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NFC: Re: low budget tanks

Great article Robert, I have a large fish room, and could not do it
without low budget strategy, here are some of my tricks.

Tanks.  70% of the 70 aqauriums I am running are home made, or garage
sale specials.   this kept price to about a dollar a gallon average with
the cost of a few new tanks in the mix.

Stands.  I build my own with 2x4s and plywood, usually scavenged from
building razings.  all you need that is expensive is a electric drill and
bits+screws. (unless your arms never get tired from screwing 100's of
screws thruough 2x4's)

lights. go to department stores and buy them shop lights or strip lights.
 Use a combo of cool and warm light bulbs.

filters. you can build these, but it is easier to buy bulk sponge filters
from a wholesale catalog.

gravel.  I go down to the river and find excellent "gravel bars" of
presorted by size dark brown gravel.

plants. collect your own, or get clippings from a friend and propagate
them in plant tanks full of fertilizers (natural of course) and super
bright lights.  outdoor pools help here.

lids.  great lids can be built for ten gallon tanks and smaller by buying
the lens for flouresent light fixtures at a hardware store, cut them to
size, and get some of those hooks with the sticky foam backs for handles.

air pumps.  this is a big investment for low budget, but does  a good
job.  One large piston pump, with a loop airline sytem. patch into this
with those cheap plastic valves and you can run quite a few tanks.  i
have about 80 sponge filters running off 3 double piston pumps.  I picked
mine up at garage sales and in wholesale catalogs.

foods.  collect your own small minnows, garden worms and aquatic "micro
crustaceans".  this adds a whole new entertaining outdoor collecting
expeirience to your hobby, and you can learn alot along the way. 
Crickets can be bought bulk from bait dealers, very cheap.

water.  get some plastic garbage containers and collect rain water.  If
you require hard water , add 4 tespoons of a salt mix to every five
gallons.  the salt mix costs a little money, but lasts along time for
this purpose.  Make sure your rain collection area is free of pollutants.
 i'm in a rural area sort of, so my roof is realtivly clean, this may not
work in areas with high smog rates and such, but maybe it would.

fry tanks.  plastic shoe boxes and larger plastic clear containers work
great for this purpose.  they are easily cleaned and portable.

outdoor pools.  if you have room in your yard, you can set up low wide
plastic containers with water and plants in them to keep your fish out
side in the warmer months, or year round in Florida.  If the fish are
small species, mosquitoes and other midges and such should feed your fish
for you.  I have never had a outdoor pool go bad on me, and have no
areation other than wind.  Just keep leaves and dead animals out( like
big bugs and the sad but true ocassional mouse , bird or toad).

Anyone with any questions on catching your own food, building your own
stands or tanks, or any other tiems I listed, feel free to e-mail me
privatly at <choupiqu at wctc_net>

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