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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello again everyone,


Some of you may recall my recent shallow 80 gallon aquarium journal I had on here and UKAPS, under "Green Shallows."

As with many interests, hobbies come and go- and while planted aquariums certainly aren't gone for me, I felt the desire to downsize my commitment to the hobby. I was majorly (and consistently) slacking on the 80g maintenance, especially once it went onto "autopilot" after about six months.

And something more unexpected - we could never find an enjoyable layout for the aquarium in our living room here in this house also. The aquarium always being too intrusive- or too distant for casual viewing. It just felt disconnected from the living space.

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For my other main hobby, I had decided to begin a "Credenza type" project - basically a smaller entertainment stand with a couple of cabinets and shelves.

Then, I imagined how nice it would be to put a nano aquarium on it...

Then, I imagined freeing myself of the guilt of not maintaining the 80g and only having a nano sized aquarium to play with for a while... on the new credenza I wanted to build :D :D lol

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This UNS was ordered around the middle of 2018 with a Buceplant coupon, bringing it in for just below $100. And my is it beautiful. I have never owned an ADA, but I have owned acrylic aquariums.. mr aqua... etc. This UNS glass aquarium is well built and just gorgeous. Almost disappearing into the wall.

Something I hadn't done before was loads of hardscape material. I had always felt the hardscapes I did were pretty underwhelming in the end.

There was Seiryu stone and Spiderwood left over from previous scapes.. and a good amount of it for a 10g. If I'm downsizing to a smaller aquarium, why not try to fit it all, right?

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Equipment list:

Aquarium:
Ultum Nature Systems 60S
10 gallon
23.62 x 14.17 x 7.09"

Substrate:
The dirtier looking "playsand" from big box stores (Lowes in my case). This playsand has more grit and variation to it; I appreciate that more than pristine white sand.

Hardscape:
Seiryu Stone
Spiderwood

Lighting:
Finnex 24/7 CC 20"
On custom 24/7 mode with 6 hours @ full 100%.

Filtration:
Azoo Mignon 150

CO2:
None for right now, although I expect I'll cower soon and hook it back up

Fertilization/Supplements:
Thrive+ by Nilocg
Just one pump, twice a week for now

Plants:

Anubias nana petite

Bucephalandra
- Arrogant Blue
- Belindae
- Black Pearl
- Brownie Blue
- Mini Coin
- Red Blade

Cryptocoryne
- Mioya
- Sri Lanka
- unidentified - (very dark rippled, hammered leaves)

Vesicularia Montagnei, "Christmas Moss"

Fauna:

10 RCS (added 12/14)
A few random otocinclus and pygmy corydoras


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This journal will begin in the next posts by quickly documenting the credenza stand build (and general idea behind the design). It is likely a bit beyond what most would want to do for a glorified aquarium stand here on these forums, therefore I will probably make a more detailed build journal over in the DIY section if anyone has interest. I have tried to take pictures or video most of the entire setup process from credenza and canopy build to setting up the aquarium.

Pictures and updates coming soon :)


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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
How it began. Daydreaming.



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The whole project began from wanting to use up some scrap lumber I had laying around my shop from recent home renovations. Several Oak plywood panels and some used framing soft Douglas Fir would be the wood I used.

I jointed and planed all edges to get some nice square stock to begin with, then stripped those down into roughly 1.5 x 1.5 stock, and again ran all through the planer to achieve uniform size.






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The 1.5" stock would be used to compose all solid wood elements. The cabinets and doors would be made from frame and panel design. I picked the best grain for all my front and side frames. Finally laid out the front and back frames to mark.





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Matching up panels to frames, and assembling. I routed a 1/8" rabbet along the inside edges of frames to allow the 1/8" oak plywood to slide in.







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Then the frame&panels were connected with stretchers to create 3 cabinets. Used combination of dowels and pocket screws here.



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The baseboard miters were cut and glued up. Again, Douglas Fir for solid wood elements and large piece of Birch plywood into recess to create base/legs. 3 cabinets set on top and secured into base.






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Cleaned up all the edges, once assembled and glued up, with a tiny chamfer on the router





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Stripped down some more lumber to start door panels in same fashion with rabbet. Glue and brad nails.





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The solid wood top would be made out of a doubled up 1x10 fir

Before



After jointing, planing, biscuits and glue up





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Doors and tabletop finally on. Chamfer around top and bottom edge of tabletop

Also, not pictured: I went around the back of each cabinet opening with a 1/4" rabbeting bit to allow the back panels to drop into place flush





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The whole project was sanded down to 180 throughout with orbital random sander. Finished with General Finishes Antique Walnut gel stain. Topped with 1:1 mix of wipe on poly and mineral spirits. Buffed with grey and white scotch pads.

