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About Me

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  1. We recently consolidated three tanks down to two, larger tanks. In doing so, we combined fish originating from three continents and environments but possessing very similar personalities. We relocated the inhabitants of a 75G, a 125G and a 120G into the 125G and a new, 200G acrylic. The fish are Asian, African and South American but share very similar temperaments. The pH is 7.8 and we keep the temperatures at 77*F. This pH and temperature are compromise values. While they may not be physically ideal for any one type, they have been healthy, happy, growing, breeding and fearless for about two years, even before this consolidation. There’s no fighting, no chasing, and virtually no hiding. About the only peril we encounter is preventing jumping during feedings. I cannot qualify or quantify the value of a near stress-free environment, but it seems more important for their health than I previously realized. The sole exception here was my Oscar. He's infamously aggressive and ill-tempered. To the point I could barely find tankmates. He killed or attempted to kill much larger Oscars, bichirs, Pacu’s, plecos and even some very aggressive mbunas as I kept trying to find something, anything that could live with him. Aside from the parrots he grew up with, he would only tolerate a dither group of Silver Dollars and most likely, only because there were 12 of them to share the abuse. Apparently, I failed to do read the room, and for some time. There was a dramatic change in my Oscar’s temperament when going from a 6’ tank to an 8’ tank, nothing less than Hyde to Jekyll. Once he had the space, it was like a different fish. Tethys As mentioned above, the water between the two types is basically a compromise. Part of the reason we set this rig up was the rapid growth of our fish. Most are now huge and were raised from juveniles such that, we really didn’t want to part with any of them. To that end, we adopted an “overstock/over-filter” approach. In an attempt to keep the water pristine, we set up a large filtration and huge UV sterilization system. All of the filtration and aeration is hidden behind furniture. Each tank uses two Fluval FX6’s and a SunSun704b, the latter being carbon-filled and feeding a whole-house, 55W, UV light rated at 700GPH on each tank, for a total of over 2400GPH/tank. Pillars of Strength We design high-end, high-fidelity equipment and in part of our HIFI work, our loudspeaker designs, use large PVC pipes as loudspeaker enclosures rather than wood as it is light weight but much stronger than concrete, yet acoustically inert. As such, I had a great deal of giant PVC in storage and so we made these columns. The tanks themselves stand on giant PVC columns. Continental Drift Some days after filling, we noticed the water level was increasingly askew. The floor began to sink! Apparently when placing the columns, we missed the joists below. The columns were slowly sinking through the floor, between two joists. Pangea was sinking. The sinking 200-gallon aquarium, now filled with fish needed the columns relocated precisely over the floor joists. To lift a 2200lbs aquarium filled with fish was at least to me, a daunting endeavor but our choice was who to stress out more, the fish or ourselves! The fish had already been moved once so lifting the tank was still preferable to draining it and moving the fish twice more. Lifting a 2200lbs aquarium was pretty scary. To lighten the load and reduce stress and splashing, we drained half of the water. Yet it still weighed about 1400lbs. The only device we had available that can lift thousands of pounds was a truck jack. And to our relief and surprise, the truck jack worked beautifully. A stud-finder and the jack made this much easier than we expected. We were able to lift both aquariums several times and reposition every column over a joist as well as shim non-level areas with ease. The fish never even noticed. Laurasia The 125G Asian and South American fishes of similar personalities, sizes ranging from 2” – 4”: German Blue Rams, Mystery Snails, Plecos, Rainbows, Shubunkins, Dojo Loaches, Electric Blue Acaras, Severum, Silver Dollars and an old stowaway, a Chinese Algae Eater in a 125G standing on 18” diameter PVC columns: No Topless The 200G acrylic tank was purchased used and had no tops. But these guys jump. As we planned on using emergent plants, we made the entire top out of plastic lighting grid to support them and allow light through. Gondwana The 200G In the 200G are African and South American fishes of similar personalities, sizes ranging from; a 14” Oscar, 14” Plecos, 8” Red & Gold Severums, 6” Silver Dollars, 6” Geophagus Hecklii, a 5” Parrot, a 10” King Kong Parrot and 5” Burundi Frontosas, standing on eight, 8” PVC columns. Deep Blue See Reducing the number of tanks yielded some additional equipment, so we mounted three layers of lights with descending intensity and ascending color temperature. The front lights being warmer and brighter, the middle being neutral in color and subdued, and the rear being dark and blue creating an illusion of much greater depth. Placing two air stones under the center lights made for a natural looking, rippling water lighting effect on the stalks of bamboo. Burundi Frontosas & Geophagus Hecklii Silver Dollars Severum, Parrot & Pleco Geophagus Hecklii-Male Burundi Frontosa King Kong Parrot Burundi Frontosas Red Severum Oscar (Tank Boss) Severums at Night Severums at Dawn The Curmudgeons (Oscar, Parrot, King Kong Parrot) Narcissus Macro Through Water Droplet Electric Blue Acaras, Red & Gold Severums Dojo Loach Photobombing Severums Gondwana (Apologies for reusing some old photos!)
  2. This started out as an idea to have an exploding wall with painted blocks for a black light to illuminate. When doing research and getting different opinions on “artistic design” aquariums I was directed to @TheCzarista’s thread “ Wonder Woman Themyscira 14g cube “ and I was so inspired and I changed my design, concept (well added to), and lighting. Hulks Escape! Is telling a story, I’m hoping with design, lighting, and decorations the essence of the story is conveyed. An underwater fortress escape, with Gen. Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross In close pursuit!!! As Hulk wreaks havoc on this nuclear facility in a desperate attempt to once again foil the trap set by his arch nemesis. Ok let’s start with the build, first off was a back lighting test. I found basically where he would be placed and placed the light to direct attention as much as possible to that spot. With any other lights on it becomes muted which is exactly what I was looking for. Just a hint of light to give direction not be a focal point. The back wall is made of a fairly dense matten filter pad. I cut grout lines with a knife and then back cut to create depth. I knew I would have an exploding wall so I would have to have blocks of the wall flying through the scene. I came up with egg create that I strapped to my polycarbonate lid after everything was hung. Fishing line down to tooth picks inserted into the blocks. I also skewered a couple pieces with kabob sticks and “planted” them into the substrate. I added fishing weights to all blocks to help keep in their desired location. Interior decorations and equipment. i used crushed coral for substrate thinking it would reflect as much light as possible (and it’s what I had 😁). I flanked the side with heaters to make it symmetrical, I’m only using 1 of them. The sponge filters/ terracotta pots are to represent nuclear power stations with the center one being destroyed by Hulk smashing through. It is flung to the foreground and now leaking radio active material into the sea. The underwater light and air stone coming from the pot should display this well. The submarine in the background is of course what Gen. Thunderbolt is using for his pursuit. The nuclear symbols in the center is one aspect I’m not happy with. I was expecting something different and they are just paper stickers. They will be replaced ASAP. The signs and a few other small adjustments need to be done. Overall I’m happy how it turned out. I’ve never done this type of aquascaping before and would have done a couple things different. The process was fun and challenging in some spots. As for stocking I plan on getting a strong cycle the filters and pots already are seeded with BB so I will add a couple snails and shrimp. After a few days add a couple small fish. I’m also thinking of plants (suggestions?). My original plan was to use my guppies I already have, that changed to buying new guppies. The thing with that is I only want blue guppies and I don’t think it would go well. I’m fairly confident my final decision is some White Clouds. Maybe start with a 10 pack from aquahuna. Hope you enjoyed. Brian from Indiana
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