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ChrissieA

New tank - determined to do it right!

21 posts in this topic

We have been looking for a 2nd hand tank upgrade for a few months. All the tanks we found were either smaller than the one we have now or really big, and with a really big tank comes a much higher price. We really didn't NEED a huge tank, so it was hard to justify paying so much. Then, yesterday we drove an hr and a half to pick up this baby

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Its 560 or 570L!! I can't remember the exact measurements but we definately measured multiple times to be sure :)

It's still got dirt in it and it had some ugly backing on the back which we're halfway through removing so it looks awful right now but I'm so excited! The tiny looking tank next to it is my original 140L.

Please help me get this tank right. Hehe. The last few months have been really stressful with my fish. I set the original tank up all wrong and it's been a lot of work, and despite all my work, something is still going wrong in there and making them sick. I've had all three fish out of the tank and in plastic totes for over a week. I realllly can't wait to set this tank up but realistically it's going to be a few weeks before it's up and running.

So, before I do anything, what's the best way to disinfect it? Bleach?

For substrate, I want to stay away from gravel, so I was thinking sand. Do plants grow ok in sand? Also, do different types of sand affect the water chemistry? I'd like to try and keep the tank and tap at the same ph etc. I assume I need to fertilise if I use sand?

As far as plants go, are there any really deep rooting fast growing ones? My fish are proven plant annihilaters. The only plant that's managed to survive them (I think it grows faster than they can eat it) is one that doesn't root down but shoots out runners. So they rip it up, it floats around the tank until it hits the bottom, or another plant, then shoots out a runner. Currently I have a big bundle of these in the centre of the tank that are all intertwined. I used to spend time trying to organise them but knowing we were upgrading I've just left them like that.

I'm considering possibly potting them. That way if the fish destroy them I can easily remove and replace them but I'm not sure yet.

The tank didn't come with a filter. He threw in an old canister he had but it only does 1000L per hour which is not enough for this tank. We're going to build our own filter. That being said, I'm wondering how to position it to create circulation and avoid dead spots in such a big tank? From memory it's about 160 long. Are we better to have two filters? What's the best way to position it/them?

What haven't I thought of?

I really want to do this one right. My hobby has been quite stressful over the last few months and I really just want a beautiful healthy tank that my fish (and the new ones I can now get) will thrive in and that I can enjoy. I've really been feeling like a slave to my existing tank and the thought of feeling that way now on a much bigger scale makes me nervous.

Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. I plan on updating as we progress. I really want to have it up and running soon!

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I'm only a noob myself and currently have a Boo Boo fish that's a big headache, but I hope you get everything sorted out! I'm sure some of the experts will chime in to help. Not sure if using bleach on the tank is a good idea? As for plants, I like Water Sprite and you can also float it and it won't die.

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Use Klorin (main ingredient in bleach) and then rinse and wipe the tank over several times with clean water. This is DEADLY to fish, so please take care in removing it.

 

In terms of plants - yes plants will do well being potted in the tank. If they have soil and nutrients to grow, they will be fine :) When selecting plants, always look at their requirements in terms of light and Co2. It is a big waste of money buying beautiful plants that won't survive in your tank due to this. I'm sure there are others who can give you more names of plants than I can, that goldfish won't touch, but I have great success with keeping various Anubias plants. The main thing with them is that you need to let the bottom of the plant (not the roots) not be under gravel, but above gravel/sand. I have them tied to rocks and tree stumps - and they grow a lot. Some of them get quite big, while others stay small. A lot of variety in this type of plant alone. Not very floaty in the water (like some plants that get really long and float in length of the tank), but generally pretty and they can set a flower under water - which looks great :)

Filters - yes that would not do at all for goldfish. Way too little! I would recommend that you have two filters, or a filter and a circulation pump. The main thing about the "out" end (water coming from the filter into the tank), is that it needs to be just under the surface of the water, so that you have movement in the water surface. This creates an exchange of oxygen to the water, making sure that your fish can breathe :) I run two filters on my 660L tank (its 2 meters long) and I have the two "out" in the middle of the tank, pointing towards both ends of the tank and then at each end of the tank I have a "in" (water going into the tank). This way I have movement in the entire surface and all the debris is pushed towards the intakes of the filters. You can also do an "out" and "in" in each end of the tank (on the short side of the tank), so that the "waves" meet in the middle.

