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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

I'm new and wanted to chronicle my project. Mostly because this is my first time setting up a tank of this size. I'm hoping that great insights might be offered at key moments to keep me from having big issues later. Here are the facts as of today.

The tank is set on its stand in place by my work area (home office). The stand had a little lateral wiggle to it that I wasn't comfortable with. So, today I built in some supports. Photo follows. On the advice I've received on this site, I took the two Penguin 200 HOB's (that I had ordered when I thought I was going to be setting up a 75g tank) back to PetSmart and ordered 2 Emperor 400's. I received 100lbs. of Tahitian Moon sand today (I have another 100lbs. ordered that will come next week), as well as my two 250W visi-therm heaters, my C-360, my 2 four packs of Tetra plants, and my "Little Time and Temp" thermometer. I cut, cleaned, and install two egg crate panels in the bottom of the tank after a thorough cleaning with plain water and a new sponge. Here are the picks:


Here's the head-on view of my tank, it's going to be very striking. Note the egg crate in place.


Here's a 3/4 view of the tank.


Here's a picture of one of the two supports that I built into the cabinets of the tank. The vertical 2x4's go from top to bottom and the two horizontal ones go from one wall to the other. I used Heavy Duty Quick Grip construction adhesive on the 2x4's to tie them together and to the cabinet walls. I did this because I know the particle board doesn't take to screws very well. Felt that the adhesive will give the boards a more positive contact to the rest of the stand. Once the supports were in I tested the stands movement and it is COMPLETELY solid. No movement whatsoever. :) :thumb:

So, that's what I have so far. I'll post again when there is new news. My next project is to wash the sand and get the rocks. I'm planning on visiting some of our many regional rivers/creeks and hand picking my rock ( I like the idea of using local stone). I'll Clorox-rinse-sun dry all the rock then stack it in the tank using GE Silicon II to lock the rock together and be sure it is stable. :thumb:

Stay tuned.
 

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nice tank :thumb: keep the pics coming :popcorn:
 

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pretty. One thing to be aware of is the amount of space the HOB filters are going to take up behind the tank. Be sure you provide your tank with enough clearance behind to accommodate the HOBs before adding that clean sand or rock.

I wanted to do exactly what you are doing. Unfortunately my funds were running low, I decided to revamp my 75 instead of buy bigger and I also went with PFS (I really wanted the moon sand, maybe later).

I was going to do UGJ but I have since decided I hate the look of the jets. I think I'll just vacuum the sand. Sand is 100X better than any gravel.

I built my own stand from scratch. Turned out pretty good. I also built it high because my 75 is shallow version. Is your stand made for aquariums or no? I assumed no due to your need to retrofit it. Seems solid. I was concerned about mine because I left a large span in the center to accommodate a sump. Is okay after testing.

Looks good keep it up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
acrosstic said:
pretty. One thing to be aware of is the amount of space the HOB filters are going to take up behind the tank. Be sure you provide your tank with enough clearance behind to accommodate the HOBs before adding that clean sand or rock.

I wanted to do exactly what you are doing. Unfortunately my funds were running low, I decided to revamp my 75 instead of buy bigger and I also went with PFS (I really wanted the moon sand, maybe later).

I was going to do UGJ but I have since decided I hate the look of the jets. I think I'll just vacuum the sand. Sand is 100X better than any gravel.

I built my own stand from scratch. Turned out pretty good. I also built it high because my 75 is shallow version. Is your stand made for aquariums or no? I assumed no due to your need to retrofit it. Seems solid. I was concerned about mine because I left a large span in the center to accommodate a sump. Is okay after testing.

Looks good keep it up.
Thanks for the comments! The pictures don't show it, but the tank is sitting 4.5inches from the wall. That should be enough room for the Emperors, right?

The stand is an aquarium stand built for this particular 120g tank. It was a floor model that I got a really good deal on. That's why I think it had a little give in it....being moved around the store and leaned on by customers. It would probably have been fine, but with a half-ton load next to my computer equipment I decided better safe than very very sorry. :eek:
 

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My Emperor 280 uses 4 and 5/8's inches and is flush against the wall at that measurement, not sure if the 400's are wider or not.
 

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brashears said:
I'm planning on visiting some of our many regional rivers/creeks and hand picking my rock ( I like the idea of using local stone). I'll Clorox-rinse-sun dry all the rock then stack it in the tank using GE Silicon II to lock the rock together and be sure it is stable. :thumb:
DO NOT use GE silicone II!! It has additives in it to combat mildew that will kill your fish. Just stick with regular old GE silicone I for windows and doors.

Everything else seems to be coming along nicely. But depending on what you plan to keep you might want to up your filtration.

What are the dimensions of that tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
IrkedCitizen said:
brashears said:
I'm planning on visiting some of our many regional rivers/creeks and hand picking my rock ( I like the idea of using local stone). I'll Clorox-rinse-sun dry all the rock then stack it in the tank using GE Silicon II to lock the rock together and be sure it is stable. :thumb:
DO NOT use GE silicone II!! It has additives in it to combat mildew that will kill your fish. Just stick with regular old GE silicone I for windows and doors.

