29 gallon budget build

Discussion in 'Members Fish Tanks' started by chevyguy8893, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. c

    chevyguy8893 Well Known Member Member

    Planted 29 gallon budget build

    *Seeing how this thread is incorporating the complete build and journal of the tank, I reorganized some to put most of the information here in the first post that will be updated as needed. The build itself is the only budget part of this, the rest kinda went haywire :D*

    Newest update (3/13): https://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/...618-29-gallon-budget-build-3.html#post1535146

    Equipment
    - Aqueon 29 gallon display tank (courtesy of a petco $1 per gallon sale)
    - DIY 20L sump/refugium (also $1 per gallon)
    - 3/4" CPVC from overflow box to the sump inlet
    - Marineland Maxi-jet 1100 soft plumbed with 3/4" acrylic tubing back to the tank...~5 feet of head pressure
    - Aqueon pro 150
    - DIY Rex Grigg CO2 reactor on the return line
    - DIY raw aquarium stand
    - Aquatop 10 watt inline UV sterilizer...runs an opposite schedule of the photoperiod

    For the many plants
    - Pressurized CO2: Milwaukee MA957 on a 5lb CO2 tank...turns on 1 hour before the lights and off 1 hour before the lights
    - Catalina Solar 96 watt T5HO (display): 2 6700K, 1 Tahiti Pink, and 1 460 nm blue...2 6700K on for 8 hours and tahiti pink and 460 nm on for 2 hour "noon burst"
    - AquaticLife 24" 48 watt dual T5HO (sump): running one AquaticLife 10,000K for vegetative growth and one ZooMed FloraSun for possible flowering...runs same schedule as the CO2
    - 40 lbs of Eco-complete in the display and 24 lbs of Floramax in the refugium

    Fertilizing
    - KNO3
    - KH2PO4
    - K2SO4
    - Plantex CSM+B
    - Flourish Iron
    - Riparium Supply Gro Soil Tabs

    Flora (updated 3/13/2013)
    [TABLE="class: grid, width: 500"]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Submerged Plants[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]Riparium Plants[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Alternanthera reineckii 'cardinalis'[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]Asclepias Curassavica 'gold'[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Alternanthera reineckii 'rosaefolia'[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]Hemianthus Callitrichoides[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Ammania bonsai (true rotala indica)[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]Pilea Cadierei 'Minima'[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Cryptocoryne wendtii 'Florida sunset'[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]Outback sunset[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Didiplis diandra[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]Ruellia brittoniana[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Hygrophila pinnatifida[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]Ruellia brittoniana 'Katie's dwarf'[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Helanthium bolivianus [/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]Taxiphyllum barbieri[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Limnophila Aromatica[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Ludwigia Inclinata var. Verticillata 'Cuba'[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Ludwigia 'Atlantis'[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Ludwigia x arcuata[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Mayaca fluviatilis[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Myriophyllum mattogrossense[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Phyllanthus fluitans [/TD]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Ranalisma rostrata[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Rotala macrandra 'green'[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Rotala najenshan[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Rotala rotundifolia[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Staurogyne low grow[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]

    Fauna (updated 3/13/2013)
    [TABLE="class: grid, width: 500"]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Bottom Feeders[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]6 Corydoras panda[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"]Invertebrates[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]4 Olive Nerites, and an unknown # of MTS[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [TD="align: center"][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]


    A majority of this has been planned for a couple months, but with school it was hard to actually devote time to building this. So, as of today the sump/refugium has been built and each section that needs to hold water without leaks does. I received some unexpected help from one of my friends to build the sump, which made things much easier to do. If there is any interest I can add the plans for each DIY part.

    The sump/refugium (not complete)
    [​IMG]

    Inlet side
    [​IMG]

    Pump return area
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013
  2. jetajockey

    jetajockey Fishlore VIP Member

    Looks good. Have you run potting soil and high light before? Just wondering how it'll work out. I've done it with mineralized topsoil but have heard some horror stories about going high light with a potting soil tank.

    Get more pictures this build looks really interesting. The aquaticlife fixture is a beast.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    c

    chevyguy8893 Well Known Member Member

    Thanks, I haven't tried potting soil under high light before. From those that I have talked to that have, it comes down to how the soil is prepped before use. It seems that the soil needs to be boiled for a half hour to kill all the terrestrial forms of bacteria in the soil, since they lead to a major imbalance when they die off. Also, the edges of the tank bottom have to be made up of the capping substrate to keep any light from the soil to help prevent algae. As for how well all that will work, I am not sure, but I am interested to see how it all works out too. If it grows plants as well as my emersed ones, I will be happy.

