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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey guys and gals, I'm back after a short break and I'm tackling a project I've always wanted to do. I'll be building my own all in one aquarium out of my 55g. This 55g was purchased to be a sump under my 75g, here's a picture:





Here's a stock image from Petco, which is where I bought the tank originally.





So the plan is to create something like a Fluval Spec V, but like Freeman Spev LV. I made a quick doodle to get some dimensions:





The weir/retaining wall is black acrylic I ordered online. I will be painting the exterior of the filter area black or ordering more acrylic to wrap around the exterior to hide the filter.





I plan on making the dividers out of spare acrylic or glass, I have both lying around. Since there isn't much force on the acrylic, regular silicone should hold just fine from my experience with my sump.


The filter area is split into, roughly, 3 - 4"x4"x21" sections. The first section will be sponge/foam for mechanical filtration, something I also had lying around.





The second section will be Seachem Matrix. By my calculations, I'll have about 3 liters of space, so 2 liters of bio media should be fine. Also, the 2 liters is more than enough bio media for a tank this size.





The last section should be large enough to house my heater, an aquatop 300w I have, and my return pump. I went with the same generic return pump I have in the past, but a 400 GPH model instead of the 740s I've ran.








I will be picking up a Finnex heater controller for safety reasons. I didn't on my last tank but my heater is getting older now.





The only real decision, and cost, I have is going to be the lighting. I'm a big CFL fan and I think the domes look sharp when they are painted gloss black with automotive high temp paint. The pendent look is sharp and cheap. However, this tank will be 3 side viewable and hanging the lights isn't going to be the most ideal. Coupled with the need for several cords and light spill over, I've decided to go LED.


My two options, that I've found thus far, are either a beamswork LED that runs about $60 shipped:





Or a Finnex Planted+ 24/7 for about $150:





Obviously the cost difference is note worthy. But I'll be honest, I've got money now. Not an infinite resource, but I can budget an extra $100 to buy something I'll be happy with in the long run. Opinions on the lighting would be helpful. The tank will be low-medium lighting, non CO2, very minimalistic. I've had great success with low tech tanks and I don't plan on changing that.


The tank will be sitting on the floor for a few months. I'm moving and plan on making a stand to reflect the new living space (height wise). It will be a pedestal stand since I have no need for filters, just a few cords. I may opt for an according door on one side to give me space. It is something I've wanted to try and build.


So the plant list going to be jungle/spiral vals, wisteria/water sprite, assorted crypts, and dwarf sag. Like I've said, I had good experiences with these in the past and they really flourished for me. I'll be going with black diamond blasting sand with root tabs, a classic.


The stocking is something I want to keep small. For now, pre move, I was thinking either a small school (5-6) or a betta fish. I'm being serious. I just want to establish the plants until the tank is in a permanent home.

So, if you've read through this, I've got 2 real questions:


1) What should I stock, species only, in this tank? I'm open to anything. I was contemplating a school of Denison Barbs or maybe something like 30 rummy nose.


2) What light should I go with? Jeff was kind enough to give me his suggestion for the beamswork model, which I've used in the past with success.
 

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Beamswork should be fine for low light especially if you are going for the .5W version which based on your picture it looks like you are my only concern would be how well the .5W will penetrate into a tank that deep there are 1W and 3W beamswork aswell. To be noted the beamswork lights are not designed to be dimmed and cannot undergo the color manipulation that a finnex can but if you aren't interested in those aspects then I would recommend the beamswork. (yes with a current/voltage regulator you can dim the light but this causes high frequency pulsing of the LED's which lowers their lifespan and is also bad for your fish (even though you might not be able to see the pulsing yourself))
 

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I am excited to see how this turns out. I've been wanting to do something similar myself. Stocking wise i am partial to Rainbow tanks. I think they look good and are fun to watch. I have no experience with the beamswork lights but from what I have read they should be good for what you want to do. I run a finnex planted + 24/7 on my 40B and will say that i am a big fan of it. I run it on a timer with a break in the middle of the day, with a custom light setting about 80% of what the max setting is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Beamswork should be fine for low light especially if you are going for the .5W version which based on your picture it looks like you are my only concern would be how well the .5W will penetrate into a tank that deep there are 1W and 3W beamswork aswell. To be noted the beamswork lights are not designed to be dimmed and cannot undergo the color manipulation that a finnex can but if you aren't interested in those aspects then I would recommend the beamswork. (yes with a current/voltage regulator you can dim the light but this causes high frequency pulsing of the LED's which lowers their lifespan and is also bad for your fish (even though you might not be able to see the pulsing yourself))

It is the 0.5w version. I ran into a "issue" with the 0.5w version on my 20g regular. It wasn't a lot of light, even at 16". I could run it for 12 hours a day. I think it was the dual/triple and not the pent rows though. I think the 3w Evo Green model may be better, but isn't as economical and is swaying me to go with the 24/7. I want to go with the 24/7 for pure aesthetic reasons. I like the sunrise/sunset and built in timer functions. Thank you for the input. It has raised a lot of new thoughts in my head.

