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THIS is going to get interesting....

26829 Views 126 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  giypsy
Hi Guys. This is my first time posting on here. I've been lurking and reading and lurking some more and this site has been a WEALTH of information to help me with this project that I've embarked on.... so I figured I'd start a journal up here, and maybe help keep someone from repeating mistakes that I have made while learning in the process.

This WHOLE project started.... (Drumroll please....) Because we decided to paint a room. (yes, you read that right.) It had this godawful flowery, stripey, yucky wall paper that my mother put up when this was her house. (she has since moved and I've taken over the house) It was her formal dining room, and we are converting it to a living room/family room type of thing.

A quick little bit about me: (this will prove relevant as you move through the thread.)

My nickname is McGyver. Anytime people need to figure out how to do something or fix something, I am always the first call. (Flattering, but sometimes annoying.) I spent sixteen years as a landscape Nurseryman, and can probably speak more latin plant names than all but one or two people in North Jersey. (Joisey as the New Yorkers call it... LOL) I got laid off a year ago and vowed never to back to the business, and my back thanks me for it. I now fix Glass. (Think fancy Waterford Crystal champagne glasses and all sorts of artsy fartsy stuff like that. Hey... It's paying the bills.) Now that all of that is out of the way.... Let me explain how this all really started.

"Honey... can we strip this wallpaper off and repaint the room?"

"Yes dear".

"When do you want to start?"

::::Mumbling to self:::::: (I don't really WANT to start) "I dunno. When do you want to?"


"Ok Dear."

So like any good man would... I made a godawful mess of stripping wallpaper, scraping Wallpaper Glue, Sticking my fingers together with said Wallpaper Glue.... and all that kind of stuff. Then there was the Spackling and sanding.

(I swear, this will get on to aquaria related stuff soon.!!!)

This is what I was left with:

While working on the room, I moved a few times, an old 85 gal aquarium. It was in my possession because I was asked to "Turtle sit" for two months, for friends that moved to South Carolina. That was two years ago. Way I look at it.... It's mine now. I had to let the Turtles go because they out grew the tank in six months. (and I told the folks that I did too.) So I said:

"Honey.... I want to set this tank up and make it the focal point of the room"

"OK. Now get painting."

::::Mumbling.... Grrrrr... Inaudible:::::

And so we went on painting.

And then it hit me! I'll set up a "Dog-Quarium!"

I don't believe Dear Marie was going to let me go through with that plan, but I DID get a chuckle out of her....

So.... I decided to set up an aquarium. I've had many over the years starting when I was just four. Then for my first job I worked at a pet store. I had Oscars then until my well meaning mother washed the windows directly over the tank and the overspray did in my Oscars. :(

Then I had a "Native aquarium" for years until my pickeral ate me out of house and home. I had him in there with some sunfish that were bigger than him... Crayfish.... etc....

But I've always dreamed of an aquarium with lots of gorgeous Cardnals schooling together, Kulhlies rummaging around......

So.... I like to do things right. First I was going to get one of those cheap photo backgrounds, throw some plastic plants in there and fill'er up.

But like the true Plant Geek I am.... I decided to go with real plants..... and THIS..... is where it all got interesting. I started researching lighting and substrate, and stumbled across "Concrete over styrofoam" backgrounds....

::::Wow. That looks cool. I can do that!::::

So then I spent a WHOLE bunch of time researching backgrounds.....

"HONEY!!!! Put the computer DOWN and come help me paint!"

"Yes dear...."

In the interest of not making this particular one TOO awful long, I'm going to stop here and continue with a new entry....

"FLYING STYROFOAM.... Or.... Pink Styrofoam tracked all over the house!"
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Everything looks great so far.
For the power, if you can do it, you probably should. You never know how many power strips you'll need when it's all said and done, and there's always something to add. I have a 8 outlet power strip with two 3 outlet things plugged into it, and I'm full...

For the lights, the fixture isn't the most important component, it's the tubes. At least that's what I think... I could be wrong about that. You can't go cheap on the tubes unless you're comfortable with serious limitations on the varieties of plants you can keep. The other thing though, about household fixtures is that they don't have reflectors.

The hand made glass canopy sounds great. Try to make your hinges as unobstructive as possible.

For CO2, I spent about $60 on my DIY set, and just ordered for $165 a pressurized system... just still need the cylinder. With your skills, you may be able to get away with DIY, it's just inconsistant, which helps algae out alot.

Can't wait to see more.
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Did you know that you can actually get the electrical components to build your own fixture? If you're going to build your own stand/canopy, that might be the most awesome way for you to do it. then you can have as many tubes as you like, and it would be scalable... you can just add another tube if you need more light. And you can stagger them...
Here are two forums that illuminated the possibilities to me... It's all greek to me though. It might help you out.

I don't know much about the T5 or T8 bulbs. I use CF. 4 x 65 watt for a 75g tank, and I've got way more light than I know what to do with. I'm using a coralife aqualight fixture with 2 x 10000ks and 2 x 6700ks. The 6700ks are what my plants really like... they make bubbles almost immediately after turning them on.

