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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
First post is for updating info, normal beginning post will come next!

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Supplies:
Tank/Stand
Tank/Stand (Craigslist) - $125
Glass top (included) - $0
Foam/Duct Tape (Home Depot) - $12
Glass top pieces (Home Depot) - $3
Glass top pieces (Pet Solutions) - $13
Shims - $2 (Home Depot)

Substrate
Safe T Sorb 60lbs (Tractor Supply) - $13

Filter
Fluval 406 (Amazon Seller) - $130

Heating
AquaTop GH200 (Amazon) - $17
Thermometer (Petco) - $3

Lighting
Diamond Fixture (Home Depot) - $35
2 48" 32-watt 6500k fluorescent bulbs (Home Depot) - $10
3 prong timer (Home Depot) - $10
Hanging Stuff (Lowe's) - $14

Miscellaneous
Surge protector (Home Depot) - $13

Fish
Transplants - $0
New - $75 est.

Plants
New - $100 est.

Goal: Keep under $550 for all the stuff used exclusively for this tank.

Total so far: $400
Remaining estimate: $175
Total estimate: $575
Over/Under goal estimate: $(25)

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Threads:
Substrate (solved) - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=222682

Lighting (solved) - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=221001

Fertilizer (solved) - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=222682

Filter (solved) - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=221673

Plants: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=218145
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Okay, here we go! Basically I've had a 29g talk for several years and the fish big started biting a few months ago and I've been planning out a bigger tank that I want to be really nice, but I'm trying to be as economical as possible about it. As stated above I'm trying to keep the stuff exclusive to this tank under $500 including plants and fish.

I'll be asking for advice not only on this tank, but also on any advice for future tanks or any bad purchases I've already made because if this works well I'd like to do another in the future. The links I provided in the first post are for specific questions I've had, and some have been answered, but some have not, so please check them out and chime in if you can!

I don't actually have the tank/stand yet (I know, thread started before that... but I figure it doesn't hurt to have it ready) because as I said I'm budget conscious and one of the best ways to save money it a used stand/tank. I've been watching listings and making some offers and I'm fairly certain within the next month I can get a nice setup for under $200, perhaps as low as $100. I'm looking for something like this preferably:



And I'll be putting it here:


(Cat not amused by picture)

I plan on putting it about 2 feet in front of the heater. I think this would be okay but I could use your input. I figure that's enough space that if anything would go wrong with the heater the tank would be far enough out of the way that it could be serviced, and the tank will be far enough away that there won't be any issues with the tank getting too hot.

I'm kinda planning to have the tank as an island, so you can move all the way around it, but I'll be setting up my rocks/plans like a normal tank, only intended to be viewed from the front/sides.

So far I've ordered the filter from amazon, a unit that has damaged packaging but which should otherwise be fine (else I'll return), and the following from home depot:



Let me tell you, I wasn't ready for that light... thing is f%$%^ing bright!
 

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Yes, it is a bright light. Individual reflectors for each bulb make it almost into CO2 range for your tank. I would recommend raising it a few inches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, it is a bright light. Individual reflectors for each bulb make it almost into CO2 range for your tank. I would recommend raising it a few inches.
Thanks much, was reviewing this in my lighting thread and will figure out a way to do that. I will either put two hooks into my ceiling or perhaps spend a few bucks to get curved rods to screw into the back of the stand.

GMY, I don't have that tank/stand, that's just a general idea of what I'm looking to find on craigslist. Have seen a few of them so far, just not in my price range. Also might not be able to get one with that kind of top depending on how exactly it would work with my lighting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just had a though for this. Since I plan to be able to walk around the back side of the setup, but don't intend for heavy viewing from that side I think I'll install several hooks on the back side for my net, armed sponge, siphon tube, and anything else that needs to drip dry. Can always then put either a towel or install a long catch basin below that.
 

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A 55 from Craigslist should be far cheaper than that unless you're looking for a real furniture-quality stand/hood. It's one of the most common sizes. Or else there's always the 55 gallon for $55 at Petco...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Do you happen to know when Petco will do the 55g for $55 again? I've heard that they do that but my local store doesn't have anything like that right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I actually bought a 55g off of CL today for $45. It was really dirty, but I spent 30 minutes with some hot water really cleaning it up. Going to finish it up with some vinegar later in the weekend.