What kind of filter are you planning?

 

A few things that you should get on:

Get a fast way of getting water in and out of the tank. With such a big tank, you need to change a lot of water - and it takes forever with buckets! So get yourself a setup that allows for easy water changes. I use a pondpump (Eheim StreamOn 2000) with a Eheim hose attached, that runs to the sink. This can empty my 660L in about 1-1½ hour, if I have taken the fish out (they can get stuck to the pump and the flow is greatly reduced when putting a protection on it). To get water into the tank, I have attached an adapter on my kitchen sink faucet, which allows me to have a garden hose (not a garden hose, but similar in size. Don't use garden hoses, they contaminate the water that runs through it) attached to it, so my kitchen sink faucet is turned on and the water runs through the hose to the tank - I just use a clip to keep the hose in place on the tank while it is filling.

I did this video a long time ago:

 

It shows how I have done it before, I just changed the filter out and use a pondpump now :)

 

Another thing that you need to get on, is maturing your filter. Getting and maintaining the good bacteria in your filter is key to keeping your fish healthy. There are a guide on this forum to the fish in, or fishless cycle of a tank/filter. Please use this to make sure that your filter can handle the fish you put in the tank :)

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Thanks for the tips! I was doing bucket changes on the smaller tank but definately have no intention of doing that on this tank so I'm certainly looking at water change techniques!

I'm going to use the media from my current canister to seed the new filter, but yeah I'll probably have a pretty decent cycle bump as I'm not transferring the gravel etc. I'll put the fish in as soon as I can so I guess they'll be riding out the cycle bump but there's about 180ish litres of water per fish so I don't see it being too hard to manage the parameters, although I may be wrong, the 140L tank cycled itself (I didn't know much about it) so I can't say I have experience there.

I really like the idea of Sharon's pond style filter, and there'll definately be adequate filtration. I was thinking two filters would be better too so that's good to know.

Thank you :)

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You can use bleach or potassium permanganate to disinfect the tank. 

 

I recommend starting with a bare bottom and potting your plants.  After your fish are all healthy,  you can add sand it you wish.  

 

You will not have a cycle bump with three fish in that big tank.  If you build the pond filter first, you can put the biomedia in the new filter , put new biomedia in the current filter and run them both.  Otherwise, just set up your current filter, build the pond filter,  get it running, and let the old filter seed the new.  Bacteria proliferate until they reach the "stationary phase"

 

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at which state some can proliferate rather slowly because they are almost starving, some go into a non-growing, barely alive "starvation" state, and some die, but proliferation rate and death rate match so the population stays constant.  This condition exists in a mature filter.  Now if you increase the food supply -- by adding fish or removing some of the bacteria by taking away the gravel --  the hungry and starving bacteria all  rapidly increase their uptake of ammonia/nitrite, so you usually won't see a cycle bump.  

 

I use a "river flow" circulation in my ponds (and any aquarium I set up).  The clean water from the filter and the fresh water reservoir enter at one end, and the pump and the waste water overflow remove it at the other end creating a gentle one-way flow.  Debris will probably collect on the bottom near the pump.  You can just siphon this out as it becomes visible to keep the bottom clean.  The overflow will skim the top of the water to keep that clean.  

 

With a large-volume pond filter (1/10 the tank volume) you don't need a huge turnover rate.  A pump that claims to turn over 2X  and no more than 5X  the tank volume per hour gives high water quality without a flow that annoys the fish.

