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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the beginning, I received a notification: "Your delivery is just 10 stops away!"

It will never cease to amaze me that I can order something like an 85 lb. glass aquarium and have it show up on my doorstep in under 48 hours. (Another example: 35 pounds of rocks, for half the price of the LFS, delivered free, the day after I ordered them.)

I went out to greet the truck when it arrived. The driver joked, "it says here you want us to leave it behind the plant?" as his partner was unfolding the loading platform.

They pulled the truck around to the driveway, and a few minutes later, they were gone, leaving this in the middle of my garage.



And that's where it'll sit for, I'm guessing, 4-6 months. I've been planning on getting one of these 90x50x50 tanks for a while, but they seem pretty tricky to find in stock here in the US. Just when I was about to pull the trigger on a Landen model from Amazon, they sold the last one, and the seller suggested it might be August or later before they got any more in this size. So, when I checked a few days later, and one more dropped back into inventory, I decided to go ahead and pull the trigger and just hold onto it until I'm ready.

So, now that I've got the glass, I need everything else. I have a 30 gallon planted tank running today, and that will eventually be upgraded to this new one. But that's a long way off.

I need to build a stand (since off-the-shelf stands of this size are hard to find and questionable expensive). So, first I need to design a stand.

I'll start picking up new equipment and just adding it to the crate. My current filters should suffice. I'll need more substrate and hardscape. I have a bunch of seiryu stone with some left over, but I'm not really enjoying it's effects on my water hardness. I'll need a lot more wood, though I haven't decided on a layout yet.

Likely will keep (and add to) the blasting sand substrate; I haven't had any real problems with that.

Will need to upgrade to much better lighting than the 30" Finnex KLC 24/7 on my current tank.

CO2 system is solid, but I'll probably redo the DIY reactor with my learnings over the past several years.

I might try some more automation this time, for things like fertilizer dosing and RO top-offs. Whether that means a neptune system or more of a DIY raspberry pi setup, I don't yet know.

Haven't given a lot of thought to stock yet. I probably don't have the discipline for a proper biotope, so I figure it'll be an expansion of the current community, which includes ember tetras, habrosus cories, otos, Amanos, and blue neo shrimp. I may give up the shrimp to bring in some larger fish like rainbows or congo tetras or new world cichlids. Lots of plants, of course.

Anyway. That's it. That's the start of the journey.

And yes, if you're wondering, I did pop the top off the crate to make sure the tank wasn't damaged by those big dents acquired in transit.




I don't expect to add much for a while, but maybe I'll keep this updated a bit as I acquire new equipment and begin the stand build. Or maybe I'll give up and get distracted by some new project instead.
 

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This is going to be a great build. Looking forward to all the new goodies you add along the way.

Big things about keeping a tank journal like this throughout the planning stages: it keeps you motivated and helps you keep track of everything. I find them extremely helpful in my own tank journeys.
 

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This is going to be a nice set up. Looking forward to the next update!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Ok, so I've been working on the stand design for a bit now. I'm neither a designer nor a carpenter, but I like to model stuff around the house in SketchUp, so that's what I did here. I don't have a ton of experience with case goods, but this should give me an opportunity to buy some tools I've been wanting, like maybe a router, planer, and table saw.

I'm interested in feedback on this design and totally open to criticism here. Tell me the flaws. Tell me why it's going to collapse under the weight of the tank (I figure about 600 lbs or so total). Tell me where I should add more bracing or whatever. I'm thinking of doing the frame in 1x3 (or maybe ply), and the skin probably in a walnut-faced plywood. I think 2x4 is just too bulky and overkill for what I'm trying to do here. As a reminder, we're looking at 59.4 gallon 90x50x50 tank on top, if that gives you an idea of scale. I think the stand is about 31" tall, and I'm weighing whether to stretch it a little higher. This seems like a fine height for maintenance, but I do most of the viewing while standing, so...

Here come the images.

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I'm not married to the overall aesthetic or decoration here; just wanted to put something to break up the flat slab look. I like the idea of this big removable panel, though, rather than doors. Just seems like it would give me better access to the interior when needed. And also, it means I don't have to build doors.





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I came up with this idea (since I always like to make things different and more complicated than they need to be) of being able to tilt out the front panel, which is held by straps or some sort of retainer bracket. That gives me access to this little drawer for things like food and tools, without having to pull the whole panel off or store them elsewhere. It pivots on a little lip at the bottom of the frame in front. And when closed, it's just held in place by magnets, I'd imagine.


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The back has some structural support from the full-width panel there, with a cutout for electrical behind. At the top, I left room behind the drawer for plumbing for the filter(s), CO2, heater, etc. I haven't decided on placement of the stand yet, so I don't know whether I'll want the tubing to exit in back or through this side panel.





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Then, for filter and other maintenance, I can remove the whole front panel for full access. Based on my current equipment, it has plenty of room for my Fluval 307, Eheim 2213, and 10# CO2 cylinder + reactor. I think I'd still be safe if I upgraded to something like an FX4, but I'll make sure.




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My main focus here was just to bring most of the weight straight down from the corners to the floor, where I'm considering several leveling feet. The stand will sit on a pretty flat tile floor, but it is travertine, so I worry about about those feet breaking through tile, so I may be more comfortable with a broader footprint + shims. The frame will probably be mostly butt joints with pocket holes and glue, though I may get my rabbet game on if I end up with the new tools to do it.



So what do y'all think? The span isn't that long in the middle, so I probably don't need a center brace vertically, right? The back panel should keep it from racking side to side, though I can always add metal corner brackets for more safety. With the outer side panels, things should stay tight front to back, but I can always add a horizontal brace on the sides to really prevent any twisting, I suppose. Engineers and more experienced stand builders, tell me what to improve please!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well I wasn't really counting on it, but I went ahead and picked up some stuff from the Marine Depot sale, because why not.

I got 30lbs. Flourite Black Sand + 30 lbs. Flourite Dark. I was going to get a single bag of the Dennerle aquasoil just as a first layer, but I don't think I want to deal with soil degradation over time after all. My plan is to mix the Flourite sand with the Black Diamond blasting sand from my current tank, just to add whatever nutrients and other properties I might get out of the Seachem product (plus root tabs or other substrate additives as needed). Then, either mix the Flourite Dark into the rest of the substrate, to add some more coarse pockets and improve substrate circulation. Or maybe I'll reserve it mostly for the top layer, as part of the transition from larger scape stones the finer sand up front. I don't know. It can't hurt at these prices regardless. Hell, it's cheaper than buying more BDBB.

I also got a Current USA Serene Pro LED light. I don't know why. It's not a light I would have been looking at. But it may serve my needs when the time comes. I got the 36-48" model, so we'll see if it barely fits on my 90cm tank. I almost got two of them, but I've been thinking of doing a sort of emergent aquascape, with epiphytes or other plants growing on rocks or wood above the tank. In that case, I wouldn't want a full-width LED on the back half, so I just picked up the single fixture. It's a good enough price that I can get rid of it if it doesn't work for me.

Then just a couple of odds and ends to throw in the box and save for later.
 
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