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July '03

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July '03 - Michael Khor's 40 L TV Tank. (Australia)

Ever wondered what to do with that ancient 26" wooden TV set laying around in yours or your grandparent's garage? Here's a perfect destination for it! Even if you don't have the old TV, it shouldn't be too hard to buy one for almost nothing, and in no time you can have your favorite program broadcasting all day long, with no commercials!

Owner:Michael Khor, 33, from Victoria (Australia)
Setup:February 2003
Dimensions:50x30x35 cm
Volume:40 L (nominal)
Filtration:Atman F301 internal sponge filter (300 L/h)
Lighting:1x15 Watts Power-Glo Fluorescent
Substrate:Plain Gravel
Decoration:Bogwood, rocks, printed background
Water: Temp 26C, pH 6.8, KH 300 ppm, NO2 0 ppm
Fauna:1 male Betta, 1 female Bristlenose Catfish, 9 Cardinal Tetras, 1 Siamese Algae Eater
Flora:Vallisneria, Sword Plant, and 3 others (don't know the names)

This is my first tank since I was a teenager and I have had it for about 4 months now. I started keeping fish about 15 years ago, but stopped after a year (too much money and time for a teenager). I have gained most of my recent knowledge from the Web, some books and the Boronia Aquariums Fish Forum.

I had the idea kicking around in my head for the last 3 or 4 years about a TV Tank after a friend told me about it. I didn't do much about it until I found a TV that I liked. I like doing a bit of woodworking as a hobby anyway and always wanted another small fish tank (now I have more time and money) so during January/February this year I started making the tank. Originally I was going to use the original TV cabinet, but it didn't really lend itself to the flip style lid which makes it easy to maintain, so I rebuilt the cabinet out of MDF / Craftwood and stained it with an acrylic estapol satin stain. I also kept the original legs and attached it to the new cabinet. I stained/lacquered all surfaces multiple times to ward off any effects of evaporation in the enclosed space as well as built in some ventilation at the back. Fortunately, there is *no* condensation within the cabinet.

After the cabinet was finished I had a custom size tank built which nicely fits the screen size. I was never going to get a standard off the shelf tank to give me the effect I wanted. I had to allow for the height of the light/reflector which is 6 cm. This just allowed me to have the top of the tank at the height of the top of the screen, but unfortunately meant that I could not fill the water level ABOVE the height of the screen. In hindsight, if I had used one of those GLOMAT's remote ballast units, I would have been able to do this. That's a lesson for next time. I also should have built the tank to exceed the width of the screen rather than just cover it. This would have allowed me to have a larger volume of water as well as being able to better hide the filter and heater. I did not want to have the tank fill the entire cabinet space as it was important to me to have storage space inside to keep everthing functional as well as neat. Lastly, I mounted the powerboard outside the cabinet at the back just in case I had any water spillage or condensation issues. I did locate the air pump inside the cabinet for noise suppression reasons, but the pump is quiet enough that I don't really need to do this.

Anyway, so after about a week, the tank was completed and after cycling it I started populating. I have been lucky so far as most of the plants and fish have survived. I've only had 2 casualties: 1 Cardinal Tetra died for no obvious reason, and 1 Giant Danio jumped out of the tank. I had intended on getting a new filtration system, like a biowheel, but I have been testing my water and the chemistry is always spot on so right now I don't see the need. I do water changes every 7-14 days and trim the Val each water change. I feed the fish a mixture of flake and pellet food, supplemented with frozen food, zucchini, and freeze-dried tubifex.

If you'd like to submit an aquarium for Tank of the Month, just contact me.

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Bird's eye view: excellent craftsmanship!

Photos taken by Michael Khor and displayed here with his permission.

oF <=> oC in <=> cm G <=> L