View Full Version : Project Fish Tank

12-28-2008, 10:07 PM
My resolution for 09 is to get a 55g up and running. I'd really like to spend time and do this one right as I'm always unhappy with my 29g. I am constantly inspired by the pictures of tank set up on this site and think I have a good idea in mind.

There are the 55g kits at stores like Wal-Mart that seem like a good deal, but I really want to invest in this tank and get the best for it. I'm curious if anyone thinks it would be best to just get the kit or buy as I go. I know in the long run it's going to be more expensive to buy as I go, but I really do want to get high quality equipment in my tank and I do run into sales alot for the good stuff at PetCo every now and then.

I'm going to buy the actual tank first, just get it out of the way. I'm debating on if I should buy one new or buy a used one at my LFS. What are your thoughts on this? Save a few bucks and clean one or buy new and spend more but not have to clean?

I'm going to journalize my process here and hope for lots of advice. In theory, I'd like to get this up and running w/fish by my birthday in April. I think I could have all my equipment bought and set up by then.

So thoughts and concerns are welcome!

12-28-2008, 11:10 PM
Buy as you go. The equipment in those kits are not worth it. www.craigslist.com or www.kijiji.com Look in your area. There always seem to be deals for tanks and equipment on those sites.

12-29-2008, 12:30 AM
Oddly enough I've posted wanted ads for tanks on craigslist and never gotten a response.

What do you think about the used tank from the LFS?

12-29-2008, 12:41 AM
Have you looked in the General For Sale section? I bought a used 115 gallon from an LFS. Haven't cleaned it up or checked for leaks yet. I would get a used tank, no problem. Just chance you will have to invest in some silicone to fix a leak.

12-29-2008, 10:47 PM
I found a used 55 gallon today at my local LFS, it comes with a nice black stand and what appears to be a mounted light fixture, I've seen them before on other tanks, not sure how I feel about that, what are the pros and cons there? The only major concern I have is there not being a hood on the tank and my cat does tend to get curious about the fish from time to time.

They wanted 149.00 for it. Is that too much or a good deal? The tank looks great, will need a little light cleaning, but otherwise in good shape.

12-31-2008, 02:22 AM
I think I'm definatly going to go with the 55g. I have a friend who wants to buy my 29g off me so I'm going to use that money to buy a nice filter for it. I really want something good, what are some suggestions?

01-18-2009, 08:58 PM
Well before I could get my hands on the 55g it sold so I'm back to square one. My friend still wants my 29g as soon as I'm done with it, so that helps a bit with the money issue. I should get my tax return fairly soon so I guess we're going with just buying a tank and a stand, which is going to cost more, but it's my only option right now.

I'm actually thinking about just getting the tank and working on it in my spare bedroom which has a large heavy desk where I could place the tank. In theory I could cycle it there and then have someone help me move it when it's cycled and you have to do the water change.

02-15-2009, 02:36 PM
I managed to find a beautiful 55g tank with stand+canopy on craiglist. The lady is moving and only wants a hundred dollars for the whole thing. The only thing I'll need to buy is a new filter because hers messed up during the ice storm that we had here a few weeks ago. She ended up selling her fish to PetCo since her electricity was out and now she's moving and can't take the tank with her. She was really pleased to find that someone wanted the tank who had actually had experience with fish before and that it was going to good use.

I'm supposed to go get it in a few hours, I'm having my brother help me haul it. I'm so excited, I'll post pictures when I get it home.

02-15-2009, 03:09 PM
Nice. As they say, good things come to those who wait! Congrats on the new tank, i cant wait to see it.

02-15-2009, 03:16 PM
I'm really excited about it and glad that I waited since I was pretty close to just buying a tank and doing it all myself which would have cost me no telling how much, at least this way I'm far ahead with the materials I need.

03-03-2009, 06:19 AM
Well good things might come to those who wait, but I've never been that lucky. I got the tank/stand combo and it was totally worth it, except on the way home another driver darted out in front of us and we quickly turned the truck to avoid being it and the left side of the tank smashed into the backseat, chipping it right along the seals. :(

I was highly upset, although I did feel like I had still gotten a good deal, the stand alone was worth the money I spent. I've been waiting around to get another tank, PetCo had them on sale for eight seven dollars, but I decided to wait and see and just the other day I went into my LFS and they were setting out a used 55 that looked brand new. I quickly asked the woman if it was for sale, got it for seventy which I was okay with and picked it up today. I cleaned it out really well, although I'm going to rinse it out a few more times before I start to put in sand/eco-complete.