Everything else seems to be coming along nicely. But depending on what you plan to keep you might want to up your filtration.

What are the dimensions of that tank?
Wow, thanks! That's the kind of thing that's really good to know! I'll pick up a tube of Silicon I before cementing the stone. The dimensions of the tank are 60Wx18Dx25.75T.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hello all,

Well, I finally found some rock that I liked in a crumbling hillside next to an adult clothing/gifts store.... :oops:

Not sure what it is, it's a bit more brittle than slate and not as soft as shale. It is a beautiful deep blue/gray color when wet. I washed it with clorox and rinsed until it didn't smell. Then I set a bucket of it soaking in tapwater for 24 hours as instructed on this site. No detectable breakdown or oily residue. Let me know your thoughts.

Also, does anyone recognize it? Is it just a weaker slate form (slate, being a metamorphic rock has lots of different stage forms)? Is it some other metamorphic? It has some very pretty crystalline veins running through parts of it that are very strong.

I used GE Silicone I as instructed, thanks IrkedCitizen. How long should I let that cure before adding water? Does this degrade at all in the high alkaline/hard water of a Malawi tank?

Thanks for your responses so far!


Here's the rock structure in the aquarium. I'm planning on adding another similar one on the other side to balance the tank. Then I'll add some fake plants in between as well as a airstone disc under the sand.


Another view of the structure. I think it's going to look nice against the moon sand.


Here's a closer view. Can you identify this stone?
 

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Looks pretty good… :thumb: (looks like slate to me)

Do you have stocking plans yet?

.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
CICHLUDED said:
Looks pretty good… :thumb: (looks like slate to me)

Do you have stocking plans yet?

.
Here are the species that have caught my eye:

Peacocks
  • Aulonocara Maleri Rubin Red
    Auloncara Red Regal

Haps
  • Dimidiochromis Compressiceps
    Nimbochromis Venustus
    Protomelas Taeniolatus Red Empress

Mbunas
  • Cynotilapia Afra (Cobue and Jalo Reef)
    Yellow Labs
    Melanochromis Auratus
    Demasoni
    Flavus
    "Cherry" Red Zebra

I wouldn't get all of them, of course. These are just the ones I'm interested in. I'm planning on getting about 20 fish (3 of each chosen species; one male, two females). I'm also planning on getting 1 or 2 gold nugget plecos.

Thoughts?
 

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I am certainly no expert… but here are my thoughts

Most Mbuna are pretty aggressive, and are not recommended to mix with Hap’s & peacocks. There are some exception such as yellow labs, and Acei’s (I would get 6 of each for a 120g)

Peacocks species should be chosen not resemble one another, and should be kept one male to three females.

With the Hap’s you may be able to get by with one male to two female…

Like I said, I am no expert, I’m sure other will chime in….

Have you considered an all male tank?
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/a ... malawi.php

Choosing your décor goes hand in hand with choosing your fish…

.
 

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I have a set of hap livingstoni cichlids and managed to have a ratio of 1:1 spawn at least so a 2:1 ratio female to male could work though i dont recommend it even after having my 1:1 ratio mate. She get's chased constantly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hmmm...

Well, thanks for the input. I'll keep that in mind as I chose the fish....in a MONTH...LOL. Sometimes I feel like this project is going to take the life right out of me. I've been looking at the posts on here about slate/shale and then looking back at my work. I've about decided that I'm going to be pulling it all out and trowing it out. Better safe than sorry I don't want the fish eviscerating themselves and I've noticed that it's already flaking off...not good. So, I guess I'll be reposting images when I decide what to use. I'm in Tennessee, so good chance I'll be using good ole Tennesse smooth river rock. Just have to find a good source..

sigh...someone tell me it's all worth it... LOL :?
 

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Its not that big a deal if it flakes off in my opinion.

I think most people around here just prefer natural looks. If this is your thing then by all means go for it.
 

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brashears said:
I'm in Tennessee, so good chance I'll be using good ole Tennesse smooth river rock.
River rock is good....

brashears said:
sigh...someone tell me it's all worth it... LOL :?
I enjoy it.... :thumb:

Just think... when it's all said and done... you can start all over on you next tank... and the next... and the next...

:dancing:
 

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brashears said:
sigh...someone tell me it's all worth it... LOL :?
I have been reading this but not posting. You're doing great, and have also learned through research which means alot. It's all gonna be worth it. :thumb:

CICHLUDED said:
Just think... when it's all said and done... you can start all over on you next tank... and the next... and the next...
Bwaa Haa Ha... 'zactly, of course you know, the only way to go is bigger.
"If a little is good, a lot has got to be better!" :lol:
 

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Tank looks good so far, but I 'd agree that the removal of that rock would be best. River rock does look good, and will be much safer for fish to swim around quickly.

I think this tank would be a good place to mix some dwarf mbuna, a Copadichromis species, and a couple peacock males. :thumb:
 
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