In any case I don't think this will be used for this project as it didn't come with a stand and it will likely take me some time to get a proper stand for it separate. However if nothing comes along in a week or two I might consider moving my (very heavy and sturdy) dresser over for the tank and using it, will have to see.
 

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CL tanks are pretty common. Just keep your eyes peeled for a deal. If you have access to a saw and a drill you can build a simple stand fairly cheap. Canopy would be a bit more of a challenge but still it can be done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
A friend and I *could* feasibly build a nice stand, but I figure a deal will come along that will end up being nicer than what we could do in a reasonable amount of time. Still, if I get a tank/stand combo like I hope for this project I'll have all the time in the world to worry about the other one and may just build one for the heck of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Just got a positive response on this:
http://allentown.craigslist.org/for/3533069630.html

So I may slightly up the budget for this project if I end up liking this tank and the single Fluval 405 isn't enough for a 75 gallon tank. Thankfully I don't think heating would be an issue for a 75 since I am only raising about 4 degrees from room temp, and the depth and width of the tank are the same so lighting can remain the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
So in my running around today I was able to nail down some supplies:



Got 120lbs of SafeTSorb ($13) and a $3 thermometer for inside the tank. Not counting against the budget is some vinegar (for cleaning) and ammonia (for fishless cycling).
 

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Looks like you're on the right track. 55 is one of the more unique footprints in terms of finding a stand. Like you said, a dresser could be one solution. Building your own is a great option but remember that it may or may not be worthwhile economically if you decide you'd like to make it really nice. DIY is fun but it's not always the cheapest option...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
My current plan should give me all the time in the world to worry about it thankfully. I'm going to set up and cycle/plant a tank in the bedroom, move the fish from the 29g in the living room into that tank, change the gravel in the 29g to SafeTSorb and plant that one, and move the barbs back to the 29g while leaving a catfish and shark in the 55/75g tank as the first permanent members of that tank.

At that point I'll be moving the gravel and any leftover SafeTSorb into the 55 gallon tank setup in the office and using it as a Pleco/Cichlid tank. So that's probably 6 months off at least.

Also, I'm heading over tomorrow night to look at the CL tank I posted, so I'm really hoping I like it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Lots of updates!

First and most importantly I looked at the tank tonight and will be buying it! Going to pick it up tomorrow, super psyched! The total cost was $125 for stand and tank, and in addition I won't have to purchase a versa glass top as I originally thought. The tank comes with glass pieces for on top. In addition the heater, filter, and a couple Seachem chemicals will be arriving in the mail tomorrow. While I've saved myself some good money here, this has moved the project officially to 75g from 55g and I'm increasing the budget by $50 accordingly. If the savings continue as planned that allows me more for fish and plants.

After work today I also picked up a few things at Lowe's ($13) to hang the light, as I wanted that to be done before the tank was in the way if possible. GF and I decided to re-arrange the room a bit prior to the tank moving in. Turned a dresser that will run parallel with the tank and create a false wall impression. Between the tank and the dresser on left 2.5 feet will remain allowing us to get behind to a storage area and to easily access things on the back of and behind the tank.

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The guy who I'm buying the tank from actually has a very nice, large saltwater tank still running and a nice 29g freshwater tetra tank, so it's nice to know I'm buying from an active fish guy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Lots of good news today, little bit of bad.

First, I picked up the stand:



And tank:



Thankfully Wednesday is my day off, so I'm going to spend part of the day cleaning the stand and tank, and buying a shim for under the front of the stand as it needs to go up 3/8ths of an inch, and some foam to go between the tank and the rail. Then I'll be able to put the tank on the stand and let the fun begin.

In addition I got some stuff in the mail today (and in the past week), and the only thing that was specifically for this tank was the heater. However I've also received my bottle of fert and 1000 gel caps, a new net, a plant trimming tool kit, and Seachem NPK, Flourish, Flourish Excel, and Prime.



The bit of bad news is my filter came and it was obviously used and had a cracked top. So it's going back and I've decided to upgrade to the Fluval 406, 2nd hand but never out of box for $130.
 

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Great find!!!

Subscribed too! I am thinking of upgrading my 55g to a 75g, so I am really interested in how you are going to be setting up and scaping!

Good Luck!
Drew
 
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