Crypt Melt

Well, it’s happened, my crypt has melted for the first time. I had been warned that crypts are prone to that, but I thought I was going to be lucky since it didn’t melt after being transplanted into my tank.

I’m not 100% sure on why mine decided to melt. I know they will do it for any number of reasons like being moved, change in lighting, change in nutrients, change in temperature, etc etc.

However, I haven’t changed anything on my tank in about three weeks when I swapped over to my custom LED light fixture. That’s the only factor that I think would cause it to melt, but three weeks is a bit of a delayed reaction. Hopefully it will spring back to life after it’s done melting for whatever reason set it off.

Crypt Melt

Crypt Melt

We have eggs!

Awhile ago I made a post about how my Cory’s looked a bit pregnant with eggs. Well, without a doubt, that was the case!

Bronze Cory Eggs

Bronze Cory Eggs

While at work I get a text from my wife that the Cory’s had been busy last night. I get home, and sure enough, there are several clusters of eggs all over the tank, on plant leaves, and on the substrate. They call them an egg scatterer for a reason. So, my tank now is littered with several dozen Bronze Cory eggs, but as you can see from the above photo several have already been eaten. I blame the Serpae Tetra for that. Hopefully we will end up with a couple Bronze Cory fry, but I will not be taking any special measures to try and save them. Nature will take its course as I have no means to care for numerous new fish. If some happen against the odds to survive then we’ll make a home for them. We have the 125 gallon on the way that will have more than enough space.

DIY 125 Gallon Aquarium Stand

Today I started construction of the 125 gallon aquarium stand. Using plans I found online construction was actually quite simple, at least so far. There are a couple of snags but overall it is turning out well. The weather is fantastic this week so I hope to have the majority of it completed soon. Today I went from just a stack of raw lumber to a nearly completed frame.

The stand size will be 72 1/2″ long, by 18 5/8″ wide, and 30″ tall (30 1/2″ when the plywood top is factored in).

The first step, of course, is getting all the tools together. Take note of what’s pictured at the top, safety glasses and ear protection. Don’t skip on it, you’ll be thankful.

Tools

Basic Tools

First up was cutting the plywood for the top that the aquarium will sit on, and for the back which will provide extra support from the stand rocking. Pictured below is how I recommend cutting sheet goods, use some 2x lumber to keep the large 4×8 foot sheets straight, otherwise you’ll have a dip between the sawhorses making your cut less than perfect. I should of taken a picture of how I set up the actual cuts, but I forgot :S

An easy way to get a straight cut on a huge sheet of plywood is to clamp down a 1×4 or 2×4 that you can use as a fence, like you would on a table saw. In fact, instead of a circular saw you could use a table saw if, and only if, you have a fence that you can set wide enough for the cut.

Sheet Cutting

Plywood Sheet Cutting

Next up is cutting the 2×4 and 2×6 lumber. I happen to have a miter saw which makes easy work of this task, a radial arm saw can also do it quite easily. If you must, you can use a circular saw or table saw but that isn’t ideal. If I had an actual work bench I could have set up a jig to save myself substantial time, but I still got the job done in not too much time.

Miter Saw

Miter Saw

Cut Lumber

Cut Lumber

After that, it’s just a mater of screwing it all together. I used 2.5″ exterior screws, with a square drive. In addition, I used a countersink bit before using the screws to ensure I would have a flush finish. This is particularly important because I plan on skinning this stand in oak to finish it and you do not want screw heads giving you an un-even surface.

Countersink Screws

Countersink Screws

Flush Screws

Screws Are Flush to the Wood

Below you can see several pictures of the frame as it progressed. Basically it is just a bunch of 2×4’s in a typical frame, however the top box is made of 2×6’s for added strength. The 2×4’s on the inside of each corner are only there as a surface to attach the corners to and keep everything square, they serve no structural purpose which is why they do not extend all the way up to the top. If they did extend all the way to the top, they would take a portion of the load and I really don’t want screws to be supporting part of the load, I want it all going into the 2×6 box frame, then the vertical 2×4’s, followed by the bottom 2×4 frame, and finally the floor.

Top Box Frame

Top Box Frame - 2x6's

 

Stand Legs

Starting to assembly the legs to the stand

Basic Frame

Basic Frame

The above basic frame picture is actually all you would need to support the 1400 – 1600 pounds. I know, it looks terribly open, but by the math according to structural engineers it’s true. At the very least you want to put plywood sheeting on the back and the sides to keep it from rocking, that will take the tank down to the floor in no time if it isn’t supported in left/right or forward/backwards directions.

To facilitate the addition of doors to the front, and to ensure more uniform load to the floor I added two more center supports. I also added some short pieces to the top that I’ll nail the top plywood to, and also ensure the frame dosen’t twist over time.

125 Gallon DIY Aquarium Stand

125 Gallon DIY Aquarium Stand

It’s far from completed but that’s where I am after day one, not too bad. I still need to put the plywood sides and top on, get the inside plywood shelf made and that will complete the frame. After that I need to skin it in oak to give it a nice furniture look instead of the utilitarian look it has now. I’ll be sure to post progress updates as they happen.

Thanks for visiting!

Malaysian Driftwood

We ordered an 8 pack of Malaysian Driftwood online from a store called SeaCorals. It was very reasonably priced at $48 shipped so we jumped on it. After all, we have that 125 gallon that needs plenty of driftwood in it. The major downside to ordering online is you don’t get to know what you’ll be getting until it arrives. The big fear is you’ll get a boring flat piece. Well, that’s part of the reason for the 8 pack, plenty of changes to get something good.

Here is a picture of what we got, I think we did pretty good!

Malaysian Driftwood

Malaysian Driftwood Collectiond

The picture isn’t of very good quality. I used the point and shoot instead of the DSLR, plus I think a certain 2 year old finger printed the lens. Anyways, I particularly like the branchy looking one, plus a couple have a nice arch shape to them on the bottom that should make for a very nice natural cave for fish to hid under. I can also make some good shapes by combing two or more together. I’m actually tempted to order another 8 pack ;) We’ll need to go out and buy a large storage tub that we can fill with water to start soaking these and get the worst of the tannins out. My wife has already laid claim to one of the smaller pieces for the 10 gallon tank…

Hitting The Big Times

Well, we’re entering the big times now. Petsmart had their aquariums on sale so we rushed in and bought their 125 gallon aquarium. Yep, you read correctly, 125 gallons. This monster has a 72.5″ x 18.5″ footprint. Now that’s one big tank! But with six feet of swimming room the fish ought to have a grand old time.

The preliminary stocking list is as follows:

6x Angelfish
10x Marble Hatchetfish
10x Diamond Tetra
10x Flame Tetra
8x Kuhli Loach
6x Otocinclus
1x Bristlenose Pleco

However, we keep revising the list tweaking it here and there. 125 gallons allows for quite a bit of fish. Right now I’m debating the 8 Kuhli Loaches. While I really like how they look, I doubt I would see them much as they are nocturnal. We might go with Cory Cats along with another of the smaller Pleco varieties. Plecos can be aggressive if you have more than one male, but a six foot tank is large enough to provide them space and we’ll have plenty of cover and ‘homes’ that they can pick their own.

Of course, before we can set this baby up we need to get our carpets replaced. With a tank this large we will want to remove that from the equation as we want to have the lowest possible chance of ever having to move this tank until we leave this house for good. I also need to construct a stand for it. We did not buy one from Petsmart because the stands they carry are just laminated particle board, which is very poor looking and at a cost of over $350 … we’ll just make our own.