I didn't include pictures of building the shelves. They were simple 1/4 oak plywood with some douglas fir veneer edging I stripped off scrap cutoffs. Edge veneer glued on and edged with router.

This project was alot of fun and felt great to custom design for the size of this aquarium, while also planning to keep this as a piece of household furniture for years. Admittedly, using softwoods like fir and pine are always a bit of a bummer with aquarium stands, as they do get dinged and scuffed easily, even with a thicker finish. However, the only cost here was the hinges and knobs for me.

Finally ready for the aquarium!









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Thats a nice piece of work , and a great way to rid yourself of a bunch of scrap wood . Looking at the direction of the end grain on your top pieces , you might get some cupping , or splitting over time . Might not happen at all , and you'll probably have a piece of foam under the tank to take up any minor irregularities . Looking forward to seeing the tank build !
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thats a nice piece of work , and a great way to rid yourself of a bunch of scrap wood . Looking at the direction of the end grain on your top pieces , you might get some cupping , or splitting over time . Might not happen at all , and you'll probably have a piece of foam under the tank to take up any minor irregularities . Looking forward to seeing the tank build !
Yes definitely not quarter sawn boards. I flipped them though following jointing to make sure the grain was opposite to prevent cupping there. I guess I didn't show that in the pictures!

I made a further flat reference for the aquarium bottom following the initial picture. Quarter-inch Oak plywood with round over edges to dress it up a bit. Used some really thin yoga mat like material. I think it makes some contrast between the tabletop and aquarium too.



Thanks for checking it out :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Unboxing this was beautiful. I swear those sunrays were coming from within the aquarium.





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After some time spent playing with driftwood, my original design was pretty simple and felt a bit too traditional. Yes I did leave the manufacturer picture in the frame for this time being lol



The next day I added a bit more driftwood.... or just all of it?



Aaaand some seiryu stone in there too. Squeezed in between glass and wood.





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Finally couple of waterchanges, and planted a bunch of Anubias nana petite, and Crypt species from my 80 gallon. Added in a few Buce species including arrogant blue, black pearl, brownie blue, and belindae



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At this point I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing.. except the lighting seemed awfully dim and had sort of a "spotlight" effect. I was already using a 100W equivalent LED 6500k and had tried two lamp styles.

So I began the research for what type of LEDs I wanted to go with. I definitely wanted to have a scheduled and blending type LED light. I chose a Finnex 24/7 CC 20" fixture, and began building a canopy to suit. The canopy would suspend over the aquarium from conduit hangers.

Side note: I'm a bit eh about the 24/7 CC... I read reviews extensively, but am not sure I understood what people talked about when mentioning the inconvenience of setting times with 3 hour increments. It really is kind of a pain, and from how I understand it- you even have to wait to alter your lighting/timing schedules at around 6am...9a...12...3.. etc because that's also how you set the clock- not an actual "clock" running on the light dimmer. Even feels hard to explain how you have to coordinate editing your programming with the actual time of day.

Anyhow now I even consider looking into more tunable LEDs, or just a Chinese knock off "black box" in the future that can be linked to wifi.


This canopy was built with Oak plywood, 1/2" and 1/8". I cut matching sides and backs from some 1/2" plywood, and rabbeted for an insertable 1/8" ply top.

Then just cut some tiny mounting brackets from more 1/2" ply and rounded over the edges. Assembled the whole thing with glue, clamped up. Rounded off all edges with a 1/8" round and rubbed with "antique walnut" gel stain from General Finishes. You can see I still need some touch up some tiny pieces underneath where I mounted the LED after.








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That's how we got here














More pictures and updates coming!

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This is really great. I think the shallow tank and height of the wood limbs are especially appealing together. Well done!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Very nice set up.
Thanks for looking!

Very, very nice work. Subscribed!
Thank you very much :)

This is really great. I think the shallow tank and height of the wood limbs are especially appealing together. Well done!
Thank you... I had never done such an emersed hardscape as this before.. It definitely has opened my eyes to the importance of having adequate hardscape materials.
 

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Nice looking tank and stand. I just built an acrylic version of this tank a week ago and really like the way you scaped yours. Nice job.

Where did you source the plants from?
 

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Are you having any issues with fish or shrimp jumping out? I’ve had the UNS 90LS up a few weeks and have lost 4 or so to jumping out overnight. Debating a lid but it’s on the desk area at the office and it won’t look as nice.
 

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Are you having any issues with fish or shrimp jumping out? I’ve had the UNS 90LS up a few weeks and have lost 4 or so to jumping out overnight. Debating a lid but it’s on the desk area at the office and it won’t look as nice.
I have the 60S and have lost one shrimp to jumping out and it happened the very first night. I think the rest realized the top is danger and seem to be content hanging on the bottom almost to the point of worry.. I thought shrimp swam around. I never seem mine moving..theyre just in different locations every now and then and always just hanging out.
 
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