My new project part 1

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09 Aug 2015 16:36 - 09 Aug 2015 18:20 #1 by Jonlate (Jon Late)
Like many things in my life, things started off quite simply, and very quickly get out of hand.
After being signed off work due to degenerate back disease, I was spending a lot of time bored at home. Gone were the days I used to walk down trout streams, looking at where fish would lie, and seeing the countryside around me.
So, I decide it was time to bring the fish to me.
Unfortunately I am one of those guys who either 'goes big or goes home', but my wife wanted to make sure that I could look after a tank in my condition.
That is a good bit of advice to anyone who wants to start fish keeping. Start off small, learn what you can from other people, learn what works and what doesn't, keep things simple, research, ask questions, flood the front room with a small tanks worth of water, etc.

So I brought a small 2nd hand Jewel tank and got a few goldfish and danio's to go in it. How quickly from this, things then get out of hand.
First I wasn't happy with the inbuilt Jewel pump, so I brought a 2nd hand Tetratec ex600. This leaked and I nearly flooded the room. I phone Tetratec and told them it was leaking from the motor head and they replaced this with a new one. Fair play to them.
Then one night at about 10pm I thought it was leaking, so I caught all the fish, emptied it out, moved it into the kitchen, refilled it, no leaks. Nothing. Zilch. Nada.
So I decide to refit it back to where it was, re-plumbed it, refilled it, (added tap safe) fish back in, and waited to see what would happen. What I found was that as goldfish are rather greedy and whenever they think they will be fed they swim to the top and were making the water splash over the top of the tank! Hence a wet stand. This was a lesson learned and I am glad it was only with a small tank.
For the last 6 months I think I have done fairly well. I have kept up to date with the water changes, brought a proper test kit ( got rid of the stupid test strips that I was told would be fine ) brought a few plant that were promptly eaten, and kept the tank clean.

Again I would suggest to anyone who want to start keeping fish, try something small for 6 months and see if you want to carry it on.

Well I seemed to have passed the test, and the wife let me go bigger. So started the research again.
What size tank will I get, what fish will it be for, what sort of filtration, what sort of lighting, salt or tropical or cold water, custom built or off the shelf tank, how much will it cost!

Time to hit Google, Seahorse both Galway and Dublin, and any other fishy shop we passed. Thanks all for your time, attention, advice and help.


So question 1, What sort of fish?
Both my wife and I instantly loved the idea is salt water, the fish looked absolutely fantastic, the colours were beautiful, the corals were gorgeous, the prices outrageous!
We had a decision to make and ruled out this due to the extra time and effort that would be needed to care for them properly, something that my health didn't allow for.
So the decision was tropical.

Question 2, What sort of tank?
The gap between two walls in the front room decide this, it couldn't be over 118cm long. So what tanks fitted the gap? Most tanks, seemed were either 100cm long or 120cm, 100cm seemed to small as it left wasted space down the sides, and of course 120cm would be too big!!
As I spend a lot of time sat down I also wanted a tank that I could see into when sat down, so this meant that the stand couldn't be too high.
But I also wanted to make a statement with it, so I wanted one that was deep.
This left only 1 solution, a custom made tank!
Size, 117.5 long, 45cm wide, and 70cm deep.
But what would that like? Cardboard boxes to the rescue.



Last edit: 09 Aug 2015 18:20 by JohnH (John). Reason: revolved images

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09 Aug 2015 16:37 #2 by Jonlate (Jon Late)
Question 3, Who to make the tank?
I did get quotes for a custom tank from the UK, but really it didn't make much sense when shipping was included, and euro/sterling exchange rate was so bad.
Seahorse were very patient with me. Thank you for your time. Obviously the higher you go the thicker the glass, and so many talks and emails were sent trying to get the balance between height and glass thickness along with price. I got a good price for a 50cm tall tank, but I felt like I was compromising on what I really wanted. I wanted 70cm. (Stamp foot here)
I then came across Bart Korfanty's name and googled him at Rainbow Aquatics. I dropped in unannounced at his work shop and he was very happy to spend time talking over what I wanted. A few email later and another visit to his shop, and he was the one to build my tank and stand.