I'm still working on it, it will be a few weeks before I can afford the other stuff. I have several pieces of driftwood and some large river rocks that I want to use and of course I have to get some taller plants so it's going to take a bit.

Here is what the tank/stand looks like as of now. I really love it.

03-03-2009, 05:10 PM
what happened with the one for 100 you went to look at?

03-03-2009, 09:58 PM
That is the stand that I got for a hundred. On the way home another driver darted out in front of us and we had to turn sharply and the tank was in the backseat, it smacked against the door and chipped the sides so I have an additional 55gallon that I can't use. :(

03-03-2009, 10:02 PM
How did the glass get damaged? Shouldn't the rim have taken the damage?

03-03-2009, 10:16 PM
Hey, $170 for the stand and a new tank is pretty good imo. What kind of filtration are you thinking of? What are you going to stock it with?

03-04-2009, 02:38 AM
The tank in question was different from the one I have now, I'm not sure how to explain it, but it was heavier and had a metal rim. It smacked into one of the arm rests in the backseat of the truck, the ones on the doors that arn't soft. It chipped the left side in two places. I honestly didn't figure it would be a huge problem, just silicon it, but people here said they would never fill it for fear it would be weak and break all together. I decided to be safe and just bought the other tank.

As far as filtration, I'm not sure. I'm open to suggestion actually. As for stocking, I want angels and I've heard that they like a mature tank of six months or more so for the first six months after the cycle I'm going to house my four female bettas in there. The tank is going to be heavily planted so I'm hoping that much space per betta female will work okay. I'm just going to get a stocking list of what works well with angels and slowly work them into the tank before I put the angels in later on.

03-13-2009, 02:06 AM
I'm going to get my background put on this weekend hopefully and begin to aquascape.

I'm excited, my tank has been sitting empty for far too long.

03-17-2009, 01:32 AM
good luck with your tank, i love my 55g. i bet you'll have a nice setup going, PM me if you have any questions. thumbs2:

03-17-2009, 09:07 PM
Thank you for that!

Well I got the background on my tank the other day. I decided to fill it up and begin cycling last night. I don't have all the substrate yet because I'm trying to decide if I want to plant the tank now that I want cichlids in it.

Hauling five gallon buckets of water from the bathroom wasn't too fun, but I got the tank filled up in fifteen trips and now my arms are killing me, but I guess I'll have some muscle to show for my trouble.

I dumpped in probably twenty pounds of pool filter sand that I had in my old 29 gallon tank. I'm just going to let it get the bacteria in it before I do anything else.

I also got a cup of gravel from my boss's fish tank. She's had it for nearly thirty years and has had the same substrate in it for the last four so even without testing her levels I'm sure she has an amazing growth of bacteria. I chunked it into the tank just a few minutes ago and will check it tommorow to see how it's going.

03-17-2009, 09:19 PM
All sounds good!! I bet you're having fun! :19: If you plan on keeping the bacteria alive in the used substrate, you need to add an Ammonia source...

03-17-2009, 09:23 PM
Should I add now? How much?

03-17-2009, 09:31 PM
I'm not sure how much it would take, but you need to get the level of Ammonia up to 5ppm...Someone will be able to offer an educated guess...

03-17-2009, 09:33 PM
Maybe a tspoon?

03-17-2009, 09:45 PM
I'd start with 2tsps and then test after two hours. If it's not reading 5ppm, add more....

03-17-2009, 09:46 PM
Just decided to put 5ml in of ammonia, figured I could always put more if needed, but didn't want to overdo it and a tspoon seemed like waaay to much.

03-17-2009, 09:49 PM
It's a 55gal tank? A tsp wouldn't be too much in 55gals...or at least, I don't think so....Where are the fishless cycling experts?????

03-17-2009, 09:52 PM
Apparently not around, lol. I'll go put a few more into the tank just to see how it goes.

03-17-2009, 09:54 PM
Hang on!!! Try 2tsp, and wait a couple of hours before testing. If it's not at 5ppm, you can add more...

03-17-2009, 09:55 PM
Okay I have 2tsp in right now. I'll test in about two hours to see the results.

03-17-2009, 10:01 PM

03-17-2009, 10:09 PM
Thanks for the help. I'll report back in a few to announce the results.

03-18-2009, 09:10 PM
Okay so I've run into a problem with the cycling. I had a cup full of my boss's gravel from her tank, it's been running with the same substrate for nearly four years now, there is no way it's not full of bacteria right?

