We started with the glass.
The DB’s father had 2 aquariums, neither of which was in use.
The short version would be: we chose one, washed it out and took it home. The real life version was more complicated but that’s not relevant here.. 🙂
We had an aquarium we wanted to use.
DB knows a welder who let himself be sweet talked into welding us a table exactly the right size for the aquarium.
Presumably one can buy ready made aquarium tables, but having one made to fit exactly is a lot cooler. Besides it’s better to have a lip on the table to give more support and most normal tables don’t have them.
We’d bought a tin of metallic blue paint for the garden bench so we used that for the table too.
Next step was getting a piece of wood and a piece of polystyrene to fit snuggly inside the table frame. The wood adds stability and the polystyrene insulates the aquarium (the water temperature is above room temperature, depending on what kind of fish you have).
Once everything was dry/cut to size DB and his dad carried it all into the sitting room and put it together. They put bits of cardboard under the feet to protect the tiles.
The next stage was preparing and filling it.
We bought and washed 2 small sacks of gravel.
Washing gravel involves pouring some of it into a bucket, running water into it and dipping your hands through it to the bottom of the bucket, scraping up the gravel at the bottom and bringing it to the top. Repeat.
It isn’t entirely necessary, but the dust makes the water cloudy and so means more work for the pump later.
I watched DB at the beginning and thought it would hurt my hands, but he said it was therapeutic so I tried it too. He was right, it didn’t hurt, it actually felt more like digging a hole on a gritty beach.
When the water ran clear we tipped the gravel bucket by bucket onto the floor of the aquarium. There doesn’t seem to be a perfect gravel depth, it’s more like guesswork and luck. 2 sacks was more than enough for 50mm of gravel.