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Old 10-02-2005, 08:17 PM
 
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Default Construction Journal of my new Paludarium

I have been reading the forums for the past couple of months and finally felt that I have learned enough to start my own tank. I'm new to the dart frog hobby, but I have been keeping fish tanks for a while now. I have a 10 gallon and a 72gallon bowfront planted tank that has been running for a while now.

I have finally started building my paludarium to eventually hold a group of darts. It's going to be a paludarium and Im using the x-large exo-terra (18x18x24) for my project. I have just started not too long ago and have started taking pictures of the progress.

Since the tank is an akward shape, I couldn't find a decent stand to fit it so I had to make my own. I have never been too good working with wood but it came out alright. I used plans from this website to make the stand. http://www.fishandtips.com/index.php The stand is extremely stable, probably more than the one holding my 72gallon fishtank. Here are some pictures of the stand.

This is a picture of the front of the stand. I have already finished it and done 2 coats of primer along with most of the sanding. The only thing that is left is the final coat.




Here ist he back of the stand. You can see the 2x2" frame and the 3/4" plywood sides.


There is one big problem with the plans from that website. When you put the dimension of the stand you want in, the sizes it gives you are for the frame. It doesn't calculate the 3/4" plywood you have on each side. So as you can see in the pictures, the stand in a bit bigger than the base of the tank. I feel pretty stupid for not catching that before I started building it.
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Old 10-02-2005, 08:29 PM
 
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Hmm it doesn't seem to want to work with linking my image and showing a thumbnail of it here, any suggestions?
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Old 10-02-2005, 08:30 PM
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Old 10-02-2005, 08:33 PM
 
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Care to share how you did that? :P I have a lot more pictures of my progress to add. I can't get html to work either so if you could let me know what code you are using to do that it would be appreciated.

*edit* nm i figured it out. The links I copied had a space in them, not sure why. Thanks for the help.
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Old 10-02-2005, 08:33 PM
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Very nice looking stand. I dont know why it worked for me,
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Old 10-02-2005, 09:06 PM
 
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As you can see in first pictures, I have a 5 gallon sump underneath. I'm going to plumb a PVC overflow in the tank. This way the water lever in the exo-terra will always be the same and won't get to low. It also prevents the tank from draining if there is a power outage or the pump fails.

As you can see the shelf is too high and there is almost no room to do the plumbing to the tank. I didn't plan on a 5 gallon being so tall when I built the stand. So it was a lot of work lowering the shelf since the 2x2" supports were nailed/screwed in with 3" screws.

Here is the sump now lowered ~5" so I can fit my arms in to work on the plumbing.


I am going to have a canister filter (not sure which one yet, looking for a good deal) below the tank, so I couldn't lower it much more.
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Old 10-02-2005, 09:11 PM
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I really like that stand. Are you gonna put a door on the front of it. Thanks for the link to that site, i will try and make one here soon for the same Exo Terra. Keep the pics coming
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Old 10-02-2005, 09:20 PM
 
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In order for my idea for the overflow to work, I had to drill the tank. I ordered 1/2" bulkheads from http://www.marinedepot.com since they ship from anaheim and I recieved them the next day. The problem was they sent me 3/4" and didn't have any 1/2" in stock.......

The only diamond bit we had was 1 3/8" and 3/4" require a 1 1/2" hole. We checked with some calipers and found that the bit is just big enough for the bulkheads so I went ahead with the drilling.

Now neither me or my dad have ever drilled glass, and I wasn't about to test my skills on a 100$ tank. So I went to a local glass shop to ask if they could drill it. Aparently the drill press thye have was too big to fit in my tank, so they couldn't help me. He did however give me a nice size piece of scrap glass to practice on for free

In the picture you can see the guide I have set up for the bit. This is a must have since it will walk all over the glass if you don't have something to prevent it from moving. I used a 1 3/8" wood hole saw and drilled the hole 1 1/2" from each corner (This would help me place the hole in the tank and prevent from getting too close to the edges). It also held water decently well.


Once you get a nice groove started, you can remove the template and keep drilling. I never had a problem with water moving away from the bit so I didn't bother setting up a barrier for it. The bit was always nice and cool to. I did constantly spray with water though and would periodically stop to wipe away all the bits of glass.