    There will be a lot more pictures after Christmas when I get into the rest of the build. I really like how well the aquaticlife fixture works and is built. It has done very well on my 20 gallon, after everything got balanced out.
     




  4. jetajockey

    jetajockey Fishlore VIP Member

    I think the issue is with the organics in the soil resulting in a high level of nutrients in the water column.

    I don't know about there being a different type of bacteria in terrestrial vs aquatic, I'm sure some aspects are different but most productive soils maintain a level of moisture in them (think garden) consistently so that leads me to question that hypothesis.

    I'm using MGOC for my emersed tubs also, so I'm with you on that. I'm actually developing a new soil substrate for aquaria utilizing what I know about terrestrial gardening. We'll see how that works out in the next few months.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    c

    chevyguy8893 Well Known Member Member

    Yeah, that sounds to be right also. Apparently when the soil is boiled it removes a lot of the ammonia from the accelerated breakdown of the soil, and makes the nutrients easily available to the plants. I will have to watch the amount of dry ferts I dose, especially as the saf-t-sorb absorbs nutrients.

    That makes sense, since bacteria does seem to adapt well to a lot of different environments. Maybe it is meant to get rid of other organisms in the soil that would not survive submersed. I am still pretty new at all of this, so I am learning as I go making everything a project and learning experience. Hopefully the higher water volume and plenty of fast growing stem plants, the levels will be under control more.

    Making your own soil mix, that sounds interesting. You seem to know a lot more when it comes to this stuff than I do, so that would be neat to see how it all works out. All my emersed plants are pretty undemanding for soil, but if I decide to try some more sensitive crypts or bucephalandra I would look into more plant specific soils.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    c

    chevyguy8893 Well Known Member Member

    I didn't do much with this today, just toyed around with a small retaining wall idea. It is hard to picture this with the full layout which makes it hard to tell if I should add another layer or not. Right now the two layers of slate make it an inch tall. That will make the substrate roughly 3 inches deep there (soil and cap together). The mermaid weed (proserpinaca palustris) I have will probably go in that area. Any thoughts?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. OP
    OP
    c

    chevyguy8893 Well Known Member Member

    Between last night and today I got a good amount of work accomplished. The back of both tanks are now painted black using Rust-Oleum painter's touch semi-gloss black, and it was applied with a foam roller. Also, the stand is fully built and ready to go after 8 hours of work. I am not a carpenter by any means. It is unstained (and will remain that way), sanded smooth to bring out the wood grain, and secured with 3 1/2" brass colored screws so it looks nicer. The wood is just the straightest, and nicest, pieces of 2x4 pine I could find out of the giant pile that I sorted through for a half hour.

    Tomorrow I will be going out to search for a yoga mat, or some other cheap foam or rubber mat, to lay under the tanks to compensate for the stand settling. Styrofoam was a thought, but it just wouldn't look right. Anyway, here are some pictures, sorry not too much of the build.

    Painted Tanks
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Aquarium stand (inspiration for the raw stand came from hydrophyte's raw riparium stand)

    - Dado joint lines cut
    [​IMG]

    - Dado joint smoothed out and checked for the proper 90 degree angle
    [​IMG]

    - The finished stand, tops are 1/4" MDF
    [​IMG]

    - Underside of the top
    [​IMG]

    - Underside of the bottom
    [​IMG]

    - Dado joints
    [​IMG]

    - Finished with empty tanks
    [​IMG]
     
  8. jetajockey

    jetajockey Fishlore VIP Member

    Those dado joints look sick. I want to try them out but am waiting till I get a half decent circular saw, the one I have is ancient and doesn't cut very straight =/.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    c

    chevyguy8893 Well Known Member Member

    Those joints did come out nice, but not without a lot of work. I didn't realize that the table saw I was using was actually angled when it was set to zero and my circular saw didn't help things much on the other end. It was worth the work to have a stand that could distribute the weight better.


    I got around to sifting, boiling, and then rinsing the dirt today. For the first 10-15 minutes the fumes from the dirt smelled horrible. It did smell like ammonia and something else, but for the last 20 minutes it just smelled like mud. The safe-t-sorb also got sifted and rinsed heavily. It seems that sifting it removed the tiny particles that could float or breakdown easy, so that leaves the nice, big, pieces of clay. I did add eggcrate along the edges of the 29 gallon, and the capped substrate is 2 1/4" deep which should work out well. I may bring the depth up to 3 inches with some more safe-t-sorb. I also picked up all the plumbing (using 3/4" CPVC), black krylon fusion, and a couple of work mats that I cut to fit under the tanks. The cost of yoga mats, or any workout mat, is ridiculous.

