3/3/2011: Some exciting news

Well I’ve been planning it for a while now, sort of gathering my inspiration and a big picture for my next fish tank, and I’ve finally started with it! Here’s the plan:

The new tank is going to be a 55-gallon freshwater tank. I’m going to have a couple of large schools of tetras, which means all of the fish from the freshwater tank (even Torpedo) will eventually be moved to this tank. That means I have plans for the 20G tank too! I’m looking to have a total of 50-70 tetras in the 55G tank when it’s all over. I also want to have one or two larger “showpiece” fish in the tank, something a little more aggressive so the tetras will stay in their schools and I can see that behavior. At the moment I’m leaning towards a mated pair of Rams (a type of Cichlid), but it really depends on what I can get a hold of.

Once the 20G tank has no more fish in it, I’m going to start some shrimp colonies in there and have it just be a shrimp tank: I’m hoping to have enough shrimp that they can have a stable, sustainable colony since there will be no fish around. They’ll also do a great job of keeping the plants clean.

The decor for the 55G tank will be like this: solid black background, with substrate being Tahitian Moon Sand, which is a shiny black sand. No live plants, I’m going to try to have all of the decorations be driftwood and rocks, but I may end up putting some fake plants or something in there. The ambitious thing for this tank is going to be the lighting — I’m going to make my own custom lighting system. I’m going to use strips of waterproof LEDs and attach them to the inside of the top rim of the tank, so there will be nothing on top of the tank. They’ll be controlled with a microcontroller, and I’m going to have enough colors to simulate a sunrise on one side of the tank and a sunset on the other, along with some moonlight as well. I want most of the color in the tank to come from the fish and the lighting.

Last weekend I got all of the equipment I needed to start a fishless cycle on the tank, and I got that started so it should be less than 6 weeks until it’s time to add fish. The tank isn’t much to look at yet because there are no decorations yet, and I’m still waiting for the lighting equipment to arrive. When those things arrive, there will be pictures.

There’s an aquarium forum I’ve been posting at for a while, it’s where I learned most of what I know about fish tanks, and I’m working with a couple of people there on this DIY LED light project. I’ll link to that thread below in case you’re interested in some more technical details; it’s sort of a behind-the-scenes look at what will go into the lighting and over the next couple of weeks it should be interesting to watch how it develops. I should also mention that you don’t need to sign up for anything to read the post.


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