Home > Misc > 5.5 Rimless Planted Tank Build

5.5 Rimless Planted Tank Build

December 27, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Current Full Tank Shot:

Filter- Aquaclear 10 HOB
Heater- Rena Smart Heater 50w
Lighting- DIY 24 3Watt LEDs with Dimmer Switches
Dosing- Estimative Index Dosing Regimen
CO2- None yet, maybe DIY yeast reactor.

Narrow Leaf Java Fern
Christmas Moss
Wisteria (future)

Dwarf Pea Puffers (future)


A long time ago, fluval edges were IN.  I got sucked in too.  I owned every shitty aquarium there was.  My first tank was a biOrb.  Bleh.

This was my first attempt at a planted tank.  I knew nothing back then- I used inadequate lights, pool filter sand, and the plants soon died.

Here’s my second incarnation of the Fluval Edge.  Last winter I set up a nano reef tank for my mother in her kitchen.  I upgraded the lights to two 13W 10000K CFL bulbs.  I didn’t last long though:

While it was cycling my mother dropped a glass cup on it and shattered the top hahaha.  It was actually a blessing, since the top is a heinous PITA to deal with when maintaining the tank, and it severely limits your light options.  At last I’m free of the tyranny of that god damned tank.

I took a razor blade and cut off the top, and ended up with a decent rimless tank.   I prefer ADA tanks because of their high clarity glass, but I really do like the dimensions of the fluval edge.

Originally my intent was to make another nano reef, which is why I chose to go with dimmable LED lights.  But then I decided that a low tech planted tank would be much easier to take care of as I finished my last semester at UT Austin.

I also wanted to experiment with Christmas Moss, Narrow Leaf Java Fern and Dwarf pea puffers.

I ordered the DIY 24 LED light kit from Aqua Style Online.  I used this thread as a guide.  I had done some soldering before, but if you’re new to soldering, try looking up some videos on how to solder on youtube- it helped me tremendously.  The most important part of soldering is the concept of heating the metal connections with the soldering iron, and then adding the solder- as the solder melts it will glide onto the heated metal components and cover them.  When you’re heating the connection, a small amount of solder on the soldering iron helps heat up the connection.

I didn’t like the fan that came with the kit so I bought 2 smaller, thinner fans from Fry’s Electronics.  The power supply that powers the fans was too much, and the fans spun too fast and loud, so I added a 100 ohm resistor from Radioshack to the voltage line.  This lowered the current passing through the fans and they spun slower and quieter.  They are almost silent now but spin fast enough to cool my heat sink.

I went to the dollar store and bought a rigid food container as a project box.  I noticed that my LED drivers got really hot after a few hours so I decided to use the fan that came with the kit to cool my project box.  I attached it to the tupperware lid and used an plug from an old servo for quick connect/disconnect.  I used heat shrink tubing for the first time on this project and loved how clean it made all my wires look.

The light bar was made from 1/2″ conduit pipe.  Here’s an awesome guide on how to make an ADA Style Light Bar.  I really liked how clean the setup looked- no ugly hanging wires or power wires.

Next I had to make the cabinet.  I like cabinets that match aquarium dimension exactly.  Here is a good guide on how to make an ADA Style Tank Stand.  I didn’t use a biscuit joiner and I didn’t cover it in laminate, because I knew I wanted a glossy white setup.

I used Euro hinges for the door:

Pictures of the stand with the light bar.  The light bar enters the left side of the cabinet and anchors to a hole in the back.  I used gray pipe fittings from Lowes as plastic grommets.

I ended up using spray primer and glossy white spray paint on the tank stand, light bar and some laminate for cover the ugly side of my heat sink on my LED lights.  I also cut some laminate for a white back drop for my tank.

These are the cabinet feet from Lowes:

Finished cabinet and tank:

While ordering Lily Pipes from Aquatic Magic, I decided to order Christmas Moss and Narrow Leaf Java Fern since shipping was free.

Attaching the moss to the plastic needle point grid was an extremely tedious process.  So was cutting the the grid.  It’s a labor of love.

Does it look better with the white backdrop?

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