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An Aquarist's Journey


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The purpose of this journal is to document my adventures in aquarium keeping as my hobby transitions into its next phase where I settle into a more long-term focus on breeding nano-fish and fresh water crustaceans as well as growing plants well. Over the past 30 years, this hobby has been a true joy for me, it has allowed me to learn so much about both myself and the world around me.  It is my hope that my documentation of my aquarium-based journey will inspire others to continue to push their hobby to the next level.  
 
In light of recent success I have had selling fish and shrimp in my local market, I have decided to extend my 6  10 gal breeding rack into a larger 10 gal rack holding eight aquariums. Utilizing this new structure which I have affectionately named the "Aquarium Wunderkammer", it is my hope to continue breed Danios, Badis, Pygmy Sunfish, White Clouds, Fire Red Shrimp, Blue Dream Shrimp, and Dwarf Crayfish for both fun and a small profit.  I think this new project of mine is novel because it utilizes a sliding rail system usually used in cabinet making that I have not seen utilized for an aquarium rack. By placing these aquarium on cabinet sliders, the aquarium can be moved away from the shelf they normally rest on, greatly increasing the amount of available aquarium which can be accessed for maintenance and catching of livestock while maintaining a small footprint.  Thus far in my in hobby experience I have not seen a system utilizing cabinets sliders and aquariums, so if you have similar thoughts, you can now see an example of one of these systems in action.
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The footprint for this new aquarium rack is simple, it is made out of pine wood that has been put together using pocket hole jigs to create a very strong lattice.  Utilizing both vertical and horizontal components, I created a rigid base which can easily hold the 800lb of aquariums which it will support.  The top of this frame was then secured together using 1/2 inch birch plywood which I very much enjoy as a building material since it is easy to work with, lightweight, strong, and creates anesthetic looking finish.  This plywood base later was coated in 1/8in PVC wall covering to provide a waterproof surface.

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 For the aquariums themselves, they each sit in a tray made with a base of 3/4 inch birch plywood for stability and have an edge made from 1 in pine furring strips.   These trays were painted using a high-quality paint to ensure that they are water resistant.  These were secured together utilizing high quality construction screws to provide the necessary support for each aquarium, which weighs approximately 110 lb.   These trays were then affixed to a pair of cabinets sliders which are rated to 150 lb each to ensure a factor of safety when the aquarium has been pulled fully from the shelf.  I found that these high quality cabinet sliders, although expensive, were well worth it as they were both easy to install and have a silky-smooth soft-close feature which is essential when a 100+lb box of water is being moved back into place. 

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@BrandyJust two high is the plan. Going higher than that is possible, but I would prefer a stand made of metal if that was the case. It will not have an auto water change system, but a "flow through" style easy water change system. I'll add pics of it once its installed. 

Edited by H20CultureLabs
Grammar
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@ererer I currently keep the Everglades and the Gilbert's pygmy sunfish. I feed them micro worms, frozen daphnia, and baby brine. They are thriving in my aquaria and I find them to be very tough fish. I have bred both Tiger and Scarlet Badis, but I have only successfully raised a handful so far. I find the best way to get females is by from other hobbyists; I was fortunate in that regard. 

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  The cabinets sliders themselves were affixed to the sides of each 1 of these trays.  The sliders were attached to the base using L-shaped brackets with machine screws attaching in to the cabinet sliders and regular wood screws attaching the bracket to the plywood base of the shelf.  The cabinets sliders themselves were attached to the trays utilizing the same construction screws at the trays themselves were attached with creating a very strong and reliable attachment.

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Each aquarium is an Aqueon 10 gallon which I purchased at the most recent dollar per gal sale.   These were each drilled with 2 holes.  A small hole for 1/4 inch RO tubing to be applied to the front for filling water, and a larger hole in the back to accommodate a 1/2 inch bulk head so that the water could be drained. In this way, I can hook them up directly to my water filter allowing the water change water to "flow through" the aquariums and into a central drain. 

Each 1 of these aquariums was also fitted with a sponge filter and a layer of black diamond sand on the bottom.   I have found great success using this as a substrate and I love both its look and it's low cost.

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When it comes to breeding egg-scattering fish, I am a believer in the "musical fish" and the "false bottom" methodologies of fish breeding.  One of the abilities I'm most excited about with this new of aquarium rack is the ability to use both methodologies ease to enhance my fish breeding yield. To accomplish this, I removed the bottoms of four Aqueon 2.5 gal aquariums and replaced the bottoms with standard home screen to provide a false bottom for the eggs to fall through.  Attached to this screen is a mat of artificial plants to provide the fish both cover and structure for them to breed in. These 2.5 gal aquariums are then suspended at the top of the larger 10 gal aquariums utilizing plastic clamps. This allows for the fish to be easily moved from one aquarium to the next so that they are small fry have a chance to develop in the larger aquarium without the threat of being eaten by their parents.

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@OceanTruth Thank you! I was inspired by a fish room tour on the channel "Dan's Fish". The video is "Barb Fishroom Tour with Mike Monje of Exstream Aquatix". (I'm not sure I can link it without violating forum rules. I am in no way associated with the channel "Dan's Fish" but I do enjoy his content!) However, there was a custom-made Barb breeding aquarium at the start of that video which inspired this design. Mine is not as refined as his, but it works. 

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1 minute ago, H20CultureLabs said:

@OceanTruth Mine is not as refined as his, but it works. 

I’m definitely on the side of you have to do things the way that suits you and there is no absolute one way to do things successfully. I think your whole set up is very clever starting from the racks and so forth.

Is the artificial grass very soft? Does that even matter in your opinion?

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@OceanTruthA good question! It's pretty soft plastic, but I wouldn't say its extremely soft; its definitely more rigid than silicone. So far I haven't had any issues with it. My only gripe is that it floats, so you have to zip-tie it down. As far as it mattering, I am not certain but do not think it does. Reading scientific papers about ornamental fish breeding, they often mention using bottle-brushes as structure for the fish to lay eggs on and those are certainly not anything I would lay down on willingly. 

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