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Aqua One 620T Conversion


rawprawn
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Picked this tank up locally for 150 bucks.

 

I'm hoping to keep yellow cherries and royal blue tigers together in it.

 

 

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Don't like the filter in the hood or the lights either, so I'll go a bit custom and go for what I understand to be a low tech, medium/high light planted tank.

 

I've already got NZ black iron sand, an 800L/hr ebay cannister filter, and some ebay led flood lights.

 

I'm pretty new with this, but have a big background in technical fabrication.

 

Please feel very free to advise me.

 

Cheers,

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First of all is the lighting hood.


 


I've got 2x 20W cool white 6500K LED floodlights.


 


I know this sounds bright, but I've read that with LED lights you need to go by lumens, not watts.


 


I found several articles stating that for a medium light tank you needed 35-50 lumens/L.


 


My tank is 130L (and 70cm deep), and I'll probably be around 100-110L with sand, etc in the tank.


 


So I need 3500-5000 lumens?? Seems a lot.


 


These lights are rated at 1600-1800 lumens each (120 deg spread), and knowing ebay product ratings they're probably 10-25% less in real life.


 


So I'm probably looking at anything from 2400 (1600x2-25%) to 3600 (1800x2) lumens.


 


Hard to tell with ebay stuff, but I found a couple of articles where they praised these lights highly.


 


I've stripped all the crappy and heavy flouro gear out (weighed a tonne), and 3D printed mounts that put the face of the light down flush with the bottom of the hood. One of the complaints I read more than once was that the flouros being recessed up in the hood cast serious shadows and greatly affected the performance of the lights.


 


I cut the bottom of a junction box out so it would fit, and so I could solder wires and keep the individual light switches for versatility.


 


I've got epoxy and silastic drying now, so that's it for tonight.


 


 


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While I'm waiting for some epoxy to cure in my light hood, I moved onto the top filter.


 


I decided to go with connecting my canister to the top filter.


 


I really hate the plumbing that comes with cheap ebay canisters, so I made my own in pvc pipe.


 


 


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The white pvc looks a bit agricultural I realize, I'm more into function than form. I'll be painting the down pipe in the same satin black as the back of the tank.


 


The intake strainer is from a rural pump shop, and I'll tie a stocking over that. I have a spare, so at water change time I'll just screw the old one off and put on a fresh one.


 


I'm thinking that putting some of that (very expensive) poly filter mat in the first section under the spray bar might be good, as the water should be pretty clean and I can easily check it for the change of color it does when exposed to chemicals, and then ceramic noddles in the second section.

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Very pleased with the lights/hood.


 


Certainly very bright, but seems within reason even when empty.


 


I put the power lead out the side as it seems they had it running through the filter box, which would make it ridiculously difficult to remove either hood by itself.


 


 


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The tank and driftwood look awesome! And I love the look of yellow and blue shrimp together. (Wish I hadn't started with reds.)

 

Is there a way to install a dimmer on your lights so you can reduce the intensity if you start to get algae?

 

Also, I highly recommend you take a look at Han's stainless steel filter intake covers http://www.hanaquatics.com/ss-filter-guard/. They are amazing, and he can make them to your exact size specifications if your size isn't listed. I originally had pantyhose covering my filter intakes, and it was such a pain. Constantly clogging and reducing my flow. Han's mesh is shrimplet-safe and won't rust at all. I think many people on this site can attest to their awesomeness.

 

Really great job with your tank so far!

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I really like the tall driftwood you chose for this tank. And the DIY is awesome. A few of my friends use the flood lights with great success for planted tanks. You will have a nice clear view of your shrimp with that lighting. What plants are you going to use?Wondering if your going to paint the back of your tank black? Good choice on the yellow and blue shrimp combo.

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Thanks very much for the kind comments, really encouraging.

 

In answer to all your points:

 

I've sent Han a message, thanks for that.

 

I'd certainly love a couple of his screens, but I need a 1/2" BSP female thread on them.

 

I'm hoping I don't need to dim these lights, as I will be painting the back black and using black substrate. When it's full of plants and water I think it won't look so bright.

 

I'll try to avoid algae by keeping my water right and the lighting hours down. I've had a heavily algae infested tank get a lot better since I started using biozyme, and I understand that poly filter (which I plan to use in the top filter under the spray bar) removes the chemicals that feeds it.

 

I can also just run one light while cycling as they are separately switched.

 

Plants....I'm no expert on that topic. Please hit me with your suggestions.

