Today I decided to get started on building a tank stand for the 20 Gallon Long Southeast Asian tank. I’ve never built a stand before, nor have I ever used a circular saw. After a visit to Home Depot, I got some basic supplies to get started, including a sawhorse, a clamp, carpenter’s triangle, and a set of screws. I already had a tape measure, drill, and a small handheld circular saw.
Materials for 20G stand build.
With the supplies gathered, my wife helped me make the first cut. We are using 2×4’s, which are overkill, but there is a method to the madness. To complete the goal of converting the 40 gallon breeder into a display tank, we need to replace the ugly iron stand. The techniques and basic frame design here will be used on the 40 gallon later on, so this is more of a test to ensure everything goes together properly. This was my wife’s first time using a circular saw as well, so a learning experience for both of us! The cuts were very quick and without any issues. We used the carpenter’s triangle clamped down to help guide the saw. I will definitely need a couple more clamps to help hold down the wood to the sawhorse in the near future.
Wood cut to size.
After everything was cut, we drilled and screwed together the pieces, to form the bottom frame of the stand. The top will be an exact duplicate of this as well. The stand is designed to hide the bottom black frame when completed, so the entire frame will be covered in 1/4″ plywood, and moldings will be added to the top and bottom. There will be a shelf, and a door, but we are still deciding on how that door will work (or if we will have two smaller doors instead of one huge one).
Finished bottom of stand.
Here is the tank on the stand frame. We will need to get some legs to build on top of this, which will be over the next couple days. Overall, this seems quite easy so far. I’m not sure why I waited so long to try and build my own stand!
To test if the RODI unit is working, I purchased a TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meter. It is a simple device, just hold the probes in the water and wait a second. Results are fast, and appear to be very accurate. I did a couple experiments to get a better understanding of TDS in different environments.
In my existing 40 gallon breeder, the TDS reading was 385. Not really surprising. In my house water, which is filtered, the reading was 250. Also not terribly surprising, considering our city water is liquid concrete. The reading in some water I had made from the RODI unit was 7.
Overall, I can see how useful the TDS meter will be moving forward. It is just another tool to help us keep track of what is going on in our tanks.
Just completed a 5 gallon water change on the 40 gallon. The RO unit is working great, and the water is testing where I expect. I will get a TDS meter on Monday, and I can further validate the RODI unit’s effectiveness. I will continue these small water changes over the next couple weeks to see if there is a difference in the algae growth. And hopefully, with that under control, I will begin to move over the existing plants and start transforming the tank to the West African biotope.
I hooked up all the water lines and got the RODI unit semi-installed. I ran through about 2 gallons of water, just clearing the membranes. I will now need to get a couple large containers to hold the filtered and waste water. Throughout the week, I am going to continue to flush a couple more gallons through the system before testing and using it in my tanks.
I got home from work today, and quickly cleaned the glass top and installed the Kessil A150W over the tank. The spotlight look is a bit strange for now, but it will all fall into place once the new aquascaping takes place. The spotlight will be more to the right, and angled towards the left. The light will be hitting the main portion of the wood and stones, and the left-side will be a bit darker, lit only by the outside light during the day.