First try we did it wil no cracking or problems. It does take a while (Like 10-15 minutes for 1/4" glass) but It's better to go slow. You can also see the bulkhead fits perfect in a 1 3/8" hole







*edit* Yes the door is done already.....Well it's assembled. It's actually waiting in the sun right now getting ready for primer along with the canopy :P
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Old 10-03-2005, 12:46 AM
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Nice journal. What return pump are you using?

Moe
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Old 10-03-2005, 12:57 AM
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Very nice so far. When figuring out which return pump to buy, first measure how high it will travel from the pump to the top of the waterfall or other water feature. Then you'll need to figure out approximately what gph rate you will want flowing out of the feature. Then you have to find a pump that matches it. Yes, that is all pretty common sense, but what I didn't realize, is that the gph listed on the pumps is the gph at pump level. For each foot of height increase that gph drops dramatically...fortunately there are charts on the back of some pump boxes showing the decrease in gph with added height. Make certain you are picking the right pump, because lots of people get too high or too low of a gph and have problems. I recommend getting one of the pondmaster pumps. They have a large range in power, have adjustable flow intakes, have built in prefilters, are very reliable, and aren't too expensive. Of course if you want a lot of filtration as per paludarium you would probably want to go with a canister filter like you said.

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Old 10-03-2005, 03:12 AM
 
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I'm farther than the journal has led you guys to believe, i just have been working on it so I didn't get to post it all. I had a danner mag 3 which is 350gph. At a 2' head it says it pumps like 300gph (I think, going off memory). When used in the tank it actually pumped faster than a 3/4" pvc overflow could drain. We did a semi accurate test and came up with it was pumping aruond 275gph where it was. So I bought a pump that at 2' head is supposed to be ~130gph, so 2gpm. The overflow keeps up with it no problem, but the problem is now it's kind of noisy :P

I have found some ideas online on how to reduce the noise of the water flowing that I'm giong to try, but any other ideas are welcome.
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Old 10-03-2005, 03:41 AM
 
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Ok another update, hopefully by tommorow I should be caught up to where I'm currently at (Maybe tonight before bed if I have time). So after testing drilling the practice piece of glass I moved on to the real tank. I also wasn't sure if this bit would work for cutting glass , but as you can see it did

So I set up the template again to start the hole. That piece of metal is solid steel and ways something like 25lbs. It was to hold the template in place. The bottom of the tank is elevated from the ground with wood so the glass has some support on the back.


Here I am drilling away.




And both holes were a success Still a lot of water/glass bits all over though.



And here are some pictures of the bulkheads installed with the tank on the stand. Yes one of the holes in the stand is a bit off and yes those teeth marks in the paint are from the hole saw owning me :P (Stuipd pilot bit wasn't in tight enough). The holes in the stand are 2 1/2" to give some room.


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Old 10-03-2005, 02:28 PM
 
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I appreciate the journal you have put together so far and find it very informative. I hope to set up a pair of 18x18 exo-terras soon. I do have a question for you. I see that when drilling the two holes in the tank bottom, you are reaching INTO the tank and drilling from the inside - out. Why couldn't you drill from the outside - in by flipping the tank upside down? Would that not allow you to use a drill press? I suppose you would still need to provide some support on the inside as you drill. This may require you to build up some sort of support to put the inverted tank over. Please keep us posted on your progress. Thanks.
George
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Old 10-04-2005, 12:46 AM
 
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In answer to your question, I supposed you could flip it but I wouldn't recomend that. There is no support above the 2 front doors. They go all the way to the top and there is a flimsy piece of plastic above it. Plus the tank (mine at least) is 24" tall. I have a large drill press at home and it can't even go that high. Then like you said there would be a lot of problems with supporting the glass ont he opposite side.

Drilling from the inside is better because you get a nice clean cut on the inside wheren the seal is going to be. The outside is kinda ragged/chipped because even the board I had underneath wasn't enough support.


Now for another update. The canopy is built completely except for the fan holes I'm giong to have to drill and I have to wait for my commision check to buy the 2- 36watt AH retrofit kit to install in it. It's already sanded/filled with wood putty and I put the first coat of primer on it last night. The design for the canopy was something I came up with so it could get some decent airflow without the need for ugly vents on the sides or front of it.


