7' refurbishment

danmil3s

Member
Joined
11 Jan 2010
Messages
756
Hi guys, thought I’d start a journal for the refurbishment of my 7’ tank. Bit of back story. Many years ago I tried this tank as a high tec due to various reasons I failed and took a break from planted tanks and this one was ignored. About a year ago I set up a 2.5’ high tec which about 6 months ago I moved in to a 2’ tank and I’m very happy with. This summer I am doing a fair bit of work to my house and one of the jobs means moving the 7’ tank.


During the planning of the DIY I considered many options for this tank including replacement with a high tec aquascape 1500, turning it in to a vivarium and just getting a few smaller tanks in its place.


I have decided to keep the tank as a low tec because 1 hour of maintenance a week is enjoyable but more would become a chore. My wife would like to keep the fish that are still in it including a clown loach and a kissing gourami plus some other smaller fish.


The make over is going to include a new DIY stand and lid. I am going to re use the Fx5 that is currently running on it, I plan on trying to turn this into thermo filter. For lighting I am going to use 2 number Hue 5m garden light and colour strips that will simulate dawn till dusk. These will sync with other lights in the room that form part of the rest of the home DIY project.


The scape I am currently planning will be a triangle right to left. The wife wants me to keep an existing piece of wood for the loach to hide under. I will stack black rocks larger to smaller and use black sand. As the tank will have big fish and be low tec I will keep plants simple and use aquarium gardens jungle packs and a few other species that are undecided. I’m thinking floating and large Anubias.


This journal will probably be a bit slow to start as I currently have celling’s down and wiring to replace before I drain and move the tank. I’m not looking forward to removing the rotten sand under the gravel.


Anyway I might have a few questions going forward and any you guys have fire away. I’ll post a picture of the tank currently, but I’m a bit embarrassed as it’s been VERY neglected for a long time.


7' tank.jpg


:oops:
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,914
Ambitious project :)

What sort of “big fish”

Most big fish are not really conducive to planted aquaria, not only digging but boisterous activity will damage plants, also the “tasting” of delicate new growth

Some thoughts (that maybe I should’ve kept in my own head ;))
Black rocks, black sand will be very dark and “flat” in aspect compared to using grey textured stone such as mini-landscape rock
A more natural color substrate with varying textures will also give the tank more perspective, eg, Dennerle Plantahunter natural gravels
Contrast in the tank is more interesting to the human eye
 

danmil3s

Member
Joined
11 Jan 2010
Messages
756
Hello Alto,
have a look at my turtle tank thread this tank in its self is not so ambitious, added to the sum of the rest of the DIY which is simple enough there is just a lot of work.

The big fish are just to the two I listed we won’t be adding more big fish but we have had these for quite a few years and the wife doesn't want to give them away, which I understand. To manage this the plan was to build up “wells” within the rocks for the plants and if deep enough use pond soil caped with 2-5mm gravel and chippings to protect them. The shallower planted areas I will just use finer sand and protect with chippings. As well as the rocks I forgot to mention I want to add some large Manzanita wood and use this as a barrier to slow the large fish down around the root structures.


I welcome your thoughts please share:), I was thinking black rock for two reasons price and this tank really is a compromise between what I want and what the wife wants. She wants loads of fish including huge ones I want a planted tank. we have agreed to only add small fish and I hope the black will help show of their colours. I hope the Manzanita wood will help with the un flattening the scape as I though this might also be an issue.


I will also in time be replacing my 2.5' high Tec tank with an evolution aqua the aquascaper 900 tank. That will be fully planted and treated as an aquascape managed and stocked how wish, so a compromise is not such a bad thing.
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,914
Look around garden and landscape centres for interesting affordable rock - lots available if you’re able to break rock

Found wood is more difficult - there’s a few threads floating around ukaps

Very dark substrates/rocks can cause some fish to “pepper” with dark spots, or darken/dim their colours in an attempt to blend, eg, Bolivian rams appear subdued and distressed on a dark substrate showing none of the pinks and yellows they cheerfully display on a lighter substrate
 

Tim Harrison

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
5 Nov 2011
Messages
7,787
Location
UK
What you're planning sounds exciting, most folk can only dream of scaping a tank that big. There is a danger, however, that trying to fit somewhat contrasting ideas in to the same tank neither you nor your wife will be happy with the finished product.

Especially if arranging rocks, substrate, and wood to accommodate the habits of large fish compromises the aesthetics of the scape. And with a tank that size it's not easy or cheap to rescape if you're not happy with the end result.

I'd give some serious thought to what you could achieve with a completely blank canvas without any legacies from past tanks. It's a great opportunity to create something completely new and fantastic.

P.S. Show this picture of Sanj's tank to your wife. Something similar is infinitely achievable low-energy and on a budget :)

783369a35bf27478a0b33155fb61444b-jpg.jpg
 

danmil3s

Member
Joined
11 Jan 2010
Messages
756
The thing is guys my wife loves her fish and i have a plant tank all to myself. I've spent a few years trying to convince her that we'd be better of with out the fish but they are staying. Its only one clown loach and one kissing gourami that are large. I get my way most of the time so I'm not to fussed if i have to make do as long as its not a bare tank I'll be happy. The fish she'll put in will just be pets at home type stuff.

I understand the thoughts on the black being too much but i like black sand and plan on using more interesting stone in the high tec tank. Once the plants grow in the rock will be a small feature i have an image in my head of what i want to create. I cant find any images on google as an example which might be a bad thing but anything is better than the mess it's in now.
 

danmil3s

Member
Joined
11 Jan 2010
Messages
756
OK so you guys talked me in to it I’m going to go lighter gravel and rocks. I need to find the time to get to a landscaping place to choose what combination i will use.

