I have been a long time lurker on this forum and have learnt a lot from past and present members who have contributed to this forum. Thank you.
This is my first 'real' post and I hope this would help anyone who might be considering building a rack themselves. As requested by @Disciple, hope this helps you too.
Just a bit of background on my experience. My only previous build attempt was for a stand and sump for a 4x2x2. It was my first build dabbling with staining wood and using silicon for sump baffles, etc. As you can see from the photos below, they are pretty amateurish but I am happy for how it turned out as a first attempt. Next step is to fit some doors to it.
The stand was built following this video by King of DIY. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jN4Y9AYuwcQ
Anyway, this gives you an idea of the level of experience I have before I embark on my ambitious attempt to build a rack.
Below are some photos of my 4x2x2, sump and stand build, and some of its inhabitants. Sorry they are not shrimp related and not of great quality taken using my phone.
Stand and sump
Filled up and planted.
Display tank front view.
Display tank side view.
With background in place and tank inhabitants added consisting of altum flora discus, german blue rams, panda corydoras, cardinal tetras, otocinclus, red cherry shrimps, darwin algae shrimps and darwin red nose shrimps.
Altum flora discus.
German blue rams with their fry.
I have browsed many build threads including some from here and have built on my ideas collectively from different sources. The specific post from @BlueBolts here: http://shrimpkeepersforum.com/forum/topic/1415-breeding-rack-no2/ has inspired me greatly and I would like to acknowledge that.
I followed the DIY rack build as outlined here: http://shrimpkeepersforum.com/forum/topic/7063-diy-rack-for-under-50-in-under-2hrs/
The plan, materials, and costs
This rack will be located in the lounge room so it has to be 'display-ish' quality and light from it must not interfere with the TV or be too blinding to people sitting around the lounge room. Also, no unsightly hoses/pipes are to be seen. I managed to convince the Minister for Home Affairs that a canister filter and chiller by definition, is not categorised as hoses or pipes, and would be in no way unsightly. The LED display from the chiller would provide subtle mood lighting, and the gentle humming of the filter and soft soothe whirling of the chiller fan would be therapeutic for lounge surfers, and would also greatly enhance movie watching experience with enriched sound depth and effects.
Hence I received approval to have a canister filter and chiller located next to the rack.
I used 5 x 5.4m long 90x45mm MGP10 untreated structural pine bought and cut to size from Masters for $83.75. I find Masters generally sells timber cheaper than Bunnings. Since I have both of them close to where I live, I selectively buy what I need from where it is cheaper.
The frame is held together by 10-8 x 75mm zinc plated countersunk screws. I bought a box of 250 screws from Bunnings for $27.50.
The rack measures 1390 x 420 x 2200 mm (L x W x H). The plan is to hold 2 x 2'x15"x15" tanks on the top and middle tier each, and a 4'x15"x15" hospital/quarantine/grow out/sump tank on the bottom tier.
Each tank would be insulated by 20mm foam around the sides, back and base as I plan to run both tropical (28-30 degrees C) and chilled (22-24 degrees C) tanks on this rack. Plumbing for air and sump would be hidden within the frame.
Please disregard the mess in the background. Still sorting out stuff in the garage after the move.
As some of you know, my currently my set-up looks like this.
With enormous amount of help and encouragement from my fiancee, we have now got the fishroom to this state.
It feels awesome walking in there to play with water :o
Amazingly for me things have not stop improving here! We are in the process of building a new house and getting a purpose build fishroom in it.
The construction started just before Christmas last year.
In this fishroom I wanted to have some of the things I wished I had or I had done in my current set-up.
1st Priority: Insulation
I wanted to be able to keep the room warm in winter and cool in summer with minimal power consumption. Living in Canberra we get cold winters (nights especially) and a week or two of extreme heat every summer.
We decided to build the the whole structure; house and fishroom, with a relatively new building material suggested to us by our builder. It is a thermal facade system called 'Exsulite' it is manufactured by Dulux.
It is a system that uses foam, foil, airgaps and various boards. It provides a lot better thermal protection than regular bricks for example.
Between this system and the gyprock regular insulation batts are fitted. The whole house including the fishroom and the garage has insulation batts on the ceiling as well.
I also decided against a door that opens to outside and windows to minimize heat loss through these.
2nd Priority: Access to water
I wanted to make sure I had all that I needed within the room in terms of access to water as well as getting rid of waste water. I decided to have a 42L laundry tub fitted into the room to provide all important 'cleaning' station. I no longer need to take over the laundry or worse the kitchen during certain maintenance of various fishkeeping related items.
I have also got a separate tap installed next to the laundry tub to have my water reservoir line to be permanently connected to this tap. I won't need to connect and disconnect this line unnecessarily in the future.
A center drain in the middle of the room was also a must.
3rd Priority: Access to power
As with almost everybody that is in the aquarium hobby, I always found I needed more power points than what is available around the tank/tanks. This always inevitably leads to using of powerboards, but even with using quality ones there is always potential to overload or something to go wrong.
As much as possible I wanted to avoid using power boards and double adapters in the fishroom, though I know resistance is futile and I might resort to these at some stage.
To ensure I have access to power where I needed I decided to get 20 quad power points installed in the room! That is 80 power points!!! I had to show photos of my current set-up to the builder and the electrician when their eyebrows were raised when I requested this. They were wondering why I need this much power? :anonymous:
I am getting the power points put in two lines; one over the other. One line is going to be connected to a wired timer. These power points are for the lights. The second line is ordinary points for various other equipment.
