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Geektom’s 135g Adventure

Discussion in 'Journals' started by geektom, Aug 17, 2018.

  1. geektom

    geektom Junior Poster

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    Hey all!

    First of all, for those of you who have been in on my big tank drama from the beginning- thanks for all the encouragement!

    For those of you who don't know me, I am an old timer who has been in and out of the hobby for several years. It has always been a dream to have a large (100g+) planted tank, and after many fits and starts, it looks like it is finally going to happen before the end of this year.

    Please stay tuned for updates and feel free to give your feedback once I am ready to scape it!

    Initial thoughts are below:

    The tank is a standard glass Visio with black rim: 72" wide x 24" deep by 18" high. It weighs (approximately) 9 million pounds. Ideally, I would have gotten a custom acrylic tank, pre-drilled, etc. but that was never going to be in the budget, and I was tired of putting off my dream.

    I will be building the stand myself. I have gone from a fairly basic design, to one that will really test my woodworking skills, but has been approved by two different experts to withstand just about anything short of "the big one". It won't have a lot of beauty- but it will be solid as a rock if I can pull it off. It will be shorter than most stands, at only 26" high, in order to meet the wife's request that the entire tank be below the level of the window it will be in front of.

    Right now I am still debating between painting the back black, the same gray as the wall behind it, or going with a frosted backing.

    I will be using 2 FX4's for filtration, due to the reduced height inside the cabinet.

    I will try for an inline heater on one and an inline CO2 reactor on the other.

    I am considering a UV sterilizer, too.

    Also because of the limited space, I may only be able to get away with a 5lb tank underneath... I am still debating how sensitive/CO2 dependent I want the plants choice to be. A 5 lb tank on 135g is going to get used up pretty quickly.

    For lighting, I think I am settled on 3 x AI Prime, suspended from the ceiling. The AI Prime seems to be a good value in performance, customization, and cost- plus as a bonus, they come in white, which will help them blend in to the window behind them.

    In addition to the plants, the stars of the tank will be a substantial school of Bolivian Rams- 9-12 is the current plan. I wanted a fish that was big enough to make an impact in the tank, small enough I could keep several of them, and unusual enough that you don't usually see them in groups.

    I have been collecting rocks and wood every time I see something I like. My desire is to have a pretty good amount of open space with lighter sand in the front and a curvy patch near the middle to create depth and make the Bolivians feel at home. See my amazing artist’s rendering below. I would love some advice on the best way to build the "wall" between the planted areas and the open sand- I have never done that before. I am thinking to use red lava rock (and moss) for that, as it will fit closest with the palette of the other rocks and natural color gravel I am using. I will not be using any premium substrate, but following the same formula I have always used: soil, fluorite red, Sea Chem "Peace River". Sorry, dark substrate has just never done it for me.

    Here is where the tank will live. Please ignore the internet mess that needs to be moved. The dimensions are so nice, it doesn’t even look that big, does it? Originally my wife requested that the top of the tank be even with the bottom of the window molding- I was able to negotiate up to the bottom of the window itself. That will make it really easy to work on, at least!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here is just a basic sketch of ideas, using only plants I already have growing in the two small tanks. Thanks to them, I think I can have the big tank pretty close to fully planted on day 1.

    [​IMG]

    Here is the current stand plan:

    [​IMG]

    Here is the hard scape I have been collecting. I love the colors of the rocks, but I have to admit- some of them are that “glass rock”. Shiny, and sharp as heck. I am going to take a sander to them and see if it helps.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I think that serves as a good introduction. Comments and questions are welcome. Stay tuned for more!
     
    Lawson, sarpijk, burr740 and 4 others like this.
  2. Peter Attanasio

    Peter Attanasio New Member

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    Cant wait to see it up and running.
     
    geektom likes this.
  3. Phishless

    Phishless Lifetime Member
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    Here in lies my interest, nice foot print and not too deep!
    Where to find? What do they cost?
     
    Greggz likes this.
  4. geektom

    geektom Junior Poster

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    Thanks! It is kind of a long story- my local store knows the folks at Visio and he ordered it for me. We worked out a trade for the 150 I had that was 30” front-to-back, which turned out to be too intrusive for my spouse.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. tetra120

    tetra120 Junior Poster

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    Nice tank size.
    I built a stand for my 125 out of 2x4's, never had an issue in it's 15 yrs of use.
    2x4 in the corners, 1 where your 4x4 are turned sideways, more then enough, but do what will allow you to sleep at night.
    For my current 75, only 3/4 birch.
     
    geektom likes this.
  6. geektom

    geektom Junior Poster

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    I hear you! I was at a LFS just today and looking at how the manufactured stands are made- not any lumber at all in most of them, even for larger sizes.

