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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I hereby declare that Here Beginith the Photo-Journal for my 75g Mbuna Cichlid Planted Tank. Mwahaha. :icon_evil or whatever...

<rant> Background on moi: I am a 28 year old PhD. student in Philosophy (Biomedical and Environmental Ethics, specifically). Note that this makes me very poor, living on a State University stipend: that is why this tank is being done on the cheap. I'm from Northeast Ohio, but currently live/work/study in Knoxville, Tennessee where they call us Northern folk "Yankees." I been done had fish tanks ever since I warse a youngin wit my ma. This is but the latest episode in a chronic condition of aquaphilic fetish....blahblahblah </rant>

In this journal, please allow for asides, tangents and irrelevancies (not to mention parenthetical remarks!). Do not check your funny bone at the door. If I offend you, then I was just being sarcastic. If you believed that, would you like some used tires? "All Scotsmen are liars." Did I ever tell you that I was a Scotsman? Paradoxes... :confused: ....You've been warned. Anywho...I digress (See? I told you). Let's get this journal started.

Grab a beer and some popcorn, sit down, and enjoy the show!



(space-ambient music fades in)



(music abrubtly stops, beer pouring sound)



Stage 1: Planning
("Inspirational" music begins. Use your "God-narrative-voice-from-nowhere")

The plan/theme for this tank is "True Colors": Primary, Secondary, and Black/Grey/White



Primary Colors:
red: 1 m Protomelas taeniolatus, Nymphaea lotus Alternanthera reineckii and Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Red', and probably others later...
blue: 15 Psuedotropheus demasoni aka da Wreckin' Krew, the meanest beast nature ever but in a 10g package.
yellow: 4 Labidochromis caeruleus aka Yellow Dye #s 1, 2, 3, and 4, pretty, ubiquitous, docile. just like women and hamsters.

Secondary Colors:
orange: 1 f Metriaclima estherae aka Quillito, well, mine is orange anyways, and 1 Labidochromis textilis, aka Patches McGee
purple: 1 Pseudotropheus sp. "Acei" aka Leticia, pretend he/she/it is purple and an androgynous crossdresser.
green: :icon_idea obvious, or so one might think...[hint: PLANTS!!!]

Achromatic:
black: lava rock cave grotto background, took forever and I got high on silicone. :confused:
grey1: limestone rocks, I paid for a small portion at $200/ton = like $1.50 for more rocks than I know what to do with? they weighed my car and laughed...
grey2: Soil Master Select Charcoal substrate, Lesson learned 3 months later: LESCO personnel are largely incompetent (and maybe incontinent too, I didn't have time to check, despite acute interest).
white: 1 Metriaclima greshakei (Albino) aka "Cracka", He is whiter than your landlord.

and Joel rested, and saw that it was good. Now it's time to get to work.

(begin "Eye of the Tiger" music)

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Stage 2: The Tank

I got a free 55g from some lady. It was OK, but it was BROWN TRIM :thumbsdow and SCRATCHED to hell and back. I thought my Mbuna were still in there, but I couldn't see due to the abberations. and I wanted MORE TANK. Begin the obsessive checking of craigslist.org daily not so patiently waiting for a nice 75g combo to appear, like a Lion waiting for her prey...not really, more like a guy in front of a computer drinking beer and clicking a mouse.
An add for a 'perfect' tank appears. I go to check it out...
False positive! It's a 55g! He doesn't believe me, :iamwithst we calculate the volume from the dimensions. I go home in defeat. :icon_mad:
Then, divine intervention: I scored an AGA 75g from SuperPets for a buck a gallon. Only a buck, aww wtf... why not. That is right ladies and gents, $75, brand spankin' new.

So... I squeezed the beast into my brand, spankin new little Toyota Yaris:



and drove home speedracer style (insert high concept action chase music):



I dropped in some eggcrate to prevent Noah's Second Coming due to my clumsiness with rocks. Also, it will theoretically help keep the plants rooted against my digging crew.



I painted back black with, you guessed it: black paint. :icon_roll



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Stage 3: HaRRRRRRRRd scape aRRRRRRRRRRR Not sure why I sound like a pirate, but let’s go with it.

(pirate music and a swashbuckling interlude)

I made a DIY Cave GRRRRRRoto background. Original idea by Brad Newton, see here for details: http://www.duboisi.com/diy/BNdiygrotto/bndiygrotto.htm : I made the background more 'natural' by varying hole size and shape, and made it sloped instead of uniform across the back. This gave me more planting space for Java Ferns.').

I staRRRRted with white vinyl guttering. And made the holes.



I painted it black with, you guessed it: black paint (Rustoleum "Fusion" is aquarium-safe), and added the cave dividers using silicone:



Then, the time-consuming process of gluing the lava rock yielded this result (left half):



I added limestone rocks. Bought 'em at the local rockyard. They sell it in QUANTITY: $200/ton. I bought WAAAY too much for $1.51, and was thereby an endless source of entertainment for the employees. "We ain't done sold so little before, I reckon," or somesuch.
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Stage 4: Lighting

And Joel said, "Let there be light"

DIY hood. Plywood and 1"x 6" and 1" x 4"s with some trim wood, hinges, etc.

