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Feb 4, 2014
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Just a heads up it's a long post. You have been warned.
It's been a while since I last posted on here or even got on at all let alone started a new fish tank. Been about 1 1/2 years since I last posted and in that time I had my 220 gallon reef tank which was a great success but ultimately I made the choice to sell the tank and all my fish to focus on my farm and building a house along with other everyday life stuff that was getting busy. It's been about 6 months since I've had any fish and in that time I accomplished most of my goals that I had when I decided to take a break from the hobby. Now as any of you that have taken a break surely know it's an addicting hobby and one I don't think you ever outgrow so returning to it was always the plan. This last weekend I sat down in my favorite chair with a cold beverage and decided to let my mind run wild with tank ideas and it did. I thought of a mango grove tank and a nano reef or a huge discus display or perhaps a fish from my childhood fishing the backwaters the dangerous and challenging alligator gar. Ultimately all these fell short in grabbing my attention or harnessing my imagination in the way I wanted it to. Until I hit on a fish that I'd long been inthralled with after seeing two babies in a small pet store tank. The reticulated hillstream loach with its brilliant gold patern a body shape and swimming tendencies that conjure images of a sting ray like bottom dweller it captured my attention from the second I spotted them in that tiny tank almost 4 years ago. I went home and started researching them right away only to find that they required a very specific cold water and fast moving river current environment that at the time I both lacked the skill and monetary means to provide. Well a lots happened since that first time seeing them and I not only want to jump back into the hobby but get my feet wet with going back to a freshwater tank. The tank idea I'm running with at this time is a low, wide and long one that will mimic the cold, fast moving and highly oxygenated hillstreams these fish come from. I'm going to attempt as close to a boitope as I can get with probably two acceptions one will be the tank mates which in this case will be a large school of around 75-100 White Cloud Mountain minnows which are another cold stream dwelling species that while reportedly some are found in Vietnam dew to assumed transplanting of the species there origin is in China's cold mountain streams and lakes around White Cloud Mountain. I've yet to see any reports or data showing that these two fish have ever actually been together in the wild I don't find it a huge stretch to say it's possible so I'm at least sticking within the premis of a biotope in my mind at least lol. The second acception is that in the wild from reports and data I've found it's rare these fish encounter anything but rocks in these streams high in the mountains I however will include at least some driftwood as I want to provide some areas the minnows will feel safe along with the fact that this tank will be completely plantless in the display so the driftwood will add a little break up to the rocks and in keeping with the biotope again this Is a possibility they could encounter driftwood in the lower regains of the streams. Now that the long winded explanation is done let's get onto the tank idea as it sits now.

Since I wanted a very specific tank it wasn't like I could go to any pet store and find one in there stock so like my forefathers I decided to man up and build what I needed with my bare hands I mean gloved hands. Safety people! Nothing ruins a good tank building like a trip to the ER for stitches in your hand and explaining to your girlfriend your not crazy for having a hobby that's keeping tiny creatures in a glass box with water and power balancing on a fring edge of existence. Anyways safety rant over for now.
My first stop was visiting the excellent and time/headache saving tank building calculator Garf Tank Builder which allows you to punch in your sizes and building materials and they give you a list of in this case glass sheet sizes and assembly instructions. I chose glass because I hate acrylic with the burning passion of a man who has cleaned up 100 gallons off a basement floor after a seem split at 3 in the morning. I'm also just better at building glass aquariums so glass is my go to choice pretty much all the time. I decided that my preferred tank would be a 14" tall, 20" wide and 60" long this gives me around 73 gallons not accounting for water displaced by rocks, driftwood and sand also not filling the tank to the very top so probably more like 65-67 gallons of actual water in the display tank. I will drill the tank on one corner for an overflow that empties into the sump. That's right freshwater nerds a sump not all the saltwater reefing is out of my blood yet haha. One thing I will never do again is any tank without a sump I love them and I'll explain why when I get into the sump build in a later post. On the opposite side of the tank from the overflow and outflow I will drill the tank for three or four inflows thusly in theory providing a loop current rather then a tumbling current which should mimic a streams natural flow very well. Now since this is all still in the planning stages I'm still working through all the engineering and finding the materials. This Monday I will head into town and talk with the money sucking leech that is my local glass dealer to see what crazy price he will conjure up for one of the most common building materials known to man. Mini rant aside anyone of you that has ever built your own glass tank knows the struggle of getting glass at a price that doesn't make you wonder if it's a sheet of silver you just ordered. Assuming I can pull all the supplies together at a price that doesn't break the bank I'll be going ahead with the build at a decent pace hopefully.
I will do post and videos of DIY lighting along with glass tank building also designing a freshwater sump and drilling glass, building a stand and canopy, plumbing, filtering and with any luck and some hard work fish care for this cool underrated and rarely kept correctly fish of Vietnam. So thanks for reading if you managed to get through the whole post hopefully you will stick with me through the build and see what trouble I can get into along the way.
Look fwd to this.good to see you back
Thanks it's good to be back for sure :)
I'm working on cycling the 10 gallon hospital tank as we speak so hopefully you will see some more updates soon as well as the main tank getting properly underway.
So unfortunately the local fish store I planned on getting my white clouds from won't have another shipment in until later this spring. Since I'm not ready to drop 3.75$ each ordering them online I'll just have to put this build on hold for a bit. That being said I have a few other projects I'll be rolling out with what I hope passes as fun to read content and useful diy builds.

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