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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A recent good night at the roulette table allowed me to convince my wife that it was a good idea to put a tank in our bedroom. The Niagara Casino subsidy combined nicely with the fact that I'm forever mired in the planning stages of a much larger tank; this 15 g allowed me to warm up the "skills" that would be needed for said larger tank. I will never start a post in the DIY section, because as I like to say: "I'm handy with a cheque."

At any rate, this little tank was inspired by the desire to make a "slice of the lake" biotope tank. Hats off to Blair, who showed that you don't need much real estate for a stunning tank:
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/tanks/inde ... er&u=32803

My display tank is going to have one of those big, expensive, polyurethane backgrounds, so this tank was my testing ground on a smaller, less expensive background. I love not only the look, but the fact that all the plumbing can be hidden.

My first and biggest task was to follow the fine instructions posted at gillsnfins.ca.

Cutting the BG down to size. Even this relatively inexpensive BG had me frightened. One bad cut could cost a lot:

Next I cut a slot for the water to flow through to the filter intake:

The I siliconed some plastic mesh to the slot I had cut. The hardest part about this was reading the GE Silicone thread in the DIY section. My head is still spinning!

I used some carbon padding to cover the mesh:

Drilling the hole for the outtake was a little harder, so I started with a too-small bit and sanded my way out - the nozzle of my Fluval 105 required an oval cut:

Outtake in place:

Washing my substrate. Play sand from Home Depot:

I put the background in place and traced it with a sharpie:

And then siliconed generously between the lines, making my mistakes toward the rear of the tank:

In place! After 48 hours I siliconed the sides. This was much harder! Again, I tried to do it all from behind, where you'd not see the mess. Any silicone showing on the front was dusted with play sand to cover it up:

After quickly giving up on finding genuine Neothauma shells, I bought 36 escargots from the grocery store for twenty bucks. Not my thing, so I boiled 'em and chucked the snails. I washed and soaked them many times. All that butter and garlic sure stunk!

I poached some petrified wood from my mbuna tank. Rock hunting isn't easy in the winter, and I thought the petrified wood looked the most like my BG (Aquaterra Canyon Rock, by the way.):

I then put down a layer of crushed shells. I don't know if this will buffer my pH, but it can't hurt:

Next, the sand:

And a bit of water to see if I'd washed well enough:

I didn't want to fill the tank before planting my Vallisneria. My wife and I have an understanding: whether Malawi and Tanganyika have a lot of plants or not, our tanks are going to have plants. I like the look anyway. Once the vals went in, I filled 'er up and sunk the shells. You can see the outtake in this photo:

Not so much head-on:

My Fluval 105 is seeding on my mbuna tank. In about two weeks I hope to score six 'Lamprologus' multifasciatus. Once I do, I'll update with pictures of fish and finished plumbing.

To be honest, I'm pleased with how it's turning out!

kevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That would be the picture/camera. The picture was taken during the day with the blinds closed to kill the reflection - the bulb is just a standard spectrum 11 W that came with the hood.

Thanks for the comments, everyone. No Multies yet, but I've finally learned that in this hobby, patience really is a virtue.

kevin
 

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The tank looks awesome!! You did a great job and awesome write-up. *** always wanted a 3d backround but I cant see myself spending $200-$300+ on one for my big tanks. If they lowered their prices some they would sell alot more but hey, everyone has the right to make money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I finally got my multies yesterday.

The tank was pressed into service isolating a full grown Ps. acei who was getting abused in my mbuna tank. He's now been safely transferred to a better tank, (not my own) but not before he completely redesigned my aquascape and destroyed my corkscrew vals.

Oh well.

My wife was never impressed by pictures, but now that she's seen Lamprologus multifasciatus "in the flesh," they're her favourite fish.


 

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Before long you will have "multitudes" of multies! I have a pair and a trio in a 15L, (that doesn't look nearly as nice as yours, btw) and they have produced LOTS of fry. It took them about 2 months or so to start breeding, and they haven't stopped. Enjoy them.
 
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