Mazeus' "cheap And Cheerful" 150l Build

Mazeus

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I thought I would start a thread to keep me focused on my goal of a minimal cost set up. I really wanted a bigger tank, but I have limited space and can't really justify spending too much on a set up.

I live in a tiny old house. Space is always an issue. I have a natural spot for an aquarium between a chimney breast and a (load bearing) partial wall. It's an odd shape (70cm wide), but I knew I could get at least a 90 L in there. I have removed the dado rail, in preparation for an aquarium.

So, I have been trying to find a used tank that would fit in this space. I found a 150l (67cmx53cmx48xm). The tank was built for marine, but I'm using it for freshwater. I paid £50 for the tank, the light, the heater, 2 bags of aquarium sand (unused). The tank had only been in use 6 weeks when the previous owner upgraded.

I bought an air pump and sponge filter (currently in my 15g getting seeded with BB) for £26.

I am building a breeze block and timber stand. I got the 2" x 4" planks from the local wood recyling project £4. I am trying to get some cheap/free breeze blocks.

My plan:

Plants-
Crypts - Wendtii and another which has brown crinkly leaves but I have lost the tag(I already have both growing in other aquariums and can take a division for planting)
Alternathera reineckii (I already have this plant and will take a division)
Java fern (already have this)
Anubias- need to find some cheap

Decor-
Driftwood or bogwood- I plan on going foraging on the beach
stones-Again foraging

Livestock-
1 BN pleco
6-8 cories (open to suggestions)
10-12 tetras (neons? or green neons?)
2 Honey gourami (Again open to suggestions for alternatives)
a couple of mystery snails

Hopefully keeping this thread going will motivate me to keep up on the low cost build.

Total spend thus far= £80.

 

Coradee

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Sounds like a great project, look forward to seeing it progress
 
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Mazeus

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Well, I have learnt a few things about myself. Firstly, I am not very efficient at DIY. In putting together this build I have:
1. Dropped a large 4X4 piece of wood on my foot (it was a loverly shade of black and blue for a while).
2. Cut my hand "catching" a falling saw by the blade. Why did I do this? I don't know it was stupid.
3. Trapped by finger between two concrete blocks, and I am sure there is more to come.

So, update. I found someone selling 16 concrete stones + broken pieces for £10. I collected them and I now have a DIY stand which cost a total of £14 to build.

The aquarium is a perfect fit. Less than 1 cm on either side. I'm very pleased.
 
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Mazeus

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Mazeus and fam went to the beach on Friday to find some driftwood. I brought my driftwood inspector along. She clearly felt some specimens were sub-par and these had to be destroyed.

I boiled or baked the wood to sterilise. My kitchen had an interesting sauna smell all day.

Now the wood is in the aquarium under some pretty hefty rocks to get water logged.
 

scarface

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By the expression on that dog’s face, I take it the wood tastes really good.
 
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Mazeus

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scarface said:
By the expression on that dog’s face, I take it the wood tastes really good.
She loves chewing on wood, silly ol' thing. She doesn't swallow it (I don't think), she just likes to chewing it to bits.
 
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Mazeus

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Well, I am a bit puzzled about the aquarium. Yesterday I noticed that the water was getting quite cloudy in the aquarium. It looked like an algae bloom. At the moment, I have it all set up and have some plants, rocks and driftwood in the tank. I hadn't planned on starting to fully cycle the tank for a bit as I am still trying to waterlog the driftwood. My tap water tests as having 0.25ppm ammonia, so it is completely possible that the tank would begin to cycle on its own.

I decided to test the water and I found that there was 2ppm ammonia! I now suspect one of the rocks I picked up whilst walking my dog is not aquarium safe. I've isolated the rocks to a bucket filled with water. I will keep testing that bucket to see if the rocks are the culprit.

Any other ideas about what could possibly cause so much ammonia to appear in a tank?
 
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