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Thread: 5ft bookshelf aquarium - plan/build

  1. #1
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    Default 5ft bookshelf aquarium - plan/build

    Hi guys,

    I am planning a new aquarium to replace my current 60p and 45p, I am limited with space but have never kept a big tank so I am planing a 5 foot bookshelf tank... a good compromise of big but compact! I really love the look of long shallow tanks. The tank will sit in the space the two smaller tanks take up in my study.

    Planning stage so I will update this thread with ideas and equipment choices, feel free to comment and add suggestions, the aim is to start the tank mid year, so plenty of time to save and plan.

    I am going to set a target budget of $1500 for the tank, stand, filter and light... if I can come under this fantastic.

    The tank is going to be custom built, at this stage the size of the tank will be:
    1500(L) x 380(W) x 380(H)mm x 10mm thick ultra-clear, rimless, clear silicon, the tank should come in at about $500 delivered.

    I am planing on using x2 Ikea kallax shelves as the stand with sheet of ply or similar across to top, I could be persuaded into a custom stand tho probably out side of my budget, unsure how I will position the filter/s? dont think I should be drilling holes into the sides of these stands to run the pipes... this is something to think about.

    Mockup below, should be about 2cm stand overhand on each end and 0.5cm front and back, anyone see any issues with this? I could possible ask for the tank to be made 4cm longer and 1cm wider but not sure how much this will drive up the cost...

    Hopefully I can hang the light from the roof, which is solid concrete.

    Last edited by doylecolmdoyle; 30-01-18 at 04:15 PM.

  2. #2
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    This will be a wonderful planted tank man once set up. Keen to follow along

    Have you thought about going up to a 6ft tank if you have the space? 5ft is an uncommon size and would make it harder to find a good light since they usually go in even ft sizes (2ft, 4ft or 6ft).

    You have a good budget and should fit everything in but the bigger the tank the higher the costs. Best to buy things on sale, on gumtree or even forum members.

    Good luck

  3. #3
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    Nice plan. I am more interested in what you have in mind for the scape.....

    Maybe go for 4 for 6 foot as lights are easier to find; unless you are thinking of DIY. MML light could be an option for this especially if you are hanging. Two tubes (get 60 degree lenses so you can hang high) will be low cost and could look sleek if you can manage a nice mounting solution.

    With your concrete roof, depending on your DIY skills, you could fix a nice wooden feature (maybe a mirror perhaps?) and hang your lights off that. Do you have power on your ceiling? If so, you can hide all the power cords potentially...
    http://homeguides.sfgate.com/install...ngs-26041.html

  4. #4
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    Cheers guys, should be a fun project and have a fair bit of time to plan, need to pay for the custom tank by mid March, then delivery isnt until July/August.

    I am really set on 5ft, fits the room perfectly, 6ft wont fit and 4 foot looses that long effect.

    I think the scape will be low light, no idea on the actual look yet. Perhaps I can get away with a 4ft light hung high over the tank, no power in the roof (im on the 3rd floor of a 12 floor apartment block) I could perhaps use a hanging kit if fixing to the roof isnt a option, will have to look into the lighting options and filter and how to hide the filter away... fun times!

  5. #5
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    Actually 2 Freshwater Prime HD might do although for a 5 footer you will need 3. Are you going for a low-moderate light scape?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebel View Post
    Actually 2 Freshwater Prime HD might do although for a 5 footer you will need 3. Are you going for a low-moderate light scape?
    Yeah low light for sure, prob just java fern and anubias and crypts, I think lights like Prime HDs would kill my budget, but perhaps cheaper pendants could work.

    MML look like a good option, tho no idea how to hang the tubes etc, I guess I need to buy some kind of empty "case"... much to learn!

    EDIT... looks like MML will do a 150cm panel, this could be an option @

    150CM TRIPLE ROW FULL SPECTRUM COMBO PANEL - MML-FWP3B-150

    2 x ROWS FULL SPECTRUM XB LEDS
    1 x ROW SUNRISE/SUNSET LEDS
    3W Power LEDS + RGBW 4-in-1 LEDS
    PAR 146 @ 45cm @ 90į (would go 60 degree)
    150W Power
    Hanging kit
    $397
    Last edited by doylecolmdoyle; 30-01-18 at 09:33 PM.

  7. #7
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    I would just hang the single tube to be honest. Get 45 degree lenses and hand high.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebel View Post
    I would just hang the single tube to be honest. Get 45 degree lenses and hand high.
    Any leads on some kind of panel I could attach a tube to? Never looked into tubes before...

    Edit - did a bunch of googling and I guess I would need some kind of fixture or reflector if I was to use tubes, they seem pretty none existent in the 5ft length and seem expensive, really leaning towards the 5ft MML Panel, probably way to much light for low light plants but gives me the options to go full high tech in the future.
    Last edited by doylecolmdoyle; 30-01-18 at 10:15 PM.

  9. #9
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    Dude the panel would go over your budget tho??

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebel View Post
    Dude the panel would go over your budget tho??
    Yeah would push it a bit, but should be ok... would leave about $600 for filter and some kind of stand...

    I know nothing about tubes... but seems like the MML tubes would need some kind of mount / fixture / hood I could suspend from the roof or hanging kit, just seems like it could get messy / bulky and the panels look nice and simple, pretty sure I have seen one at Dantrasy's place, looked nice...

  11. #11

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    I have 3 6ft MML tubes that I canít sell locally after I downsized to a 4ft tank. I have no clue on postage costs, if that might help keep your costs down and if youíre interested message me.

  12. #12
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    The tubes can be fitted with eyelets I think. The website has options for hang kit for tubes with pictures. Would look fairly sleek also although i would spray paint them black.

  13. #13
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    Also Matt's tubes could be cut to 5foot if you are handy with DIY.

    Two prime hd would be roughly $600 also.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by doylecolmdoyle View Post
    I know nothing about tubes... but seems like the MML tubes would need some kind of mount / fixture / hood I could suspend from the roof or hanging kit, just seems like it could get messy / bulky and the panels look nice and simple, pretty sure I have seen one at Dantrasy's place, looked nice...
    Happy to 3D print you something to mount them with, keeping it slimline/sleek etc. But you have to make it another blackwater tank hahaha.

    Keen to see the final setup for this
    "The stuff I buy is a bit pricey however it is as dry as a nuns nasty" - BigDaddyAdo

  15. #15
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    looking forward to your setup and in particular plant selection.. will be going low tech for my next tank

    will the IKEA bookshelf be strong enough to hold a 5ft? i reckon you will have at least 500kg of weight to hold up.

    In regards to filter placement, i noticed you are open to two cannister filters? if so, from my research i found best setup would be with one filter at each end but with the inlet and outlet hoses for each filter at opposite ends. The theory is that it will create the best water flow around the tank.

    if you go for two filters will you be placing inlet/outlets at the back of the tank or the sides?

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