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Really curious to see how these modules work out...

I have a 72" - 180 that i am putting together right now. Those backgrounds are just too expensive... This may be a viable route...
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
cantrell00 said:
Those backgrounds are just too expensive... This may be a viable route...
Don't kid yourself into thinking this is cheaper 'cause it's not. It's just the way I decided to go...

kevin
 

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I was assuming that the freight would be significantly cheaper atleast...

I was thinking of module 2, 3 & 4 only... Adding the slimline really makes it expensive...
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I had planned on mixing Slimline & Modules. My plan was to cut the Slimline down so that it covered the height of the tank on one side but gradually descended as it came across the tank - kind of like an underwater drop off.

I think it would have looked cool, but when it wasn't available I decided to forge ahead with just Modules mixed with real rocks.

In hard costs the Canyon 72" is $249 (Malawi and Tanganyika are $389 but I like Canyon better).

The 6 modules I purchased ended up costing $405. I don't know if the shipping one over the other would have made a difference.

But in straight comparison they probably cost about the same - my modules will be used on the sides and top - they will cover more than just the back of the tank.

kevin
 

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Gotcha...

I want the Canyon Rock also but the only guys that seem to have it in 72" are the guys in Canada (where you got yours) & apparently they won't ship to the US...

Maybe they would if I called instead of ordering online? Import customs would probably be really bad though - maybe not. Dunno.

I have the Malawi Rock in my 120 & it's front to back depth looks awesome but just takes up too much room.. That is a 24" depth too. Way too bid for 18" depth. It is H U G E!

Like I said - really interested to see how this works out for you... Imitation afterall is the greatest for of flattery..
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Things are getting hot and heavy now, so a quick update only:

Fingers crossed my Synodontis njassae (I know I haven't even talked about my proposed stocking yet) will arrive this Sunday.
They've been very hard to find so I am getting them sooner than I'd prefer.

So the 3m/8f saulosi in my 38 gallon are being shipped off to the 29 gallon in my office to make room for the njassae in the 38.

I stayed late last night and converted my 29 from this:



To this:



Sorry about the reflecty cell phone pictures, but I think my saulosi should do well here.
I was careful to create a few territories without sightlines into other territories.
I hope to keep all 11 but will trim to 1m/5f if need be.
Right now my BN pleco has the run of the tank:



kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
I've now successfully siliconed one (one!) polystyrene rock to my tank glass, but I'm wracked with self-doubt and second thoughts about my arrangement, so I'll switch over to stocking.

I've had my 125 since August but have been changing my mind about stocking for much longer than that.

The only thing I've never wavered from is my only non-negotiable cichlid: Labeotropheus.
Fuelleborni or trewavasae, didn't matter. This tank had to have Labeotropheus.

With so many species combinations available in a six foot tank I thought I hit on a pretty brilliant idea: a collection point aquarium.
The idea was to pick five species from one tiny area of the lake and replicate it.
I knew it wouldn't be easy but it turned out to far more unworkable than I had ever imagined.
Some of the things to consider:
5 mbuna from one collection point that I like.
5 mbuna from one collection point that I like and are compatible.
5 mbuna from one collection point that I like, are compatible and are available.
5 mbuna from one collection point that I like, are compatible, are available and one is Labeotropheus.

I started with Zimbawe Rock. Protected waters. Finding 5 available species was going to be a problem. Same with West Thumbi Island.
I loved certain fish from Minos Reef, Gallireya Reef and Boadzulu Island but they didn't have 5 species I was crazy about.
Chinyankwazi, Chinyamwezi and Taiwanee Reef came closest to fruition, but ultimately I wasn't able to confirm that the 5 species I wanted were available for purchase.
I even considered mixing mbuna and haps as a shortcut, but I really wanted mbuna.

So that idea eventually died.

Now I was back to the drawing board of finding 5 mbuna species that I liked and were compatible.

I've been all over the map on this one, but here is where I'm at today. The pictures are from one of our site sponsors where I'll likely be making the purchase:







By all accounts these cichlids should be okay together. Not surprisingly I have't come across someone else with this stock in a 125 who can say: "Yes it will work," but I think there are enough colour differences and temperament similarities to have a chance.

Confusingly, I've had some advice from people who have worked and dived with Ad Konings suggesting a mellow hap species like Copadichromis borleyi or azureus to occupy the top of the tank.

