After a lot of thought, I've decided to put my dream tank project on hold somewhat indefinitely. I am going to sell the tank I have now and get a largeish, normal one in its place. I am thinking 75 gallon, which has a very similar footprint to the current one so I know it will look great in the spot I have picked out.
This was a really hard decision to make, as I've put a lot of time, effort, and money into this, but it's gotten to the point where it's overwhelming and no longer fun. I did know that this would be quite a process--I didn't name my blog what I did for nothing. And I tried my best to mitigate the demands on my time by getting as much as I could finished before I bought a house. But there were some things I did not take into account. I didn't realize just how many ongoing battles I would have to fight just to get it set up, and I didn't realize how much effort I would actually want to put into doing things to my new house, taking time away from the aquarium. Both of these are things I could have planned better for. But also I've had a lot of family obligations lately, which of course are most important, and I find that I just don't have the time or energy that I thought I would have for this project.
In addition, because this whole project has become so overwhelming, I'm not enjoying it anymore. I really liked putting together all the DIY parts that I was going to put into the tank, but I've reached a point where I work and work and don't really see results, and it's very discouraging. I've entertained the thought of giving up on the hobby altogether at points in this process, but I know that's not actually what I want. I just want a nice big tank I can sit back and relax and enjoy, and that's nowhere in sight with this current setup, sadly.
I didn't permanently modify any of the parts of the canisters I have already bought, so I can just reconfigure those as normal and they will be more than up to this job. And the light I already have will work great, also. So this should be a fairly easy transition. I will lose out on almost everything else I've put into this, but it's a learning experience and I have learned quite a bit! And maybe someday I will have tons of time to put into a dream tank again.