This picture was extensively detailed with very expensive photo editing software to explain precisely how my canopy design will work


Here is the unedited one to make it easier to see.


And here are some pictures from the outside.


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Old 10-05-2005, 01:13 AM
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Nice work on the stand and canopy. I cant wait to see this when its done. Keep up the good work!!
Jason
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Old 10-05-2005, 06:07 AM
 
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Ok well I haven't had as much time to work on it as I would have liked to. I have gotten a little done so far, but I'm having a lot of problems with my overflow system. It's work fine.....if you like the sound of nigra falls constantly. This tank is going in my room so it really needs to be quiet so I can get some sleep :P

I have been doing extensive reserch on the reef forums and their systems for quietting down the overflow/sump. On my fish tank I have 2 canisters filters that are both plumbed with PVC along with an inline heater, CO2 reactor and UV filter. So plumbing isn't new to me, but overflows are. My initial design was to just have a pipe going up with a 45degree elbow to allow water to flow in.

Here you can see it filling with water. The output is not setup at all. I just made the pipe taller so no water went in the slipped a 1/2" tube right down the middle for the pump to return water to the tank from the sump.


Here is the water flowing down the tube. It swirls/sucks in air and is really loud.


So after doing a lot of reserch on the reef forums, I found an overflow they use called the "Durso" overflow. If you want more information you can serch for it on the forums. A large number of people have it and recomend it. Here is what it looks like set up in my tank. The top cap has a hole in it so it is not a siphon. It almost completely silences the overflow.


So now the overflow is silent you'd think everything was great huh.....Not really. Now the sump is even louder. Water/bubbles come down the tube and make the sump sound exactly like a hot tub. I have found some ideas that I am trying to use/modify to work for my situation. I have found one that eliminates most of the noise, but it still douns like running water all the time.

Here the exit tube goes about halfway down the water line. The "T" has a tube going up to release the air and one going down to release the water. It is much quieter, but there is still some air being released into the water making noise.


So I have come to the conclusion that my pump is a bit too much for my system. It does around 120-130gph at 2' head. I really don't need that much so I'm going to take it back to the LFS and get a smaller model. I really wished they caried something other than a RIO and that I had been patient enough to order one online. I have read lots of crappy reviews about them and am a bit worried. Oh well we'll see what happens.
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Old 10-05-2005, 06:18 AM
 
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Here are a few more pictures to post also.

This is my profesional painting studio all set up ready to start adding the primer to the canopy and the door for my stand. They are both drying and will probably get sanded/second coat tommorow. My dad was working on the brakes for his car and wanted to be in the shade, so I was kind of cramped lol.


Now the rest of these are to show what happens when you are experimenting with a siphon overflow and don't pay attention to it. I turned the pump off and thought the siphon would die on it's own how I had it set up. Well apparently I had too much water in the sump and it overflowed. I lost a couple gallons before I got it to stop......stupid stupid stupid........



I had to dry off the edges of the plywood since the water soaked in on the bottom/sides of the stand. Don't it to start swelling up or anything. So I elevated it and had a fan blowing full blast on it for an hour or so. That was like 2 days ago and the stand is still in perfect condition. I really need to seal the back/bottom/inside of it soon though.


Well now I'm currently up to date with everything. Time to go read up some more on the reef forums to see if I can come up with any more ideas for the overflow.
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Old 10-09-2005, 06:04 AM
 
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Well it's time for another update. I have been doing a lot of sanding/priming everything. I have also been doing some more testing on the overflow system. I am trying the 3rd pump out and it's just barely too much flow. It works great and is pretty quiet, but it's still too loud. The last one I had was almsot silent but the flow was too low and the pump was buzzing (Said 2' max head, but couldn't really handle 2').

But the canopy/stand/door are now fully sanded and ready to be painted. Tommorow I will do some final cleaning on them and paint them all black to match the rest of the furniture in my room.

