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-   -   [buildlog] first tank 30g (https://www.dendroboard.com/forum/parts-construction/241858-buildlog-first-tank-30g.html)

kromar 06-09-2015 11:53 AM

[buildlog] first tank 30g
 
hi everybody, i recently got my self a tank to get some nice piece of jungle into my living room:D

this is the first time im building something like this so im always happy about feedback and suggestions how to do things or what im doing wrong.
i most likely will have lots of questions which, but ive already used this forum and other resources extensively to get all the basic knowledge that i need, so i will be asking around.

got the tanks and did some leak testing, also wanted to see what the pump can do
http://i57.tinypic.com/2ujhvrl.jpg

found a nice log on a walk but not sure if its good to use in the tank
http://i57.tinypic.com/24yocat.jpg

doing some landscape planning, the idea i have in my mind is to have the area where no styro is with water, but at this point i dont really know how to do that
http://i57.tinypic.com/2qi065g.jpg

some testing with foam. ive seen a youtube vid where really nice forms could be created by covering the foam with sand so this is my first attempt at this (heres the link https://youtu.be/ELtoOJKgfKM )

covering the foam with sand
http://i58.tinypic.com/240ygd2.jpg

uaaahhhh i do not have enogh sand:o
http://i61.tinypic.com/2me0ax.jpg


oh no it doesnt stop to expand:o (this was fully expanded)
http://i59.tinypic.com/314umoh.jpg

next day i removed the sand and found some really interesting looking structures below:D
http://i60.tinypic.com/14udtgm.jpg

i removed the borders and the foam that was not covered with sand and did some refinement of the structures, im really happy how this first version turned out. it will serve as the back wall but most likely will need some adjustments
http://i62.tinypic.com/25zotvk.jpg


so the next step will be to figure out how i construct the water area on the bottom and see how that back will fit into the pictures.
also i will need to figure out how the wood will be integrated. a lot to do and a lot of fun:D

hope you like it and i get some feedback

Sigis 06-09-2015 02:46 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
Okey, expanding foam and sand is awesome! Definitely gonna try this some time! Your background is goint to be great.

kromar 06-09-2015 04:08 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sigis (Post 2394050)
Okey, expanding foam and sand is awesome! Definitely gonna try this some time! Your background is goint to be great.

i was thinking of throwing some gravel and smaller rocks into the sand mix, that might give some more spice to the background:o
thanks, i think i will need to do some more foaming to fit the water tubing inside and create some places for small pots. also need to foam in the wood that i cut down to fit in to the tank:D
but not sure if i will go with that big one or rather use a couple of smaller ones. but for sure i want some kind of small "roots" in the bottom of the tank that extend into the water area:D

http://i57.tinypic.com/2qc2jhf.jpg

i was also talking with someone about the back wall and he told me it would be better to use a concrete mix instead of the silicone/coconut fibre because that will come off eventually.
any tips what to use on that back wall?

Sammie 06-09-2015 04:18 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
I think the wood fits the tank perfectly, however it looks soft and might decompose quickly.
Where in Europe are you from? You can get egg crate here, it's just a little more expensive.
I posted some links in this thread, both to places that sell egg crate as well as a link to a ebay seller that sells very cheap filter foam which is a great alternative.

Y0urbestfriend 06-09-2015 05:36 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
Looks awesome so far! I love how much texture the background has already. I'd suggest you maybe put in another piece of wood in the right corner against the background, you can never have too much driftwood in my opinion :)

kromar 06-09-2015 05:36 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sammie (Post 2394106)
I think the wood fits the tank perfectly, however it looks soft and might decompose quickly.
Where in Europe are you from? You can get egg crate here, it's just a little more expensive.
I posted some links in this thread, both to places that sell egg crate as well as a link to a ebay seller that sells very cheap filter foam which is a great alternative.


its actually pretty tough, had to saw it all the way through, i was not able to break it. so maybe its harder than it looks:D
not sure what wood it is, maybe from an oak or something like that, i might check the spot where i got it and see if i can find out what tree this comes from.