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Your new tank looks like it will be fantastic - congratulations! :) I have mostly sand in my tank, & the plants do indeed grow well in it - the rooted sorts get root tabs, the others are glued to stones. I have several sorts of plants in my tank - loads of icky tasting and/or rubbery ones (3 diff kinds of anubias, 2 diff kinds of crypts), masses of unpleasantly chewy ones (huge clumps of 2 diff kinds of Java ferns, a rosette sword), & vaguely unpleasant super fast growing ones (some kind of sword, 2 diff kinds of hygrophilas). The latter group get bites taken out & left to drift around the tank, but it's hard to tell, because they grow back real fast anyway - and I think they keep the fish sufficiently amused that they don't try experimenting with the other varieties.

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Thank you as always Sharon, I think you're right about the bottom. Aesthetically I'd prefer to have something there, but right now anything that makes it easier to keep the tank clean and them healthy is what I'm after. Good to know about the cycle too. The more I thiught about it yesterday the more I decided that surely the bb's would be in full swing before toxic levels of ammonia had a chance to build up in that water volume.

Shahbazin I love your tank. I googled a bit yesterday and came up with some of those you use. You'll be one of my tank inspirations :) except I'm potting, hehe so just have to work out how to make it look more natural with the pots, and of course if it's even possible to get those plants here.

I'm really happy with it. It's sooo much bigger than the 140L. The fish will be so happy lol. There will only be three fish in there for around 4 or 5 months, then I plan on 4 more :) now just to get it going!

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Congratulations on your new tank!!!!

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WOW what a great find :)

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Thank you! We were really lucky to find it :)

I have a question about lights and plants. I just want to make sure I've got everything ready to go.

The lights that came with the tank are 2 x 36watts, one is 10000K and the other 120000K. From memory they were white and red light. Are these suitable for plants that need moderate light?

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Thank you! We were really lucky to find it :)

I have a question about lights and plants. I just want to make sure I've got everything ready to go.

The lights that came with the tank are 2 x 36watts, one is 10000K and the other 120000K. From memory they were white and red light. Are these suitable for plants that need moderate light?

 

I may be wrong but I do think you will need more light for a moderate plant tank. :(

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Thank you! We were really lucky to find it :)

I have a question about lights and plants. I just want to make sure I've got everything ready to go.

The lights that came with the tank are 2 x 36watts, one is 10000K and the other 120000K. From memory they were white and red light. Are these suitable for plants that need moderate light?

What sort of tubes are they (T8, T5, etc)? Given the size of the tank, I'm guessing you'll want more light regardless. What's the distance between the lights and the tank floor?

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I can't tell, they're obviously old and the writing is really faint. I think on the 10000K light it says T8... Although it could also be a T6 if that's a thing? Almost certain ist doesn't say 5. The other I can't see at all.

The bottom of the globe is approx 66cm from the tank bottom.

Any suggestions on what watts, k's, T's and colours I should get? :)

Based on others suggestions and a bit of reading yesterday we're thinking different types of anubias, swords, crypts, java fern, hygro, maybe water sprite and anacharis (which I learned yesterday is the one that's survived living in my existing tank). Ive tried to make sure they're all suited to my tank conditions but almost all the ones that are are moderate light plants.

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They'd be T8 then.

Kelvin is really up to you. If you'd prefer a more yellowish sun like colour, go for tubes in the 6000-7000k range. If you want more white light, opt for ones in between 7000-10,000k. Watts will be limited by what your current fixture can support, just like a desk lamp. This is fairly standardised, you usually don't find bulbs that exceed what most fixtures will take. You can either check your current bulbs to see if they have wattage printed on them, otherwise you'll more than likely be safe buying the same length tube.

Those plants are fairly undemanding. You should definitely be able to grow the crypts, anubias and ferns with your current lighting no problem. The swords and stems might be alright after they go through an acclimation period and adapt to the low light. If you want to grow other plants, you'll probably have to replace your light fixture. LEDs are nice, although T5HO fixtures can usually be picked up fairly cheaply around Europe.

Edited by dan in aus

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Perfect thank you Dan, that's great to know.

Just to keep track of my own thoughts.... The main priority is to get the tank cleaned up (nearly finished) and the filter built (this weekend) so we can get the fish in (the sooner the better).