Supplies and Tools (all are inessential except the beer):



Halfway there, and no fingers lost yet!:



Finished product. 128w for $32. (2 shoplights @ $10 each, 4 T8 bulbs at $3 each). How you like me now? Not quite 2wpg, but I want this to be a "mid tech" tank. There is room for another shoplight. If I buck up another $16, I'll be at 192w
Also, note the blue LED light for night disco parties.
('staying alive' song begins)



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Stage 5: Filtration

XP3 baby. Filled it to the gills with sponge material, floss, potscrubbers, and crushed coral (keep hardness). Official Filstar Pimp #89 registration Beeeatches:



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Stage 6: CO2

Got a 10# tank and the Drs.Fostersmith "Semi-Auto" combo.



These instructions were especially useful. I guessed my way through it and no one has died (yet):



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Stage 7: Wirin'



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Stage 8: Substrate and Plantin'

Joel then created the earth, and saw that it was good.
I put some plants in pots with flourite, covered with extra lava rock to keep my rats with fins out (aka mbuna).
Joel then made plants, and saw that it was good.





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Stage 9: "Just add Water"

Fill er up, and it didn't even fall through the floor. Isn't it beautiful?



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Stage 10: Fish

Then Joel added fishes to the sea, and saw it was good.



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Stage 11:All Set!

('end of the road' song begins)

Joel looked back on his creation, and saw that it was good, and rested.





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Stocking List:

Epiphytes:
LOTS of java fern (background)
narrow leaf java (on rocks)
windelov java (on rocks)
LOTS of anubias nana, coffefolia, and afzella (thank you walmart, for dropping out of livestock.. I got tons of anubias for $1 per pot! suckers...).

Crypts: wendti 'red', wendti 'green gecko', lucea
(prolly will add more)
Apon sp 'Walmart" (lol) and boivinianus

Fast Grower Stems (most temporary for nutrient sponges):
red hygro
hygro polysperma
rotala sp. "green"
hygro difformis Wisteria
anacharis
unknown spikey plant on left that grows faster than toe fungus.

Floaters thrown in (most temporary for nutrient sponges):
water lettuce
najas
cabomba

Foreground:
left: Stargrass, HM
right: Dwarf sag., e. tennelus

to be continued.... thanks for lookin.
Feedback appreciated.

 

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very, very nice. Just got myself a 75g and this looks like a great idea. Kudos. :) I especially love how it looks like you did all this in one night ;) Seems like a lot even for a 6-day creation story!
 

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Oh, I love this tank! Thank you for making me laugh. :) It was even worth the dial-up wait. ;)

I'm a poor grad student on a budget, too, so I'll be keeping my eye on this one.

Good luck with your new tank!
 

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lol

I'm entertained, and subscribed.

I'd like to see how it grows out, keep us updated. I have a 45 gallon Mbuna that I'd like to rescape over the summer....gives me ideas.
 

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wow you must have ALOT of time on your hands to do some much photo animation and narration....lol. It looks very good though...
 

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Easily the best journal I've seen on here. Tank looks magnificent, and in the DIY spirit. Congratulations.
 

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Thanks for the humorous post and the passing on the great idea for rain gutter caves...i've been having weight issues in my tanks and never thought about that before.

keep up the great work and i hope they dont gopher everything outa wack in there.

jason
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks all, for your comments/compliments/et cetera...

wow you must have ALOT of time on your hands to do some much photo animation and narration....lol. It looks very good though...
It is spring break, so yes, I do have a lot time. and so must you for reading. :tongue:

gmccreedy said:
how did you mount the background? is it freestanding?
It is semi-freestanding. I used lots of silicone and lava rocks between the gutterings (there are four total) to make it rigid. The limestone rocks in the left/center/right keep it propped up. I didn't want to have to drill the top and hang it like the original (besides, it wouldn't be practical on the right due to my 'stepped' design).
 

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Very entertaining journal...
Cute...nice job on the tank. Looks beautiful~
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, a fairly major update....Plants are all growing nicely....I moved some stuff around and got some nice crypts in trades (thanks guys!). I'll post details later on the plants, but the major new news is FISH!!!!

Through aquabid I got 17 p. demasoni (paid for [email protected]$3 each, quite a deal in my book!) and 3 more yellow labs....here are some pics of the process and result. Sorry for the crappy snapshots I was in a hurry.

Live Fish!!! My mailman was kind enough to deliver this direct to the door first thing this morning instead of delivering to office in afternoon:



It's ALIIIIVE!!!












Mrs. Acei says: WhoTF are you?!?!








Full Shot:






Another one:






Closeup:






Another one:

 

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Lovin' it....except for....DUDE is that a bubble ladder I see? What happened to your nice looking glass diffuser?

The fish and plants look extremely healthy and full of color :)
 

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I love the blue sea of fish. my god there beautiful Its nice to see you bought them out side of a fish store. ewww lfs fish dirty. Nice show by the way.
 
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