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