Well today I was doing some more reserch on fans for the canopy and found that compusa had some nice quiet 120mm ones for 10$. This was good news since it saved me the 7-10$ that most online places wanted to ship fans. So I bought them and brought them home to test them. Not a tremendous amount of flow, but man are they quiet. Here is the link for the info on the fans. http://www.compusa.com/products/product ... pfp=BROWSE

After doing some searching in my room I found a AC to DC coverter than has an output of 12v DC with 300mA. This is perfect since each fan needs .12amps (Which is 120mA in case you didn't know :P ). I dont know what it was from but here is a pic of it.


Now the fans each have 3 wires. A red, a black and a yellow. The red is the +12v wire and the black is the ground wire. The yellow wire is the RPM sensor for fan controllers/motherboards. So basically you just ignore that wire and dont connect it to anything. Being the computer tech guy I am I had a spare male fan connector to use to hook up to the DC converter. Here is the pic of it just twisted on so I could test it to make sure it was wired correctly and that it worked.


This is the fan hooked up and running. I'm still amazed that the camera caught it so the fan doesn't looked blurred at all. I assure you the fan was spinning at full speed though. I used the receipt by the connector just to make sure the wires didn't touch during the test.


Now that I'm sure it works, I'm ready to solder the connector on. Don't forget to put the shrink tubing on the wires before you solder.


Here is it soldered together.


And now here is it finished I tested it again and it works great. Wow these fans are quiet. Now I have to find a 4" hole saw to cut the holes in the canopy.


Well that's it for tonight, hopefully I'll get everything painted tommorow and have another update ready.
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Old 10-12-2005, 06:09 AM
 
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Well I finally finished painting the stand, the canopy and the back half of the door. Tommorow I'll paint the front, right after I drill the holes for the hinges. I have never enjoyed or been very good at painting anything. I can build stuff but I just can't paint worth a darn with spray paint or with a brush. With that in mind everything came out alright which means I can almost move on to more fun things (Like working on the actual tank). Anyway here are the pictures I just took.









The stand is not 100% dry yet so I couldn't get a picture of the tank on the stand with the canopy yet, but it should be ok tommorow. Now I need to order the lights from http://www.ahsupply.com and try and find a 4 1/2" hole saw to cut the holes for the fans in the canopy. Then I have to get a differen't pump for my waterfeature/overflow sysetm.


I'm also doing some research on using a windshield washer pump for a misting system but I'm not finding much information. I need to know the voltage/current the pump needs to run and the average PSI they normally run at, any information would be really helpfull.
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Old 10-16-2005, 08:20 PM
 
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Well I have been busy working on finishing up the stand/door/canopy and I think I'm finally done. I really hate paiting so i'm glad that is over. I also borrowed a hole saw to cut the holes for a 120mm fans int he back of the canopy.

The hole for the 120mm fan needed to be 4 1/2", but the only size hole saws I could get were 4" and 5". I decided to use the 5" one since it allowed full airflow and wasn't too overlap the screw holes. I put masking tape over the back so I didnt' mess up the paint and So I could mark the center of the holes.




Here are the holes completely done and the screw holes drilled for the fans. It also has the fan grills sitting on it for testing.


Now for the fun paiting to begin :? I painted the canopy with a gloss white and primed the inside/back/bottom of the stand to seal the wood.


The next day I put the second coat on the canopy and then put the final coat on the stand and let it dry. So I'm finally done, here are the pictures of the tank on the stand witht he canopy and door on.


And here is the inside of the stand. You can see the horrible wopper in the wood I used to make the door. I was hoping it would straighten out as the wood dried out but I was wrong. I may have to make another door


So for this week I have to order the 2x36 watt kitt from AHsupply.com, And also order 2 VIA AQUA pumps from marinedepot.com for the overflow/waterfeature. I'm taking back the RIO I bought cuz it's a noisy POS and I found that they are known to die quick.
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Old 10-21-2005, 12:49 AM
 
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I have been following your progress intently and so far it is looking good. I just picked up an XL Exo-terra at frog day and will eventually plumb it for a water feature so am particularly interested in your overflow system. Keep us posted on your progress.
George
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Old 10-21-2005, 03:46 AM
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Great work, I wish I had half the craft skills (and tools....) you do!
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Old 10-21-2005, 05:36 AM
 
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Lol yes, the tools I do have (Well they are my dads), but skills I'm not so sure :P This is the first stand I have ever made so I think it turned out alright.

