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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone!

So recently I had ordered my custom tank through Concept Aquariums and picked it up through King Ed Pets, very happy with it, in hindsight should have made it 40" long instead of 36" long for a even more panaromic aquascape.


36" x 13" x 14.5"


Originally I wanted to put my bonzai wood but now I'm not too sure. Also got finnex planted+ 24/7 light.


Sleek!


The controls


The structure on the right is going to be my waterfall. For the left side I was originally going to either get manten/sansui/koke rock but it's sooo crazy expensive that I gave up those type of rocks.

Then I went to a landscaping supply warehouse on marine way and got these two big rocks instead, they were labelled San Juan pond rock, total weight of these two rocks was 25lbs @ 16 cents per lb, plus tax = $4.48 only! ! Cheapest stones I have ever bought, not counting the ones I got from mother nature :) Compared to manten rock though, of the same weight will be like $200+ !

A little concerned about the weight of the rocks but I think should be okay, what do you guys think? Is the weight too much for the tank to be unsafe?




This is my hardscape so far, I'm trying to make a mountain scenery that I saw when travelling in taiwan, possibly a pathway, a waterfall. Don't know if I should still put the bonzai tree.

Suggestions and comments welcomed!

 

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Looking good! I like the rocks you got. I imagine the weight should probably be alright.

Placing the rocks on the plastic grid will probably help prevent any sharp point contact between the rock and glass.

What is that waterfall feature? Is it like foam or plastic? Where did you get it?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Looking good! I like the rocks you got. I imagine the weight should probably be alright.

Placing the rocks on the plastic grid will probably help prevent any sharp point contact between the rock and glass.

What is that waterfall feature? Is it like foam or plastic? Where did you get it?
Thanks! Rocks were cheap too! Yes I hope so, the egg crate definitely helps with the sharp edges, and probably some weight distribution. The waterfall feature is cool, I got it from Hong Kong, made of styrofoam. :)

Looking forward to seeing progress reports and pics.
Will do!

Very nice lighting system. I would include the bonsai.
Thank you. Where do you suggest I place the bonzai?
 

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I would put it 1/3 from the left or right, not too close to the front. If you are looking for some unusual rocks, try the lapidary shop across the street from Cloverdale library. They usually have large pieces of petrified wood, and lots of nice pink or white quartz crystals.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I would put it 1/3 from the left or right, not too close to the front. If you are looking for some unusual rocks, try the lapidary shop across the street from Cloverdale library. They usually have large pieces of petrified wood, and lots of nice pink or white quartz crystals.
Hmmm I could but it would be pretty close to the front, the mountains and the waterfall is taking up quite a lot of space. Cool, will check out the shop when in Cloverdale.

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Update 2015.11.21

I've done quite a lot this weekend, decided to cut off part of the structure to make it look more natural instead of a square edged mountain. Had to get some acrylic paint to patch up the whites.


Then I siliconed the painted structure to the glass so that it won't float up and started to fill some substrate to make a slope on the left side behind the rocks.


Added some yamana stones that I got for pretty cheap, just needed a few anyway, to join the mountain to make it look more natural.


Then I proceeded to make my path, I went to Michael's crafts hunting for supplies I could make a path with, I needed it to be maleable yet hard enough to keep the two kinds of substrate from mixing.

Found some soft clear plastic but it was way too soft for my liking, plus it couldn't make a nice curve. Hard plastic won't work either so I didn't get that either. My wife then suggested why not polymer clay? It is non toxic, maleable when kneeded, and after baking will be come hard. Thanks wifey, that was a great suggestion! Even had 50% off coupon!


After lots of kneeding and folding, I rolled it out and cut to size I wanted.


Then flattening and shaping the path I wanted, as the path goes to the back it gets progressively higher as well.


As I was shaping the black polymer clay, and taking it out of the tank, this was tricky, because it was soft and long, it just de-shaped and no longer the shape I wanted it to be, so I had to trace the path on parchment paper and then take the clay out and follow the tracing on the patchment paper, this took me quite some time.


And ready to bake! 275 degrees Farenheit for 20 minutes and let cool. As it cools it hardens. It holds very well and I'm very satisfied with how sturdy it is.
Beige sand added, complimentary from Fuguman, thanks!


ADA ammonia substrate added


View from sofa, will sit here most of the time


Should I add the bonzai tree? It seems rather large for the mountains, or maybe I should push it down the substrate to make it look smaller?


