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Thread: Beginning the 160G planted tank

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    Beginning the 160G planted tank

    I picked this tank up from Levi ages ago, but life has been very busy lately and I've had absolutely zero time to do anything with it. Maybe it was all the sugar post Halloween, but last night I decided it was time to get things going on that tank.

    Step 1. Hook up the plumbing and do the initial leak check. Found a few spots that will need sealing, realized I'm going to have to shim the stand about 1/4" on the one side in order for things to be perfectly level, but otherwise everything looked great. Tank held water, no ominous creaking from the stand, the sump held water and with the exception of two connections, everything was water proof when just finger tight.

    Now to let everything dry out, seal what needs sealing and begin the second filling.

    I also need to follow up with an old nieghbor. He had the absolute best piece of driftwood for this tank sitting in his front yard, I think I'm going to ask him if he's willing to sell it. I've been trying to find a similar or better piece for many months now with no luck, maybe he'll be happy to get rid of it.


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    Shim the stand and not the tank. Don't want the added stress on the tank.
    The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. - Jacques Cousteau


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    Quote Originally Posted by Murfman View Post
    Shim the stand and not the tank. Don't want the added stress on the tank.
    Ha, yeah. I'm shimming from the base of the stand.

    Would you recommend putting anything between the tank and the wood? I've seen recommendations of foam, or cork, or yoga mats etc. Reading up on it though it sounds like foam can explode under too much weight, and otherwise there's people arguing passionately for either one.

    I want to get the stand as level as possible, but would any of the larger tank keepers recommend something between the tank and the stand itself?

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    Being that acrylic sits directly on the plywood base, I would use 1/2" or 3/4" foam insulation. This keeps any imperfections from putting pressure points on the bottom of the tank. With a glass tank, most have the plastic ring to lift the glass off of any imperfections in the plywood base.
    The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. - Jacques Cousteau


    Wine is for wisdom, beer is for strength, but bourbon is the water of life.


    The New glass 300 build
    http://www.thescmas.com/forums/showt...ighlight=ghost

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    Thanks! That's the direction I was leaning.

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    The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. - Jacques Cousteau


    Wine is for wisdom, beer is for strength, but bourbon is the water of life.


    The New glass 300 build
    http://www.thescmas.com/forums/showt...ighlight=ghost

  10. #7
    Just_Tim
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    Im so happy to see this tank get setup, even if it is freshwater I just know you're going to tempt me into doing a big planted Discus tank again.

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    I still haven't decided what I want to put in the tank. I'm going back and forth between hundreds of inverts and some larger schools of tiny fish vs. a handful of larger, harder to keep fish instead. They both have their up-sides and draw backs.

    Or something rare/unusual that's hard to find where you might need a larger tank to get them to breed. Lots of choices but I can only really commit to one of them. Thankfully I shouldn't have to decide for another few weeks while I get the plumbing, hardscape and substrates ready. If anyone here has a freshwater suggestion I'm all ears.

    I'm going to try and improve the look of the stand as well before the project is finished, but not sure if that would be before or after the hardscape work.

    I imagine it will probably be at least a month or two before I'm doing the final fill of this tank.

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    Registered User Levi's Avatar

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    I am in the same boat as Tim, well not really because I do not want to have a freshwater tank, but in that I am super excited to see it setup. Your other tanks are just amazing and well beyond my ability, so I just have to settle for pictures!

    Quote Originally Posted by esmith View Post
    I still haven't decided what I want to put in the tank. I'm going back and forth between hundreds of inverts and some larger schools of tiny fish vs. a handful of larger, harder to keep fish instead. They both have their up-sides and draw backs.

    Or something rare/unusual that's hard to find where you might need a larger tank to get them to breed. Lots of choices but I can only really commit to one of them. Thankfully I shouldn't have to decide for another few weeks while I get the plumbing, hardscape and substrates ready. If anyone here has a freshwater suggestion I'm all ears.

    I'm going to try and improve the look of the stand as well before the project is finished, but not sure if that would be before or after the hardscape work.

    I imagine it will probably be at least a month or two before I'm doing the final fill of this tank.

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    Taking the clay and turning it into a slurry. (the kids helped with this part)




    Taking the three buckets of dirt and adding it to the mix. At this point the kids were too disgusted with the work and bailed, but brought water to make the mud at least. Last time through I used Miracle Gro something or other. I had to mineralize it for DAYS and spent hours pulling out chunks of wood etc. that I didn't want. This time I went and got fill dirt from a near by contractor place. Cost me $1.40 instead of $40 and saved me 20+ hours of work.



    Bottom dirt layer added. Also threw some dolomite and muriate of potash down there for plant food. (the potash has a red, insoluable dye in it which is making the water so reddish in the photos.) This mud layer will be capped by sand or some other not too permeable substrate, hopefully this evening. About 1". I made a mud platform to create a hill effect, and wanted to see if it would collapse over night or not. Looks like the dirt is solid enough that it held its shape. I'll reinforce with rocks before covering it though so the ledge remains.




