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Robbo89

950L In-Wall Discus Tank

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Had another thread running for this project but it's quite old now so I figured I may aswel kick up a new one.

This concept was something I had dreamt about since I was maybe 8 or 9 years old, so finally having it come together is really something special for me.

Add to that the fact that prior to this tank my biggest aquarium setup was a 65L two foot tank, and I think you can imagine how excited I am about this.

Keeping (and raising) discus is a challenge I'm really looking forward to as well, and hopefully giving some breeding a shot further down the line.

Anyway, I'll start with the earliest photos and fill in the blanks up until now.

April 2014: very veerryyy early planning stages.

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A couple concept sketches and a scaled plan for the builders to work off.

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A stray photo of my general inspiration for the overall look. (white sand, large driftwood, big swords, blue discus, happy days)

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Fast forward a few months and things are looking a little more advanced.

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Here's another tank with similar elements, regarding the fish, unusually tall dimensions and aquascaping.

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Then received my first look at the tank...

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Funny story I've been told about the installation of the tank before I throw those photos up. I was at school while it happened and only heard through one of the builders but turns out the 6.5x2x80cm high 12mm glass tank was carried almost 25m and installed by four guys, one of which threw up afterwards because of the weight... makes me glad I wasn't there :eek:

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And finally the three foot sump.

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Don't know when the next update will come unfortunately, for those of you who follow my pond thread you'll know that the chances I get to put time into my projects are few and far between while I finish year 12. Anyway, hopefully the photo overload wasn't too much to handle. Would love to hear some feedback and any advice would be much appreciated because as I've said this calibre setup is mor than just a little unfamiliar to me. Cheers.

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Nice setup Robbo I think what would look good as well is if your going to clad your sump with timber doors I think that bulkhead should get the same treatment with doors so it allows access to inside the tank

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Unfortunetly absolutely nothing has changed since the last update :( the builders can't instal the cabinets until the floor underneath the stand is tiled, so it's all a bit of a waiting game at the moment. Sorry fellas

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Well! Here we are, 9 months later and I think it's about time I made some progress..

Right now I'm on my way to Aquarium warehouse on the Gold Coast to pick out some sexy driftwood - photos to come.

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Think its about time I posted an update to this. Partially because it's been way too long but also because I'm in need of some advice.

To be honest not a whole lot has changed since my last post, I started uni last year and for whatever reason lost all my motivation for the project (and the same goes for my pond which some of you may be familiar with). But staring at it looking like it does right now is doing my head in so its time to get this going again.

So here's what you guys have missed out on.

I found the most amazing piece of driftwood, it had every aspect I was imagining and more but of course once we brought it home it didn't fit in the tank. After cutting and then dowling the piece back together in two places we got it in, and the joins look really subtle so that worked out okay. But again something had to go wrong, and now, about 5 months after anchoring the piece underwater, it still hasn't sunk. It's roped down to two 20kg cement blocks and a basket full of stones and still takes a decent push from above to force it further underwater.

So right now the tank looks filthy and green, and I'm ready to give up on waiting for the driftwood to sink.

The plan is to lay down a few layers of tiles and then fishing line around them to hold the wood down, and from there we can cover the tiles with sand and hopefully keep the wood under water without any obvious/noticeable mechanics.

The things I need some help with are choosing a sump and the lights for the tank. Dennison who built the tank and sump recommended this sump pump to me

http://www.guppysaquariumproducts.com.au/eden-159-5000lph.html

and these lights.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/120W-Dimmable-LED-Full-Spectrum-Grow-Fish-Reef-Coral-Aquarium-Light-55x3Watt-New-/281105301600?pt=AU_Pet_Supplies&hash=item41732e8060

I think the sump pump looks good but am a bit unsure about the lights, will they be sufficient to grow big amazon swords through that depth of water? And will they really bring out the colours in the tank or just 'do the job'?

Thanks heaps for your patience with this thread everyone, and any advice would be absolutely awesome, feeling a bit out of my depth on this project but excited to be finally getting things done.

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that's an expensive looking swamp you have there , must provide alot of relaxation when you look into it !

scrap the discus idea man , you could maybe make a killing from growing mosquito larvae perhaps even a brilliant alternative too people doing the baby brine shrimp thing!!!!

ripper tank man :hail:

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An easy fix for your floating wood issue is to drill a small hole in hefty stone tile/ slab and use a long stainless steel screw to secure the wood down. The stone can be left on top of substrate or buried in. You can secure your wood at any angle/position this way. On tree trunk pieces, drop saw to cut wood neatly can make it appear to be growing through your cabinet. Just make sure the screw is very secure as the wood may bob up and smash tank braces causing your big tank to fail otherwise.

