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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

I was finally able to convince my girlfriend that if we replace the carpet with hard wood that I should be able to get a six footer. Basically the only thing I know for certain is my stock list (Viejas). Therefore, I'm putting together a preliminary setup piece by piece. Here's what I have so far (prices are estimates, I haven't looked around yet):

280$ - 135G Glass (new)
050$ - Glass Tops (new)
350$ - Stand (new)
200$ - Canopy (new)
100$ - 3xPenguin 350b
175$ - Rena XP4
000$ - Sand?
000$ - Lighting? (I have a spare 48 inch AGA light)
000$ - Heaters?

I'm very cloudy on the entire lighting/filtration aspect of such a large tank. I doubt I'll be growing plants in a tank this large, so the lighting would just be for the fish themselves.

I'm looking to cut down on the money anywhere I can, but I realize this is an investment and am willing to spend money if it's necessary. The little stuff (backgrounds, etc) I can figure out on my own. What would you guys recommend? Think I'm on the right track?
 

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A canopy is a big big big waste of money IMO. Tanks can look just fine without 200 dollars added expense/ but thats just me. Take that 200 dollars and use it to buy fish from a good breeder. And some nice decor. Thats what I would do if it was me anyway. Good Luck.
 

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I will disagree with the previous poster on a canopy/cap. I have one on my 58-gallon Oceanic. It's oak and matches the stand and is really quite attractive. If the tank is going to be a 'show tank' in the livingroom or other prominent place, I think a canopy makes it look more polished . . .
 

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I hate the look of canopies its one of the only things i hate about aquariums. However when you have an setup that big and you dont have one it looks super ghetto with all that **** sitting on top of it and tubes running everywhere.

I have a 135 also that hasnt been setup yet cause im too lazy to build the stand right now. For lighting check these out http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+3733+12772&pcatid=12772
dual 36 inch setups look good and you have lunar lights built in also. Look around online you can probably find them cheaper.
 

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Ok well your 58 gallon Oceanic's canopy probably dosen't cost 200 dollars. But if it did then thats your choice. I was simply saying in my opinion, hints the IMO , that 200 more dollars on something you could make cheaper, or not have it at all is a waste on money. IMO.
 

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Once option is to resist the temptation to buy it all at once. I am having the same problem, but I have worked out that I can spread the cost over a couple of months by buying things as I need them, for example you only need to put lights in when you put the fish or plants in. You don’t need them for the fishless cycle.

Alternatively, ebay supplies stuff which is easily replaced with new/bigger/better later for a fraction of the cost.

Good luck with it and post some pics when you are done. :D
 
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:eek: SAVE YOUR MONEY... :D Shop around, browse your local clubs sites & buy a "USED" but in good(your opinion) condition complete set up for half the price of new. That's the only way to go in MY opinion. :thumb: :wink:
Good Luck whatever you decide... :D :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for the responses!

I currently have a canopy on my 75. I'm definitely getting one on the new tank. I'll probably be ordering the tank, stand, and canopy from Glass Cages, so I either get it when I buy the tank or never since I won't drive back to Tenn for just the canopy.

I think I'm going with Glass Cages because the local "scene" in NoVA is very overpriced. Local pet stores charge an arm and a leg for tanks, and I've been in and out of CraigsList for a while. For some reason no one sells tanks bigger than 75g around here. I wouldn't even know where to begin in regards to clubs or other local organizations. I'm also not that "crafty" with my hands when it comes to DIY projects. I wouldn't trust myself enough to buy a used tank and "re-seal" it.

I won't be buying it all at once. I'll probably buy the tank/stand/canopy first, then deal with lighting/filtration. What do people do for heating? I'd prefer to avoid heaters that potentially have the ability to fry all of my fish over night. Is it possible or recommended to buy 2 smaller heaters for "safety"? Also, is it possible to buy a lighting fixture from Lowes or Home Depot and use that for lighting?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
F8LBITEva said:
whats up Jimmy, Vienna VA here. I see alot of good deals on craigslist. Ill never buy a tank brand new again.
Heya Fatalbite, I lived in Vienna for 21 years :p

I've been prowling Craigslist for tanks, but have yet to find a 6 footer for any cheaper than I could get new from Glass Cages. I'll keep my eyes peeled.
 

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Alexandria City here :D Jose's right....just keep looking on Craigslist. I found a 125 on there the other day for $175...I didn't buy it because I didn't want to plug the OverFlows.

