank and coupon, and said Im ready to buy. She then destroys my heart with a simple phase. "That coupon expired yesterday.." NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! My heart sank. I thought the coupon lasted another day, but sadly it was a holiday weekend only. The manager just happens to walk by as this is happening. She walks over and says shes doesn't care, and that she wants my business! :grin2::grin2: IM BACK! She tells the person helping me to apply the discount to my purchase and walks away. I quickly grab the filter and tell them that I will need it too. The cashier doesn't even bat an eye, and applies the discount to the full purchase. Got my tank, stand, and FX6 for under $650!! >:)>:)>:)

Took it home immediately and got it ready for painting. The stock stand was crap as you can see in the pic. One cabinet was not going to work for me for everything I want/need to put below. I tell my brother in law he can have it and use it as a nice tv stand. It was a perfect trade for him helping me with his truck to get the tank home. :proud: Now I need a stand...



 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I ended up asking a personal friend who is also a former cabinet maker and fellow aquarist to build me a tank and stand. He said he would only charge me for the wood, but I definitely planned on taking care of him for his time too. This is the stand I found online and really loved. I gave him this picture and a mentioned few small changes that I would like to see.



 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The stand and canopy build pics. I picked up an ADJ Power Strip as well. I wanted this build to be as clean as possible because my other tanks were always cluttered. I plan on running the power very clean and hidden at the roof of the stand, and have LED lighting installed.

Frame







Moulding Added



First coat of paint, and power strip installed.



Lights installed


Ready to Go!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That is a good friend. :) Glad my dad knows carpentry too. Looks good!
Thanks! He really is talented. He had lots of left over hinges and knobs too, so he made it look great.

While this was getting built I had to move my 75 gallon downstairs into my garage. Was not looking forward to that. Had to bucket all my fish and get it re-set up as soon as possible for them. Ended up putting them in a large cooler with an air stone and getting them transferred quickly. Had to bribe some friends with pizza and beer to help me move everything, then get the new tank and stand brought up.

75 gallon moved. My back!!



125 in its new home!

 

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... Petsmart had a coupon going that was 25% off anything in the store, including aquariums.
.... I also happen to find a deal online that said Office Depot was doing a gift card deal. For every $50 you spend on a gift card, it only costs $40. I took full advantage.
Ladies and Gentlemen we are in the presence of greatness! Genius level working of the system :proud:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ladies and Gentlemen we are in the presence of greatness! Genius level working of the system :proud:
LOL! Im showing this to my wife! :cool::cool::cool: She thinks I bargain shop too much instead of just buying right away. Slickdeals is a website i live on, and thats where I saw the deal, the timing was just too perfect.

Bump:
Great looking stand and tank.

Good luck with the project, and looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Subscribed.
Means alot Greg thank you! Ive been enjoying your tanks for a while now, so Im hoping to get to your level of greatness!
(Thats a nice way of saying I may ask you 500mil questions in the future. :nerd::laugh2:)
 

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That stand looks great! Well done to you and your friend! I'm excited to see your progress. I also have a 125 I'd like to set up at some point.

Two questions - What lighting will you use and how in the world did you end up getting the design/pattern in the wood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So shortly after I got the stand and tank home, I realized that the canopy was just not going to work well for me. Im only 5' 11", so trying to reach into the tank from the top lids was proving to be very difficult. Im a guy that likes to have his hands in the tank often, so I didnt want anything to slow me down from that. I showed my buddy some pics of hinged canopies, and showed him how that would be a much better design for functionality. I mocked some designs in 3D and Photoshop to give him some better design blueprints and had him remake it. I made sure to pay him generously the first time around, so he remade this one for free. What a pal.. He actually liked it so much that he re-designed his for both his tanks!







That stand looks great! Well done to you and your friend! I'm excited to see your progress. I also have a 125 I'd like to set up at some point.

Two questions - What lighting will you use and how in the world did you end up getting the design/pattern in the wood.
Crap I forgot to list the goods! Ill post all that next. As for the patterns, that is pre-fab wood trim/molding that can be found at Home Depot. I was really stoked when my buddy saw it and immediately knew what it was. You can find it HERE
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Should have started with this, oops! Here is my list of equipment and goods that I am using on this project.

Filter

Fluval FX6
May add another Fluval 405 from another tank, once I get rid of it.
DIY Spray Bar - Going to try to make one out of black hose instead of painting and drilling pvc. Saw it done on YouTube, so thought I would try.


Lighting

I have 4 Aquaillumination HD Prime Freshwater LED fixtures.
I also bought the flex arm mounts for them as well. I will start with 3 for now. (Not liking them. Very stiff, and not super flexible. :( )


Co2 Equipment

Brand new 10lb tank.