I did finally get screws to mount the fans in the canopy and did so today. Tommorow I will solder the leads from the 2 fans together so they go to 1 connector and can both be powered by the single AC adapter. I have also ordered the 2x36watt kit from AHsupply and ordered the overflow/waterfeature pumps, foam and other misc. supplies from drfostersmith.com. So hopefully I can get everything up and running and do some work on the tank itself
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Old 10-21-2005, 08:39 AM
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It is looking really good. Hows the fit on your exo terra doors?
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Old 10-21-2005, 03:31 PM
 
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Well I did a lot of searching online to find the cheapest price on the tank and it turns out that reptile depot had the x-large one for 100$. And it also turned out that they were located like 3 minute from my work. So I went to the store and actually had them open the box first to check the gap. The doors are basically touching so I'm not worried about escapeing FF's.
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Old 10-22-2005, 01:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biznatch
Well it's time for another update. I have been doing a lot of sanding/priming everything. I have also been doing some more testing on the overflow system. I am trying the 3rd pump out and it's just barely too much flow. It works great and is pretty quiet, but it's still too loud. The last one I had was almsot silent but the flow was too low and the pump was buzzing (Said 2' max head, but couldn't really handle 2').

But the canopy/stand/door are now fully sanded and ready to be painted. Tommorow I will do some final cleaning on them and paint them all black to match the rest of the furniture in my room.

Well today I was doing some more reserch on fans for the canopy and found that compusa had some nice quiet 120mm ones for 10$. This was good news since it saved me the 7-10$ that most online places wanted to ship fans. So I bought them and brought them home to test them. Not a tremendous amount of flow, but man are they quiet. Here is the link for the info on the fans. http://www.compusa.com/products/product ... pfp=BROWSE

After doing some searching in my room I found a AC to DC coverter than has an output of 12v DC with 300mA. This is perfect since each fan needs .12amps (Which is 120mA in case you didn't know :P ). I dont know what it was from but here is a pic of it.


Now the fans each have 3 wires. A red, a black and a yellow. The red is the +12v wire and the black is the ground wire. The yellow wire is the RPM sensor for fan controllers/motherboards. So basically you just ignore that wire and dont connect it to anything. Being the computer tech guy I am I had a spare male fan connector to use to hook up to the DC converter. Here is the pic of it just twisted on so I could test it to make sure it was wired correctly and that it worked.


This is the fan hooked up and running. I'm still amazed that the camera caught it so the fan doesn't looked blurred at all. I assure you the fan was spinning at full speed though. I used the receipt by the connector just to make sure the wires didn't touch during the test.


Now that I'm sure it works, I'm ready to solder the connector on. Don't forget to put the shrink tubing on the wires before you solder.


Here is it soldered together.


And now here is it finished I tested it again and it works great. Wow these fans are quiet. Now I have to find a 4" hole saw to cut the holes in the canopy.


Well that's it for tonight, hopefully I'll get everything painted tommorow and have another update ready.


Is there anyway that someone, like me, can install one fan at the top of a 55 gallon viv, on a store bought hood? I read through this post, and most of it seems really complicated, maybe I just got wirephobia. What do you mean by soldered? Can you reexplain that part, where you put the wire together permanently to make everything work. Thanks.
I wanted to put a fan becuase I didnt want the 55 gallon to have perpetually foggy glass. Thanks again.
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Old 10-22-2005, 01:11 AM
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Wow thats a huge fan. Are you sure a fan of that size is necessary?

Keep up the great work anyhow.

M.N
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Old 10-22-2005, 01:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moe
Wow thats a huge fan. Are you sure a fan of that size is necessary?

Keep up the great work anyhow.