I'm buying a 125 from a guy on another forum this weekend for a AMAZING DEAL....fish, filters, lights, you name it, its coming w/ it for $300

Keep looking and you'll find the right one. Also, Walleys in Annandale is a good place. They will work out deals if you do a combo. Talk to Don whos the owner, and say Mike the cop sent you...he knows me very well.

Good luck..keep us updated

Mike
 

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SnakeEyes03 said:
Alexandria City here :D Jose's right....just keep looking on Craigslist. I found a 125 on there the other day for $175...I didn't buy it because I didn't want to plug the OverFlows.

I'm buying a 125 from a guy on another forum this weekend for a AMAZING DEAL....fish, filters, lights, you name it, its coming w/ it for $300

Keep looking and you'll find the right one. Also, Walleys in Annandale is a good place. They will work out deals if you do a combo. Talk to Don whos the owner, and say Mike the cop sent you...he knows me very well.

Good luck..keep us updated

Mike
Quit following me around all the forums!! :D

That is such an awesome deal you got, if I would have know he would have taken that much it would have been sitting at my place right now!!!!
 

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There's an amazing computer program where you type in Jose and it gives me all your FORUMS...lol

Well I didn't honestly think he would take it....thank god he did...my Frontosas are getting bigger :dancing:
 

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jimmyknuckles said:
F8LBITEva said:
whats up Jimmy, Vienna VA here. I see alot of good deals on craigslist. Ill never buy a tank brand new again.
Heya Fatalbite, I lived in Vienna for 21 years :p

I've been prowling Craigslist for tanks, but have yet to find a 6 footer for any cheaper than I could get new from Glass Cages. I'll keep my eyes peeled.
Like the other people have typed continue to browse Craig's List. Check out different areas because if you were willing to drive to Tennessee for a new tank you should be willing to drive for a greatly priced used tank. I have scored some really amazing deals on big tanks from my local CL. I even drove 80 miles one way for a used 210g 7' Oceanic complete. I even had to rent a uhaul and they charge you by the mile.

Search for aquarium, aquariums, fish tank, fish tanks, fresh water, freshwater, saltwater, salt water. You are bound to get a better search result if you search for all of those individually. Perform those searches in the "for sale" section and the "community" section.

Moving on....

Fmueller has a GC canopy on his 240g. He ordered the tank/stand/canopy/glass tops from them and he says that that canopy is never level because it warped from the way they construct them. They use two 1/4" pieces of plywood for the top and then sandwich risers between the plywood to give it thickness. Which doesn't make it very rigid.

Maybe FatalBite is handy enough to help you build a canopy and stand? Maybe get together some weekend and blast them out. Manufactured stands are built to a bare minimum that while it will hold the tank when full they do not look structurally sound. You could build a bombproof stand and a canopy to match for the about the same or even a little less then the price of the stand itself from GC.

The thing that costs the most $$ for a DIY stand are prefabricated doors. GC doesn't use prefab doors they use a full piece of plywood for the front of the stand and then cutout the openings for the doors. They then turn around and use said cutouts with trim pieces around the plywood and then use them as the doors that just slip inside the cutouts.

Ultimately it is up to you but I would rather build myself a bombproof stand then spend that kind of money on the bare minimum. You can also build your stand to a height that you want instead of being limited to 24" and 30" tall.

Another thing will Viejas use the height of the 135? Some fish prefer a wide and short tank versus a skinny and tall tank. A nice tank GC offers is the 125 wide which is 72x24x17 for $350. That's basically the reverse of the 135 which is 72x18x24. But if you could afford it I would suggest getting the 180 wide at 72x24x25 but it is significantly more money.

Now onto other things you asked about.

Lighting - If you aren't going to grow plants then you can use fluorescent strip lights with no problem which will save you money.

Sand - There are a bunch of options such as play sand, pool filter sand, silica/sandblasting sand, and 3M ColorQuartz. All are used with good results you just have to make sure and wash it really good to get the dust and other stuff out of the sand.

Heaters - I would suggest using 2 lower wattage heaters than one high wattage heater. As for which ones to use there are a bunch of good ones check out the review section on this website.

One thing I would suggest using is a wet/dry sump filter but you don't have to if you don't want to. They aren't as scary as people make them out to be. They give you more water volume which makes the water parameters more stable and also provide a lot of space/area for biological media for a whole lot of beneficial bacteria. There are a bunch of good threads on here about DIY wet/dry sumps.

