OK, fair warning, if you have no interest in aquariums, you can skip this. I’m setting up a new tank and it’s going to be excruciatingly boring if you’re not into that, so sorry. The comic is about 4 inches above this post if you’re lost.
So recently, I started contemplating the idea of getting back into having a salt water aquarium. As a teenager, I worked for a local aquarium shop and was really into marine tanks, especially octopuses. More on that in a future post. The problem is, that this stuff can be ridiculously expensive. Actually, one of the reasons I got out of the hobby was a common attitude that spending more money somehow means you’re a better hobbyist. So the challenge I’ve set for myself is to try to set up a complete tank using nothing but secondhand equipment or DIY solutions. So far, things are going well, with one minor setback.
First things first. The tank itself. I’m going with what’s known as a “40 gallon breeder” tank. It’s 36 inches long, by 18 inches wide, so it’s a wide, but shallow tank. (Most critters don’t care much about vertical space anyways). This will make the tank easy to light should I decide I want to do corals. Since this is a bit of an oddball size, I opted to buy this part new, however, a certain major pet retailer was having a “Dollar per gallon” sale, so I got what would normally be a $130 tank for $40. Score. I also picked up a glass top while I was there, since, again, I don’t really want to hunt one of those down or ship it. (Probably wouldn’t save a lot of money there anyways).
My plan is to use a 20 gallon tank I have lying around in the basement as a sump underneath, and build my own filtration. However, going with a sump means I will need to buy a return pump (can’t make those from scratch), and will mean I need the tank drilled so it can be plumbed down into the sump. I looked up some tutorials on drilling tanks, but after a quick call to my local fish shop, I found out they do it regularly and don’t charge very much, plus they had a used overflow available for half the cost. I dropped the tank off last week.
Now here’s the setback: I went to pick up the tank this weekend, and was all set to load it into my car, when one of the guys noticed a hairline crack right by the drilled hole. DAMN. Well, at least I didn’t crack my own tank by incompetently drilling it or take it home and try to fill it unknowingly. They took it back and agreed to replace the tank and re-drill. Since I don’t have a stand for it yet, I’m not really that worried about waiting.
TO BE CONTINUED.