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Thread: 'Dreamtime' - the life and times of my 600l showpiece.

  1. #1

    Default 'Dreamtime' - the life and times of my 600l showpiece.

    'Dreamtime'

    Goals:

    * I want this 6x2x2 planted tank to be a showpiece in the Grubs house.

    * I want it to be a conversation stopper and starter.

    * I want my kids to be enthralled by it.

    * I want Mrs Grubs to love it so much that she thinks it was money well spent!

    This is the biggest and best equipped tank I've ever had the fortune to own.

    This is my dream tank.




    (for now!)..lol

    Equipment:
    6x2x2 AquarWorld USA tank
    Custom Cabinet
    Halide lighting
    Pressurised CO2 - DIY reactor
    2x Eheim 2217 canister filters
    2 x Jager 250W heaters in DIY external enclosures
    DIY laterite/gravel mix + plants + fish


    The development of this project parallels my other big tank, 'The Snag'. I set out from the start to built two big tanks around the same time.

    'The Snag' satifies my native ecosystem recreation needs.

    'Dreamtime' is the realisation of my childhood dreams from drooling over pictures of planted tanks in brightly coloured Tetra fish food pamphlets at the LFS 30 years ago.


    The Cabinet

    I'm a DIY nut, but this time around I decided to get a cabinet custom made for me to my specs. Years ago I had a 5x2x2 in my lounge room on a pine stand I made from offcuts and it was always a sore point with Mrs Grubs because the stand "made the room look crappy" and my lame attempts to cover it up with black cloth and staples .. were just lame. I can make functional cabinets that look pretty good - but they are still a step away from classic furniture. This time around it has to look schmick!

    In May I comissioned Mastercraft Specialty Furniture in Melbourne to make my cabinet. Dean at Mastercraft specialises in aquarium and reptile cabinets. I found him via the Melbourne Trading Post. Top bloke and a good price. The cabinet is veneered chipboard, MDF and pine. Double thickness on top and all stained and sprayed with an epoxy clear-coat inside and out to provide extra water resistance.

    For the look I was aiming for I wanted a cabinet to be bigger than the tank. I had it made with a solid top so that later on I could use it for a different sized tank, or perhaps two smaller tanks. I was originally planning a 5x2x2 braceless tank sitting on a 7ft cabinet but the quote on the custom build was just too expensive. I had the cabinet made 2100mm long (7ft) and 700mm wide to be big enough for a 6x2x2 with some extra in case the braceless 5x2x2 wasn't a go-er.



    Inspiration for the galvanised ripple iron on the cupboard doors came from pictures of Eddie's DIY stand in the Feb07 comp on this forum. Care for a glass of red?

    I picked up the tank in the first week in June, but didn't get the cabinet until July (i.e. the cabinet was a long time in the making and I told them not to hurry as all my free time was spent assembling 'The Snag' anyhow).

    All up I waited from March to June until the tank arrived in the country, and May to July for the cabinet. Then July to mid-August (now) until I had the time to assemble it all! You just can't rush a big tank build... even if you want to!

    Lights!

    Lights are 3 x 150W shoplighters in a DIY kit form. When Corallights.com.au voluntarily closed shop and I got a runout deal on electronic Osram Powertronic control gear units. An ebay lighting merchant got the shoplighter housings (pre wired). I ordered 8000K globes from watergrass.net in Hong Kong.

    I wanted an open top tank - so the lights are mounted on square-tube poles.

    From my good mate Mr Bunnings I got some galvanised metal gate parts.



    The parts with angled ends were cut in half to make the top section that the lights mount onto. I then painted them with Dulux metal epoxy "aluminium" hammertone from a rattle can.

    The long tubes were bolted using U-bolts to the back of the cabinet. I spaced them out from the back so that a magnetic cleaner could fit between the tank and the light poles. I don't really like painted backgrounds in tanks - but I could slide a backdrop between the tank and the poles if I wanted to in the future. The polished cabinet top is removable and I took it off so I didn't wreck it while messing with tools fitting the lights.



    Wiring is threaded up the middle of the poles. Lights are mounted directly onto the poles (not suspended on wires), so to adjust how close the lights are to the water surface I can loosen the U-bolts and slide the poles up or down.



    On each light head there is the 150W halide fitting plus a low-voltage (12V 20W halogen) for sunrise and an extended sunset period - so we can enjoy the tank late into the evening in subdued light.

    Here is a tip for you. Getting the cabinet level on an uneven slate floor with 8 feet is a PITA. Get adjustable leveling feet. I didn't. I bought some 75mm wide 3mm thick latex rubber from Clark Rubber. Under each foot I put two pieces of rubber to build up the thickness - this spreads the load of the foot over the uneven slate tile surface. Then as the floor itself wasn't level, I used 75mm squares from 5mm and 3mm MDF - sprayed the visible edges black, then packed each foot accordingly. It took the whole morning to get it level.

    Now bring in the Aquar-World 6x2x2 with polished edges and black silicon goodness imported all the way from the USA for $400. How do they do it! The tank is sitting on 19mm polystyrene. I wrapped black waterproof gaffa tape around the edges of the foam as it is visible under the tank. This blends nicely with the black silicon so you don't really see it.


