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OK, start with a little bit of background. I am a mid-30's family man with a couple kids. Previously have had a few tanks ranging from 4' Oscars, 6' Marine, 4' Discus, 6' Mixed Africans. Have never, and don't intend to be into fishroom stuff. All were for display enjoyment.

About 3 years ago, we started getting our new house built in a good suburb. Money was becoming tight, but no compromise were made. The same idea is to flow onto the Aquarium. The key of the tank is that it must fit into the house nicely, and have a built in look to it. A wall dividing the Games room and Living room was the plan.

More than a year ago, I had traded in my fishes and put a deposit on a tank. With the intention of finding a cabinet maker to complete the lot. I dealt with "SV" (all names will be withheld with respect to the sponsors). However, finding cabinet makers that will do the job poses to be a big problem, and the project was on hold for a long time.

Recently, the wait was getting at me, and so we start! The idea is to have cabinets, and hood/overhead matching the kitchen. The tank is to span across that dividing wall with 2 viewable sides - this means it will be a long (2750mm), but quite narrow (420mm) tank. The height is limited by 12 mm glass at 760mm.


The Oiginal Dado wall where the aquarium will be.


Was I glad the missus wasn't home when this was done! The wood floor is her pride and joy and has only been polished 3 months ago.


And 18 man hours (3 guys, 6 hours) later - the wall is gone...


And the pillar is chased out for the plumbing. One thing we found out was that my house builder sure built them strong!

Onto step 2... I had started shopping for bits and pieces that will need to complete the setup. I had already ordered 1 light (2x 150w 10K MH, 2x 54w 10k T5, 2x 54w Actinic & 2x LED Moonlight) from "GA" as well as a 26w UVC inline filter. The next order from them was another of the same light and a long LED moonlight. Also ordered a couple nets, API master kit, API GH&KH kit from "AS".

I had seen some Tahitian Moon Sand at a LFS, and pretty much loved it at first sight. I was shocked at their price of $45-48 per bag of 20 lbs. Thinking I need 10-15 bags, I held off. Luckily someone on PCS was doing a bulk buy, and I could get them at $30 per bag. This was all arranged, and then came the "fun" bit - washing them!


If you ever think or read that you do not wash proper aquarium sand, you would be very much fooled! Remember, this is CaribSea brand made just for aquariums.


A good 4 hours, and frozen limbs, and sore back later - 10 bags were washed, 5 of which were packed back into the bags, and 5 left in the esky.

I tested the warmed tap water at this stage;
29/6/08
pH - 7.6
Ammonia - 0.0 ppm
Nitrate - 0 ppm
KH - 0-50 ppm
GH - 60 ppm

Would have been nice to have more hardness, but oh well!

A quick test was performed to confirm dismal hardness numbers...
2/7/08
pH - 7.6
KH - 0-50 ppm
GH - 60 ppm
:mad:

Next step was to start fishless cycling. After a bit of looking for pure ammonia, all I could find was cloudy ammonia so I gave that a miss. I dropped in a large raw banana prawn into the esky to let it rot.

I had just picked up my Eheims from "SV", but they still did not have my Hydor heaters. They assured me that the bacteria (which they gave me a spongeful of) will be OK. I was not convinced. Anyhow, on setting up my Eheims onto the esky, only at the end, I noticed one of them was a 2180 Thermo model. I had ordered 2 2080's. You beauty! I did call them and tell them about it the next day, but it seems their suppliers stuffed up, and hence I won't need to pay more!

Setting up the filters took me a while, as I had never owned a canister before, and the multiple languages in Eheim's manual was a pain (why can't they print an English only manual?)

I left the bag of bacteria in the bag as the water was 18 C when I started, but was heating up very nicely with that 2180. by 4 hours time, the temp had got to 28 C as set and was holding on by a margin of 0.4 C





5/7/08
pH - 7.6
Ammonia - 1.0 ppm
Nitrite - 0.0 ppm
Nitrate - 0 ppm
I had hoped for more Ammonia as the prawn had been in there for a couple days. So I added a second prawn.

6/7/08
Ammonia - 3.0 ppm
Nitrite - 0.0 ppm
Temp - 29 C
I raised the temp a bit after reading that someone cycled at 34 C to get the bacteria really active and multiplying. Ammonia is up (and so is the smell!).

7/7/08
Ammonia - 4.0 ppm
Nitrite - 0.0 ppm
Nitrate (test 1) - 4 ppm
Nitrate (test2) - 5 ppm - I was surprised by the Nitrate numbers, so tested twice. I should have tested for Nitrate in yesterdays test. Now the question is whether that exisitng bacteria is already active and the cycling is going at lightning speed or...

[quote name='parrdog' post='41716' date='Jul 7 2008, 02:17 PM']Sounds good mate, it'll be interesting to see how you hide the intake and outtake tubes in the tank itself.

Jamo.[/quote]

Now, that, is the million dollar question. I have lost sleep and spent at least an hour discussing with "SV". The best we could come up with for now is;

For the Intake tubes (4 of them for now, and maybe more in the future), is to build a triangle of black tinted glass on both ends of the tank. The ends will also be black tinted glass. These triangles will be open some 3 inches off the bottom of the tank, and be just at or slightly below the water line.

For the outputs (2 x Eheim spray bars), ideally they are to sit below the tank's top strap, but just above the waterline.

The theory is that with the magical mirroring of water in glass, nothing then becomes visible.

Now, all this is just in theory - and I am still worried whether it will work as intended. If anyone has better ideas, I would LOVE to hear it!!

 
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