 

I'm needing plants suitable for low tech, medium lighting. I'd love to have a carpet effect.

 

The driftwood is protected Australian mangrove wood by the way, only available through licensed sellers. It cost more than the filter lol!

 

Cheers again for all the comments.

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Yepper.  Han would have no probs sending to Oz.

 

http://www.hanaquatics.com/ss-filter-guard/

 

Han's member name here is H4N

 

As far as a thread, he may be able to do that- or he may be able to make something that you can just slip on your existing screen.  He's pretty ingenious with that stuff.

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Interesting mention of Poly Filter......never heard of the stuff before.

 

I'd love to hear what results you get from the product or if anyone else can speak to its usage in freshwater aquaria.

Poly Filter has been around for a long time. Changes color depending on what's in your water.

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What a nice overhaul on the original purchase. I wouldn't worry so much about the intensity of the lighting unless you are trying to make this tank, "high-tech" more so than keeping shrimp. Well done so far!

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Did my painting today with difficult to obtain and ludicrously expensive Krylon Fusion in satin black.


 


Quite happy with the results, but being a second hand tank some imperfections in the glass show up and I wish I'd thought of painting the suction pipe before I glued it in permanently.


 


Still very nice, and with the dark grey iron sand I feel sure that the lighting will work well and make the colors of the driftwood/plants/shrimp pop.


 


 


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Here's the filter and chiller:


 


 


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I wasn't going to use a chiller because the tank's in an aircon room and it will mean that I have to place the tank/stand protruding out of the alcove in the office where I plan to put this tank, but this little Hailea HC100A has struggled on a 4 footer in the Aussie summer, and I recently acquired a second hand HC250A to replace it.


 


Canister is a 40AUD ebay cheapy, but I've got some decent ceramic noodles and mat to go in it, as well as running it through the top filter as previously mentioned. Should be OK.


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  • 1 month later...

OK, so I've been a bit busy with kids, work and whatnot, but I'm back on the job.


 


At least I know my paint is fully cured.


 


Can anyone recommend a good heater other than the Eheim one with the calibrating rings? I don't like them and want to try something else.


 


I've got my mangrove root in the dishwasher (wife is delighted with that) and will try to get more done tomorrow.


 


I'm a little disappointed that I couldn't get the glass cleaner. It seems to have some etched in calcium stains or something.


 


 


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As I don't use heaters I won't be much help, but I wanted to tell you it is amazing to see start to finish, you have put in the work and it certainly looks to have paid off.

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So here we are, finally filled it up today.


 


Bought a bunch of plants from Z aquatics or something online. Don't really know what they are, just went through the "background, middle and foreground" sections and went for the "easy care" selections.


 


There's a stainless mesh square of java moss flexed between the root blades (worked a treat) and frogbit floating around there as well.


 


Filled it up with a combination of rainwater and RO water then added my saltyshrimp, which is why the water looks white.


 


Substrate is NZ black iron sand, no regrets there.


 


The lighting looks bright, which it is at the surface, but is not excessive IMHO. The frogbit looks very happy, and some of the plants look to be turning to face the light as well. I like the "beams of sunlight" effect, and as the frogbit grows I'm sure it'll all find a happy place light wise. I'll run it for 4-6 hours a day (any suggestions, want to avoid algae while getting my plants to start) while cycling using a timer.


 


Really happy with the cannister filter and the top box, the flow rate is spot on. When I first fired it all up it was just overflowing the top box a bit (back into the tank, not over the back), but with the intake strainer covered in plant debris it's still holding right up at the maximum level it can be.


I've used Mr Aqua ceramic noodles in the cannister and top box, and after the tank is cycled I'll add a mat of that expensive "poly filter" in the section under the spray bar for a final scrub of the water before adding livestock.


 


Hope you like it!


 


 


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  • 2 weeks later...

All coming along nicely.

I've added some seasoned material and half a dozen red ramshorn snails, and a treatment of "Aquasonic Bio Culture", which is said to be a cycling bacteria additive that actually works. Time will tell, I'm watching/testing carefully.

Plants are responding very strongly to 6 hours a day of light, set on timer.

Water is much clearer now, but certainly not finished and highly aerated with both an airstone and the filter box out let.

I dropped the level to about 6cm from the cover edge to allow the light to fully reach the surface for the frogbit (which is taking off). If I wasn't having floating plants it would be fine filled right up.

Camera didn't quite focus properly, I'll play with the settings more next time.

Ng4Wu3W.jpg

 

IyYST8n.jpg

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