    With sunrise/sunset lights only (photo taken during the day)





    LET THERE BE LIGHT!






    I have always planned to enclose each lighting head in a metal cover that will also extend down a little to reduce light spillage into the room. Now that I've made the lights I actually like the industrial look of them as they are. I think to reduce dust buildup I'll end up covering them up but there is certainly no rush to get that done now.



    Minor setback - 2 of the 3 electronic halide ballasts are buzzing - not too loud, but they are supposed to be silent. To their credit I rang Osram Australia to ask a tech how much noise I should expect. They were happy to replace the units immediately after I explained that I bought them from a business that closed its doors. Excellent service indeed.

    Planting and plumbing coming soon!
    Last edited by Grubs; 16-08-07 at 12:15 PM. Reason: speelung

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    1,019

    Default

    It's looks like it's going to be wicked. The lighting looks great, really makes it a spectacle
    Last edited by Danus; 16-08-07 at 09:31 AM.
    Study how water flows in a valley stream,smoothly and freely between the rocks.Everything even mountains, rivers, plants and trees should be your teacher - Morihei Ueshiba

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Duncraig, WA, Australia
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    699

    Default

    Hey

    Loving this journal

    Looks very professional

    Looking forward to seeing this progress!

    I'm already jealous!

  4. #4

    Thumbs Up

    booze and aquaria nice choice!

  5. #5

    Default

    'tis a beautiful thing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Sydney
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    2,391

    Default

    I like the way you have mounted the lights Is it possible to raise them a short distance, should you wish to do so in the future? Just curious, I think their current height will be okay for what you have in mind.

    If your snag setup is anything to go by this will indeed be a masterpiece worth drinking to

  7. #7

    Default

    I'm wow'afied!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Perth WA
    Posts
    927

    Default

    Woohoooo, looking awesome Grubs!

    Your goals were the same as mine...I wanted a showstopper and talking point all in one. I bet you can't wait to get this sucker filled, scaped and planted to see all your goals come to fruition!

    I love your light setup. You have done a great job running the cabling inside the light mounts.

    What are you planning for substrate in this tank?

    Cheers,
    Mark

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Melbourne, Roxburgh Park
    Posts
    2,277

    Default

    Ill drink to that

    No really, that is a great project you have going there and a great goal.
    Im a fan of the polished edges and black silicone after seeing the snag

    Keep the news coming!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Victoria - Sth East
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    Default

    Its looking outstanding Grubs, that wait for the cabinet was well worth it in the end, its definately not worth rushing these things. I hear your pain with the leveling tho, my tiles are way out (using lino offcuts to level mine) so I can imagine how bad the slate must have been. The tin also looks a treat and will go with the feel of the room and blend in nicely with the slate floors, good choice! The mh's came up very nice indeed and it was good on osram's part to help you out there too, its always good when service is better than what you expect. I'm sure we're all looking forward to this tank being completed more than you! You'll have to buy an extra special bottle to pop in that rack on completion day, and drink it at the end of the tanks life, hopefully many many many years down the track.

    Cheers,
    Cloudy
    If you kiss a fish, you'll both get practice

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Kardinya W.A
    Posts
    119

    Talking

    I was happy to buy a juwel aquarium until i saw your set up. Looks absolutely great! I will be in trouble with the mrs now that i tell her i want one just like this.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Morley, Perth, WA
    Posts
    685

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    we can tell already, its going to be incredible. This is kind on my dream tank too, but you beat me to it, plus im still renting so yeah, maybe some day. Ill just copy you lol.
    Ant

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Victoria - Sth East
    Posts
    877

    Default

    Just noticed the wise move, your 3d mh art work looks way better than the picture on the wall
    If you kiss a fish, you'll both get practice

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria
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    Mate, that looks awesome.

    Did you end up putting water in it like you said you would.

    The cabinet looks great. He did a woderful job on it.

    I don't mind the industrial look either. I looked at the gate posts as well before I decided on aluminium.

    The sunrise/sunset halogen lights are a great idea. Because of you and cloudy, I might have to incorparate them into my next lights.

    Looking forward to seeing this one complete. Going by the "The Snag", I'm sure this one will be just as good if not better.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Don Valley
    Posts
    2,072

    Thumbs Up

    What can i say Shane.

    In the tradition of fat pizza it looks '' fully sick '' .

    Seriously it is coming along perfectly as we would expect from your last tank. I am interested to know where you are going with this one. Stem plants in the rear followed with wood and fern in the mid ground sounds nice. I know you would like to have both, and as Amano has proven it can be done.

    Im not sure when you are looking at planting, but i have some Amano journals with some interesting ideas that i think would suit what you want. Most are on the adaeuro site anyway.

    I love the lights, i am scaping a 6x2x2 myself in the next couple of months and was wondering how i was going to light it. Looks like you have provided a perfect solution and also a supplier lol. Mine is going to be IWAGUMI, yes im addicted.

    Anyway, fantastic. I also look forward to another parma at that pub it was killer.

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