Concoa 300 Series Dual Stage Regulator - I was referred to a fellow aquarist on Reef Central who builds custom laboratory grade regulators. His name is Alan, and he had many people praising his craftsmanship OVER Green Leaf Aquariums quality. I decided I would go that route, and I dont regret it at all.

Atomic+ Precision CO2 Atomizer | 80MM | built in check valve


Heater

Hydor Inline Heater 300wt 5/8


Substrates

Flourite Regular

Flourite Black

Flourite Black Sand

Regular inert black sand

Mexican Red Clay Balls (Baked, broken, scattered)


Hardscape

2 Large pieces of Bog Wood

34lbs of Seiryu Stone (think I need more)










I lucked out big time on this wood. I live in S. Cali so its not easy to find good drift wood without paying a fortune. The big piece on the right was actually traded to me by carpenter friend. Traded him a tank, stand canopy combo that I got on the cheap on C.list. I gave it to him to fix up and sell just for the wood. (only cost me $100, totally worth it) The other piece I paid a hefty price for, but it matched the wood I already had, so I pulled the trigger.


 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok so Im finally catching up to now. Today, I spent the day cleaning substrate... literally 5hrs....UGH! I started with a base layer of regular Fluorite, a little sand and broken Mexican red clay pieces. Then capped that with Flourite Black, then capped that with Flourite Black Sand. Ended up not using the inert bag of black sand I have so Ill use that somewhere else. The reason I went with Flourite is because I have had the best luck with it, and the best growth results. To each their own for substrate I have learned. I spent many years trying different things with my other tanks, and always got the best results from this. Pool sand killed my crypts and swords..I then tried Florin-Volcanit substrate with very high hopes, only to be very disappointed with the results. Looked nice, but was very light and didnt do well with my root feeders. (Yes I added root tabs) EcoComplete worked pretty well, but then I used Flourite. I have a 40gal breeder in my garage that I only grow plants in. Its a mix of Flourite and black sand. The plants grow like weeds in there, so that was enough for me.







 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Those look like gorgeous lights. I like the slim profile. Bit expensive though!
Agree, but I was able to get a decent deal on them. I already had a few Finnex 24/7 Planted Plus Lights, I just didnt know how I was going to cover the space evenly with 3 48" lights.

During the last holidays, Dr. Foster & Smith had a special running if you spent more than $120 or so dollars, you got a $50 gift card for your next purchase. I used that a few times to get the price down. I now understand why they are so expensive though, because they are amazing to wo work with wirelessly from a pc, table or even your phone!

Bump:
Looking good I only wish I had room for a big tank
I hear ya. I had to sweet talk the wife into letting me get rid of an old love seat to make room. lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So Im still unsure about this, but I decided to give my idea a test run and so far, its working. The Hydor inline heater hose ends are smaller than the FX6 hose. I happen to have 2 extra Fluval 406 rubber pieces, and they seem to fit really snug inside the hose. I wrapped them with a little plumbing tape to thicken them up, put them in, then used steel clamps to seal it off. I still feel a little uneasy about this because this is the first time I decided to ever use anything on the filter lines. I have paranoia that its gunna bust somehow and flood my home! But lots of people use them, so Im trying to feel at ease. I think Im going to redesign this somehow in the future, but for now its working. (PS: Ignore the PVC glue, that wasnt for this.)








Tank is coming along. Filling & Planting tomorrow!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Filter seeded. Timing on needing to clean my 75 gallon filter was perfect. Took out 2 trays worth of Seachem Matrix from the fully established tank and replaced with new. Set it up inside the FX6, and dumped a bunch of dirty filter water in to help. Put in a decent amount of Seachem Stability as well.



Bump: Planting Time!! I have a close friend that has his wholesalers license in the hobby, so we went to a disturbution center in LA that pretty much supplies all of the Petco's and Petsmart's in So. California. WAs able to get lots of plants at a fraction of the cost. Trying to figure out if it was worth the time spent in traffic... :/ None the less, lets get er done!



Lots of Dwarf Hairgrass. I havent had much luck with carpeting in the past, but I aim to change that with this tank.




Using Java Fern and Hygrophila Pinnatifida around the wood. Planting a few tiger lotus around the corner and front. Jungle Val in the back.





The locals seem to enjoy the progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I cant remember the name of some of the plants, and one in particular I was told is great for gluing onto wood or rock. Placed patches of it around the thicker parts of the driftwood, and some on the long part that sticks out. MY buddy has it in his tank and it appears to be very hardy. I also added some Alternanthera reineckii mini near the far right side, then some regular Alternanthera reineckii in the open area. Im thinking I will lean toward the "Dutch Style" on the right. Still a little undecided though. Also planted three Flamingo Crypts to the far right of the wood, and Pogostemon Helferi around the foreground of the wood.



 
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