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Old 10-19-2017, 11:17 PM   #1
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160 Gallon Mbuna slow build

Picked up a used 160 gallon a few nights ago and I've decided to set it up as a Mbuna tank. This is going to be a slow build as I have a number of projects to complete to set up this thing.

Equipment List: Current
50 Gallon Sump with Eheim pump 900GPH
Glass top(needs small repair)
36" Marineland LED light

Equipment to buy:
Substrate (approx 150lbs sand)
Rocks


Things to complete
Refinish Stand
Clean aquarium and sump
Fix glass top
Fix overflow from tank and set up sump
Buy substrate, rocks
Cycle and stock



Picture of aquarium just before I picked it up



The chichlids in the picture weren't included with it unfortunately, but that does give me time so set everything up how I want it before stocking.

First big project is to refinish the stand.



I've tore off all the old trim. It was trimmed in 3/4" mdf but this made it very heavy. I'm thinking I'll finish it with either oak or maple and go a bit thinner on the sides and front. There was also a double layer of mdf on the front, I'm guessing somebody couldn't figure out a way to keep the door flush without it. The trim also extended up past the stand to allow for a layer of durofoam insulation. I would prefer not to do this and just set the tank of the stand but I'm not sure about stressing the tank too much. What do you all think?

Once this is completed I'll move on to the next projects.

I'll also take suggestions on substrate types and rock decorations if anyone has them?

Thanks for looking
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Old 10-21-2017, 04:19 PM   #2
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Nice sized tank. Is the stand level? In picture it looks like back right corner drops a little bit
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Old 10-22-2017, 11:06 PM   #3
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The stand is level, or very close to it. I hadn't noticed how much the picture makes it look like it drops off on the back corner. I think that's from using the wide angle mode on my cell phone camera.
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Old 10-23-2017, 09:02 PM   #4
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have you considered wrapping it with flooring you can always find something on sale
between the flooring and moldings cost me like $25 and it gives it a nice clean look

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Old 10-23-2017, 09:39 PM   #5
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have you considered wrapping it with flooring you can always find something on sale
between the flooring and moldings cost me like $25 and it gives it a nice clean look

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder... (camera man, builder).
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Old 10-23-2017, 10:30 PM   #6
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I did consider using that but I want doors and couldn't figure a nice way to match them. I'm leaning towards staining/aging some pine 1x4s and using that. Kind of a barn board look.
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Old 10-31-2017, 12:38 PM   #7
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Just wanted to give a quick update. I've got the tank and sump all cleaned. Polished up nice with just some vinegar. Substrate is on order. I went with an aragonite sand to keep the water at a nice ph level. I have a nice pile of found rocks for hardscaping, but I'm not sure if I'll use them or if I will buy some sandstone or something similar.

Fixing the overflow from the tank has been a bit of a hassle. The pvc pipe was cemented together and then broken off, so I had to use a heat gun to soften the inner pvc piece and then I could pull it out. I'm debating plumbing in a threaded joint near the top so I can easily remove it if I ever move the tank, but I'm not sure how well I can get this to seal.

I've been working on painting and sanding the boards that I will use to cover the outside, and they are prepped and ready for stain now.



I'm going to stain them with a weathered grey stain, and add a satin finish to seal everything.
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Old 10-31-2017, 01:33 PM   #8
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Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG950086.jpg
Views:	23
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ID:	304698 if i could make 1 suggestion. Id say paint the back. It really makes the fish pop and looks so much better then a background. Also its incredibly cheap
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Old 10-31-2017, 01:46 PM   #9
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Attachment 304698 if i could make 1 suggestion. Id say paint the back. It really makes the fish pop and looks so much better then a background. Also its incredibly cheap
I really wanted to paint a nice black background but the tank already has a white one stuck very well to the back. I tried removing a small area in a hidden corner, but I wasn't going to be able to remove it completely.



The white looks decent, and I think it will work when it is all set up.


You aquarium looks great by the way!
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Old 10-31-2017, 06:43 PM   #10
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Thank you! And yeah im sure the white will look nice when its all said and done. Especially if u add plants they will really pop against the white
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