I've recently acquired a 20+year old tank - 400mm Depth x 800mm Length x 350mm width. 110~ Litre tank. It housed the same fish for most of that time. Pebbles, he died, then I got given the tank. It has a lid with inbuilt dual florescent tubes.
I've cleaned it all up. Except I can't get some limescale / markings off of the back around where the water level use to sit, tried several chemicals with one of those metal fibre kitchen scrubber things. That may not matter though...
Plans for the tank - Make a background for the tank, it'll be along the back (covering the limescale) and along the left side. I'll be using Styrofoam, 100% silicone and cement. I'll add a small piece of pipe to one end for the filter inlet, and somehow incorporate the outlet into it, whilst still being removable.
LED lights, I'm toying with the idea on replacing the florescent tubes with strip LED lights ran off of a small 5w plug (Same set up on my bookcase). As well as incorporating some single LED's into the background toward the bottom of the tank, a bluey/uv colour with any luck (Probably just be a blue and purple LED sat next to each other).
Insulate the tank. The Styrofoam back and side will help with this, but I'll make this better with that foil bubble wrap insulation stuff. You can get it for £12 a roll from toolstation. This will be going on the bottom, the back and left side, and also the lid. Why insulate my tank? Don't have the heating on in the house much in the winter! Don't want the heater running all the time. It's also cheap enough that it should save me money in around 6~ months.
DIY inline heater. I have a semi-submersible heater, I think the controls have to stay above the water level, I don't want it in my tank. So I will be making this out of waste pipe. It'll connect to my filter.
What I have so far -
The tank. The lid, with 2 florescent lamps, ballast and starters in the lid itself. Stand with cupboard Nitrite, Nitrate, PH check solutions. Tapsafe stuff, although it's in German, Google translate here I come. Net, glass scrubber thing 150w heater fluval in tank filter
Just bought an Hydor Prime 10. To sit under the tank in the stand, I'll put a little shelf in so it's as close to the tank as possible as it only has 900mm head. This will fit well with the background I'll be making and also the heater I'll be making inline.
Also Bought some plants off of Ebay, £7.50 for 25 plants, they're small. They've also been delivered and I'm a long way away from having the tank set up. Whoops, any ideas for keeping these alive?
Planning on having zebra dannios to help "set up" the tank, don't know the correct term. Was going to get the tank set up, leave it a week then put some dannios in to help speed up the process as they're hardy fish.
Also looking for white sand, I can get 25kg of white aquairum sand for £22. But, I know childrens play sand is fine to use and that costs around £5 for a 25kg bag. So I looked into white sand, you can get 25kg from Buildbase for £6, but, after going in store, that's only in Scotland, I don't live anywhere near Scotland. I also know it would probably be too coarse. Any ideas where they sell white sand at a reasonable price?
That's about it I guess, I can never remember the names of fish, or other names of things. I used to have those tropical fish that were like micro eels, I really liked them. Also think I would like some shrimp, maybe a crab. I'm not sure if shrimp and crab can live together? Then whatever my partner wants, probably colourful fish like a Siamese fighting fish or something.
Just a couple of points to mention. You'll need an ammonia test as well as the nitrite, nitrate & pH - liquid tests for all of them, not paper strips. You also need to know your water hardness to choose fish - usually, your water supplier will have a page on their website where you can enter your postcode and get a report on your water quality including hardness.
Please don't use fish to cycle the tank. That's how we did it in the old days, but things have moved on and it's now understood that whilst so-called hardy fish can survive cycling, they do suffer pain and irritation from ammonia in the water as well as longterm problems with damage to their immune system and a shorter lifespan. The best way to cycle is fishless, using household ammonia as a substitute for the fishes' waste products. Full article here:https://www.fishkeeping.co.uk/articles ... hless-cycling-article.htm
I have no idea where you can get inert white sand from and it's likely that the sand you've seen is crushed coral sand which will raise the pH in the tank, which you won't necessarily want depending on the fish you decide to keep.
The "micro eels" you mention are possibly Kuhli loaches. Crabs will eat shrimps, as will a Betta so if your water happens to be suitable for a Betta, I would omit crabs/shrimps.
I've insulated my tank, made a foam/ concrete background and am just waiting for the silicone to dry. Then I'll be filling and emptying it all week until the cement is inert. I have covered it with clear plasti-cote so that should help.
I've also made an inline heater, which is controlled by an external heater controller with a temperature sensor I'll be putting in the tank near the filter intake.
I've got some tiny terracotta pots on the way that I'll be using for Khuli loach hiding places part buried in the sand. Got 25kg of white sand, haven't tested it yet, but hopefully it's inert.
Thanks for your advice, it really has helped. I've uploaded (I think) an image of the tank with the background in and where the filter inlets and outlets will be going roughly.
I've bought some LED strips to replace the florescent tube lights. Went abit over board ... 80w of LED light strips. 4 metres of 5630 cool white and 2 metres of 5050 RGB. Both ip65. Then had to buy a driver for them as my 2a 28w plug I used for an old set of led light strip wasn't much up to the task. Thinking the white may be too bright, I currently have an inline led controller which states it can do 3x 4amps. The LED strips combined pull less than 7amps so I'm assuming this controller will be up to it.
I'll post more pics when I've done more if people are interested.