thanks for the link, im from Switzerland so it will cost extra to ship here. but im sure i can find something similar here thats also cheaper, or maybe work with a different method.

as for the filter, i found some really cheap stuff at a local store:cool:

kromar 06-09-2015 05:38 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Y0urbestfriend (Post 2394146)
Looks awesome so far! I love how much texture the background has already. I'd suggest you maybe put in another piece of wood in the right corner against the background, you can never have too much driftwood in my opinion :)

thanks, and great idea:D i still have some wood laying around and want to get some more when i progress further. will definitely play around with some more wood.

Y0urbestfriend 06-09-2015 06:09 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
Subbed by the way :)

gdebell 06-09-2015 06:39 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
Good job on the sand and foam background. First time I've seen that.

kromar 06-10-2015 11:02 AM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
the second bake is on its way:D

this time i try to foam in the wood and add some more volume so i can route the tubing up on the right side and along the top. but its going to be a really tight fit, i hope it will fit into the tank when its dried:o


http://i60.tinypic.com/24pw3dt.jpg
and fully expanded (used more sand to cover this time)
http://i58.tinypic.com/2mhwlzd.jpg

i also started a 2nd part where i wanna try some things for the bottom area
http://i62.tinypic.com/1490lx.jpg
fully expanded (with lot less sand, used most on the first part)
http://i58.tinypic.com/286q2b.jpg

i was also thinking if it might be possible to create perfect fitting foams with this sand method. lets say we put a loose layer of sand on the first part of the foam and then foam on top of that, i think it should be possible to "break" the 2nd part loose and have it perfectly fitting together, which might allow me to put everything together outside of the tank and then put it together inside and seal it off with silicone or so.
anyone ever tried something like this?

kromar 06-11-2015 09:27 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
so heres another update:o

first part freed from sand, again a nice result:D
http://i61.tinypic.com/1znlobp.jpg
http://i61.tinypic.com/2v9dm5h.jpg
http://i57.tinypic.com/2duc709.jpg

the 2nd part which had not much sand on it, this gives a lot of caves and overhanging foam. i think its nice that the amount of sand results in different results and can be controlled really easy. however this kind of result will be really hard to make water proof.
http://i62.tinypic.com/14jq0ld.jpg
http://i62.tinypic.com/2hojn9c.jpg

then i did some sculpting on the first part and removed the foam that was to much, mainly in the top region. i had an idea that i could route the water along the top so it would run over the top down, but i will see if that is good at a later stage i guess.
http://i58.tinypic.com/214a6hv.jpg

now i tried to fit it back into the tank but the wood was to long:(
http://i61.tinypic.com/11qmz5x.jpg

so i had to cut it a bit back and i was able to put it back in:D
http://i59.tinypic.com/1rqiz9.jpg

now after all that work i realized that i really have not thought much about plants so far so now is a good time to start planning where i want some plants and i started fixing some small pots in. the nice thing about the foam is that its really easy to tear out a part and add some new bits to make it work.
http://i57.tinypic.com/16h1af6.jpg

and here is what i most likely will be using the 2nd part for, the plan is to make a border for the water/plant region and use the inner part for a water filtration system like in a aquarium pump... no idea how good this is working or its working at all, so maybe if you have some experience with this im happy to get some feedback.
http://i59.tinypic.com/2aeotjq.jpg
http://i58.tinypic.com/2iq1ci.jpg


so far im happy but making really slow progress, now i think the hard part will begin, which includes the integration of the water system and the plant regions:o
i have not yet figured out how i want/can solve the filtration and the cleaning of the pump but i hope the build will lead to some elegant solution for that problem:cool:
again im always happy for feedback, ideas and critics. since its the first time im doing this i guess im building some mistakes into this which i am not aware of:o

kromar 06-12-2015 07:14 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
a small update with the plant spots foamed in
http://i59.tinypic.com/2vua2vk.jpg

rigel10 06-12-2015 10:30 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
I really like how it turned out your background, it is very effective, but I do not like the white foam so at sight. Iwould put a bit of silicone and sand to eliminate these bare spots (which are like an eyesore) waiting for the green plants completely covers them.

