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"Soggy Socks" - Don's new Cade build

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  • "Soggy Socks" - Don's new Cade build

    I'm starting a new thread. Possibly only for the benefit of myself, Grubs and siemanthepieman

    2020 was a great year. Somebody ate a bat. My USA trip was canned, I was forced to work from home for 10 months and then, as a kind of Christmas present, my multinational employer decided that if my job could be successfully done from my home, it could successfully be done from India for a fraction of what they paid me and so I was made redundant. I’d been working there for nearly a quarter of a century.

    As the market for fifty-something white male middle managers isn’t exactly on fire right now, and apparently, my CV is too “intimidating” to pull a job stacking supermarket shelves, I’ve had lots of time on my hands. The scrap-heap beckons.

    Due to COVID controls, I couldn’t have a farewell party, I had a Zoom call. This didn’t end well due to a local NBN internet outage. My colleagues got together and organized a rather extravagant cash gift to mark my departure anyway.

    What to spend it on?


    Something sometimes interesting (like my career),
    Something that would last a long time (like my career),
    Something that would be responsible for ruining a woolen rug (not all metaphors are perfect)


    Mmm… New fish tank… Cade… Good…

    My old aquarium really wasn’t THAT bad. Its last major tidy up was in early 2017 (so it was a little over 4 years old) but the hardscape, flora and fauna have been basically the same since 2013.
    I had no idea Boesemani rainbows lived that long.

    What the Corydoras Sterbai lack in longevity, they make up for in breeding capacity. The tank still has far more Sterbai than I ever purchased in it.

    Still, the MDF-clad cabinet/stand (dating from 2000) had quite a bit of water-swelling and fragmenting due to previous aquatic incidents. The tank itself, whilst a sound, watertight 4x2x2 had silicon corners applied by a drunk gorilla, thick plastic corner moldings, un-cleanable light-blocking bracing and sufficient iron in the glass to turn anything in it slightly greenish.

    As usual, everybody loved it except me.

    Last edited by dcm; 25-04-21, 09:03 PM.

  • #2
    The new hardware I’d selected was the “Cade River 1200”. This was because:

    (a) It looked fantastic
    (b) Refer (a)

    Sure, there were cool features such as a splash-proof aluminium/glass cabinet, a built-in tool rack (hmm, more on that later), low iron glass, rimless design but it was largely the right size and height for both my current house and a future house (I presently rent out) that I will ultimately move into.

    Really the 4x2x2 size (1200 x 600 x 600mm to use correct units of measurement) is not my ideal for aquascaping but since Joshua Lim (multiple world championship winner in aquascaping) uses this size, maybe I’m wrong.

    Really I would have liked the 5x2x2 but:

    1. It was more money than I had
    2. It wouldn’t fit properly in my next house
    3. I seriously doubted my capacity to manhandle a tank that size: tanks get heavier as you get older

    The only thing I couldn’t work out from the Cade website was whether my standard 6.8KG CO2 cylinder would fit inside the cabinet. The 20 year habit of having a CO2 cylinder sitting on our lounge room floor was tiring my betrothed. Hiding the CO2 cylinder was mission-critical.

    The aquarium I was going to order the tank off (the only dealer in Brisbane authorized for Cade) didn’t know and although they had one, it was in a crate out the back.
    Cade could tell me that the door gap was 680mm (the CO2 cylinder is 690mm) but there was “a bit more” headroom once inside.

    I took a punt and ordered the tank. I think the aquarium was slightly surprised to have actually sold one but were very happy with the order regardless.
    Naturally, Cade were waiting for a batch to come in from China and so I had a couple of weeks to plan.

    It seems that all Cade tanks here are “drop shipped”. The aquarium sells them but it is Cade that organizes for them to be delivered to your door. Or in my case, NOT my door…
    On a very, very wet late March day, a very, very large truck reversed up our short cul-de-sac. Whilst no expert in trucks, I would suggest it was a 10 tonner. The driver looked dubiously at my residential driveway.

    As it turned out, the driveway was irrelevant because he didn’t have any equipment to unload it.

    “I don’t suppose you’ve got a loading dock have you?” he asked, without much hope. It turns out, he usually does commercial deliveries.I waved goodbye to my new Cade as it went back down and out of our street in the same truck it arrived in.

