Aluminium based DIY build


New member
Hi folks I just wanted to post up my new tank build. This is the second tank I have ever established (you can just about see my smaller first tank in the shadows below).

The frame is designed and made from aluminium t-slots and the lights consist of leds wired onto an aluminium heatsink. Everything is assembled by hand. The stands suspending the light are plain steel pipes but I plan to switch them for t-slots as well at some point.

I am also currently making a controller/driver for the lights, pump and co2.

The soil is a mixture of mineralised potting soil (i.e. soaked in water for several weeks then dried outdoors) and amazonia soil. The wood and sand is collected from a beach nearby where I live.

As you can see, this is a dry start. The plants I am currently growing are hcs, clovers, hairgrass and st. repens and I plan to grow some red plants later on at the back (not sure which ones yet). I mixed up the location of the plants because I don't want it to look over-manicured, but I do want it to look like a landscape.

Any thoughts are welcome as usual!


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lol - and you won't ever again. It's not a reef. :)

Cool setup - what's the weight limit on that stand? Could you theoretically fill the tank and be ok?


Premium Member
Cool setup - what's the weight limit on that stand? Could you theoretically fill the tank and be ok?

Yep. Slotted Al is strong stuff.

Tank looks good, FW guy. Could you post more pics from straight on? I like your sand but it looks like a pain to maintain.


New member
Yes of course I'm going to fill it :) and even add fish!

I guess it could technically be a freshwater reef, but I won't argue if people don't consider it that.

The aluminium stand is stronger than anything except maybe real solid wood. The nice thing about it being modular is I can always add extra feet and vertical frames to support it if needed but I've absolutely no doubt it is more than enough to hold this tank and much much more. What I like about it is it's virtually water proof and won't buckle or warp when wet. It's also easy to clean. Also when I want to upsize the tank I can just order longer horizontal bars and voila! I've just made the stand longer...

Here's what I used to separate the sand and soil. Hopefully nothing will get through that. It's a type of corrugated plastic and very strong.

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