We are trying to decide the best option for a continuous water change system. My bf wants to plumb it into kitchen (closest water source) sending the water through some sort of carbon canister before it hits the tank to remove chlorine, but we can't find anything about carbon removing chloromine so this makes us both nervous. I'm thinking I'd prefer to have a fresh water reservoir, that way we can fill it with the hose once a week, add water conditioner and voila. We know it's good water. We've looked at uruayjoey and other peoples videos etc and both seem very doable for us. The other concern is adding a few fail safes so we don't flood our lounge room.

We're going overseas soon so we want to avoid spending 'unnecessary' cash. We've decided to buy one or two of each of the above mentioned plants and do a test run with our plant annihilating fish. When we come back from Australia we'll have a pretty good idea about which plants constitute lunch and which they've left alone. we'll plant the tank properly with the ones that survive them. It's too big a tank to moderately plant only to have them eat everything!

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As a firm believer in "Murphy's Law", I would be afraid to have water running constantly while I was away for even a few days.  You can filter out chloramine.   If you ask the manufacturers about the filters, they can tell you if they remove chloramines and how much they remove.  You can also get a filter and a chlorine test kit, and see for yourself. 

 

I don't know what you could use for a fresh water reservoir that you could fill once a week.  I fill mine daily, and that is a procedure that a house sitter can safely perform.  I think a hose to a drain to empty waste water is pretty safe, but I still would feel safer with a large waste water container with a pump and a hose that the house sitter could use to empty the waste water before filling the fresh water reservoir.

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Thanks Sharon, we're still trying to nut it out. Definately erring on the side of caution :)

We've spent the week cleaning it out and removing the backing which took a bit if work. We're going to go on the weekend and buy everything for the pond filter but we may also need to order some bits online so we probably won't actually build it until next weekend. In the meantime, I realllllllllllly want to get the fish in. We'll put a lower water level and a pump to circulate it and just do the wcs's for the parameters.

With regards to disinfecting the tank, it's quite difficult to get all the water (from cleaning) out of the tank, we have a water vacuum and there's still a bit of water in the bottom, my bf is worried that if we scrub it down with bleach we won't be able to fully remove it from the tank. Obviously tipping and rinsing isn't an option! Does anyone have any thoughts on how to do this? Does drying help reduce the bleach residue? The tank has been partially 'steamed', mainly the glass, as we used it to remove the aquarium glue from the back wall. We kept fairly clear of the seals.

It's a completely bare tank but I'd love to get the fish in it over the weekend. So any experience here would be greatly appreciated :)

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Bleach doesn't leave a residue.  Sodium hypochlorite decomposes into salt and water as it "works".   Give it a rinse and let it dry completely.  A dry tank has no bleach.

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What a great tank! It's going to look awesome all set up :D

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What a great tank! It's going to look awesome all set up :D

I honestly can't wait Mandy.... NEW FISH! Not to mention getting my current ones out of plastic totes ASAP because that has me pulling my hair out :)

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Ok tank has been given a final good scrub and we're about to bleach it.

I had a good look at the smaller tank today, it's been running without fish for 2 weeks now. There's all kinds of weird things growing on the back wall and a huge explosion of snails - all of which I guess the fish ate and kept in check. I also looked at the ceramic media in the filter which I knew needed replacing and had planned to do gradually. it isn't looking good. It was used when we got it so I'm guessing it's just really old.

With the tank weirdness, snails and media age we've decided not to use it and to start the cycle again. He threw in an old canister filter with the tank and the media in there looks pretty good/not old, so we'll use that, but I want to zap it too. I was reading through other 'sterilising' posts and it was suggested to boil the ceramic media.

How long do I need to boil the ceramic media to sterilise it?

We plan on soaking the tank a few hours, running the canister as well (no media, but soaking sponges) filling and draining a few times, towel drying it then turning the fan on it over night, maybe filling and draining again in the morning. I'm really hoping to have the fish in tomorrow night. Does that all sound ok?

I'm sorry for the never ending questions, I'm just really overwhelmed by 'life' right now and sorting out these fish would take a load of stress off. I really appreciate the help :)

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