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50 Gallon Journal

18211 Views 54 Replies 29 Participants Last post by  sindifishing
Finally got around to setting up my 50 gallon last weekend. Took me about 10 hours as I had to break down two 10 gallons, move a 15 gallon and finish wiring the new hood with the old ballasts and bulbs. Lots of work but I am pretty pleased with the results.

First, the specs:
-50 gallon AGA, 36x18x18
-Custom stand and hood with 2x36 and 2x55 PCs (72watts-9 hrs, 182watts-4hrs) Will increase lighting durations as tank breaks in
-Eheim 2217 with DIY inline reactor, 5lbs cylinder and SM122 controler
-50lbs Black Beauty, 40lbs used Eco/Onyx from exhisting tank, 40lbs Eco cap
-Shale rock and manzanita wood hardscape
-13 Black neon tetras, 6 harlequin rasboras, 5 corydoras pygmea, 3 platies, otocinclus affinis and 4 cardinia japonica

Critique away:)

Stand setup and water testing:

Peat base with thin cap of Black Black Beauty blasting grit:

Ring of Black Beauty with old substrate added:

Basic hardscape added with new Eco-Complete cap:

Initial planting, 11/06/2005:

Side shot:

Full tank shot:

Updated shot Day 7 11/12/2005:
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Thanks Lauren and GB!

I can set the photo shoot up well enough but I only have a dinky little Canon A70. In the past I have taken some descent tank photos(of other tanks) but they were all smaller aquariums. I am guessing I just really need to take the time to set up the shots, like you suggested GB. I get teh feeling this camera wil take descent photos, but not on the fly if you get my drift. I will probably try and play around with different setups, backgrounds, lighting, etc. until I am ready for the real shots;)
Turning out quite nicely, Dennis. I wasn't sure at the beginning, but your hardscape really came into its own here.

Thanks a lot John, appreciated:)
Awesome dennis, This journal is like an adventure!
Well, I took a little more time setting this up. I set the white balance using a white post card cover with packing tape and stapled to a stick. Next time I will set it a little better usingthe back bank of lights as they have more of a reddish color than the front bulbs. Hopefully that will bring out the true color of the Cuba and arcuata more.

I also draped a black background over the back. It is a piece of el cheapo plastic, throw away table cloth cover that you can get for picnics and the like, $2 for a 4x10 piece. It is folded and for my application that is not noticable but I don't know if you could iron or sun out the folds if it really mattered. Also, one side is matte but the other is semi shiny so it has possibility for use as an infinity type background with lights shining on it. I may play around more wiht that later.

I would welcome any photo tips or suggestions to get the best possible outcome for the ADA. As a note, the photo is not edited at all except for cropping.

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:hail: Awesome tank. I'll like the previous two photos slightly better because of the taller Cuba.
Very nice. Much nicer with a black background IMO. I agree with your idea to get the platties out. The harlequins and black neons (?) are perfect for this tank, but I'd go with at least 6 or 8 of each. You may need more to get enough to smile & say 'cheese' for the photo.

Just to the left of the Alternanthera there is a broad-leafed plant that is probably an anubias. One of the leaves is showing its underside which is quite yellow. I'd either force it down or clip it off, since it kind of draws your eye to that area. How's that for nitpicky - worrying about a single leaf?

I love how the blyxa is planted up off of the bottom of the tank.
Nitt-picky! heck, I already saw that and worried about it:) Thanks for the advice, it is nice to here peoples thoughts. Thanks! I'll definately spend some time adjusting everything and witing for the fish to co-operate. I don't mind the platys all in all but they do detract form this and they are so hard to catch.

Here are the specs for the above photo. Is there anythign I should/could have done to get a better photo, settings wise? Editing the photo consisted of cropping and resizing to the above size. I preserved the ratio when resizing, using Gimp 2.0. I did not increase the pixels/inch setting and I used no interpolation setting. Any suggestions about that? For the ADA I would send a hard copy photo and the fullsize not-resized image on disk.

