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Pikey

Working on the new tank and background

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Been busy this week, brought the 10ft that was for sale on the forum and have been busy playing around with the background.

It had been fitted by the previous owner and also hides all the plumbing for the tank, so thought that as it was empty and I have a bit of time, I would play around with it and add a few personal touches.

You can see the intakes in the background and I still have a bit to do with the returns.

It was multi coloured before and I wanted to make it a bit darker so the colours of the fish are more noticeable, so went for a dark brown and flattened out a few of the rough areas as the Americans that will be in there can crash about and didn't want them to injure themselves on the background.

It is made from that expanding foam in a can and quick drying cement, just added the colour to the cement.

Going to coat it in a clear epoxy resin to seal it and make is easy to clean. Brought one of better epoxies and came in crystal clear with non yellowing harder.

Will update once I get the background complete.

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Looks good...I was contemplating doing something like that with the foam for my mbunas...but I have so many rocks - and they like their rocks...that I decided to not worry about it...but I will watch your progress with interest...especially the end result...10 foot tank...wow ...one day I want a tank that size....I would love to see my oscar in a 10 footer doing laps...keep us up to date.

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The background is basically hiding the plumbing for the tank.

There are 2 large plastic pipes running the full length of the tank, one in, one out. Then across the background from end to end there is about 6 jets pumping the water in and keeping the water moving and about 8 larger returns sucking it back out again, down through the heating system, then runs through a custom filter set up with room for about 50 litres of media pushed along by a 10,000lph pump

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Got a bit carried away, was just going to touch up a couple of bits while I had the chance and it turned into a reno

Has all caused a set back in my plans as I have to wait for the background to dry right out before I epoxy coat it, as it will be sealed forever once that goes off

Previously the water could get behind the background as the cement wasn't sealed. I have pulled all the original background out round the returns and sealed short pieces of pipe to the front that will then be cemented in and the epoxy will seal to the ends of the pipe. Same on the feed in, pipe was already there, so just has to build background out round them.

Then once the background is sealed to the glass and epoxy resin coated it will be permanently sealed and easier to clean.

Was hoping to be cycling the tank next week, but not going to be for another couple of weeks now, one for it to dry out and one for the epoxy to fully harden before I fill it up again....

Not good as I have been collecting any Americans I can find and as small as possible so they all grow up in the 10 ft, so running out of space rapidly.

With a bit of luck the Green Terror, JD, flowerhorn and red devil don't kill each other or the other Americans that are not so aggressive, like red shouldered, red, green and gold severums, syn, Oscars and some smaller yanks that I have. If I get really brave (or is that stupid) I might put the 3 Frontosa Purple Ziare in as well, but they really don't belong in with Americans and not sure they would like the water. Mind you I have a large Frontosa Burundi in a tank now that chases 3 big Oscars around. He owns the bottom of the tank and the Oscars have to stay out of his way. So it is surprising sometimes what you can get away with.

I am not expecting much luck though and am preparing a few single tanks for the ones that just wont get along.

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Got some black gravel for it as well, so the fish should really stand out now.

Just need to work out what to put in the tank now, so some of the fish have somewhere to hide.

Might throw the convicts in there out of the wifes tank as they just keep breeding in her community tank. If they do that in the 10 Ft, it will just mean quality feeders for the big guys

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Well the background upgrade had a set back with the first coat of epoxy. It caused white streaking from the cement by the looks of things, probably should have washed it down first..... too late now:der:

Just about to pull out plan B.

Second coat of epoxy will have some of the brown colour I used in the cement added to the epoxy. hopefully returning the colour to a nice even dark brown.

Will update when I finish the second coat

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Ok, so plan B saved the day and the epoxy resin has gone off hard and is a nice uniform dark brown again.

Was a bit concerned for a bit as a few people said the colour powder stuff might react and stop the epoxy setting

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Tank has progressed a bit further, just got it on the stand......that was a mission...one heavy tank.

Washed and threw in the only bag of black gravel I have (rest is on order) and a couple of different colour ornaments to see what it would look like.

Once the water goes in, it will dull the gloss of the background and should look even better.

Tomorrow I an fitting the hardwood posts and supports in the garage below (this is on the second floor) to support the 1.6 metric tonnes (1600kgs) it will weight when full of water

Then a couple more days to make sure the epoxy is thoroughly cured and pick up the rest of the gravel and I will be ready to add the water do a bit to the filter system to make sure that all works as best it can and then it is time to get the tank cycled.

To bloody impatient as usual and 4 ft is overcrowded and had to throw a couple of fish in without QT.....looks like that stupid move and the stress has caused an outbreak of whitespot, so need to get that treated before they move in to their new home.....treating at tank that size would cost a small fortune.

Probably going to make a hood once it is up and running and then black 2-pak the cabinet and hood, should make it look like new again and make sure I get as much mileage out of it as possible, because I don't want to do another move with a tank this size again if possible.

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Yeah close, is a hippo......

Not sure what I am actually going to put in the tank, was just going to go driftwood and a few rocks. I put those in there just to get an idea of what it would look like.

The wife has started to drag out every aquarium ornament we have ever brought over the years.....and there is some shockers in that lot.......I can see there is going to be a fight in a minute id she things for one minute that **** is going in my nice new tank.

