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Built in Stand for a 125 Gallon Aquarium #2: Tank Set Up

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Blog entry by JoeyG posted 10-22-2012 03:57 AM 3267 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Tank and Framing Part 2 of Built in Stand for a 125 Gallon Aquarium series no next part

WARNING

This is part of the over all project so I believe it belongs in this blog. It is not woodworking unless you count the piece of driftwood I had to cut a couple of pieces off of.

First, I painted the back of the tank. We have move past using those backgrounds you find in pet stores, and find it more pleasing and natural to paint the outside of the tank. This time we wanted to try something a little different, so my wife picked this up from the big orange store. Once again, why can’t we say the name?

In the next picture, you can see that I had to put it on with a sponge brush. The paint is very thick and textured with a lot of metal flake. In the past, I have used plain old black spray paint with good results.

Here you get a good look at it after the first coat. I put two coats on. I had Lisa look through the tank and point out the thin paint. As you can see, this was done in the living room. Another reason not to use spray paint. The tank was just to big for us to take back outside. Next time I will do all of this before it comes inside.

After we let the paint dry over night, we were able to set it in place. Just barely.

Ok, now is where it may seem a little strange. Instead of spending a fortune for substrate we use Special Kitty brand kitty litter. The plants love it as does our bank account. Instead of spending a couple of hundred, we spent about $6. We used 1 1/2 25 lbs. bags to put about a 2inch layer on the bottom.

We were not sure which piece of Driftwood to get so we chose several pieces. What to do with the left overs?

Once we decide which piece was the right one, it was time to get it in the tank and into place. I used stones and slate to try and weigh the driftwood down. I do not like to use adhesives or screws because of the chance of contamination of the water.

Once the we are happy with the driftwood It’s time for the cap. We used Black Diamond Sand. Yes the stuff used for sand blasting. It works and looks great. I pour it into a bucket and rinse it with the garden hose as shown.

Next I use a smaller bucket, cup, or what ever I can find and begin placing the sand into the tank, being sure to work it into the driftwood.

After all the sand is in, we put a bowl into the tank. We then begin to slowly fill the tank. We let the water from the hose go into the bowl. This serves two purposes. First it cuts down on erosion, keeping the sand where I put it, and it also keeps the tank from getting to cloudy from the sand being disturb.

After there is about 4 inches or so of water above the sand, I turn off the water and let Lisa take over. She is the mastermind behind the lovely layout of the plants.

After the plants are in, we continue to add water.

And here it is. I used filters that have already been cycled and my plants all came from a cycled tank. This is to help speed up how fast we can get fish into the tank. For those into aquariums this will make a little more sense.

My driftwood tried to float, so I had to add an extra rock to help hold it down. I hope once it is waterlogged, this will no longer be a problem. If it is, I will find a stone that is more pleasing to look at.

Well that’s it for this installment. I know it was a bit long, and had very little to do with woodworking, but you can’t leave the picture out of the frame you built for it. I hope this was informational. If you have and questions or suggestions, please leave them. I will respond as quickly as I can.

Thanks for tagging along.

JoeyG

-- JoeyG ~~~ http://www.facebook.com/JHGWoodWorks



15 comments so far

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1817 days


#1 posted 10-22-2012 04:58 AM

Very awesome, Joey! I used a similar substrate mixture for my 100g high-tech planted tank. The plants love it. Kitty litter (clay) does cloud the water a little bit when planting and pruning/transplanting, but its good stuff.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

14234 posts in 996 days


#2 posted 10-22-2012 06:01 AM

Pretty awesome setup. Like everything else, patience to do it right.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View JoeyG's profile

JoeyG

1241 posts in 1283 days


#3 posted 10-22-2012 11:34 AM

Thanks. I could barely get the kids to eat breakfast because they keep staring at the tank. Luckily we didn’t have any messes to clean up and my kids made it to the bus stop on time…...

-- JoeyG ~~~ http://www.facebook.com/JHGWoodWorks

View jap's profile

jap

1229 posts in 712 days


#4 posted 10-22-2012 12:41 PM

looks amazing

-- Joel

View JoeyG's profile

JoeyG

1241 posts in 1283 days


#5 posted 10-22-2012 12:45 PM

Thanks, I have a million things to do, but I am enjoying watching is so much, I believe I will make another cup of earl grey and just sit back and enjoy it.

