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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I've moved into a new apartment, and as space is a premium, have decided to buy a commercial grade steel wire rack to consolidate my 3 aquariums into one space. I chose the wire rack because it was cheaper than buying 3 separate stands, it looks better than most cheap iron aquarium stands, and the construction makes it very easy to hang lights, tubing, wires, and anything else. Here's a picture of the rack (48"Lx72"Hx18"W), it's made by SAFCO and sold by Staples.com for around $150 with free (and fast!) shipping:



Each shelf can supposedly support 500lbs evenly distributed in a 36"x12" area. Therefore, it should be able to support my 29 gallon, but just in case, and for aesthetics and to give the tanks a better base, I'm putting 1/2" plywood shelves on top of the wire. I had these cut at Home Depot and will paint them black to blend in with the shelving. They are the same width as the rack, and therefore rest directly on the strongest, thickest wire supports.

I spaced the shelves out to accomodate my 10 or 20 long on the bottom, the 29 in the middle, and the 10 or 20 long on the top. With this current setup, I have room for another 10 gallon tank. O:) I also could have any tank less than 48"L and 20"H. I raised the bottom shelf 12 inches off the ground so you don't have to bend over to see the tank(s) on that shelf. The top shelf is right about eye level for me.

The tanks are currently at my old place waiting for the shelving to be finished and ready, but I'll document the moving process as well. I hope to keep this as a continuing journal for the three tanks and as help for other people interested in consolidating their tanks into a metal rack like this.

I'm off to Home Depot to buy some more black spray paint right now (and some fittings for a home made canister filter \\:D/ ), but I'll post some pictures of the shelving installed! Stay tuned!

Current Costs for Rack:
  • $151 SAFCO Rack
  • $16.74 1/2" 2X4 sheet of plywood x 2
  • $.99 Black Spray Paint
  • $3.46 Black Cable Ties
Total: $172.19
 

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Such a great idea for space limited people. I'll be following all this to see how things turn out. I want to do this too. You kepted us a cliff hanger! :)

Can't wait to see those tanks arranged on those shelves. ;)

-John N.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the support John! Hopefully I won't have 60 gallons of water and broken glass on my floor. :pray:

Okay, so I've been busy over the past day or so getting the rack ready. Here's a picture of the plywood shelves that I made:



The employee at Home Depot cut one shorter than the other and I didn't notice till I got home, but no matter. I did run into a slight problem however, and that is that the front and back edges of the shelving, the heavy duty wire, is slightly higher than the central wire. This means if I put the plywood on the shelf and apply weight, the plywood deflects and bows by 1/8". Not wanting to risk a cracked tank, I cut some cardboard I had laying around from the rack and made a cardboard "cushion" to put under the plywood shelf. This helps to minimize the deflection of the plywood a bit and fits nicely in between the front and back edges.

I will not use plywood for the smaller 10 gallon tank, only because I feel it doesn't need it. The rack can easily support 100 or so pounds that the 10 gallon weighs. It's only the 29 gallon that I'm really worried about.

So with the shelving finished, I decided to go move my 10 gallon from my old place. I only live 10 minutes away so I followed recommendations from people on this board on how to move a tank a short distance.

First, I unplugged and removed as much equipment as I could. I left the heater and HOB filter on the tank since both have moss covering them that I didn't want to dry out (or strand a baby shrimp!). Then, I siphoned as much water as I could out of the tank into a Rubbermaid tub:



I didn't bother to catch the shrimp because I was told they can survive in tiny puddles for a short amount of time. I also don't have any fish in this tank, so there was no need to remove them first. I got the water level down to about 1/4" or just enough to cover the glosso. Then I covered the tank with plastic wrap to keep as much of the moisture in as possible.

After that, I loaded both the tank and the tub of tank water into the car and made the drive over. Despite the fact that it is not a smooth drive thanks to Boston winters, the tank arrived and everything was exactly as I had left it. The shrimp were a bit nervous and were flicking around the shallow water, obviously trying to find deeper pools, but were alive and well.

I set up the tank on the bottom shelf, and then set the tub of tank water on the shelf above. This allowed me to simply siphon the water back into the tank. I plugged everything back in, and although the water is slightly stirred up, it looks almost exactly as it did before I moved it. No dead shrimp or plants!




Not much bowing or deflecting by the shelving, I'm a little reassured!

And here it is after a few hours:



One down, two to go! Not sure when I'll get a chance to move the 20 and 29, which will be significantly harder due to the fish and larger size. For them, I will probably only keep 50% of the tank water, just because 10 gallons seems to be the feasible limit to the tub approach (I have two tubs for the 29). Stay tuned!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
*Phew* Well over the past few weeks I've moved both the 20 and the 29 to the new place. I also moved the position of the rack in the room. Here are some pictures of the move and the new setup:



So many benefits of this set up! It was very easy to get the water back into the tank again without using a pump or dumping it in slowly. I just started a siphon and watched it go!



