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Re: DIY fish tank bar

Postby lilscoots » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:24 pm

I like the tank behind the bar much better than in the bar. It seems like it would be cool but you'd hardly see the fish, and seeing fish from above is lot less enjoyable than broadside.
All male tanks are a pain. I miss all the color, but I don't miss the hassle.
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:25 pm
Location: Grand Rapids MI

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Re: DIY fish tank bar

Postby Miles Davis » Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:12 pm

Tank: 75 Gallon standard dimensions
Filter: EHEIM 2217 Classic Canister
Power: 1 Submersible pump
1 Powerhead
Light: 18 in. Single Florescent Fixture: 2pm - 2am
12 in. Single Fluorescent Fixture: 2pm - 2am
Feed: New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula: 2-3 times daily
Frozen Omnivorous Diet: occasionally

Aquascape Prep
Selective Focus:
From the start, functionality was our top priority. But we wanted the tank to look as visually appealing as possible, being that it's behind our bar in the house. We limited the decor to just using rocks in order to produce a classy and provoking aquarium, while maintaining utmost functionality. In an effort to minimize distraction from the aquascape, we spray painted all the filter intakes/outakes flat black (Krylon Fusion). We also painted the back of the tank with flat black acrylic, per instructions of uarujoey ( in this video:
Finally, we purchased only flat black powerheads, pumps, and heater -- all with black cords..

I cut all my tubes to the correct lengths, and painted everything that would touch water black. I hung the individual tubes by crafting a mobile of sorts, unsing two wire coat hangers and some wire cutters, hung by string.

Our effort to inhibit attention to the background achieved more depth of field than I expected. The focus of attention is between the front and middle of the tank, leaving the background seemingly farther back and deeper than it really is. Im definitely going to continue to use this method on future tanks. I would also try out soft gradient backgrounds in the future (particularly on planted tanks).

As for the aquascape itself,
We needed to find a rock, cheaper than Texas Holey rock, that would both stack steady and contrast well with the colors of the fish. We visited about 4 local Landscaping lots, looking for a semi-porous rock with large holes for the fish to swim through. Our hunt led us an hour away, to a landscaping store that supposedly had something of a close match to what we had in our mind's eye.

Although they didn't have exactly what we were looking for, I can't say I wasn't satisfied. Here is one of the medium sized pieces, about 4.5 inches in height..

And one of the group of them. We stacked them up on the lot to find the most suitable pieces, you can get an idea of the rock formation we had in mind. 44 inches across..

We were pleased with the look of the rocks, we poured some water on them and noted red shades and blue-greys -- pretty neat

Cleaning the Rocks:
Coming from a landscaping lot, these were dirt covered, smashed up, damaged and abused rocks. So we cleaned them up.
First we took a power washer to it, nothing heavy just enough pressure to bring out the dirt and bits.
Then I went ahead and put them in a bleach bath for about 4 hours. Although it may seem risky, I have bleached rocks for 8 years and havn't had an issue once. Bleach does not penetrate rock, it penetrates everything but the rock. The bleach breaks apart the grime/algea and dirt, until it falls off like the meat from the bone of the most tender rib rack. So the longer you bleach them, the better! The important part of the whole process is RINSING the rocks. I washed every little pore of the rocks for about 5 minutes a piece -- My parents were concerned with the water bill. (Im a 19 y/o college student)
This took me two days to do every piece, and about 4 bleach baths total. I have never rinsed my rocks ever as well as I did on this project, only because I am unfamiliar with the rock and its mineral makeup. So, after I rinsed my rock I bathed them in water for 24 hours just to absorb any remaining bleach off the surfaces.

Bleach bath in utility sink

Remaining debris after bleach hit it for about 4 hours

Rinsing said rocks..

And the rinse bath for risk prevention

The Double Check:
Now that the rocks are clean, I tested them with a test kit to check whether they actively effect any water parameters. They didn't.

And so we were ready to begin our Aquascape:


This is a picture of me, with my canvas and palette, looking rather inspired. Unfortunetly, it's the only picture I have of the process!
For all you that have been following our project, you can see the bar here. Thanks for those of you who offered your input. It worked out pretty well.
Just wait until you see the finished product.

The Status Quo:

When we last left this thread, on August 14, 2012, we were preparing the tank for the move. A 4.5 hour drive back to school at Indiana University.
The tank on August 13, 2012:

We will try to post as much additional information as we can, especially on the success of the move. Not one fish was killed or harmed in the move, 100% success rate.
Evan and I have been very present in our academic and social responsibilities here at Indiana University, and so the thread lost momentum. However, we will make an effort to keep you updated.

I will be posting current photos of the tank in the upcoming days, so come back and check it out. (Sunday, Oct. 21). I plan to make a video of the aquarium, and will post that on the YouTube channel:
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Miles Davis
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:12 pm
Location: Chicago


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