I was going to use black board paint on the back pane of glass as I've previously had success with this but with the colour change black doesn't seem such a good idea. On my small tank i have an obscure piece of plastic behind the glass, i quite like this effect but the challenge with the big tank is the pipes must run up the back and with obscure the will still be visible. Any ideas on options?


I drilled and tapped an IP69x glad in to the lid of my FX5 to night I managed to just about get a nut on the back of it as well. No leaks from the gland yet. I’ll check the temperature in the morning, but I expect it to work after experience with sumps. This set up will run on this tank and the temporary tank until the new tank is set up. The new set up will get brand new hoses, inlet, outlet, heater, gland, and filter media. I will probably fit 2 number 150w heaters to the new filter as a failed 300w in this set up could and has in a sump setup of mine over heated this tank.
 

Attachments

Joined
17 Aug 2018
Messages
1,098
Location
-
I would personally go black or frosted for the background. These are the only things you'll see in aquascapes, and you don't want to be thinking about changing a background later on! Even when I badly applied a frosted background to my current tank, it was a pain to remove it by pulling it off whilst the tank was in situ...
 

danmil3s

Member
Joined
11 Jan 2010
Messages
756
Ive ordered some stick on frosting which i will test on the 2'6" tank. I'm going to try using a bit of 2" waste pipe to hide the flow and return filter pipes. I'm thinking white pipe on white wall should me almost invisible?
i can remember a few years back there was a thread about lights behind the tank blue/white mostly for photo shoots i think but i can't seem to find it.
i chanced the background on this thank from fake rock to painted black when it was set up there is only about 1" behind it.
 

danmil3s

Member
Joined
11 Jan 2010
Messages
756
Just a quick update, progress is being made :thumbup: still away to go though :crazy:. Brought more hard scape today 40KG of mini landscape rock and 3 more pieces of Manzanita wood. I was hoping to plant next weekend then finish the base but that might be a push as there is still a bit to do on the lid and the FX5 to modify before then and only a few hours in the evening.

The back has frosting film on but you can see through it so i will install a sheet that will be changeable via removable end panels i expected this. The doors are cut and just need side trimming and hanging, and I'm going to paint the inside white.
 

Attachments

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,914
I somehow missed the updates on this :oops: :sorry:

But

You’ve been sucked into The Grey by Dave et al so that’s done :D

(a friend did the all black on a similar sized tank & it’s okay, but nothing like what can be achieved by using (subtly) changing colours/textures and adding light reflection/shading - which is what creates perspective and interest to the eye (at subconscious and conscious levels))


Amazing how much a stand can change things :)

Hopefully Dave has also convinced you to add a layer of aquarium soil beneath the gravel - your plants will appreciate this, I’d suggest something much more nutrient dense like Tropica Growth Substrate BUT this will make a mess (including ammonia release) if your Clown Loach digs into it - for this reason I’d avoid garden/pond soils as well

Shaped & hardened aquarium soils are much more forgiving (recently set up what was to be an angelfish display but then got rainbows (plant thrashing from net chasing :eek:) followed by goldfish which completely unearthed the Tropica Aquarium Soil ... everything was fine, just not very attractive :rolleyes: )

An excellent aquarium landscape project
Dark Land by Pedro Rosa


can remember a few years back there was a thread about lights behind the tank blue/white mostly for photo shoots i think but i can't seem to find it.
This is in one of Mark Evans journals - sorry I can’t recall which
He also did several photography threads which may include some of the photos from the discussion

Filipe Oliveira does many large tanks so may be worthwhile checking his FB page and Youtube channel

https://www.facebook.com/FAAOAquascaping/

https://m.youtube.com/user/FaaoStudio/videos
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,914
Oh forgot to say, I use various backgrounds on my old Oceanic tanks as aquarium fittings must run up the back
Black
Midnight Blue with subtle graduation to much paler blue
Medium blue with graduation to sunrise pale blue/white
I prefer the graduated blues over the matte black appearance - without backlighting you don’t really notice the colors so much but there is an added “interest” level

My favourite - the midnight blue BUT this is a very old aquarium backing and there is no quality comparison with currently available versions

Jurijs mit JS did a short video on aquarium backgrounds


And this one just because ;)

 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,914
An since I’m being so forward ...

I’d add CO2 initially to get plants established for a month or so before adding the Clown Loach And Kissing Gourami back in - this should allow plant decent root growth (anchoring), then gradually taper off CO2 - you may get some leaf loss but good root development will help plants adapt
 

danmil3s

Member
Joined
11 Jan 2010
Messages
756
Thank you for all the information Alto, quite a bit to digest there.
I'm working really hard to convince the wife she wants angelfish fish and the clown loach can go to a good home, there is a place loacl that breads them for local water and she's always wanted them so watch this space.
i've got some pond soil that i will protect with green house shade. I've tested this in the smaller tank and should stop the clown loach from digging below the sand if he stays.
i keep forgetting to order the background sheet so can't post any photos but i think it'll look OK. the fading blue to dark blue is what i had in mind.
thank you for the videos I'll try to watch them tomorrow working on the stand again tonight now time for bed.
if i add co2 ill need to buy a second kit whilst i think it's a good idea cost might be a bit high.
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,914
if i add co2 ill need to buy a second kit whilst i think it's a good idea cost might be a bit high.
Just run one tank on day schedule, other tank on night schedule and move the one kit between :p
You can just add in a manifold if tanks are located close by

If you’re in the UK these kits are very well priced (and 15% discount offer came up when I looked)
https://www.co2art.eu/collections/complete-co2-systems
 

danmil3s

Member
Joined
11 Jan 2010
Messages
756
Just a few quick photos of hard scape might get a few more rocks for the rock pile.
 
Top