This is how it looked with the 29 gallon set up but not yet aquascaped. I had to rip up all of the plants to catch the fish. I have a little male ram who's very intelligent and very scared of a net. The extra space next to the 10 gallon is perfect for aquarium supplies!



Hanging the Coralife 2x65 light fixture. At first I wasn't sure how to do it with cable ties as I had done with the other fixtures, then I realized that I could use the mounting legs upside down as anchors for the ties:




After a bit of aquascaping/trimming. Piece in the corner is a really ugly piece of driftwood covered in moss and it will soon hide an Eheim 2213 intake and spraybar. The heater is also behind it. The powerhead and quick filter will be taken out.



And finally here's with the 20L set up (although still cloudy). As you can see I added another light strip to the 29 Gallon tank using screw in CF bulbs. Believe it or not, 135W was not enough for some of the plants I wanted to grow (glosso, micranthemum umbrosum). Right now it's just an additional 20W, but I'm upgrading this to 52W. Also, the Eclipse 3 strip light above the 20L has nasty GE9325K bulbs in it and is just temporary till my 26W screw in CF bulbs arrive.

Most of the plants are still floating/torn up in the 20L from the move and I need some time to decide how I want to aquascape it. The water is brown from the move and because I use peat in the filter to replicate the native habitat of the fish in there (rams, tetras, cory cats) mainly for breeding purposes.

As a side note, I've also finished the DIY canister filter and am using it to clean up the 20L. Here's a picture of it:



It also illustrates another benefit of the wire racks...I can place it directly over the tank and if anything goes wrong, it leaks right back into the tank instead of all over the floor, or in some cabinet where I won't notice it until I have a pool on my floor! It's run buy the AquaClear 30 powerhead in the tank.

So far there's no sign of bowing or any stress on the shelving, and it's got over 600lbs on it! The only downside to this setup is if you live in an old building like I do...then you have to deal with uneven floors and walls and bouncy wood floors that wobble everything when you walk around. Then again any aquarium on this floor would wobble a bit, it's just more noticeable when it's 5 feet off the ground!

If I had to do it again, I may skip out on the wire rack just because of this nerve wracking quirk until I have a palce with stable, level floors. I'll probably get used to it though, and I'm glad I did it. Much better than buying 3 $90 stands and it'll make switching to pressurized CO2 much easier.

Next project: Aquascaping the 20L!
 

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That's cool... I had often thought of using those racks for displaying aquariums, but always was worried they would break. Apparently not....

Do the houseplants benefit from the light around the aquariums?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I had often thought of using those racks for displaying aquariums, but always was worried they would break.
Well this one isn't one you would find at Ikea or in Home Depot. Those can typically only hold about 250lbs per shelf. This one is a commercial grade shelf ordered from Staples.com that can hold 500lbs per shelf. They also sell industrial grade ones that can support 1000lbs per shelf!

Plus after going to look at stands, they are either ugly or rediculously flimsy and cheap. Just looking at some reassured me! You have to spend quite a bit of money to get a decent stand.

And yes, the house plants do benefit from the leaked aquarium light. Perhaps I'll start an herb garden (not that kind of herb) along side my aquariums!
 

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DJK, man you are living the life! That's a really neat rack for all those tanks.

The 10 gallon aquascaped look AMAZING! You've done a great job with that particular tank. The glosso is staying down really well with those screwin CF bulbs and DIY CO2. Not to mention that moss wall is starting to look very cool too. It's a shrimp heaven! :)

You ingeniously mounted those lights over all your tanks perfectly. I would have never thought of using zip ties on those mount legs.

I'm looking forward to seeing how things are going to shape up for that 20L.

Instead of those supplies next to the 10 gallon you definately need to stick another 10g tank there to complete the setup! ;)

I'm now subscribed to this thread, cause I missed the previous update. :( Well not anymore! Keep us updated.

-John N.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
John N:

Don't worry, I'm just keeping the supplies there so I don't see a big empty space for a new tank that I can't afford right now! Eventually, there will be another 10G there and the supplies will go underneath.

So I've been researching and looking around at aquascaping styles, and I really think that an iwagumi style tank would be perfectly suited for both the tank dimensions and the viewing angle. It's right at eye level, thus increasing the sense of depth, and using low ground cover like glosso or HC would make the tank look taller than it's stem-deforming 12 inches. I can move the ram pair to my 29 gallon tank as well as the ottos and pygmy cories and leave the rummynose tetras or even get a smaller tetra or fish to further enhance the sense of size. I'd have to sell or trade or move the plants that are in there now and buy more substrate and rocks, but that wouldn't be too bad.