    A few phone calls later and it became apparent that the couriers really weren’t geared for this game. They announced that “handling” the Cade would not be done by them due to OH&S considerations but they WOULD “re-attempt” delivery.

    The next day, another 10 ton truck arrived. It included a tail-lift, a pallet jack, and a driver with a less enthusiastic adherence to OH&S practices.

    It was still pouring rain and our steep, brick driveway (unnavigable by 10 ton truck) was a challenge. Even though we had it on the pallet jack, it took three people to push it up the driveway. Getting it across the threshold into the house was out of the question, let alone up the stairs. I found a tarp to put over it.

    cade_delivery on Flickr

    It wasn't broken.

    cade_not_broken on Flickr

    Yay, next to get it inside and upstairs...

    Comment


    • #3
      Getting the Cade upstairs was a bit of a mission. Crated, the tank weighed 103kg but needed to ascend some garden steps, a steep path, and another couple of steps if we were to avoid the horror that would be getting it up the internal staircase.

      I approached wife and remaining-at-home daughter for help. They disappeared so fast there was a Doppler shift. Their arses turned red on departure. I approached more people: other no-longer-at-home daughter and more crucially, her triathlon-running boyfriend. This cost me a dinner. A team of 4 thusly assembled, one person on each corner and nylon straps run under the pallet. As the path was narrow, we used a mover’s dolly and two people for the path section.

      It was with some relief that we got it inside with only one minor cut to my prospective son-in-law’s finger. Ironically, he didn’t do this on the tank but somehow did it anyway.

      “Try to keep the blood off the glass and carpet” I proffered helpfully.

      Uncrated, two people could lift the tank. The stand assembly took less than an hour although you do need to be at least somewhat handy with tools. I also had to drill some pilot holes for the cross-bracing as not all of them had been pre-drilled as per the Cade documentation. It was also necessary to drill pilot holes in the aluminium uprights to accommodate the side panel mounts.

      on Flickr

      Off to Clark Rubber and some “block out” window film when I then stuck to the rear of the tank. I know, all the great aquascapers use white film but I just don’t like it and I’m too lazy to clean algae off it every 4 hours because the white shows it so well.

      on Flickr

      I got a 1200 x 600mm chunk of styrene while I was there. Tired of dealing with anaerobic zones in higher substrate depths, I have a plan. I will cheat. I will use non-substrate materials to fortify substrate altitude where necessary and also as “plinths” for big rocks so I generally freak out less about having them tumble and crack the tank.

      I also took a whiteboard marker and drew golden ratio lines all over the glass and styrene.

      “Eeeek! Why have you drawn all over your new tank?” she cried.

      “Do you like it?” I replied. “I’m drawing in swim-lanes for the fish. It’s the latest thing in aquarium design.”

      She left.

      on Flickr

      This is a ROUGH outline of where we are. I have more rocks. These are just the “key” stones. That’s a dad joke.

      The rocks that are standing dangerously vertical, taunting gravity are in fact silicone-glued to styrene stands. A few seconds with a heat gun softens the styrene so that the upside “fits” to the rock and they stick quite well. They cannot fall (then again, the Titanic could not sink). The only thing that expensive “Starfire” glass base sees is cuddly soft styrene (why is the BASE made of Starfire also?)

      I have a near-infinite supply of these rocks (a kind of loose shale but not calciferous and stable in water – I have experience with them before). They can be split relatively easily and my house is built on them. I don’t know what I will do for nice-looking rocks when I move to my other house (which floats on semi-saline, saturated sand).

      on Flickr

      Furthermore to my ethos of “cheap or free” (let’s face it, I spent everything on the Cade), I found that el-cheapo Bunnings lawn edging can be cut by scissors and re-purposed as substrate supports. This will be necessary because I am planning this ‘scape to have terrain.

      In the rear-left corner, I have built a small walled-off section in styrene to provide sufficient water column depth for my filter intakes (it has two), a heater (yes, even in QLD), my PH probe and somewhere for detritus to collect so I can siphon it out easily.

      It’s a great thing I was able to find the rim mounts for my Ledzeal light since it was several years since I’d bought that light but stored those mounts away for safekeeping.

      Who would have thought that the back of a wardrobe in a spare bedroom was the optimal place to hide them.

      We are nearly ready to deploy.