If you haven't done so already you should check out Fmueller's write-up on his 240g build. It is a good read and you can find it here.

If you have any more questions just ask. :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@Fellow NoVA people: I'd love to come over and check out your rigs sometime!

@Irked: Wow, you've made me extremely happy and extremely sad at the same time! :)

I read every word on fmueller's site in regards to his 240. This has left me feeling majorly overwhelmed. I realized going into this that a bigger tank doesn't just mean more of the same, but I never realized how much actually goes into this when trying to save money.

I would certainly love to build my own stand and canopy, but I am a computer guy by trade and have virtually no experience "working with my hands" when it comes to wood, electricity, or glass. To further my woe, I don't know any exceptionally good woodworkers, and I live in a condo making space to work/build/paint a huge issue. Due to the nature of water, and the sheer amount of it, I'm also extremely (extremely) paranoid that the stand I build will break and water will be all over the place. These fears also apply to filtration. My recurring nightmare involves a broken O-ring on a canister at 11 in the morning.

Right now my biggest concerns are the lighting and filtration as I don't forsee myself building my own aquarium (glass + cutting + drilling + sealing = over my head). I went into this expecting to pay 1000$ for the tank, stand, and canopy. Obviously I will keep sifting through the plethora of 55 gallon tanks on Craigslist and hope to hit the jackpot like SnakeEyes above before someone else does. ;) Then I will simply need to teach myself how to identify a tank that needs re-sealing, and of course learn how to do it.

I will take the suggestions by fmueller in regards to lighting -- I'll be calling around to various home depots in the area when the time comes -- those 6500k lights seem amazing for the price. Hopefully it won't be too difficult to mount and power them.

As far as the decor, I think I can handle that. I'll get some egg crate and some pool sand or some of the other sand mentioned often enough around here. I can also go driftwood hunting for other stuff. Heaters I will buy commercially -- would 2x250w filters do the trick? I've already got pythons, meds, food, and everything else I will need outside of the main equipment.

Filtration is probably going to be my biggest problem as I'd love to make a DYI solution, but I go right back to the fact that I'm ignorant of the process, and a visual learner that doesn't self-teach very well. Additionally, this tank is going in our living room, so I would need something quiet. Right now I'm leaning toward production canisters and HOBs, as much as I'd like to do a wet/dry or sump to save money. It's all so very overwhelming, but I'm going to continue reading and learn as much as I can. Every time someone posts in this thread I learn something. This project isn't going to start or end tomorrow, that's for sure.
 

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There is no reason to be overwhelmed. Just relax and breathe.

What exactly made you happy and what made you sad about what I typed?

When setting up a tank whether it be large or small there are all sorts of ways to save money without skimping out on it. Fmueller proved that with his build by using those fluorescent strip lights which takes nothing more than mounting the frame to the canopy and then plugging it into a socket. No electrical work needed. Also by using those rubbermaid containers for the wet/dry sump. Another way he saved was buying refurbished return pumps.

Living in a condo you can still build your stand. Once you have all the materials it'll only take you an afternoon to build it. Then you can stain/paint it the next day. Just build it outside all you need to do is run some extension cords for power. The only power tools needed is a drill for pilot holes and to push the screws in and some kind of saw for cutting the wood to length. I am going to be building a stand and most likely a canopy this weekend for a 125g I have. I'll take pictures of the steps I used and provide a cut list. I am even going to reseal it but that might not be this weekend. Time will tell.

Decor is all personal preference so you should be able to handle that. 2x250w heaters should be enough. Pythons were the best thing ever invented for an aquarium.

For the filtration if you want to ever use a wet/dry sump down the road you should get the tank drilled now for overflows because it is hard to go back and do it later. You can always close them off with bulkheads and pvc plugs wrapped in teflon tape. For canisters you cannot go wrong with an Eheim though a lot of people like the rena filstar xp3. You could use 2 xp3's and the marineland penguin 350 and I think you would be okay. You can add more water movement with powerheads. Hydor Kolaria's are good ones.

This stuff isn't as difficult as it sounds so really there is no need to be overwhelmed. Aquaria is supposed to be relaxing and fun. :thumb: :fish:
 

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I am going to be building a stand and most likely a canopy this weekend for a 125g I have. I'll take pictures of the steps I used and provide a cut list.
This will help me as well. Can't wait to see it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Irked: Sorry if I was unclear. Your information helped me a great deal. It just brought up a lot of questions in my head about what I really want - and what I really want I probably won't be able to do. That said, I'll take things one step at a time - I'm much more on target today than I was a few days ago.