M.N
I suppose I would use a smaller one, or are you talking to Biznatch?
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Old 10-22-2005, 01:51 AM
 
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It's 2 fans actually :P With 120mm fans you can get higher airflow with less noise. So I got 2 that run at like 1500 RPM and flow a decent amount of air and they are almost silent. I'm going to be wiring it up so both fans go to a single connector in a few minutes so I can hear them both running at the same time. One of the fans does sound faster than the other so I'm going to have to use the multimeter to check and make sure it isn't drawing more current than the AC-DC converter can handle. I don't want it overheating and causing a fire now :P

And to solder wire you need a soldering iron (like 15-30$) or soldering gun(about the same price but a tad higher). And then you need solder. If you search online about it you can find more details about it and ways to do it. Now I have done lots of work with electronics so soldering is something I can do quite well. I use an iron because it's a bit easier to handle/use but it takes like 3 minutes to heat up.
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Old 11-02-2005, 12:52 AM
 
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Well with midterms finally over I have been finally able to start working on my tank again. Over the past 2 weeks or so I have been doing a lot of searching for driftwood for the back of the tank and haven't had much luck. Nothing I find on ebay seems to be what i'm looking for so i'm still looking.

Anyway now for the update I ordered and recieved my lights from AHsupply.com and they are great. Anyone who needs lights should order from them, they have an awesome product and the support is great. The stupid USPS took forever to deliver it (like 8 business days) so without even waiting to hear if the package was lost int he mail they shipped the order again and told me to open the first and decline the second box that arrived.

Here is what they send you in the 2x36 watt kit. I ordered the long reflector so I can cut it in half. I didn't even ask if they could send me 2 of the shorter ones but next time I will.


Now I wasn't sure if I wanted to mount the ballast in the hood or under the tank so I just wired it all up without cutting anything to test how hot it got. After like 30 minutes it was warm to the touch and the bulbs were just about too hot to touch. Wiring it together is simple and they give you a wiring diagram along with everything you need besides tools.


Here is after I cut the reflector into 2 pieces. I used a hacksaw and went slow since the metal is kind of thin and bends easily.


Now to reduce heat from the lights and to bring them closer to the tank I made spacers that go between the top of the canopy and the reflectors. The larger hold is for the screw to hold the spacer to the canopy. I only had 3" screws and the blocks were 3 1/4" long so I had to indent the hole so the screw started farther down. The small hole is to mount the reflector to the block.


Now here is the first reflector mounded in the canopy.


Now here is everything cut to legnth and cleanly wired. Everything is done except for the wire from the ballast to the outlet. I want to put in a switch for the lights but the AH kit didn't come with one (The only thing I don't like about it, but it's an easy fix). So I need to go to homedepot and pick up a switch then I can complete the install.


And bam here is the lights in action. All I can say is wow, these lights are bright. After looking at them to take the pic I was temporarily blinded and saw spots for like 10 minutes. I have a 4x65watt light setup on my 72gallon and taht doesn't hurt my eyes like these lights do.


So I'm very impressed with this kit and highly doubt I could have spent the same money or even more and gotten anything better. I had an incident while testing the overflow again today and all I can say is I should have finished all the kind of testing in the garage. So I had to wet/dry vac my carpet and have a fan blowing on it to evap. the rest of the water. But I think I got it working perfect so I can hopefully start working on the land area this week =)
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Old 11-15-2005, 07:49 AM
 
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Well I haven't updated this in a while, mainly because my dad decided he better hurry and send the digital camera back before the waranty expired to get something fixed. At least I got to borrow my GFs really nice digital camera so i'm not too upset. Anyway, I have finally finished all the plumbing along the bottom of the tank, everything is glued up to the bulkheads. I'm still working on the design for the main tank so nothing is glued there yet. Also I got the overflow pretty quiet, almost to the point where if my room is dead silent, it sounds like someone is faintly filling a bathub in another room with the door closed. The pump humming is more annoying that it. In fact my 72 gallon tank has both an Eheim 2217 AND a Fluval 304 running right next to my head and the little Via pump is louder than both of them from across the room :/

Oh well, we had some extra 1/4" Cork panels from the addition we did last year that I decided would work great for sound deadening the sump. So I stapled those all along the walls/front/back of the stand where the sump is. I also put some pipe insulation around the tube going into the sump.....which doesn't really help at all but I had it around. Anyway here are the pictures.

Here is the plumbing to the sump. Also you can see the cork panels over everything.