    Ordered the drift wood for the tank the other day. It will be arriving via Greyhound. Guess that's the most affordable way to ship a giant piece of wood. Figure since I want to rinse the substrate and I still need to leak check the plumbing re-attachment, I'll fill and empty the tank at least once or twice more before the final fill. Also got the tank resting on top of 2" insulating foam, and got everything level to within 1/16th of an inch give or take.

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    Registered User howard24's Avatar

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    Can't wait to see the progress of this tank.

    Sent from my SM-N920V using Tapatalk

  17. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by esmith View Post
    Taking the clay and turning it into a slurry. (the kids helped with this part)




    Taking the three buckets of dirt and adding it to the mix. At this point the kids were too disgusted with the work and bailed, but brought water to make the mud at least. Last time through I used Miracle Gro something or other. I had to mineralize it for DAYS and spent hours pulling out chunks of wood etc. that I didn't want. This time I went and got fill dirt from a near by contractor place. Cost me $1.40 instead of $40 and saved me 20+ hours of work.



    Bottom dirt layer added. Also threw some dolomite and muriate of potash down there for plant food. (the potash has a red, insoluable dye in it which is making the water so reddish in the photos.) This mud layer will be capped by sand or some other not too permeable substrate, hopefully this evening. About 1". I made a mud platform to create a hill effect, and wanted to see if it would collapse over night or not. Looks like the dirt is solid enough that it held its shape. I'll reinforce with rocks before covering it though so the ledge remains.




    Ordered the drift wood for the tank the other day. It will be arriving via Greyhound. Guess that's the most affordable way to ship a giant piece of wood. Figure since I want to rinse the substrate and I still need to leak check the plumbing re-attachment, I'll fill and empty the tank at least once or twice more before the final fill. Also got the tank resting on top of 2" insulating foam, and got everything level to within 1/16th of an inch give or take.
    I dare not say what this picture looks like, but a septic tank is a close description lol.

    Do you cap it with sand or with some gravel or something or are you able to fill it with just mud and it not get all cloudy?

  18. #13
    Registered User Levi's Avatar

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    and I read your inital post to discover its being capped with sand.... sorry its getting late and I worked a ton of OT today lol.

  19. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Levi View Post
    and I read your inital post to discover its being capped with sand.... sorry its getting late and I worked a ton of OT today lol.
    He got my eco complete, idk if it is enough to cap his tank but it's close.

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  20. #15
    Registered User Levi's Avatar

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    Nice!

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    ended up going with the eco complete and one bag of pool filter sand. It was a nice combo. Not too dark or too light. I'll have to take another shot, no longer looks so nasty. Finished late tonight, so probably won't do the next fill until Friday with all the after work stuff planned for tomorrow already.

  22. #17
    Registered User penrosereefer's Avatar

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    this is cool, probably the first FW thread ive followed closely...looking forward to next update

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    Real rookie mistake last night.

    Started filling the tank, slowly, but then went up stairs. Watched a show with the wife, came down to check on it every 10 min. or so, things were great.

    Well, until the last time when I go downstairs to see the hose came loose (like they always do, every time and I know this) and there's now water on the floor, soaking into the rugs. Cleaned up the water, but called it a night with the tank half filled.

    Tonight I should fill the rest and give the plumbing the first run through. I'll need to get something to cover the sump underneath, and some kind of cover for the top, but one thing at a time.

    If anyone knows someone with some spare acrylic, I'm thinking maybe a hinged acrylic top that can open either direction? Would require 4 relatively small pieces. (24"x13" give or take?)

    I may have to give up on my idea of Australian inverts. I don't know that anyone can order them.

    If anyone on the boards knows who might fit this description, point me in their direction.

    "If you can come up with an international courier with Australian agents here in Darwin NT that will handle live fish from here to you in less than 4 days let me know." I'm guessing that's a no.

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    A shot from the other day after the first full fill after reconnecting all the plumbing and capping the mud.

    Now I'm in the process of trying to find out what paperwork and fees I'll need to pay to get my hands on the fish and plants I'd like. Maybe I should just do the inverts though, given the price of each permit.

    Driftwood was ordered on the 10th but still hasn't shipped as far as I know, might be time to look for another vendor.


  26. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by esmith View Post
    A shot from the other day after the first full fill after reconnecting all the plumbing and capping the mud.

    Now I'm in the process of trying to find out what paperwork and fees I'll need to pay to get my hands on the fish and plants I'd like. Maybe I should just do the inverts though, given the price of each permit.

    Driftwood was ordered on the 10th but still hasn't shipped as far as I know, might be time to look for another vendor.

    NICE, when do plants and fish go in? Also I see a TON of sponges in the sump for bio media?

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