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Kit vs DIY for native aquarium

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#21 Guest_EricaWieser_*

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 02:07 PM

Hi Erica - This is an excellent idea (love inexpensive solutions) but I am wondering if you have them hanging from the ceiling by chains or if you have somehow figured out a non-hanging method. Thanks,

Sitting right on the tank. Pictures:

#22 Guest_RichardSFL_*

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 01:59 PM

Thanks, Erica - I'm buying one today.

#23 Guest_gzeiger_*

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 04:35 PM

Typically a light fixture of the same nominal dimension will sit on the tank rim. A "four foot" 55 or 75 gallon tank is 47.5 inches long, while a "48 inch" shop light fixture is built to house a 48 inch bulb, and overhangs slightly on the ends. Provided you keep fish that don't require a tight lid (be careful with this!), you can just set the light on top.

Basically every commercially available filter will filter your water adequately. Your choice really just needs to consider how you want it to look in your tank. Hang on back and air driven sponge filters will splash the surface, which can result in hard water deposits on lights and glass covers over time, or mildew if you have a wood cover. Canisters solve these problems but are very expensive ($50 or so on Craigslist usually; $180+ new). HOB filters additionally are noisy, which can be good or bad depending if you like the sound of running water in the room. Personally I like a spong filter driven by a small pump, which is completely silent, non-splashy and efficient. $15-20 for the sponge setup, $20-30 for the pump (Home Depot or Ace, more like $80 at Petco). Use a 2-3 inch piece of flexible plastic tubing to mount the pump where the air riser tube would go. This setup tends to clog though, due to algae growth promoted by the high flow rate and the efficiency of the sponge as a mechanical filter. I found it to need maintenance about biweekly, consisting of squeezing out the sponge in a bucket of water. My use of Erica's cat litter may have contributed though; a lot of what I rinsed out appeared to be mud.

If you suspend a light with chains and have the tank uncovered, I highly recommend an air-driven sponge filter for both price and function.

#24 Guest_EricaWieser_*

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 07:17 PM

HOB filters additionally are noisy, which can be good or bad depending if you like the sound of running water in the room.

You can adapt a soda pop bottle to reduce noise and splash of the waterfall.
Here is a DIY guide: http://www.petfish.n...currentkill.php

The vast majority of filters sold in the US are of the Hang-on-Back type. These typically have a 'waterfall-outlet,' where the water falls down out of the filter into the tank. The obvious problem is that as the water falls from the outlet, it accelerates under the force of gravity until it reaches the waterline, then creating a strong current.

The secret to stopping the current is to simply obstruct it. The most efficient way to do this is to use the body of a half-liter soda bottle. I will now describe how to construct the device.

Step 1: Start the incision...
You must first cut the soda bottle appropriately to prepare it for mounting. On the right, you will see a diagram for the first cuts, labelled "Cut 1." You must remove the two ends of the bottle, leaving only a smooth cylinder from the center of the bottle. Next, you need to tear off the label and cut the cylinder along its length, right next to the strip of glue, as shown in diagram "Cut2." You should now have a simple sheet of curled-up plastic.

Step 2: Duct Tape and BubbleGum
This step is very simple: simply tape one end of your plastic sheet - the end with the glue on it - to the top of the filter, and bring the other end around under the outflow, as pictured at left. (I outlined the edge of the sheet so you can tell where it goes) Then you're done

My use of Erica's cat litter may have contributed though; a lot of what I rinsed out appeared to be mud.

Yup. Kitty litter is mud. It's dusty at first. I never had dust after the first three or so days, though. Was your kitty litter pushed up into the water column by a strong current? That might cause more dust particles to suspend in the water. Otherwise they're denser than water and as long as there isn't a current actively suspending it, the dust stays down on the ground. I have only an AquaClear hang on back waterfall filter on my tank, no powerhead. I haven't cleaned out the filter sponge for about half a year now and it still hasn't accumulated particles.

Also, for what it's worth, maybe it's the cheap $5 or $10 air pump I'm using in my sponge filter or something else, but the sponge filter is single handedly louder than all of the other filters I've ever run combined. Cheap air pumps are super super loud. My AquaClear waterfall filter is completely silent. If the impeller ever gets worn down you can buy a new one to make it super silent again. AquaClear also offers a lifetime warranty on their filters so they'll replace any non-silent parts for free. I guess both sponge filters (air pumps) and waterfall filters can be loud if you get low quality models of either.

Edited by EricaWieser, 01 April 2012 - 07:25 PM.

#25 Guest_Difrano_*

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 12:26 AM

Finally after 2 months, I managed to setup the tank, its a very low cost DIY tank but with my 4 y old boy was a very nice experience!

Tank: 55 gal used from craigslist 20$
Stand: custom design reusing pine wood, my brother in law as a woodcraft hobby and did it for free :D. 0 $
Substrate: 1/2 inch of wild dirt + 1 inch of stream sand + some gravel. 0 $
Driftwood: collected form a small creek near my house. One of them floated after the cleaning. 0 $
Plants: Some collected other purchased at LFS. 5 $
Filter Fluval C4 HOB, found a great price at Amazon. 49 $, Plus i got a 10 gal tank at yard sale for 5 $, I may use it as a sump if i need it.
Light: Ultra bright LED strip 30 W + LED Driver: $24.99
Canopy: Home depot 48x12 wood. $5.99
Water test kits: 20 $.
Need to find some nice rocks to complete the tank, but here in central FL its only sand, dirt and more sand.....

Fish: On Sunday I went fishing with my son and collected several minnows, we also got a small bluegill and a pleco?!!? we used a small dip net to get them, basically i was trying to fish and my boy was crashing all around with the net trying to get fish for the a aquarium, he did a very nice job.
As I said before i'm new to Florida-USA fishes I will post better pictures later for ID.

I cycled the tank fish less and only on sunday added the fishes, I will remove the bluegill tomorrow it will eat all the minnows and my boy just love them, he sit for 30 40 minutes in front of tank watching the minnows.
I'm feeding the minnows with slow sinking micro pellets (dont remember the manufacturer), the minnows love them.

Some pictures:

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The water is not full clear due to the tannins on the wood.
As you can see i tryd to keep it as low cost as possible, now lets hope that it doesn't crash

Thank you all for your advise!

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