Bitseriously's Upgrade Build, With Pics

  • #1
In other threads, I've mentioned that I'm moving up from my 24" 20 gallon to a 36" 30 gallon in the coming weeks. I'm doing this to address a relatively minor overstocking issue (aqadvisor has me at 127%, upping to 30 gallon will put me at a more reasonable 87%). As much as I'd like to go bigger, a 3ft long tank is all I have room for.

So I thought I'd post pics and updates of the upgrade, as others have done. Right now, I'm building the stand. This will be a display quality tank right in our main (but small) living space, so I'm not interested in a bare 2x4 style stand. I also want open shelves (not cabinets), so there's not much point in trim or finish. Here's a couple of pics of the style of stand I'm going for, my inspiration if you will (this is not my stand).

00 inspiration.jpg

To give a sense of the starting point, here's my existing 20 gallon, on the basic kit stand it came with.

0 existing 20g.JPG
0a existing stand.JPG
Stocking includes pygmy cories (pygmaeus and salt 'n pepper), rummies and neons, 3 ottos and a honey gourami, and ghost and amano shrimp.

On to the build!

I started by buying a 10ft piece of 13" wide African mahogany, 1" thick, rough. The shop I bought it from planed all sides, and cut it to three 37" lengths, so the new stand will match the base of my new tank with about a quarter to half inch extra on all sides. After planing, it's about ¾" thick.

I used a 1/8" corner rounding router bit to take the sharp edges off all sides, top and bottom of each piece, and sanded with fine grain sandpaper. Here is the result.

1 unstained shelves.JPG

As much as mahogany gives a great reddish colour, I'm going with a walnut stain due to the existing furniture/décor in the room. Here's the wood, first sides stained.

2 stained shelves.JPG

And that's all I've got done for now, I'll provide more pics as it comes together!
  • #2
The 20 gallon looks great, can't wait to see the 30 gallon and the stand!
  • #3
I really like the stand you’re using as the mix of industrial and natural and simplicity of it.
  • #4
This looks good. Subbing
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  • #5
Even though the stand isn't finished, I want to get the substrate ready in the new tank. I'm looking at 3 options:
A. straight pool filter sand
B1. plant-ready substrate (eg Fluorite or similar), with PFS cap
B2. organic potting soil, with PFS cap

I'm leaning towards A. Simpler, easy to dose with tabs, easy to plant new plants, or move existing around, inactive and won't shift pH. Also, that's what existing tank has. Anyone have a different recommendation?
P.S. re B2, I'm stuck in southern Ontario winter, so no way to mineralize potting soil before installing, so it would have to be un-mineralized.
  • #6
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  • #7
TexasGuppy thanks for the suggestion, it's something I've thought about...
I believe it can be got up here, but I have enough PFS on hand that I don't have to buy more. My PFS gets a nice mulm on the top and darkens to a nice beige, so it's not as bright as some might think. Needs a little poking and turning now and then, but that's easy enough. Keeps a natural look, which is what I'm going for.
I do think that in a dark or dark-ish room, with light just from the tank, blasting sand looks awesome, it really puts the focus on the contents of the tank, like everything's floating in space, not just in the tank, but in the room.

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  • #8
Update: I had no idea it would take me this long to get this ball rolling. That's what you get from having a kid (how do those of you with more than 1 find time?), and a high-energy dog. First-world problems.
Last night I got the last of the prep work done on the stand, all I have to do is assemble it. My pics aren't turning out well, so best to wait till the stand is assembled for next set. Sorry.
BUT I wanted to ask about fish stocking. This changeover will be my only chance to net all of certain species out of the tank, so it's my only opportunity to make stocking changes for the foreseeable future. I currently have 8 pygmy and 7 salt and pepper cory, and I want to replace them with bigger species of cory. I'm keeping my rummy nose tetras, honey gourami and oto cats. For those three I think a good temp is around 77-79, any other suggestions? I've read that sterbaI are a good cory for warmer water, but how would panda, skunk, bandit, or false juliI fare? These 5 are the types I can reliably find in my area. I'm not interested in ordering online.

P.S. Here's a great argument for fully researching a project, and not making assumptions. See the 'inspiration' pic at the top of the thread? The shelves are secured to the legs with floor flanges. Which run about $5 each here (who knew?). So the unit shown above has 36 of those flanges (assuming the undersides of the shelves have the same number as the tops). That's $180, just in flanges!! I'm using way less (12), but I've already crossed the threshold where I could have bought a cheap (but functional) poc stand for less. [sigh]. and [argh].

  • #9
Lol I hear ya...2 yr old and a puppy here. What a great idea to get a puppy with a toddler running around!
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  • #10
Well, tank is up and running for about 10 days now, so I guess this is sort of the picture show at this point.
I ended up rehoming half of my livestock, 'cause I knew it would be the only chance I would get to net some of the smaller bottom dwellers in a well planted setup. Gone are 5 neon tetras, 7 pygmy cory and 8 salt & pepper pygmy cory. The tetras were quite aggressive with each other, and the corys were not really out and about ever. I kept a honey gourami (died about 5d ago, stress from losing his buddy before the move and new home etc), 4 rummy nose tetras, and 3 otos, along with 2 ghost shrimp, 7 amano shrimp and 1 nerite. I have since added 2 small GBR (maybe 1.25 inches in size, not incl tail fin) which I got from a clean source, so they went right into the new tank, and I have in quarantine 7 more rummies and 8 sterbaI cory (sterbais also fairly small, about 1" without tail).
Here the finished stand, with a few other shots to show finish, etc.

Originally, I was going to put felt pads on the bottoms of the legs, but it was too unsteady so they were removed.

I took a day off work to get through the actual transfer from one tank to the other. Here's the tank on the stand for the first time. Still empty. Final location will be off the frame to the right.

First attempt at placing all the major elements. I went with plain PFS for substrate, will use fert tabs under root feeder plants.

Didn't like how that looked, so changed thusly, achieving the classic 'sand path between rocks':

Then I started filling with water:

To be continued in separate post...
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  • #11
Water line higher, most plants in place. Plants left of centre include AR mini, water sprite, bacopa (new) dwarf sag, bronze crypt and limnophilia sessiliflora. On the small driftwood is some Anubias petite. Right of centre is more dwarf sag, amazon sword at back right, needle java fern, a few tall crypts (ciliata), Lagenandra, dwarf lily and more AR minI and limno. The moss on the large driftwood is weeping moss. and tucked into the moss is a teeny tiny anubias coffefolia.

And here's the tank after the background was stuck on (hate the bubbles, still have to do something about that.

Finally, I pushed, pulled, scraped and dragged the old tank out of the way and the new tank into place. And got filters, heaters and lights going.

I'll take some pics of the fish residents tonight and update later. I'm amazed at how much brighter the single 39W T5HO is than the old 10W cfl's (x2). I hope to see the plants respond soon. Keeping a close eye on algae!!
  • #12
Which plant has the red leaves? I'm having a hard time keeping my ludwigia alive.
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  • #13
TexasGuppy Alternanthera reinickiI ‘mini’ is the stem plant on left (and some behind driftwood on right), and dwarf lily on right (larger leaves, also on right behind driftwood).

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