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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So, long story short I found the stand and canopy I've been wanting and bought a brand new tank on a killer sale for $100.

My old tank is getting torn down this week and a lot of changes are in store because I'm swapping things around, so I need some advice.

My current thoughts are this:

Eheim Pro3E 2078 I'm picking up

Hydor 300W heater I currently have

Cerge Style Reactor - currently using a BashSea PM-1 converted over but it's 1/2" and it's quite a decrease to flow. Besides, I have other places I could use that. ;)

VivaGrow 48" Light - Finnex fixtures are going back one because one power supply failed and the replacement light itself failed. When I got my first Vivagrow I realized it was a standard plug and would also work with ramp timers if I choose to later.

5lb Co2 Tank I already have, I am looking into replacing the solenoid or the whole regulator.

I do need a bubble counter and don't know which ones to get. I would like one I could run inline with the tubing but still keep it upright so I can mount it on the stand. The current one I have is a $10 LFS Cheapy (probably paid more than it's worth) that won't stay stuck to the side of the tank (suction cup) and keeps falling off.

For Substrate I'm thinking of taking some of the current eco-complete (since it's a nutrient suck), mix it with some red clay (iron) plus miracle grow organic and capping it with Black Diamond Blasting Sand.

I also intend to either paint or strip and stain the stand and canopy before setup.

I would like this up and running in 2 to 3 weeks, but if I have to take longer I will. I am on a budget though.

My goal is to only have to change one thing in the future and that is lighting. I eventually want the DSuny lights and build them into the canopy.

So, thoughts, ideas, advice? :)

Picture is of the Stand and Canopy. The tank just came in Thursday and they were closed over the weekend.
 

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S'mancy stand and canopy ya got there.

I googled the filter to get an idea of your flow, I nearly cried. Price tag aside, I think it will do just fine. Everything looks good to me. You're really going to cut the flow with the inline equipment, but it should be fine.

There are lots of CO2 regulator builds around that detail the bubble counter they used, so look into that for sure. I like the big bulky ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well picked up the new tank and the stand and canopy today and decided on Black. Honestly that was partly because it was easier, but I like the way it is turning out.
 

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I've never used paint stripper on wood, but I'm sure a little research would have yielded whether or not it would have worked. I personally love black stain and that's what I'm using on my next build. Black paint looks fine. I personally prefer spray over brush too. I would get some of the appliance epoxy spray from the hardware store for the interior of the canopy and the stand if you want. It will protect against moisture damage (evaporation in the canopy).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I looked into it and where the stand and canopy are now painted, I would still be stripping paint if I had gone the other route. I can do that at a later date or do something different if I choose. I think te black came out well though. :)

I thought about an epoxy but I did paint the inside of the canopy and I'm curious how it does. I used Krylon SuperMaxx paint and primer in one, supposed to prevent rust as well.

But both are painted now. I'm going to start tearing down my current 75 tomorrow and exchange filters. Hoping to pick up the whole home filtration to make the Cerges reactor as well. Need to order a new solenoid from my reactor and the bubble counter still (still looking for the bubble counter).

It's a process. I haven't decided whether to fill it without substrate and run the canister for a bit while I finish it up or leave it empty until I'm completely done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've painted the back of the tank and I'll take pictures later (it's not black. ;) ). Currently I need to finish getting the pieces for my Cerges style reactor. I want it and the heater mounted before I put the stand in place. I also will be drilling 2 holes for the tubing for the bubble counter and I need to do a couple cuts on the back of the Canopy. Once that's done it's ready to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So here is how the background turned out. I'm hoping to have some time tomorrow or this weekend to do more on it.

The light is a VivaGrow 48" on Max. And yes it's dirty, it will be claned before it goes up. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So, the biggest thing about any tank is "what's going in it?". You can't start picturing a tank really until you know what's in it.