kromar 06-13-2015 01:54 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rigel10 (Post 2397010)
I really like how it turned out your background, it is very effective, but I do not like the white foam so at sight. Iwould put a bit of silicone and sand to eliminate these bare spots (which are like an eyesore) waiting for the green plants completely covers them.

thanks, its not finished yet, so there will be a cover over the whole background:D

kromar 06-14-2015 10:32 AM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
i did some testing with cement yesterday and learned a lot about that material which is nice. however, the result so far is not so nice and i do not like the basic color of it and will have to add some color to the cement.
im also experimenting a bit with different mix ratios to see how the material varies, but this will take some time since the curing phase can be really long (but i probably not need to fully cure for testing)

if anyone is interested in some details how to work with it, i found this to be very informative Delaware Reef Club

http://i58.tinypic.com/nodq4n.jpg
http://i61.tinypic.com/sg5ndg.jpg

a test piece where i try a thicker layer to see how the stability will be and will probably cure it a couple of weeks:o
http://i58.tinypic.com/o8i1kj.jpg

i also built in a filter cage for the pump, next will be to route the tubes behind the background
http://i57.tinypic.com/vyukh3.jpg

kromar 06-24-2015 07:36 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
an other update, i was not able to do much because i had to wait for the cement color which finally arrived:D but i did some water testing to see where i want the drip, and also had plenty of time to think about how i do the bottom part so i can access the pump.

heres a pic of the water test, theres some goo growing on the wood... not sure what to do about that, but since i will not have any animal in there for now i guess i can see how it develops (since its my first system im thinking about just to try how manage the whole thing and only think about animals when im knowing what im doing and its safe for them.

http://i61.tinypic.com/t7hjep.jpg

the different colors that i ordered
http://i60.tinypic.com/o9k3li.jpg
and some testing how much color is needed and also some different mixtures.
from left to right
cement:sand: color
black(1:2:1), black(1:4:0.1), brown1(1:6:0.1), mahagony(1:6:0.1), no color
http://i57.tinypic.com/9srslf.jpg

i did not mix the teak brown but i get a good idea how it looks since the color is pretty much what it is in the bag. so far the mahagony brown looks most natural to represent soil but the plan is to do bit a mix of all also some brighter grey to get a nice rocky/soily looking background... but i will let the examples cure for a week or so to get an idea about the strength of the mixture and the final color (if that changes at all).

kromar 06-30-2015 09:05 AM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
the different mixtures turned out to be really unstable so i setteled for the 1:2 mix
http://i61.tinypic.com/iyjvk6.jpg

and finally did the first layer of cement on the background
http://i62.tinypic.com/20fs3t1.jpg
http://i59.tinypic.com/fk1fv4.jpg

so now i let it cure for a couple of days and apply the next layer. that one will be a bit thicker and should allow me to do a bit more sculpting but i have to see what kind of rocky surface i want to recreate... need to do some googleing.
if you have some inspiration please feel free to post some links.

rigel10 06-30-2015 09:43 AM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
I like it. It seems to me that the grid under the door of your viv is too large, so the fruit flies go through it.

kromar 06-30-2015 10:19 AM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rigel10 (Post 2407922)
I like it. It seems to me that the grid under the door of your viv is too large, so the fruit flies go through it.

yes i noticed that, also on top theres the same grid. but for now i will not put animals inside till i managed the plant/climate stuff. i guess i could replace the whole thing with some finer meshing.

kromar 06-30-2015 07:10 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
did a 2nd layer today and worked in the tubing for the water channel:D
on the next layer i plan to use thicker black cement mix to try recreate some rock shapes and then go over some areas with some different browns and maybe a bit white color to get some contrast into the background.