-- JoeyG ~~~ http://www.facebook.com/JHGWoodWorks

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10900 posts in 1348 days


#6 posted 10-23-2012 01:39 AM

That is looking great Joey! Your Angels will look spectacular in that tank. I love the black sand but don’t understand the purpose of the kitty litter? Keep posting progress (there is enough wood involved). No under gravel filter I notice. Do you use an external filter? Aeration? I know, too many questions.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View JoeyG's profile

JoeyG

1241 posts in 1283 days


#7 posted 10-23-2012 01:53 AM

Hey Andy, no such thing as to many questions when it comes to aquariums. I am looking forward to getting some angels in there. The kitty litter is like potting soil for the plants in the aquarium. It gives nutrients and a place to grow to the roots. The sand covers it and helps hold the plants down better than the litter does, so they work together nicely. I don’t use under gravel filters. The sand would be an issue. At the moment I have 2 large hang on filters. Once the plants get going and the tank has had a chance to stabilize, I will remove those. We try to create as close to a complete ecosystem as possible. I feed fish, fish feed plants, plants keep everything clean.

The filters provide aeration at the moment, and once the plants are established, they will provide it. I will hook up CO2 to help with plant growth.

Once this tank has a month or two to grow in, all I should have to do is vacuum the extra poop out of the gravel and do a 25% water change weekly. I usually dose with plant fertilizers when I do the water changes also. While it will be a high-tech tank, they are pretty low maintenance. If you have anymore questions, please ask away. If I don’t know I will find out.

Joey

-- JoeyG ~~~ http://www.facebook.com/JHGWoodWorks

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10900 posts in 1348 days


#8 posted 10-23-2012 03:00 AM

Thanks Joey. I miss my tanks and fish sometimes so I’ll get my “fix” vicariously via yours!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Boxguy's profile

Boxguy

1474 posts in 926 days


#9 posted 10-23-2012 06:01 AM

Joey, nice posting. I enjoyed seeing how you do your tanks. I’m looking forward to the next step.

-- Big Al in IN

View JoeyG's profile

JoeyG

1241 posts in 1283 days


#10 posted 10-23-2012 01:40 PM

Thanks. The next step maybe a month or two down the road. I have to get through these Christmas orders and the first part of next year. There is also the cost of the mahogany. I would rather wait a little longer rather that settle on a less expensive wood. In a perfect world I would make it out of Bolivian Rosewood, but may pockets are not nearly deep enough for that. LOL My wife on the other hand, may not feel the same. I have a feeling after looking at the rough framing for a little while, she will find a way to move the project forward.

I have most of it designed out in my head and on paper so it’s really just getting the materials and finalizing the cut list.

Andy, I had a friend come over yesterday who is a photographer. He took much better pictures of our tanks than I ever could. I’ll go ahead and post them to help you on your fix.

125 gallon, soon to be angelfish tank.

56 gallon. This is my wifes tank. I think the angels are going into mine, and we may put discus into this one. Haven’t fully decided yet.

-- JoeyG ~~~ http://www.facebook.com/JHGWoodWorks

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10900 posts in 1348 days


#11 posted 10-23-2012 10:31 PM

Joey, Those are great pics of beautiful fish and nice set ups. Those angels are spectacular! Thanks for posting these pics.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View JoeyG's profile

JoeyG

1241 posts in 1283 days


#12 posted 10-23-2012 10:35 PM

View JoeyG's profile

JoeyG

1241 posts in 1283 days


#13 posted 10-23-2012 10:39 PM

And thanks Andy. I am having a hard time getting any work done, because I keep finding a reason to watch the tanks. LOL

-- JoeyG ~~~ http://www.facebook.com/JHGWoodWorks

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10900 posts in 1348 days


#14 posted 10-24-2012 12:29 AM

Great video! There were 2 free big red bellied pacus on CL tonight (but I resisted). Your tanks are so crystal clear!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View JoeyG's profile

JoeyG

1241 posts in 1283 days


#15 posted 12-04-2012 11:53 AM

Here’s a grow out picture. I am hoping to order the mahogany for the faceframes and doors in the next couple of weeks. I’ll continue the blog once I get into that part of it.

-- JoeyG ~~~ http://www.facebook.com/JHGWoodWorks

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