I think you convinced me to bite the bullet and buy the 180G instead of the 135G from Glass Cages (although I'll be prowling craigslist for a few weeks before doing it). I'm looking at about 850$ shipped for the tank (180G + starfire on the front + glass tops) without overflows. I also think I'm going to go with one or two canisters and supplement them with HOBs, although going from a 135G to a 180G makes filtration a bit more costly. I just worry that I might want to use a Wet/Dry later and won't have the overflows drilled.

I think I'm going to attempt to build my own stand. I was looking this over, which appears to list everything I'll need to build my own stand:

http://www.fishandtips.com/index.php

I put in the dimensions of the tank from Glass Cages (72 x 24 x 25 Tall) and added the 1/2 inch for "precision safety," but I got an error so I had to remove the safety part. Not sure why that is, but I'm sure I can get slightly larger boards if necessary (once I figure out how to visualize all of the pieces). I very much look forward to seeing what you're doing with the stand.

I think once I have all of the pieces (the most overwhelming part about building to me), I can probably put them together with the help of a friend or roommate. One of my roomates has a surprising amount of power tools laying around the house, including multiple large electric saws. If I can get a stand built, I can most certainly build a canopy - although the canopy seems to be much more of a "finesse" job (it has to fit "just right"). In any case, if I can build the stand and the canopy, it will probably boost my ego enough to build the Wet/Dry. One step at a time...
 

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The page tossed an error because 72 inches is as large as there plans will allow you to build. Probably because 72 inches is a common lumber size. Im going to use the same plans on mine but pay extra for 90inch 4x4's so i can get them cut perfect at 73inches. Plus the leftover 17 inches gives me room to make my cross beams since im only going for 20 inches wide i would be able to go up to 24inches wide with 0 issues from the scraps off the 90 inchers. Im gonna build mine this weekend ill take some pictures of it.
 

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jimmyknuckles said:
Irked: Sorry if I was unclear. Your information helped me a great deal. It just brought up a lot of questions in my head about what I really want - and what I really want I probably won't be able to do. That said, I'll take things one step at a time - I'm much more on target today than I was a few days ago.

I think you convinced me to bite the bullet and buy the 180G instead of the 135G from Glass Cages (although I'll be prowling craigslist for a few weeks before doing it). I'm looking at about 850$ shipped for the tank (180G + starfire on the front + glass tops) without overflows. I also think I'm going to go with one or two canisters and supplement them with HOBs, although going from a 135G to a 180G makes filtration a bit more costly. I just worry that I might want to use a Wet/Dry later and won't have the overflows drilled.

I think I'm going to attempt to build my own stand. I was looking this over, which appears to list everything I'll need to build my own stand:

http://www.fishandtips.com/index.php

I put in the dimensions of the tank from Glass Cages (72 x 24 x 25 Tall) and added the 1/2 inch for "precision safety," but I got an error so I had to remove the safety part. Not sure why that is, but I'm sure I can get slightly larger boards if necessary (once I figure out how to visualize all of the pieces). I very much look forward to seeing what you're doing with the stand.

I think once I have all of the pieces (the most overwhelming part about building to me), I can probably put them together with the help of a friend or roommate. One of my roomates has a surprising amount of power tools laying around the house, including multiple large electric saws. If I can get a stand built, I can most certainly build a canopy - although the canopy seems to be much more of a "finesse" job (it has to fit "just right"). In any case, if I can build the stand and the canopy, it will probably boost my ego enough to build the Wet/Dry. One step at a time...
You'll be happy with the bigger tank and it being drilled for future use on a wet/dry. I'll keep you posted on my stand.

I am going to respond to this other guy and it also pertains to you.

OKCIS said:
The page tossed an error because 72 inches is as large as there plans will allow you to build. Probably because 72 inches is a common lumber size. Im going to use the same plans on mine but pay extra for 90inch 4x4's so i can get them cut perfect at 73inches. Plus the leftover 17 inches gives me room to make my cross beams since im only going for 20 inches wide i would be able to go up to 24inches wide with 0 issues from the scraps off the 90 inchers. Im gonna build mine this weekend ill take some pictures of it.
I would not build your stand out of 4x4 and they are more prone to twisting. Instead double up 2x4's which will be way stronger than a 4x4 without it twisting on you.
 
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