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Thanks heaps for the advice guys, [MENTION=470]aquaholic99[/MENTION] that idea might actually be just what I need. Would the pH be heavily effected long term by a couple of tiles under the substrate?

Also just came across a deal and wanted to see what you guys think, would I be better off going with say two of these lighting units than the other ones I posted earlier? http://www.aquaholicsonline.com.au/dee-aquarium-fish-tank-plant-6500k-6800k-led-light-100cm.html

They are down to $67 from $119 and look relatively appealing. My main question is (other than wether or not they would actually suit the setup) what's the advantage of running straight white LED's (like these ones) over a spectrum of various colours like in the lighting unit I posted up in my last post? I feel like you would get a greater photosynthetic rate out of your plants with a wider spectrum of light i.e. broader activation of the photosynthetic pigments? And how does a multicoloured LED unit compare to one like this with respect to the physical appearance of the fish/plants etc?

The sump is about 180L Donny, 110cm x 40cm x 40cm. Not sure what you mean about keeping it topped up, this is the first time I've had a sump and am still trying to organise a picture in my head of how it all works.

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Thanks heaps for the advice guys, [MENTION=470]aquaholic99[/MENTION] that idea might actually be just what I need. Would the pH be heavily effected long term by a couple of tiles under the substrate?

Also just came across a deal and wanted to see what you guys think, would I be better off going with say two of these lighting units than the other ones I posted earlier? http://www.aquaholicsonline.com.au/dee-aquarium-fish-tank-plant-6500k-6800k-led-light-100cm.html

They are down to $67 from $119 and look relatively appealing. My main question is (other than wether or not they would actually suit the setup) what's the advantage of running straight white LED's (like these ones) over a spectrum of various colours like in the lighting unit I posted up in my last post? I feel like you would get a greater photosynthetic rate out of your plants with a wider spectrum of light i.e. broader activation of the photosynthetic pigments? And how does a multicoloured LED unit compare to one like this with respect to the physical appearance of the fish/plants etc?

The sump is about 180L Donny, 110cm x 40cm x 40cm. Not sure what you mean about keeping it topped up, this is the first time I've had a sump and am still trying to organise a picture in my head of how it all works.

I can highly recommend those lights from aquaholics , quality lighting for less than half the price you pay for bloody others like fluval !!!!! -- I recently bought that light in the 5ft version too light just a 6x2 and its incredibly bright when on full power i just use it at half strength .

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I've just finished about 7 hours work on the tank with my old man so I've got a fair bit to update. Let's go!

So I dug up some old photos of the wood and thought I'd put them up here to hopefully get you guys as amped up about the piece as I am. We ended up finding nothing exciting in terms of driftwood at the store we'd driven about an hour to get to, and in frustration went to random pet store on the way home just to look around. Turns out this store had an awesome 8x3x2 display tank with a stunning saratoga in it and a reasonably nice looking piece of driftwood...

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... $200 later and it was sitting in the back of our ute (thankfully the store owner was planning on selling up the display tank anyway so it didn't take too much to convince him to offload it).

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Then came the real challenge.. getting it into the tank. Long story short it didn't fit, but we didn't find that out without hours of frustration and inevitably damaging a fair bit.

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So the wood sat on the floor for about three weeks while we tried to work a solution out. Who would have thought that leaving it to completely dry out wasn't such a great idea :noidea:

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When we finally decided the only way to get it in would be to cut it, get it into the tank and then dowel it back together, the piece was bone dry. But at least the doweling worked out alright.

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After piecing it back together (surprisingly well) I filled the tank up foolishly expecting it to sink, but of course the wood was having absolutely none of that and so begins the real trouble. I first tried tiles, no luck. Thought I'd up my game a bit and go for two baskets full of garden stones.. again nothing. This wood was giving me all kinds of grief and little did I know it was only the beginning.