Question 4, to sump or not to sump. That was the question.
Because of my back problem and due to the dept of tank I wanted, I felt that I wanted to go for a sump. I felt that I could siphon water from the top of the tank into the drain outside, and refill the tank via the sump itself. I know that it's unusual to put a sump on a tropical tank, so I will let you know how it goes, and what I end up putting in it for filtration.
This now needed a pump. So I splashed out on a Blau Reef Motion DC pump from Seahorse. The idea for using this pump was, that as I siphoned water backing into the sump during water changes, I could reduce the return flow to the tank to be at the same speed as this, hence no lifting tubs of water to pour them into the tank. Again I will let you know how this works out in practice. I will properly end up buying the two sensors for high and low water for this pump as well as this will help me out as well.

Question 5, lights.
What sort of light really ended up being a decision that was made for me. On a visit to Seahorse they had a Aquaone Aquavogue 245 tank set up in their shop. It has inbuilt timer with 3 led settings, RGB, white, and blue. Well the wife liked that idea and so that's what I said I would get. But that was easier said than done. This is a replacement part that Aquaone do and when I wanted one no one seemed to have any. After again hitting Google I came across a place in the UK that sells Aquaone replacement parts and they posted one over to me.

So that's it so far. Are you interested in prices?
Tank/sump/stand €€€ (will ask Bart if I can post the exact cost)
Pump €115
Light unit €212 (posted from UK)
Heater 300w €35

Things to come
Filtration
Tank decor, gravel etc
Fish!

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09 Aug 2015 18:48 #3 by helix8008 (Tomas Novak)
Great idea using the pump to do the job for you putting water back to tank.

I'm using my external filter to same, just take intake hose from tank and put it in bucket which I then fill with second bucket. But my hoses are easily accessible which is probably not your case.

Good luck with your tank, looking forward for more updates!

Tom

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09 Aug 2015 19:40 #4 by stevebreslin (Stephen Breslin)
Great idea from both of you to use tank pumps for water changes! I've been standing on a chair with a bucket for the past 8 months, like a dufus...

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09 Aug 2015 20:57 #5 by Q_Comets (Declan Chambers)

stevebreslin wrote: Great idea from both of you to use tank pumps for water changes! I've been standing on a chair with a bucket for the past 8 months, like a dufus...


I use submersible pump for water changes best money I have spent on fish keeping stuff.

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09 Aug 2015 20:59 #6 by Q_Comets (Declan Chambers)
Have you decided on stock? How about lake Malawi cichlids, some amazing colours available.

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09 Aug 2015 21:55 #7 by Jonlate (Jon Late)
Glad you are liking the story so far, the pump thing just made sense to me, I suppose I have to look for other ways to do the same job.

Fish, what I am thinking about is a good mixed community tank. And while you can get lovely colours with cichlids that's it, you can't mix them. This means I walk around Seahorse taking down names and then saying to them, will this work in my tank.

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16 Aug 2015 16:00 - 16 Aug 2015 16:10 #8 by Jonlate (Jon Late)
PART 2

Well yesterday was the big day, my tank arrived by the back of Barts car. ( very nice to not only make the tank but also deliver it and help set it up)
Things unfortunately did not go to plan. I plumb lined the walls to make sure they were straight when I ordered the tank, but didn't count on the floor of a fairly new house being so far off level. Over the 117cm length it was 15 mm higher on end than the other.
I got the tank made 15mm smaller than the gap to allow for some leeway, but it just would go in.
To Bart's amusement I got out the chisel and started to hack off the plaster, (yes I do rent!) but to no avail. It just wouldn't go in. Being that the tank and cabinet combined are 140 cm high ( 4 foot 7 inches ) the angle was just to much.

