I don’t think there is an aquarium hobbyist out there that doesn’t have spare parts laying around in a closet, basement, garage, or all of the above. I know I have plenty, from lights to filters and everything in between. If I needed to, I think I have enough equipment to set up a small coral farm in my basement.
Last week, Eileen and I decided to set up an aquarium in the fishroom office using parts we found laying around the store. Our goal was to prepare a home for a single blue-ring octopus that will hopefully arrive to us in the next couple of weeks. With a touch of creativity and a little ingenuity, we managed to piece together 12 gallon nano tank. The tank and stand had been lying around for years, stowed a way after the livestock it used to house was moved into a larger and more current display.
With the tank and stand in place, the first step was to make sure every gap, hole and crack was sealed to prevent any escape by our little cephalopod. The tank still had a glass canopy, and the only openings inside the tank were the overflow for the filter and the return. The overflow now has a “custom” home-made cover, constructed with some Velcro and the coarse netting from an old fish room net.
I found an old power compact retrofit kit in storage that still had a decent aluminum reflector. I cut it down to the width of the tank and attached two LED strips for the lighting. The substrate, rock, and water came from existing aquariums making the system as close to pre-cycled as it could be. I added some rubble rock in the filter, to help the biological bed. With a couple other additions from old equipment storage, such as pump and heater, we now have a nano aquarium ready for our octopus when it arrives. For now, we added a simple piece of Pulsing Xenia. Other critters will follow, for now we are awaiting our octopus.
I have some other recycled part set-ups in our office…a double-decker betta bowl created from a protein skimmer collection cup and an old brandy snifter betta bowl to house my “pet” Fireworm. With a little thinking outside the box, it’s easy to turn old clutter into something functional again. We’d love to hear about your own projects!