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90x45x45, new project on the track !


9 Feb 2022
France - Essonne
Hello !

After many months building a DIY cabinet for the tank, I am ready to start :)
Cabinet was built with 19 mm waterproof MDF. The height is 1 m.
I spent a lot of time to seal and coat the MDF. One layer of polyurethane sealant, two layers of polyester primer, then one coat of polyurethane low gloss white lacker. All the products used are professional solvant based coatings, that are currently used by industrial bathroom cabinet producers. They were applied by air spray gun in a cabin.
Some pictures of the building process:


I added a frost-effect film on the back of the tank.

Next steps: drill a hole in the ground to the basement, and build a setup with a RO unit, a buffer tank (about 60L) and a pump. This to avoid carrying jerricans for water changing / evaporation. If you have any advice on the type of pump strong enough to push the water on 4m height, I would appreciate a lot (I don't really care about the flowrate, could be even low).

Technical data:
tank 90x45x45 optiwhite
lighting: Chihiros wrbg2 90 with shades
filtration: oase Biomaster 850 thermo (already setup and running since one month in an other tank), filled with nylon mesh and aquario neo media soft.
water: will be a mixture 75 RO/25 tap
CO2: CO2 art elite pro with inline diffuser, with 2 kg tank.
Soil: crushed lava, ada power sand advance M, topica soil. This for the background. For the foreground I will be using only decorative sand.

The layout of the tank will be nature aquarium style, with dragon stone and river wood, fully planted. But this will be a next chapter of the journal :)


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Hi. Can't help you with the pump question I am afraid (calculating bar pressure and pump curves is not my thing), but would just like to say that the cabinet looks great. Is that the first one you have built or did you build the one to the right too?
Hi ! thank you ! Yes it is more or less the first I have built from scratch. The other on the right was DIY, but the cabinets used are ikea besta structure (one on bottom, one smaller on top). I just attached a piece of hardwood in the back in case, and it was OK. This cabinet stands now for 7 years with a 60P tank, so far not showing any bending or else. :)
Hi Eddie ! Thank you for your comment !

In fact I was thinking about that, and as you say it looks cleaner. I have already bought two devices like on the picture :)
For the time being, let's say during the installation, scaping, planting process, I will keep the handles (old pieces of furniture I had in a drawer for years) to avoid tarnishing the doors with my dirty fingers, as the coating is rather new. Then I will probably switch to these devices. :)
Hahaha 1000% agree with you ! move this, move that, leave it for some days, move again ! Then you add the stones, and same player shot again, move this, move that !
Then you setup everything, glue, soil, plants, water, fishes, and you start saying "oh, this piece of wood would have fit better there", endless process... like distributing the electric plugs in a new house when you work on the layouts, endless, and when built, there is always something wrong and you use power extension cords everywhere :)

But... no time to think about the sad things around the world , kind of therapy :)
Hi all ! Some picture of the starting.
First layer of crushed lava stone, then ada power sand., plus tropica aquasoil.
After playing one day with wood and rock, I got a nice mixture of the three components of the soil, anyway, it will be covered with another layer of tropica soil powder. I think I will have to remove some of the base soil, because it is a little bit too high. After completion of the harscape, a thin layer of sand will be added on the foreground.
Comments appreciated on the first touch of hardcape :)

Dark start... Started... The tank was first equipped with a flow pump to enhance the oxygen dissolution. Filtrer is on with its one month brewed beneficial bacteria load. Maximum flow close to the surface and skimmer on outlet is also on.
The tank was coverded with cardboard (tank delivery packaging). I let a kind of Window on the center 😉.
Next step is wait and see 😉
Hi !
Dark start on going, nothing special except a nice white fluffy layer on the wood.
Tested nitrates, somewhere between 80 and more... pH below 6... Nice to see that after 10 days the ammonia is converted to nitrates, this is the result of brewing my filtrer for more than one month in the other tank before starting 👍🏻
Maybe i will do a large water change next week-end, to reset the water a little bit, in order to start monitoring the nitrates build up. Have a look on the curve, and detect the start of a steady state with low build up.
After stabilisation, one or two weeks more and we will decide for next step.... wait and see, time is the key 😋😉
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Hi ! Nitrates test today... Loads!
One question before a large water change next week-end, tremendous concentrations of nitrites, nitrates and very low pH could affect the bacterial load of the filtrer?
I am a little bit nervous about that...
Thanks for your kind advices ! 😊
Hi all,
One question before a large water change next week-end, tremendous concentrations of nitrites, nitrates...........
Yes, just keep changing water. If you add a floating plant it has access to <"atmospheric CO2"> and will start to deplete all forms of <"fixed nitrogen"> straight away.
and very low pH could affect the bacterial load of the filtrer?
No, I'm pretty sure you will be all right, microbial nitrification is a lot more <"wide-spread then we originally thought"> and <"much less restricted by low pH">.
Some non-essential conjecture.
First the bit <"we know">, that the nature of that <"microbial assemblage"> is <"fine-tuned over time"> to reflect the levels of ammonia (NH3) and dissolved oxygen in the water.

This would be conjecture, but I visualise the microbial assemblage in a filter in the same way that I think about the <"benthic invertebrate assemblage in a stream">. In clean water (water with a lot of dissolved oxygen and a low Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)) you have a diverse assemblage of invertebrates, including <"Mayflies (Ephemeroptera), Stoneflies (Plecoptera), Caseless Caddis (Trichoptera) etc."> with Tubificid worms (Naididae) and "Bloodworms" (Chronomidae) etc present, but as a minor component of the assemblage.

As pollution (BOD) increases dissolved oxygen levels fall and you lose the more sensitive species from the assemblage. At the same time the number of Blood worm and "Tubifex" increases. As pollution continues to increase eventually only the haemoglobin containing Blood worms and Tubifex are left, and these often <"build up to huge numbers">.

The "Tubifex and Blood-worm" scenario is the traditional view of "cycling", with Nitrobacter winogradskyi etc representing Tubifex etc. If you only ever look at sewage treatment works? You never find the Mayflies.

cheers Darrel