Yesterday wasn't a very good day. I wasn't very happy. The wife was even unhappier having me spend so much money so far on a tank that didn't fit the gap. The tank just wouldn't fit into the hole.

So what the solution?
I was thinking about getting a price of wood machined in the shape of a wedge from 15 mm to nothing to put onto the laminate floor to sit the tank on, but decide for more drastic measures.
The wife had an idea. Take up the floor and relay it.
So, tonight I am going to take up the laminate floor in the area in question, and over the next few days mix up and pour a new floor that is level and hopefully the tank will just slide in the gap. This will be so much better and simpler than trying to get wood shaped the right angle. And yes I know I still rent, but with a tank this big and heavy a wedge of wood isn't good enough.

Why is nothing in this world simple!!!???

On a far brighter note the tank looks absolutely great. The led light I got from Aquaone look smart on it. It's so thin you can hardly see it.

Will update again when things are going a bit more smoothly or when I am on level ground.

Last edit: 16 Aug 2015 16:10 by JohnH (John). Reason: Turned image

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19 Aug 2015 16:07 #9 by Jonlate (Jon Late)
Well the reward for my tank not fitting and the stress that went along with it is......
My danio's have had babies!

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18 Jan 2016 12:12 #10 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Hey Jonlate

After seeing your post I decided to search your post to find your tank and here it is!

I have heard stories from Bart of your tank and you breaking the wall lol, didnt know it was you all along!

How is the tank going? :)

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18 Jan 2016 18:07 #11 by Jonlate (Jon Late)
Well The tank is going really well.
I love the fact that it has a sump, it make water changes so much easier and loads less like hard work.
Changing water in my small Jewell 60 liter was harder than this. I would recommend anyone biulding a tank to do it this way.
I did find that my return pump made more noise than I wanted it to, but after it was swapped for a new one it seems to make less noise. I suppose like all things they take a bit of getting used to.
I am still trying to work out how to clean sand without too much being sucked up the Hoover pipe, I am getting better, but it's not as easy as gravel!! Any ideas any one?
The Aquaone aquavogue light unit I brought is a great light unit, expensive, but great. Is so slim that you can't really see it at all on the top of the tank, it's got a timer (that I cant set yet!) and 3 settings.
The air pump I have is now mounted in the loft, and run the airtube and switch down to the tank, this saves the hum of an airpump and I thought was a great idea.
I also love the fact that it's deep. My arm can just reach the bottom of the front pane of glass, and as the other 3 sides are against the wall, they don't require as much cleaning. But when the tides out ( pump turned off and the top 2 inches of water in the sump) they are fairly easy to clean off any algae growth.
Having it this deep also makes the tank stand out more. As I can't see into the sides of the tank, you can still see everything that's happening. It makes it more of a TV screen than tank. I love it!

I have had a few failures though. As the tank is deep, I thought a few fish at the top of the tank would look really good, Hatchets seemed a good solution. I forgot to tell the fish shop that I don't have a lid on the tank!!! And yes I know now that Hatchets are good jumpers. So now I only have 1 left out of the school of 5 the rest did a Nemo. ( remember in the film he jumped from th dentists window)
Unfortunately my wife gets up before me each day and she found them on the floor in the morning. Sorry to the fish, oh and the wife.

So overall I am so glad I made the jump from 60 liters to 300 liters plus the sump water.
I am really grateful to Bart who spent so much time with me, not only in making and delivering the tank, but when it didn't fit and I had to take the plaster off the wall to make the gap big enough, came down again and helped me plump it in. ( and I will say again, this was not Barts fault, I measured the gap, but the wall were not straight and that was the problem)
Adding up the total of what I spent, I think that I couldn't have brought an off the shelf tank, with all the bits, for the price I have paid. This is mainly due to the fact that Bart gives such good prices. I would recommend anyone to go to him. And honestly he's not paying me to say this!!