The electrician have put another box and 3 circuits in this room alone!
4th Priority: Lighting and ventilation
As already mentioned, will be lighting all my tanks relatively well by fishroom standards. I do not see the point of having a fishroom where you can't see the inhabitants of the tanks very well.
Each row of tanks are to have LED lights fitted above them. I have recently been replacing my T8 fluoro units with these.
I am finding this is saving me a lot of energy.
As I have been known to leave smelly things in the fishroom; like a bucket of blackworms that have died, it was super important for my fiancee that the room can be easily ventilated! This was something I wanted anyway as the room has no windows and no access to outside aerating the room is not possible.
We are getting a toilet/bathroom style exhaust fan installed in the room.
Its a type of model that has flaps that close when not in operation providing no gap for heat loss.
The room is getting two ceiling flouro lights as well, for the times I might walk into the room when the tank lights are off.
That's about the progress so far. We are still couple of months away from completion.
Hey hey hey,
Hows things everyone?
Ive been getting right back into shrimp in a major way now, Had a few days spare so I got around to re-sealing an old tank I had laying around and building a quick stand for it.
This is being setup as a shrimp/ low tech planted mostly somewhere for all my anubias to live I have some rather large varieties now, just some lava rock as the main hardscape, then course white sand, lots of ferns etc.
standard aquaone heater, and the filter I'm running is an aquaone 1050 series ii. It's quite new I got it on the cheap ages ago and it's sat there lol.
The tank was already drilled through the bottom panel from an older project, so I decided to run a closed plumbing system which seems to have stopped the notorious dead spots you sometimes get in tanks bigger then 4ft. And it's working great with only a relatively small filter.
Probably Going to end up being for my chameleons and or something else. Loving life right now, even though I didn't sleep and it's water change day today haha
So I thought I'd do a quick write up on how to "quick cycle" a new tank.
This is generally for emergency use and I'm not recommending people just do this as a standard procedure every time, when intending to buy livestock make sure the tank they are to be housed in is fully cycle before you make your purchase.
-Its best to always let your tanks cycle and mature naturally before adding livestock and this is especially true for shrimp.
Many of these steps are aimed at introducing BB (Beneficial Bacteria) Aswell as reducing Nh3 (Ammonia) No2 (Nitrite) No3 (Nitrate) and heavy metals.
1) If it's a sand or gravel then grab as much established substrate from an existing tank as you can, obviously without taking too much,- you don't want to set off a cycle in the original tank! :)
2) The sponge filters I use have 2 sides so it's possible to take off one sponge from an established tank and replace it with the new sponge without upsetting the BB too much, Then use this cycled sponge in your new tank. Or if you can pinch some cycled filter media like bio balls, ceramic rings etc,- If you absolutely can't take these from your existing tanks then just squeeze all the "mulm" from the dirty sponges into your new tank.
3) This step IMO is not really as beneficial as the others as only very small amounts of BB actually live in the water itself, but I'll add it. Use as much aquarium water from an existing tank as you can.
4) Get some Seachem stability or similar product, I think aquaone make one called "Bio". You can't really overdose this stuff, but having said that I wouldn't recommend wasting it.-There is dormant BB in this product that activates when introduced to Nh3 etc. I guess if your test kit reads any level of Nh3 you could dose again.
5) Whether you use tap or RO, Get a decent water dechlorinator that specifically states "Reduces Ammonia, nitrite and heavy metals" You can dose this at the recommended dose daily (not to dechlorinate) to reduce all the nasties.
6) Add plants and driftwood preferably from an established tank if you can, as lots of BB will hitch a ride over on the wood etc, and plants will eat up Nh3, No3 aswell as heavy metals.- I'd go with low light, low maintenance like ferns and moss etc.
7) Grab some Indian almond leaf, This does many things but mostly what we want it for is to slightly lower the ph converting toxic Nh3 into a less toxic substance Nh4 (Ammonium). Also the medicinal properties of the cappata leaf will heap reduce stress when livestock are introduced into their new environment.
8) Small daily water changes like 10-20% and try to remove as much organic matter as you go.
9) Add some mineral balls, They absorb Nh3 and release important minerals into the water that aid in shimp moulting and stabilising ph.
Dont clean the filter for atleast the first 3-4 weeks- obviously unless it's full blocked.
If you do all this as directed your tank should be safe for livestock even shrimp in about the time it takes for the water to settle and clear, however accurate testing should be performed before introducing livestock, if you have a few days to do this it would be even better.
Once again people shouldn't go out buying shrimp and a new tank in one go at the lfs, Nor should they rely on methods like this to instantly setup a new tank every time they buy stuff.
Cycling a tank naturally over time is a safer, better way to go, and lots of these tips can still be used to help speed up this process aswell.
These tips can even just be used for reducing Nh3 etc in a problem tank.
Quick product review:
The API test kits are fine for general use despite their apparent bad rap, you just have to shake the heck out of them as per the instructions. Although with the No3 test, its really hard to tell a difference between like 10ppm, 20ppm and 40ppm, they are all pretty much the same shade of orange- yet the kit goes right to 160? Lol why? like if it's over 40 you know there major issues, they should have instead focused on a more accurate low range, eh just my 2c.
Hope this helps some people :)
Hey everyone how's things?
So I was on and off with shrimp the last 6 months or so while I was doing other things and getting into nano softwater fish, building tanks and saving money, now I've got a bit more free time again I just bought a ton of new tanks, equipment and shrimp in the last few months, it's all coming together now.
This is what my lounge room/fish room looks like ATM lol