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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Introduction

Hello, and welcome to my new journal.

Three years ago I started my first planted tank. Since then, I feel that I have obtained good plant-growing skills. But, my ambitions have changed, and, once again, I am plunging into unfamiliar waters – the style of ADA.

This journal will very much be a learning experience. I will share the bad as well as the good.

First and foremost there are people that need to be recognized, as I would not have been able to achieve what I have without their help.

Greg Stahl – Greg spent an entire weekend – possibly one of the most beautiful, Wisconsin, spring weekends on record – building my aquarium stand. The stand is as sturdy as it is good-lookin’.

Tracy Owen Drier – Tracy has a seemingly limitless ability to craft glass. Tracy made the lily pipes for this new setup. He employed the style of ADA, while making numerous improvements on the strength and design.

Steve Colley (scolley) – Without Steve’s consultation, my aquascaping abilities would not have evolved. He continuously forced me to consider options that my brain seemed unable to conjure on its own. Knowing Steve, he probably doesn’t think he belongs in the list of acknowledgements - he does.

John Glaeser and the Madison Aquarium Gardeners Club – The continuous interaction and communication offered by John and the club has been monumental to my development. With each monthly meeting, the cumulative “brain” of the club clears away more and more of the fog surrounding this hobby.

Jeff Senske, Aquarium Design Group – Jeff patiently answered all of my questions; whether by email or phone. He also kept me continuously apprised of my order status, and when customs decided to delay things, he let me know ASAP. Despite some shipping delays (none of which were in Jeff’s hands), all went well. I received exactly what I needed to achieve the tank I wanted.

Jon Rupprecht (rupey) - Jon always seems to be one step ahead of me when it comes to getting his hands on new species of plants and shrimp. Yet, he is always willing to trade me his rare species for my mundane ones. The majority of the plants in my new tank came from his generosity – including a whopper cache of bolbitis.

My wife, Jill – While her enthusiasm for planted aquaria isn’t as thick as mine, her enthusiasm for my enthusiasm is. During my destruction of her living room, she has been patient (with the exception of a few “looks” thrown my way when the siphon hose came out of the bucket). She never once questioned whether there was a cheaper alternative to the equipment I wanted – understanding that everyone has their “thing”.



ADA products

Cube Garden - 90x45cm
Solar I Light – 150w, 8800K
Garden Mat
Bright Sand – 15kg
Powersand Special M
Aquasoil Amazonia – 3, 9kg
Tourmaline BC

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
The Stand

Stand

Why not buy an ADA stand? Price! And as best as I can tell, they are made out of MDF. Their finish appears to be laminated with wood “tape” or painted. If I’m wrong, please correct me – my extensive searching yielded very few specifics re: the materials. My living room has a maple floor – real maple. The window and door trim matches. Stands to reason, I wanted a real maple stand.

Here’s how it all went down:

2, 4x8’ sheets maple plywood - $100
1, maple board – for making laminate - $20
biscuits - $5
glue - $4
euro door hinges - $12
equipment - $1000’s ;)

Ripping laminate



Gluing laminate



Routing laminate for clean finish



Cutting biscuit holes



Here’s how the biscuits fit



Before gluing biscuit joints, the whole thing is taped up to catch glue squeeze out



Getting it all glued together (the nerve-racking part)



Drilling into doors to recess hinges



Sizing up hinge installation (the maker also routed out the square area for further recess)



View looking up from inside the stand – additional supports added



Finished assembly



Sanding the edges – 100 grit sandpaper



Sanding the sides – 220 grit sandpaper



First coat – Tung oil – brings out the wood grain without staining





Second coat – Polyurethane for protection – 2 coats total, sand smooth in between coats



Finished:





 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Backdrop and Light

Backdrop and light

3, 2x4” studs
4x3’ piece of drywall
joint compound
textured ceiling paint
2x25w Halogen, undercabinet light

This portion of the setup is still very much in the experimental phase. Basically, I want a plain, white background. But, I also want a backlighting system, creating a silhouette after the halide goes out. As it stands, the paint used was more reflective than I wanted. I will first try a new paint. If that doesn’t work out, I intend to build a new frame and surround it with material used for photography.