Anyway hope you enjoyed the update.
Oh yes, fish in the tank are
Platys x5
Angel fish x2
Danio's x6
Denson barbs x7
Cardanial tetras x5
Clown loach X1 want a few more!
Bristle nose pleco X1
Hatchet X1

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18 Jan 2016 18:08 - 18 Jan 2016 18:13 #12 by Jonlate (Jon Late)
Hi john
Can you deleteafewof these for me! I am not sure how to do so.
Thanks!
Sorry everyone of posting 3 times
Last edit: 18 Jan 2016 18:13 by Jonlate (Jon Late). Reason: Posted 3 times!

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18 Jan 2016 18:09 #13 by Jonlate (Jon Late)
Well The tank is going really well.
I love the fact that it has a sump, it make water changes so much easier and loads less like hard work.
Changing water in my small Jewell 60 liter was harder than this. I would recommend anyone biulding a tank to do it this way.
I did find that my return pump made more noise than I wanted it to, but after it was swapped for a new one it seems to make less noise. I suppose like all things they take a bit of getting used to.
I am still trying to work out how to clean sand without too much being sucked up the Hoover pipe, I am getting better, but it's not as easy as gravel!! Any ideas any one?
The Aquaone aquavogue light unit I brought is a great light unit, expensive, but great. Is so slim that you can't really see it at all on the top of the tank, it's got a timer (that I cant set yet!) and 3 settings.
The air pump I have is now mounted in the loft, and run the airtube and switch down to the tank, this saves the hum of an airpump and I thought was a great idea.
I also love the fact that it's deep. My arm can just reach the bottom of the front pane of glass, and as the other 3 sides are against the wall, they don't require as much cleaning. But when the tides out ( pump turned off and the top 2 inches of water in the sump) they are fairly easy to clean off any algae growth.
Having it this deep also makes the tank stand out more. As I can't see into the sides of the tank, you can still see everything that's happening. It makes it more of a TV screen than tank. I love it!

I have had a few failures though. As the tank is deep, I thought a few fish at the top of the tank would look really good, Hatchets seemed a good solution. I forgot to tell the fish shop that I don't have a lid on the tank!!! And yes I know now that Hatchets are good jumpers. So now I only have 1 left out of the school of 5 the rest did a Nemo. ( remember in the film he jumped from th dentists window)
Unfortunately my wife gets up before me each day and she found them on the floor in the morning. Sorry to the fish, oh and the wife.

So overall I am so glad I made the jump from 60 liters to 300 liters plus the sump water.
I am really grateful to Bart who spent so much time with me, not only in making and delivering the tank, but when it didn't fit and I had to take the plaster off the wall to make the gap big enough, came down again and helped me plump it in. ( and I will say again, this was not Barts fault, I measured the gap, but the wall were not straight and that was the problem)
Adding up the total of what I spent, I think that I couldn't have brought an off the shelf tank, with all the bits, for the price I have paid. This is mainly due to the fact that Bart gives such good prices. I would recommend anyone to go to him. And honestly he's not paying me to say this!!

Anyway hope you enjoyed the update.
Oh yes, fish in the tank are
Platys x5
Angel fish x2
Danio's x6
Denson barbs x7
Cardanial tetras x5
Clown loach X1 want a few more!
Bristle nose pleco X1
Hatchet X1

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18 Jan 2016 20:32 #14 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Heya

I like your idea, in fact, my plan was to design the return pipes to allow me to connect a pump to and help me with the water changes but in the end I decided not to bother as my plan is to never do any water changes! although i know it will be a while before I can accomplish this.

Another problem was that the overflow I have does not allow (or recommend) any time of T along the drain.

However, I had another thing now and I might give it another go. Tomorrow Bart is coming over and we are finishing the return plumbing, and I have just come up with something that might allow me to do water changes in a similar way that you have described. I will let you know how I got on tomorrow ;)

oh, and I want pictures!!!! :)

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20 Jan 2016 21:38 #15 by bart (Bart Korfanty)
I love the cardboard models. U never mentioned them. Great old school stuff, before CGI :laugh:

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21 Jan 2016 05:43 #16 by paulv (paul vickers)
The opening paragraph of your first post should be compulsory reading for any new fish keeper. Pity about your hatchets, I had a small shole of them once, loved floating wax worms towards them watching them hunt the worms, sadly as my cat fish got bigger the hatchets become food.