      Except there’s an existing fish-tank in the way…
      Last edited by dcm; 23-04-21, 08:45 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Excellent choice of tank. The CADEs are nice and with my 90L AR620 being my ‘big’ tank, I’m well jealous - although my wife and wallet are both probably quite pleased.

        You set the bar high with your last tank. Can’t wait to watch and see how this one turns out. I like the rock placement so far.
        siemanthepieman - french for 'bloody legend'

        Comment


        • #5
          A change is as good as a holiday they say so on the tenuous veracity of that claim, I sent my fishies on an Easter break whilst I rebuilt their universe.

          Who could say “no” to the thought of a long-weekend spent inside a darkened wheelie-bin?

          easter_getaway_for_fish on Flickr

          The idea was that I could keep my Eheim 2080 running on the 100 litres or so the wheelie bin would carry to both keep my fish alive and also the filter bacteria. Because I plan ahead, the Eheim itself I had cleaned some weeks earlier so it had enough time to have fully cycled again but not so much time that it was awash with fish poo.

          Several monster-Boesemani, another 4 Lacustris, 2 Ottocinclis I hadn’t seen in years and only 13 of the original 6 Corydoras Sterbai I’d purchased remained.

          To say that the rainbows were excited by their stay-cation would be an exaggeration. Within seconds of loading them in, they started to jump out! Luckily, squishing around in a partially de-constructed planted tank a few feet away, I heard the curiously wet flopping noises before they had time to realise the magnitude of their tragedy and I could return them. I closed the wheelie bin lid. This didn’t change the activity but at least changed the outcome… Every 20 minutes or so, there was a dramatic “thunk” from the wheelie bin lid resulting in Piscean concussion instead of terminal dehydration.

          They’ve never done this before in their long lives and I forlornly considered their likely futures in the context of such new tricks being conducted from inside their new open-top tank. Visions of greeting the dawn to crispy-dry fish on the rug floated in front of my eyes in exactly the same kind of way that the crispy dried fish would no longer be floating.
          Most of the plants I sorted into various buckets and when I ran out of buckets, well, it’s good to have a 5,000 litre outdoor pond in QLD

          cade_s_repens on Flickr

          I was especially impressed with how much Staurogyne Repens I’d managed to grow. I’d bought two small Pisces Enterprises tissue cultures of the stuff about one month ago after finding it by accident. Now I have a solid bucket-full.

          cade_ground_0 on Flickr

          After several years in situ, behind and under the tank wasn’t the chamber of horrors I was expecting although a good vacuum and mop was in order.

          And then, with the help of a mate, we got the stand levelled and the tank into position. Don’t worry about the suspended wooden floor. A mate of mine who is a civil engineer checked it out with me 14 years ago before I first installed a 4x2x2. He told me “It will be ok, just put it up against the wall”.

          It turns out the “ok” and “feels ok” aren’t the same thing: walking up to the filled tank involved a curious “trampoline” sensation from the floor and the water sloshed.

          “I said it wouldn’t fall through, not that it wouldn’t deflect!” my civil engineer friend claimed after I complained. I wasn’t like I could ask for my money back.

          Three “C section” steel beams paired to the joists below later and the floor didn’t deflect anymore, at least nearly as much.

          And yes, the CO2 cylinder DOES fit into the Cade cabinet. You just have to lean it over a little to get it through the doors whereupon it can stand up nicely by itself. You can just see the top of it in the upper left quadrant of the tank floor right of the center brace.

          cade_in_place on Flickr

          Time to execute the plan.

          Comment


          • #6
            Definitely still jealous.
            siemanthepieman - french for 'bloody legend'

            Comment


            • #7
              Build day! Having already planned and prepared the core elements of the hardscape, fitting the primary rocks and styrene layers took all of 90 seconds. A few seconds with the heat gun (OUTSIDE the tank – we don’t use heat guns on cold glass) sealed off and smoothed back the cut styrene edges.

              cade_build_1 on Flickr

              This tank will (hopefully) have gravity-defying terrain: steeply sloped to augment the illusion of depth. The styrene certainly helped by removing 50mm of otherwise-possibly-anaerobic deep substrate towards the rear but it was not enough. “Power sand” or hundreds of dollars of some magic gravel?