http://i61.tinypic.com/68y0p0.jpg

kromar 07-01-2015 07:24 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
started with the last layer and the sculpting, takes longer than expected and is not as easy as i thought but its fun:D

http://i60.tinypic.com/jipf0o.jpg

kromar 07-05-2015 06:33 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
did some more sculpting:cool: im pretty happy how it turned out but i might fill up some gaps since i think the features are a bit to small:o
http://i61.tinypic.com/21obj9.jpg
http://i58.tinypic.com/2uogidj.jpg

kromar 07-07-2015 08:34 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
almost one month of build time has passed and i finally moved the wall in the tank for watering it. meaning washing out the high ph that gets generated by the hardening process of the cement (if i got that correct). so the tap water that i use to was it has a ph of about 8.5 and after about 1 hour the water in the bottom of the tank is about 10.3 ph. i will change the water tomorrow and see how long it will take to reach that level again.. .and will do notes on that in the next weeks (hope not months till ph is down).

im really happy how it looks in the tank, cant wait to start on the bottom part:D

the thing where i failed is with the plant spots, i could not keep the water holes open (should have used some rubber tubes for that, and they got quite small. not sure if i gona drill some holes and seal the inside with silicone or so. but i have to come up with something for that.

so if one wants watering holes with cement use rubber tubes to keep them open^^

http://i62.tinypic.com/122owvk.jpg
http://i58.tinypic.com/24v4rqs.jpg

kromar 07-08-2015 05:22 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
i couldnt resist to put some green in there:O the moss will probably die because of the ph but at least i get an idea how it will look:D

http://i60.tinypic.com/2valb88.jpg

rigel10 07-08-2015 05:31 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
You did a good job! I know that shipping costs for Switzerland are very very high, but I know that there are frogs breeders in your country, which you can ask some plant cuttings or maybe you can split with them the shipping costs for collective purchases.

kromar 07-08-2015 06:17 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
thanks, still a lot of work to be done:D
i found some German sites which offer a lot of plants and also a nice place in Switzerland where they sell a lot of plants.
but i read here that its best to first choose the frogs and get the plants they like. i really like the yellow/black ones but maybe there are some frogs that really like a rocky habitat, so i am happy for some input:D

rigel10 07-08-2015 06:45 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
No problem about plants and frogs, unless you do not want a biotope vivarium. Climbing plants, as ficus, some ferns, bromeliads (these unnecessary for certain species), in short all plants typical of a rainforest viv, as you can see in many examples here, are good. These plants are also easy to find in local stores.
About frogs loving rocky habitat, I can think Hylolaxus azureiventris, but it is not easy to find these frogs. They are very nice frogs, but underrated.

kromar 07-11-2015 09:30 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
had to do some testing for the water/ground area.
i used hydroballs to get the ground above the water and used some bigger rocks to divide the 2 areas. it seems to work really good, so im considering doing it like this.
so the layering will be something like hydroballs>fleece>substrate>moss/plants/leaves but not sure what to use as substrate yet. gona have to do some researching, any tips are welcome;)

the idea is also to make the ground sloping towards the back wall but i have to rip everything out again anyways when the ph is down and do the final build.
oh and ph is down to about 8.9ph (peak was about 11:O)

http://i58.tinypic.com/2eow30x.jpg
http://i62.tinypic.com/2hgcnsn.jpg
http://i62.tinypic.com/35hl7yd.jpg

faspencer 07-12-2015 06:21 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
The tank looks gorgeous!