WHY DO YOU THINK IT IS AT THE BACK OF THE GARAGE UNDER A PILE OF JUNK WOMAN!.......God give me strength

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Well, not a bad day on the tank front. The gravel turned up, so washed it all and threw it in the tank.

Fittted a 200 x 75 hardwood support beam across the garage under the floor of the tank for 2.7m (tank is 10ft, so just over 3m). With 2 100 x 100 hardwood posts to support the beam. Just got to drill and bolt the top of the posts to the beam in the morning and drive the wedges under a little tighter and the strengthing of the floor will be complete.

Not sure if I will have time tomorrow, but just need to removce the filter drums and replace the media, get a couple of new filter socks to replace the old ones and add some Matrix and purigen and it will be ready to add water.

Will throw in a bottle or two of the Seachem stability and might even see if I can pinch some seeded media from the wifes tank (will take the bag of Matrix from the wifes sump and replace it with a new bag, should be enough to give it a kick start) really need to get it cycled asap as the other tanks are way to overcrowded. But can't afford to start moving fish before the cycle completes as it will cost me too much in Prime to protect the fish from the tank cycling.

Used to keep a few Marine tanks about 10-15 years ago and would always run the whole cycle without a fish in the tank and even then add them slowly as to be honest there was nothing that would protect the fish enough for them to survive.

However things have come a long way and I have now proved that you can add fish the day you fill the tank and they can survive the cycle un-touched, provided you are very careful and monitor the tank very closely.

There are a few key Ingredients to pull this off and not many have them.

First one being a Seachem Ammonia test kit.....nothing else will do, as this is the only test kit available that will measure free Ammonia and this is the key to it all, the prime will contain the Ammonia, but without the test kit you will not be able monitor the effect as all other kits detect total Ammonia and that is not the deadly stuff.....free Ammonia is.

Will save the full explaination for another thread.

Not the best photo, but gravel in now......

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Been a big weekend. Cleaned and replaced all filters and media.

Fixed up a few last touches and filled the filters and drained again to fix leaks....3 times in the end.

Got there in the end, as always time was getting tight and it did everything it could to stop me succeeding with leaks, that and I am a little obsessive about fittings and leaks.

I the end I sealed some of the filter drums perminatley, as I am not happy with the plumbing due to the fact most of it is hose and it just gets in the way, so will be looking to replace the filter drums and redo all plumping in plastic pipe and run it through back of cabinet.

So water in and tank is cycling (oh and wood is floating).....had one of the juvi Africans die on Thursday, so froze it and then just threw it in the 10ft, it can swim (I mean float) around in there for a while, should generate all the Ammonia I need, always good to smash a new tank with as much ammonia as you can find and then I had some SeaChem stability to kick start the bacteria, I like to make sure ammonia is way off the scale, managed to get one of the test kits to go a blue colour instead of green.

I normally go overboard so the filters are coping with a massive load, then I stop adding sources of ammonia, give it a day or so to settle and then throw all the fish in at once, normally this is not even half the bio load the filters have been fighting during the cycle.

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Oh and ordered some LED lights off the internet...... going to have a go at making something up myself.....just not sure what yet.

Then I am going to make a hood for it...... can't standing being able to see the water level..... has to go, so will need a hood, that and it will hide all the lights.

Then I think I might give it a new look with that high gloss 2 pack black paint...... hmm, wonder it I could get something to dye the epoxy black with and I could look at coating the cabinet and hood with it.... have to give that some thought.... first work out how and then play about testing it on scrap wood.

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Yeah is 10 x 2 x 2, it was running when I brought it, so wasn't to worried, going to get it up and running for a bit and make hood + paint it all in high gloss black 2 pack, well that is the plan. Then as there are a few scratches on the glass I was planning on cutting the front panel out and replacing with starfire glass. Will reseal all the front of the tank then and just to be sure will stick some thin angle on the outside of all the seams on the back of the tank as the background stops me getting to the glass,just to make sure I don't get problems later.

So today was lights, thought I would go el cheapo on the lights as I am not looking to grow plants and they will be covered by the hood anyway.

So one 3m length of plastic gutter, 3m length of plastic pipe, 2 gutter ends, one small joiner and 10m of waterproof LED lights off eBay and away I went, need to get a 6amp power supply as I have joined 2 5m lengths of LEDsb the second set are dimmer at the moment, will update when I get the new power supply ans post photos of the white light.

So all I did was cut the small joiner in half and glue it to the inside of the gutter ends and the wound the 10m of waterproof leds around the plastic pipe and then stuck each end in the piece of joiner that I glued to the inside on the ends of the gutter...... perfect, 3m LED for about $100 all up with a can of plasti dip black paint to paint it later.

Can have the lights white, red, purple, yellow, blue and a few more, can dim up and down all on a remote control, then if I wanted to make the fish fit, I could have them in various flashing sequences.

Not sure why it looks purple in the photo as it was on blue, can't wait to get the right power supply to see what the end result will be.

One with flash, one without, but only on phone

Will only use white in the day and the dark blue for moon light and probably dim it a bit as it is already quite bright and only running 4 amp power supply at the moment

Just have to see how long they last, but can replace the LED's for less than the cost of one bulb anyway (think they were just under $40 for 10m), so wont matter anyway

Looking to make the hood next.

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