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01-14-2012, 10:05 PM #1
Kayl's 55g Planted Community Tank
So after getting the ten gallon a few months ago, I decided very quickly that I wanted a bigger tank (big surprise there, huh? ) It was a toss up between a 46g bowfront and just a 40 gallon...then I figured out that I had the room for a 55 gallon. ^_^ So the Christmas presents this year were kindly geared in the direction of cash for a fish tank, whether they thought I was nuts or not. I love my friends and family.
I also love craigslist. Found a 55 gallon that came with a stand (black--it matches the rest of my decor!), a bucket and a half of Eco-Complete, a 200w Aqueon Pro heater, and a Fluval 204 canister filter for $130. Apparently, he'd had a few people look at it--can't imagine why they decided they didn't want it other than the fact that it didn't come with a hood, cover, or lights. But shoot--for $130, that's a deal even without the hood!
So some serious rearrangement of the room took place, but finally got the tank and stand installed.
01-14-2012, 10:22 PM #2
I had already decided that I wanted rocks, a piece of driftwood, and plants in the tank, but I couldn't find the kind of rocks I wanted. Finally found some moss rocks that would work. Had to scrub the terrestrial fungus off them, then soaked them for a few hours in bleach water, rinsed, then soaked overnight in heavily dechlorinated water. Then had to figure out how I wanted to set them up. It took a few configurations, but I found one that I liked:
The female ruler of the house (also known as DK, which is short for Diva Kitty, from Demon Kitty when she was younger) approves this set up.
Then substrate. I used the Eco-Complete (still had enough to redo the substrate in the ten gallon, and have half a bucket left over!) but I wanted a sand area for the corys, marked out with cardboard strips. Living in a small-ish town, I could not find any silica sand anywhere and didn't feel like driving all over the place to do so. So i got some play sand from Home Depot. A day of rinsing, and I was ready to get started!
First step: Remove Weasel from what she thinks is her new home.
Then set base rocks and fill center with sand for the sand "river".
I used smooth stones (Home Depot Mexican Beach Pebbles) to create borders on either side of the sandy area. Hopefully it will help keep the sand from mixing too badly with the Eco-Complete. Some mix, I expect, but I'd rather not have it all mixed up if I can help it. The stones kept moving and wouldn't stay double stacked, so put in the Eco-Complete on the right side around the big rock. The other side was waiting for rocks to dry from their declorinating dip.
01-14-2012, 10:31 PM #3
Other base rock for the left side finally dried off, so in it went, and the Eco-Complete around it.
With the rocks dried, it was time to set up the rock cave. Me and a tube of silicone got into an argument over whether it was going to work right for me. I won, after getting covered in silicone. Lots and lots of silicone later, the rock cave was made.
The Weasel was understandably exhausted from 'helping' reorganize the inside of the tank stand while I siliconed:
The hardscape was finally finished except for a piece of driftwood. Finally, I managed to get down to my LFS to have a chat with her about plants and found a good piece! Took it home, tried to figure out how to boil it as it was longer than the tallest pot. After figuring out that it was short enough that I could cover at least half with water, I put it in there, boiled it for a while, drained it, boiled again, then flipped it over and did the same again. Worked like a charm--haven't seen any tannins released or fungus growing.
Hardscape done. Now just need plants and fish.
01-14-2012, 10:39 PM #4
looks amazing so far! can't wait to see it stocked. btw did u house train that weasel?
01-14-2012, 10:40 PM #5
Nice work and great job documenting with pictures.29 gallon cichlid tank
10 gallon kids livebearers tank
5 gallon dirt planted tank
01-14-2012, 10:46 PM #6
Looking great!125g - 6 Zig Zag Rainbows, 6 Turquoise Rainbows, 6 Boesmani Rainbows, 5 otos, 6 corys
01-14-2012, 10:55 PM #7
The day after finishing, I woke up to DK and His Royal Majesty (also known as the fluffy orange tabby named Asher) inside the tank. Cat hair and footprints in the tank and in the sand. This was not going to work. So the tank got a top before I had planned.
I like the Versa-Tops. Got two 24" because of the way the tank's top was set up with the strip bar in the middle. It's kind of interesting the quality--DK (of course) decided to jump on top of the tank (again) and knocked one down. It fell on top of the rock cave and all it got was a couple scratches. The other one, I set my hand on a little heavier than I had intended but not full weight by any means, and it cracked. It must have had a bubble or something in the glass to go that easily. I covered both sides in silicone and called it good--may replace it, may not. You have to actually look at it to notice it, so not really an eyesore when viewing the tank.
While waiting for the silicone to cure (and plants to come in), I discovered that keeping the tank enclosed was a bad idea. Moist sand + still curing silicone + rock seem to = fungus or mold on the rocks. Got that wiped off and started leaving the tank lids open. Also rearranged the cat's little playground--took out the ignored cat tree and shifted the modular cat playground so that the high side was not right next to the tank--in an effort to keep the cats off the tank. BTW, if you have cats who like to climb, these things are awesome cuz they're modular so you can build whatever configuration you want:
Lights went in next. I was looking at the 48" Oddysea lights, then I found these at Home Depot:
Two T8s at 32 watts apiece, makes a good cheap lighting source for low light plants at $30, although you do have to buy the lightbulbs. I plan on adding another shop light with the same bulbs, but going with the cheaper kind--less reflectivity, but I'm only doing low to med-low light plants, so it'll do.
01-14-2012, 10:59 PM #8
Thanks guys! More to come in just a few, just fyi *lol* I decided to start journaling a little late.
@chenbear: the Weasel is technically housebroken, kind of. In her crate, she'll use a litter box, but she won't use one when out. However, as she got older (one year last month!), she settled on only a couple areas. Since rearranging the furniture for the tank, she has 3 spots she uses as her toilet. The floor is linoleum tiles, so I just clean it up as she does it and I see it. Not ideal, but it works.
01-14-2012, 11:02 PM #9
One of my cats likes to walk across the Versa-tops. They hold a surprising amount of weight.125g - 6 Zig Zag Rainbows, 6 Turquoise Rainbows, 6 Boesmani Rainbows, 5 otos, 6 corys
01-14-2012, 11:05 PM #10
Maybe you should put a litter box in the spots the weasel uses. I've heard that works. Looks like it's gonna be a COOL TANK!!I hate hearing people say "it's only a $3/$5/$1 fish/shrimp, so it's ok if it dies, I can just get another." It's still an animal! All animals should be treated like they're worth $10,000.
29 sw: Damsel, shrimpgoby, pistol shrimp, waspfish
65 fw: Rummies, glowlight tetras, pencilfish, darters, ottos, f betta, goby, dwarf gourami, ninjas
29 fw: Chili rasboras, pygmy cories, P. Gertrudae