Well I placed the gravel in with my sand and put the ammonia in yesterday afternoon, two tsp and even this afternoon it's still registering a high amount of ammonia, like 8 ppm on the scale. Shouldn't the bacteria have used it up?

I really don't want to do another large water change since it takes so long and I'm not really feeling all that great. Suggestions, should I wait it out?

I'm just floored on how there couldn't have been bacteria from her tank. I kept the rocks/water warm until I got it home and then put it straight into the tank.

03-18-2009, 10:10 PM
8ppm? Isnt that over twice the amount most use to cycle tanks? I know it is possible that too much ammonia can kill the bacteria....

03-19-2009, 01:37 AM
I'm just not sure how that can even be possible and if it is, then I've probably killed the bacteria that was in there, oh fun.

03-19-2009, 05:46 AM
I went ahead and did a 45% water change and will check my parameters again in the morning. I guess I'm just going to cycle the old fashioned way since it appears there isn't bacteria in the gravel I got from my boss.

03-19-2009, 07:19 AM
I went ahead and did a 45% water change and will check my parameters again in the morning. I guess I'm just going to cycle the old fashioned way since it appears there isn't bacteria in the gravel I got from my boss.

See if you can get some filter media of him. That will have bacteria in it for you.


03-21-2009, 12:43 AM
I got some filter media from the tank we have at work. I checked the nitrates on it and it registered low, but there were some, so I snagged it and did a 80% water change and am now letting it settle. Hopefully the ammonia levels are down after the rather large water change. I'll give it a few hours, probably after the BSG series finale and then I'll check levels.

03-21-2009, 01:23 AM
I got some filter media from the tank we have at work. I checked the nitrates on it and it registered low, but there were some, so I snagged it and did a 80% water change and am now letting it settle. Hopefully the ammonia levels are down after the rather large water change. I'll give it a few hours, probably after the BSG series finale and then I'll check levels.

Dont give up now!! I know it sucks sitting there with a tank full of water and sand but don't give in and buy fish. Trust me i was about to give up and all the sudden i saw nitrites and soon after that it was over. I know i would've regret putting fish in to do the dirty work. I too put in gravel from my 29g in a stocking and of course that didn't help too much, and i used an ornament too. Trust me just stick with your fishless cycle, its just a game of patience.thumbs2:

03-21-2009, 03:10 AM
Oh I have no plans of adding fish until this is done right. I have a smaller tank with is housing my freshwater fish and it will be fine for now, plus I really don't have the cash flow going right now where I could really decorate the tank up. So I guess it's a good thing to be broke now, lol.

03-21-2009, 04:46 PM
I let the tank run through the night and have just now checked results.

Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0.25
Nitrate - 10

I'm going to add a slight bit of ammonia to the tank, but not very much seeing as before, less than 2 tsps were enough to give me 8 ppm levels. I'm thinking maybe 1 tsp and then will check again in a few hours.

The added filter media really did work wonders I think.

03-24-2009, 06:30 AM
Tested just a few minutes ago and got the following results.

Ammonia - 2
Nitrite - 5
Nitrate - 5

I'm a little worried that my Nitrates have lowered and that my Nitrites are rising. I'm curious what to do.

03-27-2009, 05:30 AM
Tested today with the following results.

Ammonia - 0.25
Nitrite - 2.0
Nitrate - 5.0

I added one teaspoon of pure ammonia. I wish the cycle would increase somewhat, but I'm being patient. I found some aquatic planting soil at ACE Hardware and plan on picking up a few bags this weekend if they have it in stock. I also plan to get some sandstone slabs to build a "rock wall" within the tank to have two levels, one about five inches high heavily planted and then the lower level, about an inch of substrate and some java mass planted throughout.

04-02-2009, 05:27 AM
So my testing is finally clean, I believe my tank has cycled. I clearly read 0, 0, 10 across the boards whenever I check. I'd like my nitrates to be a bit larger, but I'm okay with what I have at present time.

Tommorow I should be getting in the flourite that I ordered, as well as the glass top that will cover the tank. I'm going to go in search of a good light strip probably next week and hopefully start stocking my tank with fish the week after.

Right now I have the following planned for the tank, suggestions and comments are appreciated.

2 Blood Parrots
6-9 Green Tiger Barbs
10-12 Corys
2 Gourami(Not sure what kind yet)

Eventually I'd like to get a school of otos, but that remains to be seen when I can find them.

So what do you all think?