              Nah… $9.95 bag of scoria (lava rock) from Bunnings. Massive surface area and further stabilized with about $0.15 worth of my $14.95 Bunnings lawn edging cut down to form substrate supports.

              cade_build_2 on Flickr

              On top of the scoria, to help further stabilize it I used (drum-roll) geofabric! Well, technically it wasn’t even geofabric. It was a polystyrene-derived porous packing cloth that furniture turned up wrapped in. It works like geofabric though.

              Substrate will be 2toned’s “CO2 producing” sand substrate. I’ve been using this for many years on a number of previous tank builds. I’m well familiar with it. It doesn’t offer short-term explosive growth (I’m VERY cautious with the blood & bone) but it has great staying power. I’ll get several trouble-free years out of this substrate and it is highly stable. The other great thing about it for the bit of it I couldn’t salvage from my old tank, I made fresh with another $20 worth of Bunnings materials.

              The entire substrate has cost me under $50

              on Flickr

              Initial dry planting: I salvaged most of the Micramthemum MC from the old tank, a bit like pulling up old carpet. I mowed it a little, laid it down in strips on the relevant bits of new substrate before pouring a little capping sand on top of it and rinsing it through to hold it in place. A few surplus E.Parviflora are now in my pond. Also, as a budding plant-snob, I ditched my remaining population of Stricta into the pond as well. As I live in QLD, they survive out there. There’s quite a grove of stricta in that pond and it flowers regularly. Quite a few swords to (Osiris, Bleheri and now, Parviflorus).

              Don’t worry about the unbalanced driftwood feature. I know. I have a plan.

              Trial fill.

              cade_build_4 on Flickr

              There’s always an air of tension when filling a brand new tank this big, listening for any creaks, cracks or pops, looking for any inexplicable moisture. Everything held. The rainbows in their wheelie-bin even seemed to sense the imminent appearance of their new paradise and spent that evening hurling themselves at the wheelie bin lid which I’d resorted to weighting down with a clamp. At least I knew they were alive.

              Later that evening, the Ledzeal transitioned to its “night” phase:

              cade_night_1 on Flickr


              Comment


              • #8
                Is there anybody out there? (Pink Floyd lyric)

                Comment


                • #9
                  And the next day, after a partial water change to flush out anything nasty that may have been lurking, I moved the fish back in. They must have liked it more than the wheelie bin. They didn’t try to escape at all.

                  cade_build_5 on Flickr

                  So I drank beer.

                  cade_build_6 on Flickr

                  Then, it struck me. Quel horreur! The piece of “driftwood” on the left hand side really didn’t match the piece on the right. It was supposed to look like a continuous branch that had broken in the vicinity of a golden-ratio-driven focal point.

                  Instead, the two pieces looked quite unrelated (they WERE unrelated, collected from different places, different ages, different wood). I decided to wander down to my local creek to see if there was some fallen, saturated red-gum debris I could salvage. Unfortunately, it had been raining a bit. Quite a bit. I heard the creek long before I saw it and when I saw it, I decided not to go anywhere near it.

                  moggill_creek on Flickr

                  Hopefully this will wash the gambusia and swordtails that have infested Moggill Creek out to sea and I can once again catch Pacific blue-eyes here when things calm down.

                  Rummaging in the 5000 litre uber-pond, I found some wood I’d chucked in from some previous puddle-pirating escapade. It was still floating a bit in one corner, ergo the rather awkwardly placed rock below. It’s also very soft. I’m not sure it’s going to go the distance but for now, it’s better than what was there.

                  This is where it landed.

                  cade_build_9 on Flickr

                  Now, we wait for the inevitable algae-spike and for the ‘scape to “grow in” a little.



                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hey DCM.

                    Great job. I just logged in now to the forum after a while. Good to see you making this build even though there is no one here lol.

                    The tank looks great man. The whole scape is impressive. I like it.

                    Also where did you buy those LED lights? They look great.

                    Makes me want to start a journal soon one day. I plan on upgrading to a 4ft tank.

                    Hopefully the older forum members get on here and take a look at your journal too. I'm sure they are out there still lurking in the wilderness. No thanks to the forum owner who screwed everything up

                    I'm going to go back and read through everything properly.

                    Don't stop man. Keep updating the journal.

                    Good luck

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Monty1089 View Post
                      Hey DCM.

                      Great job. I just logged in now to the forum after a while. Good to see you making this build even though there is no one here lol.