Halogen light mounted to the back of the stand





Frame and drywall (hole drilled for electrical wires)



Filled and painted

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The Setup

Setup

Placement of the (oversized) garden mat





Removal of extra with razor



Adding Power Sand



Adding Tourmaline BC



Adding Bright Sand



Adding first layer of Aquasoil Amazonia



Smoothing out substrates (with $.60 plastic scraper ;))



Arranging wood



My excited audience



Adding the Aquasoil to slope



Preliminary wood arrangement



Plumbing (Eheim 2217 – DIY reactor – Hydor 300w)



Added to filtration to remove any remaining tannins



Peacock moss attached to small pieces of African root wood w/ cotton thread



Peacock moss attached to driftwood w/ cotton thread



Echinodorus tenellus – bought from slickwillislim at the SAS. This is the thin stuff 



Planting tenellus – I filled the tank with water because moistening plants was beginning to be too much of a pain. The tenellus planted easily enough.



ADA Solar I Light hung from the ceiling; 12 inches from the surface of the tank



Front top view – finished scape. Peacock moss, Echinodorus tenellus, Bolbitis h., Crinum calimistratum.



Right side



Left side



Front with light



Front closeup Halide



Front closeup Backlight



A view from the couch




That’s it for now. The tank is still cycling. There is currently 4 ppm Ammonia! .25 ppm Nitrite. 10ppm Nitrate. And this after three 80% water changes. I’m not sure if it’s coming from the substrates or the wood. Either way, I’m not taking any chances. I do daily water changes, and only run the light for 1-2 hours a day. I also have added floating Hygrophila to the tank.
 

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Yea this is amazing, i like the stand very nice works seems like something i see at homedepot going for 300$

i could i swear you posted some of these picture somewhere before

i remember the heavy belt buckle tying down the wood
 

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Wow very nice. I wish I knew how to build a stand like that very sleek.
 

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Exceptionally nice. Especially the stand. Wow.

Will any other plants be added?

I like the 3rd wood placement picture much better. The placement you have in the tank now looks rather unnatural, like it shouldn't be sitting the way it does. It looks like it leans against the glass, which I would avoid, as the idea is to create , in the words of ADA, "A boundless panorama".

This tells me that the scene is limited to the glass, and one would want to create the illusion that it continues "past" what you see.

Other than that, I say fantastic job.
 

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Excellent start! Stand and equipment looks great.

The left side of your aquascape looks good, however I think you need to use some different pieces on the right as the two styles of wood clash. You need to re-arrange similarly to the right side where the driftwood is branching outward from the bottom. That would greatly enhance it, IMO.
 

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Whoo, Beautiful work Ted! That's 5 wows out of 8 posts (mine included). Great play by play and pictures... And I really like your Manzanita placement.

I thought of one easy to use reflective material. White foam core (the thick stuff of 1/2 inch or more) called Gator foam and a few other similar boards like "Sintra board". You could paint it any color and set it up in seconds. Only draw back is Gator dents easily. I believe Sintra is much tougher, but I've never used it
 

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top notch setup.

ditto on the unnaturalness of the driftwood. I'd add that the same might be said about the peacock moss hedges. They need to broken up somehow (intersperse some anubias nana 'golden', you can obviously afford those ;) ). I love the idea, and peacock is my favorite moss, it just needs tweaked a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad to be able to share this with you because man has it taken a lot of work (and research).

And I appreciate your aquascaping advices, but lets let it grow in a bit before we start rearranging the wood ;). Believe me, I have invested a lot of thought into this, and I need to see things develop before I start tearing it up :).
 

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Yet another wow reply. You deffinately have chosen the right components for success. I'm still deciding whether or not I approve of the wood placement, but you know, you really can't judge the scape on day one. Excellent job!
 
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