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21 Jan 2016 14:30 #17 by Jonlate (Jon Late)
Thanks all for taking the time to read it. I have enjoyed both setting it up and writing about it. I will keep you upto date as things progress.
Just for Bart here is the picture of what I planed so long ago, unfortunately I am not as good as Alex (Bohrio) with his technical drawings, but I enjoyed making it.
Attachments:

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21 Jan 2016 14:56 #18 by robert (robert carter)
looks great , what capacity is it ?

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21 Jan 2016 15:20 #19 by Jonlate (Jon Late)
The one above is about half a litre and its sump 1/4 of a litre, but it does leak!!
The real one at a guess is about 300 liters and the sump 60 litres.
I am sure I could work it out as its 117.5 cm long, 45 cm wide and 70 high.
The sump is 80 cm by 40 cm and runs at 25 cm high, but is 40 cm high to allow for water overflow when the pumps off.
Bart did work out the weight of it, but I have forgotten that info now, but needless to say it's not light!
Again I am sure it could be worked out, so if you do feel free to post it!!

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21 Jan 2016 17:30 #20 by Jonlate (Jon Late)
So to add a bit about model making.
My wife is very understanding when it comes to what I would like to spend money on, but she has no idea what things look like on paper. I remember once drawing a mobile home out in a car park so she could see how big it was and where the rooms would go!
Anyway back to fish tanks.
Cutting up a few cardboard boxes to see what it looks like seems the best thing to do, and it gives an instant idea of how big the cupboard was going to be in relation to the tank.
It was because of doing this we decided to make the stand lower than usual, which meant that the tank could be made 70cm high without being any taller than a normal set up with a shallower tank.

The model was just made up as a bit of fun. For that I used the plastic laminate sheets that I ran through the laminator to make the sturdy and the just sellotaped the edges together. This was made at a scale (sad I know) of 1mm to 1cm. A peice of white cardboard made the stand and a few straws for the pipes.
The good thing about doing this was, it made me think about what side I wanted to put the overflow, so it was worth the effort.
So I think that's it. Until next time. :)

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04 Feb 2016 20:46 #21 by ted30 (Damo Mac an Bhaird)
You got to love projects like this

Location: Carrickmacross, County Monaghan

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04 Feb 2016 20:48 #22 by robert (robert carter)
Or be mad

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05 Feb 2016 13:47 #23 by Jonlate (Jon Late)
Well Robert
“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Crazy people are considered mad by the rest of the society only because their intelligence isn't understood.”
― Weihui Zhou

And that's Fishkeeping for you!

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05 Feb 2016 16:18 #24 by robert (robert carter)
sure arnt all fish keepers a little off the straight and narrow ,but that's half the fun

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20 Apr 2016 12:47 #25 by Jonlate (Jon Late)
So it's time to update my tank profile, which isn't much except a few new fish.
After reading a recent issue of Amazonia, what I am thinking of doing is adding a riparium to it.
What I am thinking is adding a few riparium boxes to the back of the tank ( they are like breeding boxes) and as its an open top tank growing something out the top.
So I really need your help.
What should I plant?
Are there hang on boxes I could uses instead of the stick on ones? Does anyone have any idea of doing this cheap!?
Where can I get the plants from?
Who has a riparium tank?
Any other suggestions?

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20 Apr 2016 15:08 #26 by Bill (Bill Hunter)
Lots for sale on eBay, ferns etc as well as others. The list of plants you could use is pretty endless. A visit to the pot plant section of your garden centre/supermarket should give you lots of ideas and plants to choose from.
Personally, I'm going, eventually, for a paludarium, but it will be a while.
Bill

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