                      The tank looks great man. The whole scape is impressive. I like it.

                      Also where did you buy those LED lights? They look great.

                      Makes me want to start a journal soon one day. I plan on upgrading to a 4ft tank.

                      Hopefully the older forum members get on here and take a look at your journal too. I'm sure they are out there still lurking in the wilderness. No thanks to the forum owner who screwed everything up

                      I'm going to go back and read through everything properly.

                      Don't stop man. Keep updating the journal.

                      Good luck
                      Thanks Monty!

                      Yes, I'm chronicling a build into "dead air" here but I've got time on my hands and I thought it was better to try something (anything really) to put a spark back into this place because the current Mexican stand-off between the forum owner and, well everybody else really, isn't serving anybody's interest. I wasn't able to find another place quite like this one.

                      That light is a Ledzeal Malibu S300. It was on my old 4x2x2. I bought it direct from Ledzeal out of China about 6 years ago. It's been pretty good although it has the old power supply (that isn't moisture-resistant). It got a splash of water and some magic smoke came out. It still works but I don't trust it. I've got an IP67-rated Meanwell 320w / 24v LED driver on order to replace it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dcm View Post

                        This is where it landed.
                        Very understated. I think it landed great and you've clearly spent a lot of time finessing it to a great outcome.

                        ..not quite "dead air"... enough to get me off my arse to do a water change.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Grubs View Post

                          Very understated. I think it landed great and you've clearly spent a lot of time finessing it to a great outcome.

                          ..not quite "dead air"... enough to get me off my arse to do a water change.
                          Thanks Grubs So far, it's been fairly painless for a rebuilt planted tank (there, now I've said that...) Evaporation is a thing. I've learned that with open top tanks.

                          Growth rates are tame so far but there is growth. Even the crypts seemed to pass on their usual transplant-inspired meltdowns.

                          I've discovered that a major Australian aquatic plant cultivator has their farm only a few minutes from my house. Accordingly, my local Petbarn regularly has interesting plants (that I suspect most of their punters have no idea what to do with) in pretty good condition.

                          I picked up some Rotala Wallichi for $7 per bunch (right next to goldfish) the other day. It's grown a bit, but not a lot. It's shown no sign of dying though. I'm watching and waiting. The idea is to create some depth in the rear right corner. The same outlet had tissue cultured R.Rotundiflora and S.Repens - bizarre! The very nice assistant told me it was wonderful for oxygenating the water.

                          It's ironic that there are decent aquariums not far away that are still selling "purple waffle", elodea and not much else by way of plants and a chain store I'd be a bit wary of for aquatics (I usually use it for cat food) had some cool stuff...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dcm View Post

                            Thanks Monty!

                            Yes, I'm chronicling a build into "dead air" here but I've got time on my hands and I thought it was better to try something (anything really) to put a spark back into this place because the current Mexican stand-off between the forum owner and, well everybody else really, isn't serving anybody's interest. I wasn't able to find another place quite like this one.

                            That light is a Ledzeal Malibu S300. It was on my old 4x2x2. I bought it direct from Ledzeal out of China about 6 years ago. It's been pretty good although it has the old power supply (that isn't moisture-resistant). It got a splash of water and some magic smoke came out. It still works but I don't trust it. I've got an IP67-rated Meanwell 320w / 24v LED driver on order to replace it.
                            Yes I agree. The Mexican stand off is quite intense. I thought the old members would come back but many are still really pissed off. Quite rightly so though. The forum owner wasn't involved in the forum for so many years then he comes back and screws it up then leaves again

                            At least your making an effort

                            I like the look of the light even though it might not be of today's standards. I plan on buying a Fluval 3.0 led light. It is expensive but i might find something else instead but i always wanted a Fluval.

                            Also your Cade tank looks damn impressive. I know very expensive they are but damn good quality as well!

                            Now the fun will begin .. the algae that is. Hopefully you don't get it. Bloody hell can ruin a nice setup. Are you going to be dosing any ferts or just using CO2 only?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Grubs View Post

                              Very understated. I think it landed great and you've clearly spent a lot of time finessing it to a great outcome.

                              ..not quite "dead air"... enough to get me off my arse to do a water change.
                              Good to see you still on here to Grubs. The forum is not dead ..... yet!

                              Comment

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