I am excited to see how this turns out. I've been wanting to do something similar myself. Stocking wise i am partial to Rainbow tanks. I think they look good and are fun to watch. I have no experience with the beamswork lights but from what I have read they should be good for what you want to do. I run a finnex planted + 24/7 on my 40B and will say that i am a big fan of it. I run it on a timer with a break in the middle of the day, with a custom light setting about 80% of what the max setting is.


Thanks! I have heard plenty of good stories about the light. When you said ranbow tanks, we are talking about the half blue and half yellow guys, right? Definitely something to consider. I could only fit a small school of rainbow fish in here and may have to get a little adventurous to find a store with them. My LFS doesn't stock them regularly.

sounds like an awesome project!

If everything goes half as well as I hope, it should turn out great. Only time will tell though.
 

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Thanks! I have heard plenty of good stories about the light. When you said ranbow tanks, we are talking about the half blue and half yellow guys, right? Definitely something to consider. I could only fit a small school of rainbow fish in here and may have to get a little adventurous to find a store with them. My LFS doesn't stock them regularly.
Those are a type of rainbow. But there are quite a few different varieties of rainbow out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Those are a type of rainbow. But there are quite a few different varieties of rainbow out there.

Yup! That's just the most common. I've seen some beautiful rainbow tanks. I don't think I could fit very many in this tank though. I'm trying to keep the stocking down too. :grin2:


I will look into it more though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
How hot does it get in summer, internal pumps can add a few degrees.


In the house, 77* F. Outside, 100*F+. I had a larger tank, about double this, with 2 pumps, larger than these, running without a lot of issues. I did have an issue with my lighting and my hood causing a lot of heat though. But I ended up solving that. I wish I could find an affordable DC pump around rated flow of the one I have for this tank.
 

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Kudos to you for a 55g species only tank. I see too many community tanks these days, which the owners may find aesthetically pleasing but truth be told there are hardly any species of fish that benefit more from a community tank than from a species tank.

Re "What should I stock, species only, in this tank? I'm open to anything."

Go with 1 pair of something, preferably a species that won't eat (all of) their fry, and make your species tank become a grow-out tank as well. Talk to your LFS. See which species they'd be eager to buy or give store credit for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Kudos to you for a 55g species only tank. I see too many community tanks these days, which the owners may find aesthetically pleasing but truth be told there are hardly any species of fish that benefit more from a community tank than from a species tank.

Re "What should I stock, species only, in this tank? I'm open to anything."

Go with 1 pair of something, preferably a species that won't eat (all of) their fry, and make your species tank become a grow-out tank as well. Talk to your LFS. See which species they'd be eager to buy or give store credit for.

My current LFS won't be too local after the move haha. Seems like a neat idea. The downside would be an ever changing bio load and I'm awful at catching fish. It is something worth giving a shot. I am a big kribs fan...

Lots of decent stocking ideas thus far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
species tanks rock.
I have a 55 gal with 40 largeish platinum juvenile platys.
Awesome! I liked my community tank a lot, but I think a species only tank will be interesting too. It's a hobby and this is just one iteration of it.

How big are the holes on the weirs gonna be? i think i read somewhere that 7/16" or 1/2" = 10gph
The weir is actually depicted a little bit different than it actually came out. The inlet to the filter will actually just be gutter guard over a 3"x4" hole. The baffles are actually open with 4"x4" holes, not drilled like the picture. I have update photos. I changed my mind while cutting haha.

So I actually started working on the tank. I dragged it out of the garage, removed the baffles that were in it, removed the old bio media that I left in there, and started to clean it. Don't let your spouse see you using the kitchen sink for this.



It was hot in the garage, so I was working in the bedroom and my daughter was giving me some pointers.



I had everything drawn out on my piece of acrylic.



Here's my cheap table saw. Works much better than a jig saw for this type of work.



Here's everything laid out. The baffles don't go to the bottom of the tank/top of the tank. The inlet will have gutter guard to prevent fish from entering.



I rounded the edges to get a good, uniform, fit of the panels.



Here's the block to prevent the light from growing hoards of algae in the filter area.



And here are the baffles. There is awful glare and I hadn't cleaned up the excess silicone.