Now I'm quite lazy and as you can see in the last picture there is some mysterious pip on the right that goes into the sump and then through the back of the stand. Well that comes out to the shelf below. I started a siphon the shut off the ball valve. Now every week when I do a water change I just put a bucket under there, open the valve and fill it up. I have never seen it done before, but man it's gonna make life easy for me


Here is a full shot for those of you having trouble picturing it. Ignore the bags on the bottom, as you can tell I have made a lot of trips to home depot/the Do it Center.



And that's not everything I got done I went to a local supply yard to pick up some flagstone to make the seperator between the land/water. 44lbs of stone cost me 9$. I then broke it into small pieces with a hammer/chisel then siliconed them together. It looks like stacked stone veneer. I wanted a dark stone so it would pull your eyes away from the main tank and could be hidden by moss/plants so it's not so unatural. I also slanted it inwards at the waterline so frogs will have no trouble getting out if they happen to fall in. In fact it worked out just perfectly so there is a ledge right at the water level; almost perfectly in line with it.

Here is the wall before I put it int he tank. I temporarily put cardboard under it untill I can decide what will really go between the rock/glass.


And here is a front shot of it in the water. I'm going to either attack java moss or xmas moss to the stone and hopefully it will grow across the face of it.


And here is a top view of it. The sketch on the back is of my design for a 3 tiered waterfall that I'm gonna form out of foam. I'll bet you won't believe that for work I do hand drawn conceptual plans for a landscape/pool company :P Trust me it looks a little more proffesional there.


Well that it so far. I ordered driftwood last week from ebay so hopefully that should be in soon and i can finalize the bottom and get the backround done Enough of this boring hard work/planning, I want to get to the fun stuff.
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Old 11-15-2005, 12:32 PM
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Nice work Biznatch,

What kind of frogs are you thinking of. I notice that your land area is quite small, so I assume you are thinking of some sort of arboreal thumb. Are you planning on keeping fish as well? Iím just wondering why you have such a big water section. I suppose it will be good for rearing tads in the tank, if you donít add any fish, and the flow is not too strong.

Also, are you planning on running that waterfall 24/7? If you are sensitive to water noise I think that may drown out that air pump you are already complaining about.

Hope I donít seem overly negative. That really is quite a beautiful job that you have done. Oh, one more comment, if you are concerned with placing the stone wall on the glass bottom, you might try putting down a thick layer of silicone on the bottom. You could let this harden and it will act as cushion for your wall. As for securing the wall simply siliconing it to the sides of the viv should work.
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Old 11-15-2005, 03:43 PM
 
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For the waterfall I bought a second pump that I'm going to put on a timer to shut off at night, unless it's quiet. The highth of it might be changed a little bit, I haven't finalized the design yet. Also the the land area is actually bigger than it seems. It's almost 12"x12" on the longest parts. I calculated it at liek 110Sq. inches, which is a bit smaller than the 18 talls most people use.

As for frogs I'm most likely going with like 5 or 6 Imitators. I'm not sure yet how many, I need to find out what would be ok since I have no experience with thumbs.....Or any darts for that matter. The tank is a bit over 33 gallons total. As for fish I want some really nice colored guppies, and maybe some endlers. Also gonna have some khuli loaches cuz they are just the funniest fish ever. I don't know if any of them will be big enough to bother the tads, but that's could be because I'm not 100% sure how big the tads are. There will be a few broms though for them to lay also.
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Old 11-15-2005, 03:43 PM
 
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Lame somehow made a double post ops:
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Old 11-15-2005, 05:06 PM
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Biznatch,

Sounds pretty well though out. I would suggest not mixing guppies and Endlerís as my understanding is that they produce infertile hybrids. I could be wrong on this, which would mean that they produce fertile hybrids (Definitely frowned upon). The Endlerís may leave tads alone. The female guppies will eat them.

