Long story short I went through a couple updates on my aquarium in the last year.
As mentioned in a previous post I’m just going to post fast track updates.
I had good success with my aquaponic/pothos plant setup test that probably cost more the the final setup. The water was clear and the plants grew well. I basically had my Canister filter return dumping water into a dry goods container with gravel and a couple Pothos plant. and eventually overflowing into the tank.
I wanted to come up with an all inclusive canopy that:
– was able to contain a good amount of plants.
– didn’t didn’t have the bulk of a canopy.
– could help with a little with bio-filtration.
– could help filter out nitrates.
– possibly grow herbs and other edible plants.
So here’s what I came with.
I really wanted to take advantage of the 1.5 inch Top Trim of the tank and I realized that a two board thickness is would mimic the look of the stand. This gave me about 3 inches of media space if I designed it right. The two boards a 1×8, 1×6, 1×2 cost about $15.
In each of the net cups I filled them each with Expand Clayballs aka Hydroton, Hydrocorn(which was free 55 Hydroponics really hooked it up) They are ceramic and I assume would have a very similar surface area as other ceramic media and each ball is pea-sized. They float in case anyone is wondering. I put the pothos plant that I had in the previous set up. But I’ll eventually place herbs and maybe fruits or other plants.
In the back is a crazy a spaghetti, but consisted of a very simple network of vinyl tubes both 3/4″ and 1/4″ and I’m taking advantage of the output of my canister filter. I will get details later if anyone is interested.
The most expensive part was the lights. I bought the multi-color led strip lights that Joey used in his diy aquarium light. I ran them back and forth and used the self adhesive and a two screw to attach them to the wood lid.
For the plumbing network I used a 3/4″ vinyl tubing, 1/4″ tubing, and barbed fittings.
I drilled a hole smaller than the barbed fitting in the 3/4″ tubing and pushing the barbed fitting into the vinyl tubing.
next I attached the 1/4″ vinyl tubing.
After that, I pushed the vinyl tubing in the in the net pots
Lastly I filled the net pots with clay balls
This is a better picture of the network
I capped the 3/4 by folding it over to kink the 3/4″ hose and clamping it down with a zip ties. It’s a little ghetto(why I didn’t take a picture), but it’s a cheap solution. It leaks a little into the tank, but does a good job of forcing the water out the 1/4″ lines. Actually even though the pressure is divided into 10 lines, it is still really high. When I first plugged in the pump/canister, I got it squirting water all over. Luckily, my wife was there helping me plug and unplug the pump/canister filter.
I bought a couple clamp lights from Ikea to put up on top, just to light the plants at night. Give some ambient light while watching tv and hosting party’s etc.
I had a couple issues with the multi-color led strip lighting.
Because the light strips were connected to my hinged lid, the constant opening and closing cause the lights to wear down the electricals. Obviously these lights were not designed to move a lot. I was actually very annoyed that I had to replace these light already.
In general, the multicolor lights were cool, but truthfully I only used two color settings; The pinkish white(the “pure” white was too blue for me) and a deep blue purple for nighttime(rarely used). I never used the dimming, flashing, or other rave invoking modes. I noticed on a local forum that a lot of people used Beamworks lights that were a little more expensive(but still inexpensive) than the hyper color led strip. I decide to give it a try instead buying another set of led strips. I have found out that sometimes diy isn’t always the best or the cheapest solution.
I removed the hinged door and threw the light on top. not as clean looking as the previous designs but oh well.
I was still not completely satisfied with the light quality, it looked too sterile and kinda boring. Then someone posted, on a facebook group, a tank with a dramatic spot light effect from two possible expensive leds lights. He/she asked how they could achieve this effect without breaking the bank.
I fell in love with the look; Someone on the group jovially said you could get two flashlights and hang them above your tank. I thought about this and well maybe if got a couple flashlights from Costco and wired them up so I didn’t use batteries, I might be able to get the effect. I decided to test it so I grabbed my flash light with batteries walked over to my tank. held the flashlight over and thought that’s pretty cool. Then I noticed the Ikea clamp lights right next to my plant. I felt like a moron, I moved the clamp light over the open top of the tank and got this.
I thought not bad, too yellow though and the fish didn’t look the best. I went to turn on the beamworks light and click the switch to night/blue mode accidentally and holy smokes! Over all it was very dramatic and just freaking amazing.
Here’s more pictures at night. I use the day time mode mostly. But when relaxing with my wife I enjoy this lighting mode best. The lights are nicely vibrant on the fish. Strangely overall the tank feels more natural like a pond at sunset. My wife loves this look as far as an interior design prospective. It has a great feel.
I’m excited that I’ll be working on a new new tank in the near future. Just teasing with the words bar and 8 foot.