Sent from my iPhone

kromar 07-13-2015 05:25 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
thanks:D i hope the ph level will stabilize soon so i can continue to work on it.

for the ones interested how the ph evolves, im adding the daily mesurements to a google sheet

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...=0&single=true

kromar 07-16-2015 06:03 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
found some awesome looking wood yesterday that fits my idea really nice:D
so today i cut it up a bit to get it into the tank to see how it could look. i think its to much at the moment but it will give me some really nice options to play with:D
http://i59.tinypic.com/2vb05r4.jpg
http://i57.tinypic.com/11ajs4w.jpg

kromar 07-19-2015 09:16 AM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
i was on a hike yesterday and found some really nice mosses that were growing in some wet areas. so i grabbed some of them and also some ferns. since im still in testing mode with my tank i think it cant hurt to see what can survive:O
i also cut the wood a bit more and like the layout a lot like it is now:D


http://i61.tinypic.com/jg7fw9.jpg
http://i60.tinypic.com/2n6zq7t.jpg
http://i60.tinypic.com/2mnruk0.jpg
http://i59.tinypic.com/illzmh.jpg
http://i61.tinypic.com/2cnxp9t.jpg

i took to verry similar pictures that gave this depth effect:D dont look to long at it or you might get sick:D
http://i60.tinypic.com/24biv74.jpg

rigel10 07-19-2015 09:50 AM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
Please, stop the viv or you'll have to pick up the broken glass!:)
The last moss is very nice!

stingeragent 07-25-2015 01:48 AM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
That depth picture is awesome although think I may go puke now. Build is looking great. I'm about to start my first ever build soon.

TJ_Burton 07-25-2015 02:09 AM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
Great start, and fantastic custom background!

kromar 07-25-2015 08:20 AM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stingeragent (Post 2427202)
That depth picture is awesome although think I may go puke now. Build is looking great. I'm about to start my first ever build soon.

sorry:D unfortunately i can not edit the message, maybe i havent found the edit button yet...
let me know if you need any tips on the cement part, i think i learned quite some things doing this project. and let me know if you start a buildlog:D

Quote:

Originally Posted by TJ_Burton (Post 2427234)
Great start, and fantastic custom background!

thanks a lot, things start to grow slowly, its a bit a bad feeling to know that i have to take everything apart to finalize the installation:o

Map 07-25-2015 01:17 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
Looking really beautiful so far, can't wait to see it in action.

kromar 08-13-2015 06:56 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
heres a update how its going so far.
the ph seems to slowly drop so im looking forward to tear it down and do the final setup.

in the meantime i did try some different things with the water area,
i added some river gravel which i gathered at a local river and i really like the color variation that it brings with it:D
http://i57.tinypic.com/nnpdm8.jpg

a underwater shot
http://i59.tinypic.com/2cnzin8.jpg

and yesterday i got some echinodorus plants to see if they would survive in the tank and some fine gravel which will help lower the water level and give something these plants can dig into.
http://i59.tinypic.com/w0gyzo.jpg
pic from the side (sorry for the dirty glass)
http://i58.tinypic.com/fmkpw1.jpg

i really love the look of the bigger echinodorus but as far as ive seen the leaves will grow to a longer form. according to the naming it is this one
Echinodorus Dschungelstar Nr. 4 (E04 Echin. GRIZZLI-BÄR, Fa. Den - Aquaristik-Studio Heimrich

but ive seen one that would keep the round leaves which i will definitely get if this species survives in the tank.
Echinodorus cordifolius or echinodorus argentinensis (but will do some more research before getting one)


the cement at the top is getting some nice coloring due to the water flowing over it and some algee growth:D
theres also some moss that did not make it but also some moss that starts to sprout, like on the branch in the middle.
http://i62.tinypic.com/2d15pj7.jpg

i really learned a lot again and hope you like it and if you have any tips im glad for all the information i can get:)

kromar 08-24-2015 08:37 PM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
i decided to tear it down to get started with the final installation:o
there was quite some algee build up on the top part so i might move the light further to the front to avoid that or reduce the light duration but i will have to see what will work best.
so it will be about a week till i can start with the final setup, im getting excited:D

http://i59.tinypic.com/ve16jp.jpg

chillplants 08-25-2015 01:16 AM

Re: [buildlog] first tank 30g
 
I really like everything you have done so far. It should look real good once you get to the final build stage.


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