125 Gallon Startup

Lots of progress on the 125. I should have made several smaller posts, but I’ve been distracted setting this huge tank up =)

The stand is finished, minus the doors. Actually, the doors are all cut I just need to stain and clear coat them. But, in my haste to finnaly get this thing going I decided to proceed without them, they can be added at any time and I’ll probably get them finished in the coming week. I spray painted the back of the aquarium with Krylon spray paint. It said on the can it was good for glass, and it applied well. I used a flat black and did several coats. I would do very light coats at a time, let it dry for a couple minutes than add another light coat. All in all I think I did 5 or 6 coats. Thin coats are better so you don’t get the paint running down in streaks and also each coat creates an irregular surface that the subsequent layers can better adhere to.

Friday and Saturday morningĀ  my wife and I spent several hours outside in the street with a couple buckets cleaning all the play sand. We used a total of about 175 pounds of sand, that’s a lot of sand! The neighbors all drove by giving us the look of “What in the heck are you doing?” and it got even worse when we said we were cleaning sand for an aquarium.

I set up the Aquatop CF-400UV canister filter which went pretty well actually. This is my first use of a canister filter, but assembly of all the parts wasn’t too bad. The hard plastic parts for the intake and spray bar are a bit flimsy, but they work. I guess I can’t expect too much from a canister that costs about $50 less than the next cheapest alternative. Priming was rather difficult, but that may have been due more to my setup than an actual fault, I’m not sure. The cutout in the back of the stand for the plumbing to go through forms a U shape so it isn’t a straight downward shot into the canister. It took numerous pumps of the primer button to finally get a steady stream of water into the canister. Once filled though I plugged it in and it went right to work. It’s nice and silent too, once we put the doors on we will not be able to hear it at all. As is, we can only hear it if everything in the house is silent. This is a big plus because the tank is located in a bedroom.

For heaters I have a pair of Aquatop 300W submersible heaters. I have one in my 20 gallon and am happy with it so I decided to stay with that brand for the 125 gallon. We used an Aqueon Water Changer to fill the tank from the kitchen sink and used cold water, but night time the tank was up to 72 degrees and today in the morning it was holding steady at 78 degrees.

Throughout the day yesterday and this morning we boiled the Malaysian Driftwood. Several of the pieces were far too long to fit in any of our pots so we had to boil them half at a time, then turn them around to get the other. It has been a long process, but will certainly be worth it. In the pictures below I have all but one large piece added to the tank, the last big one is finishing up being boiled now. I’m boiling for two reasons, one to sanitize and two to release the worst of the tannins.

For a light I just got a 48″ dual T8 fluorescent shop light that has a reflector. The fixture rests on the reflector leaving the bulbs above the glass. The cost? A whole $16. The alternative is one made for fish tanks that costs over $100. Ridiculous! I don’t think the shop light looks bad at all, and if I really wanted to I could spray paint the outside black.

As a finally step while doing my weekly water change on the 20 gallon I took some Wisteria and Brazilian Pennywort clippings and added them to the tank. I also grabbed my baby Java Ferns and stuck them in holes and cracks on a couple pieces of the driftwood. Grabbed a few Amazon Frogbit as well for good measure to get the floating plants seeded. I bought a portion of Dwarf Water Lettuce from a member at tropicalfishkeeping.com that should come soon too.

The plan for today is to top off the tank with water (we left room to account for the driftwood), add Seachem Equilibrium to raise our GH by about 3 dGH since we have too soft of water for most plants, then finally start adding Seachem Stability to give the biological filter a boost. We ordered a massive shipment of live plants from an online store (Live Aquaria) that is scheduled to ship Monday and arrive Wednesday. I have 39 plants coming for sure, possibly more if any of the bunches or potted plants contain more than one (likely with the stem plants). Hopefully the plants combined with Stability will allow me to add fish on Wednesday. I will only add a single school, probably Harlequin Rasbora, to start with and see how the water parameters react. If everything is golden after a few days I’ll add another school and proceed in a similar fashion until I get it fully stocked over the next couple months.

So enough talking, time for pictures! Enjoy, I know I am!

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