Well today I traded my mated pair of angels, which turned out to be a problem, for 2 Discus. :)

These are Altum Carnation Stripe. I'm also looking at another group locally that may need grow out. I have 40 Breeders available so I'm thinking about picking them up as well. :)

The other inhabitants I hope to have are 2 x GBR, 2 x Electric Blue Rams, school of corys (thinking sterbai), otos and probably SAE. I would like to find some unique ottos though so I'm watching for Zebra Otos and some other off types. :)

Plants, other than DHG Belem as a carpet I haven't decided. I do do want to reuse the driftwood that came out of my other 75 though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
No, not setup yet. I need to pick up a few more pieces to finish the Cerge's reactor for it. Once that's done I want to get that reactor, the inline heater, and the pump all mounted.

That's the other turn this took. I have an Eheim 1250 Pump and realized I also have enough hose to hook it up and run the reactor from it instead of the Pro3E.

I aslo need to drill the wholes and figure out the mounting for the needle valve and bubble counter still.


Once I get everything mounted and my hoses run, since I'm putting the hoses in nailed in hose clamps, I'l be ready for the next step which is bringing it inside and laying substrate. And I still need to buy stuff for the substrate.

The discus are already at 3", but I have many available tanks for grow out so that is what I am doing. I'm going to plant first and then move in some of the smaller fish slowly. This way I can grow out the discus but start enjoying the 75.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, I like it and I don't. lol We will see how it goes.

It is up now. For Substrate I ended up using the Eco-Complete mixed w/ Black Diamond sand below and above Miracle Gro Organic then capped that off w/ Black diamond sand as well. I'm not sure how well that is going to work out and it ended up a lot thicker than I intended, but we will see.

The Eheim Pro3E is up and running and clearing the tank. It's still a little cloudy but this was essentially the first fill.

When putting the equipment under the stand I realized there are features I would like that I'm not going to get unless I custom build a stand/canopy, so that is now in the back of my mind. lol

But at least it is up and clearing. I placed a few plants in it for now. I have more, just not ready to add them yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok, so I didn't like the whole dirt thing and I wanted my Co2 up. So I made a few changes.

Pulled all the substrate out. Put in 60lbs Seachem Flourite Black Sand + 50lbs Black Diamond Blasting Sand.

Then I did "some" of the planting. lol I'm nowhere near done planting yet.

I also went ahead and used my old reactor which actually almost perfectly paired w/ that Eheim 1250 pump. I just need to make a few more modifications, including a mounting bracket for the reactor.

So here is how it looks right now. Yes, I have the canopy off.
 

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Looking good so far. Funny thing about canopy's - for me I found I had it off almost as much as I had it on. The one I had was shorter in height which likely led to my big issue (no access) and having to take it off.

Substraight is always a tough call. First you have to figure out a color you like (and don't change your mind), then figure out how you are going to make it. I think for your setup you chose well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The dirt was just too much for me to handle. I have too many other tanks (completely different discussion) that I maintain and the dirt was too thick and I honestly didn't like the way it looked.

I like this combo, especially with the blue background. It just came out right. :) I have more planting to do today and some trim and replant as well.

I'll post more pictures tonight. Only 3 fish in it at the moment as I had to get my remaining Discus out of the grow out tank. I got sick and missed 2 water changes, crashed the tank and he survived so he's safer in the 75 (fully cycled canister) until I'm better and have things more organized.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Updated pictures. I rescaped a little last night, added some more plants + a buce rock. I'm done for a few weeks other than maybe another buce/moss/fern rock or two.

Time to let the tank grow in a bit. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Haven't updated this in a bit. Got switched over to the Fabco NV-55-18 Needle valve and Co2 is back to being consistent. I also started dosing fertilizers as of Tuesday as well.

Things are starting to take off. I'm going to trim and replant the Purple Cabomba today but leave the rest alone. I've been dealing with Algae due to the inconsistent Co2, low stock, and no fertilizers. That is finally getting under control as I dosed AlgaeFix and Excel to kill it off. I don't want to do to much trimming as I want to give the plants time to recover from the Algae issues.

This was last night, I'll try to get another picture after I do a water change, cleanup, and trim today.

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Almost a month since I swapped to Flourish Black Sand and BDBS. Added some cardinals and some electric blue rams. I have a new discuss but he is still small so in a 20 right now. :)



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