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The Aquarium project

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YOU may not consider wood work your forte', but with the years of experience you have with laying out metalwork and your natural ability seems to make the wood work like child's play to you....VERY NICE!!!

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Thanks lykos... Coming along nicely now. Got the other door built and hung today, picked up some magnetic latches and installed those for the doors, and got the top trim piece that covers the bottom trim on the tank cut/mitered and installed today. Still have to put the trim on the bottom of the stand, the trim on the side corners of the stand, do the inlaid tiles and trim on the doors as well as finish filling/sanding the few spots that need it. Then it will be ready to stain.





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I love the looks of saltwater tanks, but I don't love the cost & maintenance :( By the time you get everything set up with tank/coral/live rock/skimmer/sump it's easy to drop a couple grand on one. That's pretty much why I haven't gone to salt. Some of the more recent Malawi & Peacock cichlids that are popular now are just as colorful as saltwater species now a days so I'll be sticking with cichlids for now. Not ruling out ever having a salt tank :D but just not right now.


Salt is a ton or work, and yeah its costly. I had to make a decision when I had a salt tank - get out fishing and camping or keep the tank. Coming home to some water wicking out on to the floor and the decision was real easy for me. Here was what my 120g looked like before all was sold. You can see that the novelty of maintenance has worn off with all the algae



and the prize inhabitant - a copperbanded butterfly.




I am along for the ride on your thread - good job so far.

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The first door with the Italian ceramic tile inlaid and the wood trim mitered and mounted to the door skin is done. Now you can see what I had pictured in my head because I'm sure it probably sounded weird that I was planning to mount a floor tile on a door when I mentioned that idea lol. But I think it came out really nice to add a classy touch to the doors.




The toe molding is on (waiting to put the corner molding on still) and also have the first coat of finish applied....




First coat on the door as well. Still have to sand between coats and apply a 2nd coat, then going to polyurethane over it all to give it a gloss clear finish.



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The stand is DONE. Well not 100% done, but 99% done. All that is left is to put a coat of polyurethane on the backside of each door as well as on the shelf. As someone with almost no woodworking experience I have to admit I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out, it's a real joy to stand back and look at something like this which I will have for many years to come and know that I built it. I ended up doing two coats of stain on it and then three coats of polyurethane to seal it and to give it a nice shine.


I still have to build a matching wood canopy for it but I probably won't start that for about a week or so. Need to get some other "paying work" done this week. Here's the pics of the completed stand.....




Front view....



Close up of the inlaid tiles....



Shot of the corner molding and trim work....




I also mounted a digital thermometer with high&low temp alarms on the side. I used two pieces of angle wood to form a trim over top to protect it from getting hit as well as a "tube" for the sending unit wire to route through....




Inside I painted the floor and sides as well as frame work all gloss white to make it brighter inside, but I stained two pieces of oak to close off the back of the stand....




I made the panel on the right not go all the way to the top, that way I can run my filter tubes and wiring through the opening...




Made a shelf to store any supplies on....



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If you are doing mbuna or peacocks, you definitely need a Synodontis angelicus and a Polypterus senegalus.


That is one very nice tank...in 35 years of cichlid-keeping, I have never had such a nice tank.

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Thanks Toirtis. Originally I was planning on doing Mbuna, but after doing a lot more looking and research I pretty much feel in love with Peacoks so Now I'm planning on doing an all male Peacock tank with maybe a group of yellow labs since they will get along with the Peacocks. I plan on putting a few Synodontis cats in there as well just not exactly sure which ones yet.



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I was at the store this evening picking up a few things and while I was in the housewares dept looking for a new smoke detector for home I came across this "Under Cabinet light". Wasn't really looking for it or anything for the tank/stand at all but when I saw it was only $8 for a 75w fully enclosed light like this the gears started turning and I figured it was a no brainer that this would be perfect for a light inside the cabinet for anytime I'm working on the canister filter or doing anything else inside the cabinet.


I'm going to wire it to a switch on the side of the stand next to the digital temp gauge so that I can turn the light on from outside the stand and not have to reach up inside it to turn it on.


Also made a little hanger rack for tank tools out of some scrap trim wood and screw in hooks.







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Well I made some decent progress this weekend. Today I worked on getting the "cave lights" set up how I want them and made the brackets which will hold them behind the tank and tested them out for the last time before I take all the mounts off to stain them. Don't know why I'm going to stain wood brackets that will be behind the tank and never been seen by anyone, but that's just how I am lol...If they aren't finished/stained then I'll feel like the job is not finished. I made one tweak to the light bars and I mounted them on about 45 degree angles, that way it looks like the light outside the cave openings are coming in on an angle the way water bends light in a real lake, I like the effect it gives that way.


I also bought four rocks from a local fish shop yesterday. I really only bought them for their shape and not their color because I planned on cleaning them and covering them with the same Drylok that I used on the background, then shading them to match.


Got the canopy started as well. Only had time to get the base started before I called it a night, but it's a start, now I can decide on height and other things overnight before I get back to work on it.


On to some pictures...


Started by buying these four rocks chosen for their shapes & size which I really liked...




After washing, drying, two coats of Drylok and a few hours under a heat lamp they have their base color and are ready for some shading/drybrushing...




After shading them with dark grey, brown, some olive green to simulate algae and then some white on the high spots .......






Rocks in the tank....




With just the cave lights on....




With cave lights and testing out the LED moonlight strips....




With all the lights including the dual T5 white & actinic bulbs..






Also decided after seeing that the price of the XP3 just went up another $25 to forgo the XP3 and just kick the budget up a bit more and go with the Fulval fx5. With the GPH flow of the FX5 it should turn this tank over at least 12-15 times per hour.


Should have some more work on the canopy done over the next couple days.



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