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In a desperate attempt to get the stupid thing underwater I took two 20kg cement blocks and roped the wood around them, and it actually worked :eek:

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So at this point we were thinking 2, maybe 3 months and surely it would be sitting on the bottom, so we left it like that and that's exactly how it stayed from June last year until this morning. In all honestly I don't think the piece was any less buoyant this morning than it was 6 months ago, which makes me wonder wether it will actually ever sink. But either way, as the forgoten so eloquently put it, the tank was really just an 'expensive looking swamp', and quite frankly I couldn't agree more. So it was time to make some long awaited progress. We started the day by untying all the weights from the wood and completely draining the tank, using four garden hoses.

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We then took two thin cement blocks, probably weighing about 10kg combined, and duct taped around them so that the sharp edges wouldn't cut through the fishing line which would be used to attach them to the wood.

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And then the tank was filled, again using four hoses. Ten minutes later and the wood was floating as if the weight wasn't even there. :mad2: Not only that, but the fishing line (which was tied as tightly as I could) had stretched, allowing about a 2 inch gap between the floating blocks and the base of the driftwood. After realising I was one snapped fishing line away from a surely cracked tank base, the blocks were quickly removed and the tank re-drained, so apologies for no photos of that point it time. Anyway it was back to the drawing board, and as hesitant I was to go back to the 20kg cement blocks (mainly because of their height, which would mean I'd need at least 3 inches of substrate to hide them) we were both over the constant draining and refilling, and decided to tie it down to something we knew it couldn't lift up. An intricate web of cable ties replaced the fishing line to eliminate the stretching problem and after yet again refilling the tank, it looked like we might have finally achieved the dream :beer:

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So here we are. As I'm sitting at that desk writing this, looking into the tank actually makes me feel excited about my vision for it again. And I guess that's why we all play this game of fish-keeping. Not for the hours spent in a glass box barely big enough for a human half my size, fiddling with heavy blocks and uncooperative cable ties, but for that indescribable feeling of satisfaction when hard work meets a solid plan and it all just seems to come together.. finally.

This project has taken a lot longer than I ever imagined, but for the first time its no longer a waiting game. And while there's a long way to go I've never been more keen to get stuck into things and see this baby finished. So next on the to-do list is to repair that hole in the roof, somehow purchase about 100kg of sand (any advice on where to find this would be much appreciated) and start planning the sump.

On other fronts, the lights and pump have been ordered and should both arrive early in the coming week. Ended up going with three of these lighting units

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/SunSpect-165W-LED-Aquarium-Light-Dimmable-Full-Spectrum-Coral-Reef-Fish-Lamp/301058785775?_trksid=p2047675.c100011.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20140107090050%26meid%3Db206def0f38f4d9d8099d11b48145cfd%26pid%3D100011%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D10%26mehot%3Dag%26sd%3D281105301600

and this pump http://www.guppysaquariumproducts.com.au/eden-155-4200lph.html

If anyone has any ideas on sand sourcing locations or suggestions for sump media would love to hear them, but either way I'll plan to have another update for you guys in a few days when the new toys arrive. Thanks for sticking with me fellas, seriously appreciate it.

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Bakki's are going cheap these days.

You really struggle on that wood. I have two big pieces on my tank and thankfully they just sunk for me (one was completely dry from the shop, the other was used but dried up for 3 days). It did remind me of my old wood that took months of trying to sink it, floated like it's designed to be floating feature.

Nice progress and the tank looks neat and presentable on both sides of the room.

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@Robbo89birthyear? A very easy to read humourous at times post. Eleventeen out of ten for staying calm at a trying time.

Your writing technique is similar to @danfishy84 and @Grover65k Nice work and keep us updated.

Sand from your local landscape yard?

PS nice selfie. @chickadee is on to ya mate.

Edited by mbunamad
cause i can

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Nice fish in the 13th picture! Thought you said discus but oh well it suits the aquarium :P Is it a native and were did you get it?

Hahaha top secret sorry mate, had too many enquirers about it recently, apparently women just can't stay away.. Must be the toned muscle and Brazilian tan

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Surely theres pockets of air in the wood? A super fine drill bit and a bit of exploring should let it vent. Worth testing pH to see what those blocks are doing to it imho.

Sometimes adding salt can help wood leech and soak. But yea thats another drain and refill.

Grabbed the pH first thing this morning. So my rain water tank comes out at 6.4 and the tank water after 6 months with those 2 blocks in there tested at 7.6. So I'm hoping I'll be able to lower that somehow but honestly haven't looked into that yet. Fingers crossed hey..

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