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dagizmo19 01-17-2009 11:39 AM

New tank from the ground up! Help me decide!
Hello everyone,

I recently "acquired" a 55-gallon tank from the inlaws. This tank is currently empty with filter (I think its a tetra) and a heater (only markings are 300w). It has the standard plastic canopies with standard lighting.

I am almost done with a the stand it will sit on 4x4 and 2x4 frame with an oak facade (turning out better than I was thinking since I have no background in woodworking).

Now, I have about a $200 budget for the setup of the tank (substraight, decor and maybe a new filter and/or heater) "maybe more if I can sweet talk the wife" :)

I plan on keeping a general community tank with a few Blue Rams and Keyhole Cichlids with some sort of Tetra or barb, maybe a few smaller loaches...

What type of Substraight should I choose, I don't plan on going planted, I was just going to get the petco special $15/25lb gravel, any other ideas, pros/cons?

I was thinking replacing the Filter with a Penguin 350 or emperor 400. Not sure what the difference is but most everything I have been reading is saying the Penguin 350 is a great filter.

I am looking for ideas for decor as well.

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks guys!

onefish2fish 01-17-2009 01:30 PM

nice looking stand.
painting or staining?

look around home depot/lowes/hardware store.
they are natural colored gravel for $2-3 for a nice sized bag. the only issue is that it has to be rinsed real well because theres dirt and fine peices of rock that have to come out, other then that its some super cheap gravel.

dagizmo19 01-17-2009 03:47 PM

Thanks, I just got done putting the 1st coat of stain on it. Alot of hard work has been put into this stand! Approx 10 hours, Oh yea I said I have never done a project like this before :)

Oh yea, never thought about Checking Home Depot for gravel, I will check them out, thanks for the suggestion!

dagizmo19 01-18-2009 10:17 PM

Also, what would be a good lunar light setup? One of my friends has the Lunar Lights from Foster and Smith and loves them. Link: Aquarium Lunar Moon Lights: Lunar Lights

Any other ideas on the tank?

onefish2fish 01-18-2009 10:20 PM

those lights would be fine for "lunar lights" really you can mount any low watt LEDS above your tank.

are you making a matching canopy? this would make doing this so much easier and hidden.

dagizmo19 01-18-2009 10:26 PM

Yes, there will be a canopy made, but not sure exactly when. I think I will use the plastic cover and stock lights for now. I figured out a way to mount the lunar lights in the current light fixtures and should work for now.

onefish2fish 01-18-2009 10:29 PM

nice, this is going to be a nice looking tank when its finished up

dagizmo19 01-18-2009 10:41 PM

Thanks! Now I just have to figure out how to set it up and what to use in it (Sub-straight, decor)! Any ideas?

onefish2fish 01-18-2009 10:49 PM

well again if your looking for cheap, homedepot has natural colored gravel in the landscaping section just remember to rinse it well. if your planting your tank i would go with eco-complete, you can still use the stones in a planted tank though, along with root tabs.
i personally am a fan of the "natural" look, so wood driftwood is always nice. before you fill the tank up with water i would tape off the glass and tape newspaper and spray paint the back outside wall either black or dark blue ( other colors work but these seem to be best ) or purchase one of those expensive backgrounds. a background is nice because it makes the fish/plants stand out more and hides any wires that you would normally see. before adding fish, read up on "fishless cycling"
feel free to ask any questions

dagizmo19 01-18-2009 10:55 PM

Excellent, thanks for the advice! Painting the back of the aquarium is a good idea! I would really like to stay within budget, it appears possible, but not easy!

I too like the "natural" look, but the wife likes the look of coral and other bright items in the thank. I might just tell her that the online fish store shipped me the wrong items :-D "Can't send them back, can we?" :lol:

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