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The Aquarium project

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Have the main frame work started for the canopy now. It will be a total of 19" tall with a 6" door for in tank cleaning and such, then the area above will be 3 opening with decorations behind windows. Have to make the 50th trip to Lowes in just a few minutes for more supplies :lol:



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Finished getting the majority of the braces cut and installed tonight. All that's left is the front top rail and then one side brace on the right side. Should have those in and be able to start making the floor for the upper shelf and skinning it tomorrow.



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Managed to put in another full days work on it today. Have pretty much the main parts of the canopy on now. Just have to do all the rest of the trim work on it, stain, poly and such still. The upper trim is just butt jointed but that's because that will all be covered by 3" trim like is on the stand itself.


These pictures will give you an idea of what I am going for with the canopy. The lower section is a 6" door which I hinged at the bottom so it will provide easy access for basic tank work and feeding etc etc. Then the upper section is going to be covered with clear acrylic and then behind it will be an underwater scene with another 3d background, some hand made foam rocks, the croc skull, some driftwood and such to replicate a lake bottom and it will also have its own lighting built in to it. Probably sounds weird right now but once I get onto making it I think it will add a pretty neat touch to the whole unit.





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Looks like it's going great Steve. Can't wait to see fish in it. The Croc is a nice touch, though you might consider adding a human skull between the jaws. A skeletal hand and arm would be even better, though it might be harder to find. How about a facsimile of Paris Hilton's head? You could probably charge admission for that one.

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Started working on the underwater scene which will be filling the upper level of the canopy tonight. Still have lots of shaping to do before I start painting/shading but I have most of the "lake bottom" and 3D background all in place for shaping now.



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Put another full days work into it today and got quite a bit done....yet still quite a bit left to do, I can't believe how much more work this is taking than I expected. Seems I get one thing done and then have two other things come to mind that I want to do.


Canopy with matching scroll work on the access door...




The upper lake bottom scene I have been working on. All the rocks are shaped, coated with Drylok, shaded with brown, dark grey, olive drab to simulate algae and white to highlight the high spots. Also added some vines and a few other things you would find on the bottom of the lake....








First coat of stain on the canopy and the background sitting in place...I will be cutting out the wood that is visible between the rocks in the center of the background and then back lighting a blue insert with some more cold cathodes so it has the same look as the caves in the tank.






Full tank&stand shot...




Things I still have to do...

- 2nd coat of stain on canopy

- 3 coats of poly

- Clear acrylic cover over upper canopy opening

- Upper decorative trim on canopy

- Cut out wood center and mounted back lite section on canopy

- Wire all the lights in and install a switch panel on side of stand to control everything


Few other things which I can not recall at the moment but I'm getting closer every day to getting it ready to fill with water.

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Got a lot done on the canopy tonight. Started out with the plan of using blue CFL bulbs in regular DIY style lamp sockets to light up the top level of the canopy with so I bought two of each of these....





But after getting them out and mocking them up inside the canopy where I planned to mount them the plan changed. I just was not happy at all with two things. First thing was that they did not give off the proper color spectrum of light to match the rest of the tank lighting. And secondly to mount these I would had to have made some heat shields as well as some fake rocks to hide the big bulb and socket and after all the work I have put into this build the last thing I wanted to do was cheap out and make it look bad.


So I ended up going with these, the same style 20" pair of Cold Cathode 110 light bars with ac/dc adapter. Not only do they match the tank lights but using the 4 metal clips to mount them they fit perfectly along the upper trim rail of the canopy....




Next job I tackled tonight was to add 4 12" x 12" mirror tiles into the upper part of the canopy. I figured this would accomplish two things. One thing would be to help make the "lake bottom scene" in the upper level more visible since the overall height of this is 6'6" to the top. Plus it would also reflect everything to help make it look almost like you were seeing the reflection off the water surface from underneath.


Then I also added some blue heavy paper in the opening between the rocks and covered that blue paper with a transparent blue tinted paper to give it some "waviness" and help to make it look more like real water....






Shoot of the whole upper level of the canopy...




Just a few shoots from the front of everything as it stands right now. Still some more to small detail work to do, but most of the main jobs are about done now!





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Got a little bit more done today but only worked on it for a couple hours tonight. After looking at it for a bit last night I decided to also mirror the sides of the upper level to give it a bit more finished look.


So after spending an hour searching the entire house for my glass cutter I finally gave in and went to HD and bought a new one so I could get these side mirrors done tonight.


Only had 2 mirror tiles left so I had to be careful not to break one....




Side of upper level before......




And after............



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