Shutter speed: 1/30 sec
Aperture: 4.5
Exposure mode: Manual
Flash: Off
Metering mode: Evaluative
Drive mode: Single frame shooting
Self-timer: 2 secs
ISO: 50
Lens: 5.4 to 16.2mm
Focal length: 5.4mm
Subject distance: 1.33 m
AF mode: Single AF
Image size: 2048 x 1536
Rotation: none
Image quality: Super fine
White balance: Custom
Picture Effect: Normal
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yo got a jungle in there. At least its well maintained though. I'm wondering if you've ran into any specific algae during the setup and maturing of the tank.
Dennis, tank looks awesome! Good job. :thumbsup: Regarding the image itself. The problem I see with the pic is you have too much contrast in the image, ie, too much of a tonal range between the highlights and the shadows. You somehow need to lighten up the darker areas a little. If you were a photoshop expert, I think it would be easily done. Not having that, it is a matter of lighting the tank so that the darker areas are a little brighter. Having said that, I can't tell you how to actually accomplish that. :( You might want to experiment with off camera angled flashes. Perhaps positioning your 'high noon' lighting such that the darker areas get more light. Play with it some and see what you come up with. Bottom line though, is that tank looks great!
Hi Dennis,

Can you give us some more information on the hood? Did you make it youself?


Here is a response I sent someone reciently concerning the hood. Hope it is helpful. And yes, I did make it myself?

Let's see... I wanted a full fitting hood as I did not want any light spill. The rest was sort of intuitive. since I was copying the ADA stand, with hoses coming out the sides, I need a hood that worked with that. The opening in the side was an obvious choice.

making the hood: let's see, I used 1/4MDF for the whole thing. I started by drawing the end view full size on the end panel material. I made the bottom 1/4 smaller overall that the depth of the tank. I chose an angle that looked pleasing to the eye, maybe something like 4" in over the 6" height. Then I drew parallel lines 1/2" in from that. This told me the interoir shape and also the exact shape of the end panels. The next step, before cutting them out, is to bisect the angle where the top and front/back meet and set my bevel guage to that angle. I have no idea what it was, just take it off your drawing. Use that to set the tablesaw. This method means that you make a perfect angle and all cuts are at the same angle. Now, I cut out the ends close to my line with a bandsaw and used a big horz belt sander to true up to my lines. Your method may differ
You can now layout the opening on one of the ends and band saw that out. Clean up with a handplane or rasp, as necessary.

Now, cut your top panel to the correct width, checking that the inside width is perfect to the top of your ends. Then cut your front and back pieces. The bottom angle on tho front/back pieces is different, I don't know what but it will be intuitive how to find it once you have the parts in hand.

The ends have a 1/4x1/4 rabit in the bottom, inside- this extends past the bottom of the front/back to keep the hood "safe". Give yourself a good 1/8" extra space compared to the tanks length. IE, make the front/back parts 1/8" longer than the biggest length of the top.

To glue up, lay the front, top and back flat with the outside up and the pionts of the miters touching. Stretch packing tape across the joit every 3-4 inches and then run one strip the whole length of the joint. Do this for both joints. Now very carefully flip over, clamping a stick to one end helps this. You can apply an adequate amount of you favorite waterproof glue (I like Gorilla Glue) fold the front/back up and use long strips of packing tape as a clamp. Place your end pieces in each end to make sure you get the angle right during glue up. Tape/clamp as necessary. Finally, glue in the end one the other is dry. I also ran a few fillets up the corners after it was all done to add a bit more strength.

Sand, fill and finsih as desired. A few tips though, seal the bottom edges of everything twice as much as you think necessary, or they will absorbe moisture and bubble the finish. The hood builds up a lot of moisture and condensation on the inside since only one end is open. You may want to add fans or ventillation in the other end or back. Haveing the hood sit up on little 1/4" cabinet door bumps also helped.

Let me know if you want to know more. The only pics I have are in the journal thread.
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I like it very much, it looks very nice. I've seen some very good suggestions in other posts as well.
I like it very much, it looks very nice. I've seen some very good suggestions in other posts as well.
I totally agree, there is a lot of useful information.
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