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55 Gallon Mbuna (P. saulosi) Project/Build

Discussion in 'General Freshwater' started by Zbbal, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. Zbbal

    Zbbal AC Members

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    Hello everyone.
    This build/project thing is going to be for a 55 gallon Lake Malawi Mbuna biotype, species-only tank of Pseudotropheus saulosi.
    :perv: I'm posting it here in General Freshwater because I'll probably need some really basic help along the way.

    On Friday I went to go buy a $50 dollar 50 gallon aquarium, and ended up getting a 55 instead. Sweet. It came with a 48” F40T10 Daylight bulb, a Tetra Whisper 200w heater, and an Aqua-Tech 30-60 filter.
    [​IMG]
    Got it home, and on Saturday I cleaned it out with some warm water and a rag. Not perfect, but I got out the piles of cigarette ashes (Weirdest thing I’ve found in a tank). Then I filled up the tank with about 10 gallons of water, because I was worried about the bottom seals. The tank has black silicone haphazardly spread all over the outside seams, and I’m still trying to figure out why. Will most likely scrape it off soon. Later today I’m going to one of the big hardware stores to pick up some sand and some egg crate, then I’m going to go pick up some other aquarium supplies nearby.
    [​IMG]

    Regardless, here are my plans:

    Lighting: I’m just keeping what I have. It’s a 40w bulb, and I doubt I’ll need more. It’s really bright and very white.
    Substrate: Hopefully pool filter sand, but maybe some type of play sand. I don't need any buffering for my well water.
    Décor: Rocks. Lots. I live on a lake (or a giant mudding area since they drained the lake for Winter), and I have some of Tennessee’s finest rocks at my disposal. I’ll just boil them, cool them, silicone them together, then plop them on the egg crate.
    Plants: Um, none probably. I might add a few Java Fern for a splash of color, but otherwise no.
    Heater: I’m going to buy another heater (200w or 300w) and use both in the sump....
    Filtration: Now we’ve gotten to the fun part. I’m going to do a DIY sump-wet/dry-overflow-filter thing. I’ve been reading articles for days, and all of my mental compasses are pointing in that direction. I have lots of the parts needed for most of the plans I’ve seen online, and this is a cheaper alternative to buying a canister filter. I can get the whole system for less than $35 and have more power behind it. (Well that, and I bloody hate canisters. I had one once, and I about threw it against the wall.)I’m also going to use the Aqua-Tech filter on the tank itself since it has a long uptake spout that will reach almost to the bottom.

    Within the next week I plan to have the substrate and decor finished, and hopefully begin cycling the tank while only running the HOB filter. I figure that I can get most of the beneficial bacteria growing while I'm designing and working on the sump-wet/dry-overflow-filter thing. I know you can't give these things a due date, but I'm hoping to have everything finished (including settling in the fish) by mid-March.

    I'm just getting back into this hobby after a long hiatus, so I'll probably make mistakes and need lots of suggestions, but I hope you enjoy watching this all come together. I'm really coming to love
    Pseudotropheus saulosi, and I want to show how beautiful by giving them the best environment I can.
     
  2. livebearerfreak

    livebearerfreak you are hypnotized! LOL

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    awsome! any updates? and what is the deminentions of the tank? looks like maybe a 4 foot 75? ( 4 foot by 18 by 21 high )
     
  3. rufioman

    rufioman "That guy"

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    Sweet, dude. Subscribed!
     
  4. Zbbal

    Zbbal AC Members

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    The dimentions are 48" long, 13" wide, 21" tall, so it's a 55 gallon.
     
  5. Zbbal

    Zbbal AC Members

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    My only update at the moment is that I got some QUIKRETE Pool Filter Sand, washed it out, and put it in the aquarium on top of some eggcrate. I really like the color, which is a more natural stone color than white sand, but it's way too dusty. I rinsed the sand 20 times and it's still dusty and clouded the aquarium. I had to do a few water changes before the water cleared. Overall though, I'd recommend the sand if you have the patience to work with it.

    I've also been checking the water in the tank, and I'm naturally getting 8.2pH which is awesome for cichlids. The hardness, etc is perfect too. To avoid messing with the pH any, I've decided to just use natural slate from the lake. It's free, and it's not as heavy as the rocks I was looking at before.

    I'm also purchasing a 300w heater from a member here on the forum, so I'll have 500w between both heaters. The 200w alone can only get the temperature up to 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Last but not least, I'm working on the design for the sump filter, and it's going great. More details on that next time I update.

    Overall though, it's going good. I don't have internet at my house anymore, which has prevented me from updating constantly. Hopefully that gets fixed soon. There will be pictures next time though! Thanks for subscribing and viewing!
     
  6. markus789456

    markus789456 AC Members

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    With the quikrete i just put a bunch in a home depot bucket then kept the hose running until it was crystal clear took about 30minutes but did the job
     
  7. Zbbal

    Zbbal AC Members

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    I would have done that, but we don't have a hose so I had to manually get water from the tiny bathroom sink and fill the bucket to rinse it. At least now when I mess with the sand in the aquarium a giant cloud of dust doesn't come up.
     
  8. johnlarson66

    johnlarson66 These Pandas Rock

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  9. markus789456

    markus789456 AC Members

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    Oh god that had to been annoying and messy. Luckily at my house we have a garden hose in the back and front of the house :) making life easier for things like this lol
     
  10. Zbbal

    Zbbal AC Members

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    Hey everyone, I've got a few pictures of me putting the QUIKRETE into the tank. Not exciting, but well...it's pictures, right?
    [​IMG]
    As you can see, the first batch wasn't that cloudy, but then I added the second batch and...
    [​IMG]
    Bam! Sand cloud! So I let the filter run for 24 hrs and got a milky water quality...
    [​IMG]
    I don't have pictures of after the water change yet, but the water is now clear and doesn't produce dust clouds when the sand is stirred.

    As for for the sump/filter/wet-dry thing, I've decided to go with a slightly modified version of this...
    [video=youtube;RxaNI5Omt-s]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxaNI5Omt-s&list=FLW6zRHsAjDwFWyKtofD10mQ&index=1&feature=pl pp_video[/video]
    Help and advice are greatly appreciated.

    Not really a major update, but it's something I guess...hope I'm not boring anyone.
    More updates soon!
     

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