    I live in Southern California earthquake country, so better safe than sorry- but I may not even be able to pull off the extra cuts. We’ll see. Hopefully will have time to start it soon.
     
  7. geektom

    geektom Junior Poster

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    Ok- area is cleared out and ready for stand building!

    [​IMG]

    I have also purchased the filters (two FX4’s) and lights ( three AI Prime Freshwater)

    Slowly but surely coming together!
     
    burr740, Nikolyator, AgMa and 2 others like this.
  8. geektom

    geektom Junior Poster

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    Well, it took me a lot longer to get them right than I anticipated, but the 4x6 posts with inserts cut out for the 2x4 rails are done. I will have to do some shimming to make the frame perfectly square, but I still have all my fingers, so I am calling it a win. Doing the 4x4 center supports next, but they will be a breeze by comparison.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    burr740, Nikolyator and Phishless like this.
  9. geektom

    geektom Junior Poster

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    This is an example of what the corners will look like with the rails. I decided on a simple butt joint, instead of a rabbet for 2 reasons: 1) the more research I did the less necessary it seemed, and 2) I wasn’t nearly as confident I could make all the extra cuts accurately enough, especially considering no two boards seem to be the same.

    [​IMG]
     
    burr740, Nikolyator and Greggz like this.
  10. Greggz

    Greggz Lifetime Members
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    Love a good stand build.

    Looking forward to seeing where this goes.
     
  11. geektom

    geektom Junior Poster

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    Well, I am learning a lot through the process- it will not be perfect, but it will be sturdy.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. geektom

    geektom Junior Poster

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    Ok, frame is done- now for a couple coats of sealant, then the plywood floor and top.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Phishless

    Phishless Lifetime Member
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    That stand ain't going any where.:D
    It would support way more than a 135.
     
  14. geektom

    geektom Junior Poster

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    Yeah, turns out I way over-built it, but a couple of people got in my head about the load. Oh well, I learned a lot in the process- and better over-built than under, right?

    Now I hope I can work with the low dimensions inside the stand- I made a commitment to my wife that the entire set up would stay below the window. I am using FX4’s, so they should be ok- I may have to have the CO2 tank outside the stand, though.
     
  15. DeepMetropolis

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    Wow you sure over did it, that can hold a truck!
     
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  16. geektom

    geektom Junior Poster

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    Quick side note: safe to say my emersed bacopa Caroliniana is doing pretty well...

    [​IMG]
     
    #16 geektom, Sep 28, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2018
    Greggz likes this.
  17. geektom

    geektom Junior Poster

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    Ok, top and bottom surfaces are done- side panels will be added once it is inside, as I want to measure enough clearance for the FX4 hoses to fit easily between the wall and the back of the tank.

    Added some leftover vinyl tile underneath that I had laying around.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. geektom

    geektom Junior Poster

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    [​IMG]

    I still have to move all that network wiring, and then I will paint the back of the tank the same gray as the walls.

    My decision to add the foam layer put the tank a *smidge* taller than my wife requested, but she still gives it a thumbs up. Plus, when it is full and scaped, it will settle a bit.

    Once I have the filters unpacked and generally set where they will live, I will add the side panels, which will be wider than the tank and frame by about 1.5” to accommodate the hoses.

    Now I have to figure out my heater and CO2 choices- then it should be permanently in place and I can start with substrate and hard scape.
     
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  19. geektom

    geektom Junior Poster

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    New job has me swamped so not a lot of progress, but every little bit counts, right?

    Painting the back to match the walls to help hide hoses and wires. Color won’t be exactly the same because if the color of the glass, but I think it will fool the eye on casual glance.

    [​IMG]

    Got a bit more equipment purchased. Next step will be setting up the filters so I can dial in where I want them placed, and figuring out if I have room for inline heating and CO2 reactor.

    Next step will be the permanent panels on the sides.

    Then, FINALLY, hardscaping!
     
    burr740, Phishless and Greggz like this.
  20. geektom

    geektom Junior Poster

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    ok, so since having a sump is not an option, I went with 2 FX4's to ensure that there was plenty of filtration for the size and length of the tank.

    What I didn't think about was how I was going to meet my goal for reduced equipment in the tank (in-line heating and CO2 reactor) while working with the 1" flexible hoses from the FX4.

    Anyone here have any experience with adapting those down to a smaller connection? What will that do to my flow rate?
     

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