    - Sifted dirt before boiling
    [​IMG]

    - Eggcrate cut and placed
    [​IMG]

    - The dirt spread out (1 1/2" deep)
    [​IMG]

    - Capped (it should look nicer when the tank is filled)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. aylad

    aylad Well Known Member Member

    Very nice. What exactly do you mean by "work mats"?
     
  11. OP
    OP
    c

    chevyguy8893 Well Known Member Member

    Thanks, I guess I should have given more details on that lol. Here is the ones that I bought.  

    The mat is thick, but not too thick, and is also supportive without smashing down too easily under weight. I don't know if anyone has tried it for this purpose, but it seems to fit the bill.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    c

    chevyguy8893 Well Known Member Member

    Well, the top half of the setup is running :D. Right now I am running one AC20 from my 20 gallon and a new AC20 that is for a different tank. It took all day to fill the tank since I didn't store enough RO water for mixing. The tank is a little cloudy, but not too bad at all.

    The substrate came out to 2 3/4" deep with and extra inch of depth behind the retaining wall. Sometime this week I should be getting a used Eshopps overflow for free instead of building an overflow, if not I will stick with my original DIY plan. Between tonight and tomorrow I will be moving a majority of my plants over and then doing a water change. The light is just hung by chains for shops lights, so it doesn't look very nice, but it serves its purpose. I really like how nice the safe-t-sorb looks in the tank, even without plants, and I am glad I sifted out the small pieces that would have just got blown around. If all tests well with the plants added by thursday, I may be moving my fish from the 20 gallon along with the AC50.

    - Close-up of the substrate
    [​IMG]

    - Empty FTS
    [​IMG]

    - Retaining wall
    [​IMG]
     
  13. pirahnah3

    pirahnah3 Fishlore VIP Member

    the tank is coming along very nicely!
     
  14. soarl

    soarl Valued Member Member

    Looking great man!
     
  15. OP
    OP
    c

    chevyguy8893 Well Known Member Member

    Thanks guys! It has been a fun build so far, and I am glad I had help along the way. I almost have my friend, who has only done saltwater reefs, wanting to set up a planted tank :D.
     
  16. p

    porkozone New Member Member

    Looking good! I appreciate the photos of the stand build - I am considering something similar for a 20 long, and this helps me visualize what I'll need.
     
  17. jetajockey

    jetajockey Fishlore VIP Member

    Have you been testing your pH?
     
  18. OP
    OP
    c

    chevyguy8893 Well Known Member Member

    Thanks and I'm glad it helped some. If you need any other info on the stand, let me know.

    Yep, here's the starting points.

    - Aerated 50/50 tapwater mix in a bucket
    pH: 7.4 -7.6 (at the extremes of both test kits)
    KH: 10 dKH
    GH: very soft (instant color change)
    all nitrogen sources: 0 ppm

    - Tank water without plants for ~24 hours, no CO2, and no plants
    pH: 6.6
    KH: 5 dKH
    GH: same as above
    ammonia: 0 ppm
    nitrites: 0.25 ppm
    nitrates: 40 ppm

    Those were not the results I was expecting to see today (even though I couldn't find any tests ran by anyone else), but I am actually happy with the soft water conditions unless the KH is stripped completely. I am guessing that this is due to the safe-t-sorb more than anything. I am going to move some of my fast growing stems and frogbit to take up the excess nutrients, but I think I am going to leave the more sensitive plants in my other tank for a bit because of the climbing nitrates.
     
  19. jetajockey

    jetajockey Fishlore VIP Member

    Yeah that's what i was wondering. I was curious if the fired clay did anything to GH.

    If you decide to dose Ca/Mg in a substantial amount I'd be curious to see if it lowers the GH over time.
     
  20. OP
    OP
    c

    chevyguy8893 Well Known Member Member

    I am probably going to be getting GH booster or seachem equilibrium so I can add those minerals back. When I do I will keep track of how that changes too. At least now there is evidence of a pretty big change in water parameters with this substrate mix, and the KH will probably drop even lower with the amount that is in there. From what I have read it takes around a week for the substrate to stabilize, but I'll find out.
     




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