Please keep posting, this is really going to be a nice viv.
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Instead of keeping more species, why not do more with the species you keep?
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Old 11-15-2005, 05:17 PM
 
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I will probably only have male guppies since the babies will have no real predators in the tank so the population will get too big too fast with the small amount of water I have. Plus the females don't look half as nice as some of the nice male guppies I have seen. And thanks for the info on the endlers, I had no idea that was possible. Especially since they are like 1/3 of the size of a guppie. I was thinking of some killies, but any tad that got into the water would be toast for sure, plus I have a feeling they would jump out of the water and get stranded on thel and portion. My male Fp. Garderi (sp?) dissapeared from my open top 72. I have a feeling he leaped out and I just haven't found him yet.
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Old 11-16-2005, 12:43 AM
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If you give the imis places to raise their eggs away from the water, some nice water holding broms and film canisters, I think its not real likely they will drop tads in the water, especially with fish. The idea behind PDFs having so much parental care and what not was taught to me as a way for the frogs to move the delicate tadpole stage away from bodies of water with predators, aka fish. I don't know if they'd look at the water and go "oh crap, fish", or are just innately programed to go to broms or similar water holding containers, so I'm not really sure how it'd work in a tank.
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Old 12-02-2005, 07:03 AM
 
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Well it's been a while since I got some work done on the tank since it isn't my only hobby. I have been busy planning my new computer to build/watercool/overclock. Plus work and school don't help. But I have finally gotten around to getting some real work done on the tank.

I put a layer of silicon on the sides of the tank and under the land area to hide the PVC pipe for the overflow/return from the sump.


While breaking some of the rocks to fill the gap between the glass and the rock wall I smashed the tip of my finger with the point on the rock hammer. Left me a giant blood blister that was like 1/3 the size of a dime :evil: but I finished it all so I could get started with the foam.

Here is a closeup of both the return and the overflow before I glued them to the tank.



Now here's the supplies I needed to start foaming the back. Those gloves were ABSOLUTELY necesary. I can't imagine not having them, I couldn't find anything to remove the foam when it was wet. I tried denatured alcohol, paint thinner (worked better than anything else, but still really bad) and would have tried Acetone if we had any. This stuff sticks to everything.


Here it is half way done. The pvc coming from the back is to just prevent the foam from going in the bulkhead and messing it up. I'll finalize the output for the waterfall when it's dry.


And here it is done. This stuff does dry very quick. I sprayed it and it felt almost completely dry by the time I came back from dinner like 30 minutes later. It took 2 seperate sprays to fill the lower part of the waterfall enough. Now I have lots of carving to do tommorow lol.


I bought the coco bedding today and soaked that. It should be dry tommorow so I'll pick up another tube of silicone and hopefully get the backing on. It's unbelievable how much that stuff expands. I put 1 brick in a 5 gallon bucket with 4qts of hot water and the bucket is almost 1/3 full of the fiber and no water :shock:
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Old 12-07-2005, 07:29 AM
 
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I have kept busy over the last few days and even with finals here I still managed to find time to work on the tank. With the foam sprayed on very thick I had a lot of carving to do. One thing I noticed was that even though it comes out and instantly expands quite a bit, as it dries it expands a heck of a lot more so the background is a bit thicker than I expected. It goes past my black silicone sides in a few places but it's not very noticable.

After spending around an hour carving, I found the absolute best tool to use in a hack saw blade. Its nice and long and flexible enough to do just about anything i needed. Here is what it looked like after heavy trimming. You can see the waterfall finally taking some shape.


And here are the supplies for the background. This is only like 1/20th of the coco fiber from the brick. If I had known they expand so much I would have only used a chunk of it. This silicone is aproved for food contact so I think it will be ok


Now it's jsut about done, I have some patching up to do but I'm giong to wait untill I test the waterfall in case it needs to be changed.


And the tank is now finally back in my room. Here is some pictures of the back of the stand for the watefall/sump drain plumbing. You can also see my planted 72gallon in the background :P




Now for the sump shot. Lots of stuff going on in there and I don't even have my canister filter/heater yet. But it's in the cabinet so no one will see the mess :P


And finally here is the tank on the stand with the 2x36watt AH kit on it.


I have to get 1 more piece of PVC for the waterfall and do a little modifying to the 2 tiers so it will flow right then I'll get some pics of it running. That's on my list of things to do tommorow, then I'll patch up that background and be done.

Now I need to order my plants, I have most of the ones I want in mind already, but epiphyte jungle isn't shipping till Feb. What are some good places to get them online that are shipping right now. I want to get them in and start growing.
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Old 12-07-2005, 12:56 PM
 
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coming along great... thanks for the detailed pictorial. I was hoping you'd post a pic of the smashed finger, though.
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