I'm still undecided about that one.
If I do add a group of haps I might remove the joanjohnsonae, since as a Labidochromis (many still call them Melanochromis) they might not have the spunk to do well with some of my other rowdies.

At any rate, I plan on purchasing about 10 juveniles of each (15 or so demasoni) and weeding out troublemakers until I get to about 5-8 of each.

But the hot news on my stocking front is that I already have some!

The only "pure" thought I had left from the collection point idea was my catfish; I wanted something native to Lake Malawi, and that meant Synodontis njassae.

These fish were hard to find.

I had want ads posted all over the place with no results.
But then two weeks ago I came across another hobbyist by chance who knew of a store in Montreal that sold them.
Fast forward to the weekend, when I moved my Pseudotropheus saulosi from my 38 gallon at home to make room for its new inhabitants:
Six 4cm Synodontis njassae!





Cute little buggers, aren't they?

kevin
 

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Id go forward with those 5 mbuna and forget about adding any haps. Looks like a stocking list I'd be willing to try out. In fact, when I build my giant mbuna tank in a few years, those williamsi norths and exasperatus/joanjohnsonae are 2 of the first new species I hope to add with my existing stock.

Good job finding the Njassae too! I thought about going with them, but the one time I found them available they were more expensive than I was willing to pay at the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
I was out of town for a little early March break and have also undertaken a home reno - but things are still going!

I have some rocks siliconed and some plumbing done - will post soon.

Thanks for asking!

kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Things have stalled considerably. Partially because we're renovating part of our house, partially because I've been terrified about making a mistake siliconing my biggest rock.

It's going to have one intake and two outputs behind it, so getting the plumbing all lined up properly the first time (with no prior experience) is of the essence.

Here are the results - freshly siliconed tonight:



Between the angle and the reflections you can't tell, but I've drilled three intake holes and two output holes.
I siliconed plastic screen door mesh over the intake holes to keep any little fishes from swimming inside when the outputs are turned off during water changes.



A different view so you can see two of the three hoses - the last hose has been measure and will hopefully fit!
The protruding hose will be trimmed once the silicone dries.



Side view showing the depth of the Sierra 1 rock (the tank is 18" wide)



And here's a shot from behind that shows the 1" intake and one of the 5/8" outputs.
The FX5 input strainer was too big to fit back here, so I just have some more screen door mesh held over the intake with a rubber band - I'll be able to remove this tube easily if that little DIY fails.
The output not shown will point towards the surface to cause some rippling.

If this part worked out well things should speed up pretty quickly from here...once all my rotisserie baseball drafts are done!

kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
I have two pieces of plexiglass sheeting that I am going to paint.

I am hoping that by using a sheet that I will attach to the background I can do something more interesting than a flat colour.

With the first sheet I will try a very dark blue with a faint light spot that will seem like distant sunlight from the surface.

And if that fails I'll just paint the second sheet one colour.

kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
The aquascape is finally done. Well, I may add some vals on the left side...I haven't decided yet.

At any rate, all the AquaTerra rocks are siliconed in place. I found some brown silicone, which is nice because the few mistakes I made don't show up at all.

I worried myself sick over how to place these things, knowing that mistakes in cutting and siliconing were fairly irreversible and fairly expensive.
But in the end I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out.

Keep in mind that I will be adding a painted plexiglass back ground:



There is an "easter egg" on one of the rocks on the right - I'll give more details later.

I had to make some changes along the way once I got the AquaTerra rocks.

In the summer I spent about $80 on 300 pounds of sandstone. But once I saw the sandstone didn't match the fake rocks at all I had to switch them up.
The $80 didn't go down the drain since I used half of them in my 29 gallon saulosi tank.

I ended up buying rocks called "Pennsylvania Chicken Stone."
Trade names in the rock business are just as ridiculous as trade names in the fish business.
They don't match perfectly, but coming from the largest rock yard in Toronto, it was as close as I could get.

I also had 50 lbs of pool filter sand that I had bought in the summer. Once I started washing it I saw that it was far too white for my tastes; brown rocks would not dissolve into white sand.

So I ended up going with play sand - about 75 lbs in total - the rocks took up a lot of space!

My plumbing is almost done - I've painted myself into a corner with the Fluval 405 I've had seeding on my 38 gallon - I need to hook it up to my plumbed equipment, but as soon as I do all that nice bacteria is going to die off - I'm trying to avoid having to cycle the 125...

kevin
 
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