So here's the concept: Rolling hills of HC with craggy rock outcroppings (3 placed in the sanzon-iwagumi style). A school of small colorful fish, and some cherry shrimp. Somewhat like GoHan's Walking Aoyama.

Another option is a little bit less "one species" like this 22G by Aaron Padilla which ironically is ALSO on a tank rack like my own (see the legs on each corner? :high5: )



Opinions? Advice? Input?

On a side note, your friends will really think you're crazy when you show them this picture and tell them how beautifully orchestrated it is.
 

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I like Aaron's tank. I think you should go for the iwagumi style tank. Makes a perfect tankfor your rank, and plus it's visually appealing. Is this for the 10 gallon or the larger tanks?

-John N.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
John N.:

The iwagumi would be the 20 long on the very top rack.

Tankman:

Thanks! You never know unless you try! ;)

Well this week has been full of new purchases and arrivals. I received my Eheim Classic 2213 filter for the 29 gallon tank in the mail and I love it. It's silent and oh-so sexy and German. Eheim truly is the Porsche of filters. I also received my 4 light bulbs for the hoods that will replace the Eclipse 3 hood over the 20 long. I'm upgrading to four 26 Watt 6400K CF screw ins, giving me 104 Watts total. These, however, I'm not going to hang like the others, since the tank is higher, hanging them will make it uncomfortable to view the tank since the light will be shining right in your eyes. Instead, I'm just putting them on top of a glass top. Here's a picture of the bulbs installed in the hoods:



I used foil to increase the amount of light going into the tank. I have them on the tank now temporarily and man is it bright! I'll put all the prices at the end of this update.

So now I have the lighting I need for the iwagumi tank. Next on the list are the rocks. There aren't any appropriate ones at the local fish store, so I'm going to have to hunt around. Anyone know any good places to get pretty rocks?

I'll keep my eye out in the meantime.

Lighting the 20L:
  • 26W 6400K CF bulb x 4 = $16 not including shipping
  • Incandescent Hood x 2 = $40

Total = $66
 

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The 104W of light does not reach that tank, far from it with that type of setup.

1. Spiral CF such as those are very inefficient in lighting. There is a quite a lot of restrike due to the design.

2. Foil as a reflector is worse then no reflector. Note how many different facets there are. The light is bouncing all over the place and most is not being directed to the tank. You would do much better removing the foil and painting the interior a flat white.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Exactly how much light reaches the tank is not the point. The point is screw in CF lights offer more light per dollar than any specially designed CF system, allowing you to put more than enough light over the tank for much less money. I'm also doubtful that the loss is large enough to offset the economics of screw in bulbs. It would have to approach 60% for me to think twice, since I would have to spend at least 60% more. If I had bags of money, I'd buy AH Supply lighting, but to get a comparable system (based on wattage alone) would be $65 plus $40 for the bulbs plus shipping. :wof:

As for the foil, I know it scatters light and directs some back into the bulb due to the many facets. However, it does also reflect light significantly and scatters it much less than white paint. Hold a piece of foil in the sunlight and you can see much more focused light is being reflected than if you use a painted white surface. The white paint, no matter how glossy, has millions of reflective facets. Reducing the wrinkles in the foil also helps to minimize the amount of light bouncing into the bulb. Ideally I would use mylar or something similar, but I haven't gotten around to that yet and probably never will because again I don't have bags of money and the difference is not worth it. Plants grow amazingly as is without algae problems.

In conclusion, I probably have somewhere between a 4 and 5.2 WPG equivalent. With light levels that high, the difference has a minimal impact on plant growth.
 

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I am also going to be making my own hood for a 20 gallon that i have. I just happened to find a bunch of tiny glass mirror strips that where for ornimental puposes. I intend to glue them in and play around with the angles to limit restrike. Cheap is the deciding factor for me most of the time also. This way i can buy something else for my planted tanks! ;) Namely some nice plants hehe.
 

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DJKronik57 said:
I have as I suggested above, but the light levels are great as they are, and this is more of a temporary low-budget solution until I can afford top of the line lighting.

:drool: ADA Metal Halides :shock: :wof:
Dude go buy a balloon....the shiny inside of a helium balloon is mylar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Most coffee packaging is mylar too. I like the mirror idea though it may be tedious getting them to fit correctly. An M shape is ideal with the middle point of the M right above the bulb. With mylar it may be hard to create the right angles so the light doesn't restrike the bulb. Maybe just glue the corners in and let the middle drape down?

What it all boils down to is that it's too much effort for something I don't exactly need right now. If it ain't broke, don't fix it! [smilie=h:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ok, so the 20 gallon rescaping has begun. In a bit of a rush so I'm just going to post pictures now and ask for your opinions then explain later!

This is what it looks like so far (sorry about the bad pictures, had no time to clean it up!):







What do you think? Comments and criticism welcome!! Again, will explain process later, have to run!!
 
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