Hierarchy of Aquarium Assembly in its many aspects, processes and materials

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Jan 12, 2022
New York, NY
"Hierarchy of Aquarium Assembly in its many aspects, processes and materials"

It really is quite astonishing how much there is to learn, including learning what you do not know, in setting up a tank. Things to decide early, things you can't know until other things are in process...

I was thinking of plant life today. I originally wanted some floor without substrate, just glass. Designing and writing begins with concepts (important), but executing is another thing.

I plotted out my floor plan today, and knew I needed to rethink open glass floor a bit. I realized I could cover the entire surface with a carpet of foliage, and 'represent' open spaces with rectangular acrylic risers above ground level. That is in process.


Building a complete working tank -- one that is vetted, tested, and fully executed -- is like writing a long, detailed book. You hear a simple story, think up your own simple story, and hearing a slightly longer version, you rewrite your story with more detail, and change the chronology.

After writing, learning, rewriting, making choices, and gradually finding out how all the early choices you made related to each other, you must go through the story again when more choices need to be made.

"Must I have an air stone? Good idea to get one. Oh, it needs a pump. Wait, my filter in Chapter 2 has a pump. But will it support the bubbler? Have to check; don't open the box quite yet when it comes, I may have to write it out of the story."


It's crazy fun -- you feel near the end the first half of a book, and realize the second half has a completely different plot, unexpected complications, characters who you thought you knew when you started, but turn out to be much more difficult or complex -- some of whom whom hate all the other characters, and some that are essential, but have change as the story changes.

Some characters are easy-going and adaptable. Some will eat up your writing time. Some will sit in a waiting room of purchases, and may be asked to leave shortly after they arrive, or kept waiting and asked to leave later.

Some may belong in a completely different Tank Story, which is when you know there will be a sequel.

A fish keeper on YouTube, upon cleaning a tank, found fish he had bought years before and forgotten about. They were fine, they were just hiding. Very funny.


There's a good list here of most the steps in the process, not in a 100% detail, but fulsome. The author wisely mentioned cycling up front, so all the next steps made sense. My notes on this keep changing.

I copied and pasted a the 17 or 20 or so steps into Word, and bulleted out what to remember when I researched them further.

Testing, bacteria, food, species, HVAC -- optimum temp ranges; acceptable temp ranges; their 'Must Note' or 'Take Action Now' temp ranges. Lots of unexpected twists in light and heating.

I arrange my temp ranges by species, visually. New species of interest are plugged into the matrix to check compatibility with other species, and elements of the design.

And the maintenance plan will be detailed. Luckily, not everything is doe every day, much is in the beginning.

So, this is lots of fun. I am diagramming my design to scale -- top view, side views, everything measured and drawn in 3D PowerPoint shapes, so everything I add to the tank goes on the plot, and must be moved or changed as the plot does.

My two tanks have an architecture theme, and will drawn to the scale.

I am imagining a 40 - 60 foot or more Modern home on a 10.5" square floor PowerPoint grid. Happily, as it is only a plan, so the floor can be shrunk or stretched if the scale changes, and the items remain in scale with each other. (No point in a baby grand three times higher than a sectional sofa.)

Items in model can be moved, rotated, or pulled out of the space.

I duplicate the plot page at stages, so I can watch it evolve. I highly recommend this, and may write something up on it.

Well, I sure enjoy this resource! Thank you for listening. I look forward to your comments!
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