One main concern I have now is when water is filled the ADA soil tends to leach out black water, before putting the substrate in I've already washed the substrate a few times partly to take away the black water and partly to remove some ammonia to speed it up a little. But I think there will be still quite some black water and that might make the beige sand darker.

Thanks for looking and reading! Comments and suggestions always welcomed!

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Update 2015.11.23:

I sprayed all the rocks with water, the left side rocks turn quite a lot darker when wet, making it more similar to the right side.


The bonzai driftwood that I took out is currently in a bucket full of water floating, as soon as it sinks I'll be able to use it. The main concern is the tree being too big and is not proportionate to the mountains, I'll try to stick it into the substrate to make it shorter or possibly cutting it slightly to make the tree shorter.

The river or pathway was scenery I saw in Taiwan that ran between two sets of mountains.

There were some concerns and private messages about the tank weight and the tank not being on both the sides of the IKEA cabinet where it is strongest. So to ensure that it is strong enough and can withstand the weight so it does not cave in I went to home depot to get some wood.

They are pine, 1" x 4" and asked the home depot guy to cut 22 1/8" lengths for me since they have free cuts when you buy wood there.


Drilled holes into the wood, screwed the wood into the underside of the cabinet top and installed 90 degree metal brackets to further help support the weight. I think the cabinet is pretty safe now, what do you guys think? Wood and brackets altogether not even $7. Pretty cheap for safety in my opinion.


:)

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Is the stand particle board [email protected]? Cause if it is, don't get it wet. If particle board gets wet and there's a hole in the thin veneer, Murphy's law dictates your tank water will find that hole, exploit this weakness to enter the particle board, and turn the particle board into soggy, collapsible mush. Did I mention I hate IKEA crap made with particle board? Unfortunately, my wife can't seem to get enough of it. Yeesh.

BTW, love you aquascaping and I agree that if the wood is too big, it will be disproportionate and ruin the effect you're going for.
 

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I would put boards going down from the top boards to the floor instead of the angle braces. It's the straight down boards that takes the pressure.


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Agree with April. Forget the braces and get some 2x4 to carry the weight straight down to the floor.

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Discussion Starter #17
Is the stand particle board [email protected]? Cause if it is, don't get it wet. If particle board gets wet and there's a hole in the thin veneer, Murphy's law dictates your tank water will find that hole, exploit this weakness to enter the particle board, and turn the particle board into soggy, collapsible mush. Did I mention I hate IKEA crap made with particle board? Unfortunately, my wife can't seem to get enough of it. Yeesh.

BTW, love you aquascaping and I agree that if the wood is too big, it will be disproportionate and ruin the effect you're going for.
LOL... you're funny! Yes, it's IKEA furniture and wife loves IKEA too, I am not too sure why, it has always been a debate that I like real wood stuff, but she likes IKEA stuff, guess who won.

I'm going to try to waterproof the cabinet somehow, will figure out a way and see what you guys think.
Thanks, I'm glad you like it! Yup, I'm trying to see how I can make the wood smaller.

I would put boards going down from the top boards to the floor instead of the angle braces. It's the straight down boards that takes the pressure.
Okay, will go to home depot later.

Agree with April. Forget the braces and get some 2x4 to carry the weight straight down to the floor.
Seems like I really need to go get those today!
 

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Basically, rebuild & reinforce this IKEA crap so the IKEA cabinet is just an outer shell hiding a real wood stand/support system that will actually bear the weight of the stand. I love building out of wood, my wife loves buying IKEA particle board (i.e. sawdust and glue) crap. So I know what you mean.
 

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Are there two doors and a Center divider? If so put a 2x4 on each side down from the cross boards and one on the outsides down from the cross boards. A Center one and end ones and your set. Make sure the floor board isn't just paper cardboard. Needs to stand on something solid.


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Discussion Starter #20
Are there two doors and a Center divider? If so put a 2x4 on each side down from the cross boards and one on the outsides down from the cross boards. A Center one and end ones and your set. Make sure the floor board isn't just paper cardboard. Needs to stand on something solid.

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Yes two doors and a center divider. The center divider is pretty study in my opinion, it is 2" thick, rather unusual for IKEA, also in the center bottom of the stand, there is a very strong metal support that is to the ground. I'll add the vertical wood for sure and listen to you guys, but I don't know if I'll use 2x4, I kind of need the space so I'll probably go with 1x4 instead.

The bottom floor board is not paper cardboard, it's 2" Ikea particle wood crap :) hahah.

Here's the link to it:
http://m.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/art/80299888/

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