There is a ways to go still.
 

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You could go with smaller rainbows. Threadfins are great looking with great behavior for soft water. Most of the Pseudomugil species are good looking as well as comfortable at higher ph, which means most tap water parameters are fine for them.
I've kept both types and they're very interesting fish.

I use that Beamsworks light you posted, the ELF model. I like mine as far as how the plants grow in my low tech no CO2 set up. My tank is 22" deep with mostly low light plants and they're all flourishing. The real test was the Rotala Nanjenshan that I received mistakenly. The lower leaves shed but the upper leaves look good and the tips are shooting up, looking vital. It's just kind of bland as far as color. The tank is drenched in yellowish light. It can be modded to house rgb's though. I'm at the point of having to choose between adding RGB's for color or going with another light like the 24/7. I'm considering the Vivagrow version of the 24/7 for the price.

There is my obligatory opinion and experience whenever Beamswork is mentioned lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
species tanks rock.
I have a 55 gal with 40 largeish platinum juvenile platys.
You could go with smaller rainbows. Threadfins are great looking with great behavior for soft water. Most of the Pseudomugil species are good looking as well as comfortable at higher ph, which means most tap water parameters are fine for them.
I've kept both types and they're very interesting fish.

I use that Beamsworks light you posted, the ELF model. I like mine as far as how the plants grow in my low tech no CO2 set up. My tank is 22" deep with mostly low light plants and they're all flourishing. The real test was the Rotala Nanjenshan that I received mistakenly. The lower leaves shed but the upper leaves look good and the tips are shooting up, looking vital. It's just kind of bland as far as color. The tank is drenched in yellowish light. It can be modded to house rgb's though. I'm at the point of having to choose between adding RGB's for color or going with another light like the 24/7. I'm considering the Vivagrow version of the 24/7 for the price.

There is my obligatory opinion and experience whenever Beamswork is mentioned lol.
Thanks for the weigh in! I ended up splurging haha. I'll look into the smaller rainbows though. Getting them semi-local may be tough. But a worthwhile attempt regardless.
 

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You splurged on a light?

Another species that's underrated in my opinion is Emperor Tetras. From what I understand of the history of our hobby, they were very popular at one point. At some point they're popularity waned. I was keeping them in the mid 2000's and they bred without me trying. I had a tank with overgrown java moss so it was perfect to hide some eggs and fry.

These days there are a few variations. One that goes by Rainbow Emperor and one that's mostly black. I can't say I've ever seen anyone into or breeding either species. Personally I find the most joy out of finding rare fish, as far as this hobby goes. You can look at it like a DJ digging in crates for a rare record lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
You splurged on a light?

Another species that's underrated in my opinion is Emperor Tetras. From what I understand of the history of our hobby, they were very popular at one point. At some point they're popularity waned. I was keeping them in the mid 2000's and they bred without me trying. I had a tank with overgrown java moss so it was perfect to hide some eggs and fry.

These days there are a few variations. One that goes by Rainbow Emperor and one that's mostly black. I can't say I've ever seen anyone into or breeding either species. Personally I find the most joy out of finding rare fish, as far as this hobby goes. You can look at it like a DJ digging in crates for a rare record lol.
Yup, on the light. I bought a 24/7. I wanted one before it was released and just never had the 'budget'. I decided, that since i was on the fence this time around, I might as well get something I've always had interest in.

Anyway, I do like to be unique. There aren't a ton of people who keep Denison Barbs actually. I had a school of 8-9 in my 75g and I loved those fish. I can't say I'm quite DJ in a crate level though. I don't want to spend an arm and a leg on fish. Like I've mentioned, I'm just going to get a couple of something simple to keep for the next couple months, I won't actually stock it until after I move. So I may just spoil a betta or a small school of something. But I will look into the emperor tetra.

This is kind of a 'spur of the moment' tank. I have a much larger build going on in the background, but can't really start until after I move in September.
 

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My local LFS has roseline (denisons) as well as blue lines (for much less), apart from the redish bit, they look and behave almost the same. You can consider them a poor man's denison.

Emperor's are also awesome, a definite 10 out of 10 fish. It just ticks all the boxes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
My local LFS has roseline (denisons) as well as blue lines (for much less), apart from the redish bit, they look and behave almost the same. You can consider them a poor man's denison.

Emperor's are also awesome, a definite 10 out of 10 fish. It just ticks all the boxes.
Thanks! My LFS is a small one and he carries random stuff. My local petsmart has denisons for $5 each all the time. They just need to be rehab'd every time you buy one though.



The Emperor Tetras do look neat.
 
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