DIY CO2 is easy, cheap cheap, but there are some drawbacks. It can be messy, and the CO2 is not consistant, so it's not controllable very easily. Algae LOVES that about DIY!! I took the recommendations of several people here and called Orlando. He makes the systems himself. It's
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That's so awesome! Looks great, and that is a great idea! I hope it's going to work well. Can't wait to see it finished! Giddy-up Hillbilly!
That's funny. My best ideas seem to be as I'm going to sleep, or when I have a problem, JUST before I give up!
THAT is awesome! You're quite the handy manny!!
You could have saved alot of time.. I don't know about money.. with a piano hinge and prop. Hm.

Looks good though.
That is neat how it lifts it up and over instead of out.

@giypsy - I installed a fish rack on my wall for 3 ten gallon tanks. It's so awesome! I got the parts to make the rack at Lowe's. Two pieces that install vertically on the wall into studs, one 6 ft shelf that they cut into three pieces for me, and the brackets to hold them. All together about $100. I couldn't buy 3 stands or the space for that, so I'm really happy with it.
Great work! Great repair job! Yeah! OK, I don't have alot of clippings I can send, but I have some Mayaca, Ludwigia Red, and Limnophila Hippuroides that are due for some trimming in the near future. I can't promise they would be hitch-hiker free though because I have algae and snails. I have adequate fish to keep it in check on both counts so it's not a nuisance to me.
I'd really like to do a DIY LED light for my 75... maybe you can do the step by step?
That's an aweome idea!! I'm not sure it would work for my display tank because I don't actually have a hood though, just light fixture on legs. Maybe. I'm a genius, I can figure it out.
Read this in a book for my literature final... thought you would appreciate it:

"...the majority of humans were followers and yearned to be told what to do and believe rather than think for themselves. It is easy to follow and not feel the weight of personal responsibility." from Maximus in Catland by David Garrett Izzo
I have a chair (like a dining chair or a desk chair) at each one of my tanks. I don't just sit and watch though... I get up close and personal with my tanks. I study them! I think I would like the couch facing that way if it backed right up to the tank. :) The room looks good anyways. :)
I got tired of DIY CO23 after a couple months... I had 4 2L bottles on a 75 gallon. Great CO2 production, bad algae. All fixed now that I have pressurized. If you do go that way, Orlando at has an excellent regulator for $150 (bubble counter built right onto it.)
Also, keep in mind that your CO2 production doesn't just magically go from one place to another, there has to be a certain amount of pressure built up in your generation system to push it into the water. So, all your connections have to withstand that pressure. Also, regular airline tubing loses (I read) about 20% of the CO2. Don't know for sure if that's correct though.
I have many BN plecos, and they love the reddish brown algae that starts growing on the gravel and glass. I'm not sure which algae that is though. It's kinda slimy. I also have some black hair algae, looks kinda furry, black, and spreads fast, and the only way to get rid of it that I've found is a bleach dip, unfortuneatly, unless you tear down and bleach the whole system, there will always be some spores somewhere you don't get, and then it spreads again. I have it all over my display tank, but I have 15 SAEs and they keep it mostly in check. It sounds like your cycle is complete, so I would guess none of your algae issues can be attributed to that. I would recommend getting as much of it clean as you can (you have to stop it from interuppting the light the plants get or they will stop growing well, which allows the algae access to more nutrients, which allows them to grow more!!!) and get pressurized CO2. I know you don't want to hear it, but when I had yeast based CO2 as consistant input as I could manage, I had a ton of algae issues too. I switched to pressurized, and I've not seen any algae since, except the GSA which is expected and very minor. Maybe some other of my cohorts can explain why that is, I don't know.
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I love Merlot!! Yum, wish I had some right now... long day.

The thing about planted tanks, is that bioload is really different than with non-planted. You could easily have both - and many of them. They say 1 inch of fish per gallon, right? But your plants really make a huge difference in that. I've run tanks for months with perfect perameters with 3 inches of fish per gallon.
Your Otos, Corys and most likely your Pleco are BTS fish right? You hardly ever see them I imagine because they are hiding? Siamese Algae Eaters are awesome fish. They are fun to watch school and they are very useful. If you add them, get no less than 6. BN Plecos are very active too - eager eaters. :) And pretty easy to breed, I've recently found out.

I can't wait to see more PICTURES!! Hint....
BTW - I think all your projects are AWESOME!! I send people to your thread all the time from all my forums when I see they are trying to do something that you've done!
BN are very active... I'm sure he or she will make you very happy! I'm off to get some more fish... I have an Angel tank, and now I'm going to get some African cichlids... something new and exciting!!
That's great. I was thinking about how yellow it looked myself. For photos you can compensate for that. Are you sure it's the light making it yellow and not ferts in the water, or algae? If the water is colorless, then I would definately get a cooler shade of light... I would think 6000k would be good, but you might even get up around 10000k. I've heard some great things about the GE superdaylight 9325s, but I don't know if they come in T-8s. My tank seems kinda dark with just the 6700ks on and super bright with the 10000ks on.

It all looks good to me. :)
lol. If she's reading this journal, you're in trouble!!

That might as well have been a proposal!! Haha!

Fish nerd!! Hahah!!!
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