Aquarium Setup • Setting my 125g back up after 9 years stored in garage

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Re: Setting my 125g back up after 9 years stored in garage

Postby Deeda » Fri Mar 05, 2021 12:09 pm

Looking good and your plan sounds better with the 40B than the 55G for maintenance purposes.

Do you have a prefab stand or a DIY one? Will you be able to get the 40B through the stand doors or have to put it in place before you put the 125G on the stand?

Also, how stiff is the floor of the stand? On my older 75G and 220G prefab stands, the stand floor is a thin lauan panel just attached to the bottom of the stand and I notice bowing of the panel with my Eheim 2260/62 filters installed. You may want to consider adding 3/8" plywood panel or strips under the sump so it's supported evenly and if you need to shim it level.
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Re: Setting my 125g back up after 9 years stored in garage

Postby Stu W2 » Fri Mar 05, 2021 12:15 pm

Some info from the Swiss Tropicals site ... the supplier of Poret foam in North America.

"The purpose of the foam is not to filter the water as is often assumed. The foam serves as the habitat for a vast array of microorganisms that include bacteria, archaea, worms, ciliates, flagellates, and many others. These microorganisms live in a community that is based on biofilms. The biofilms are created by bacteria that secrete extracellular polymeric substance (EPS), which is often called “slime”. The community forms a bioreactor that processes the waste and turns it into food and energy for its members, and ultimately into organic or inorganic products that are then used by plants, evaporate, or removed by water changes. It takes a considerable amount of time to establish this “filter community”; consequently, it is very important not to disturb it unless absolutely necessary. The brown filter sludge in a filter is for the most part alive and not simply waste. Removing this mud does more harm than good."

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Re: Setting my 125g back up after 9 years stored in garage

Postby Rhinox » Fri Mar 05, 2021 12:51 pm

Deeda wrote:Looking good and your plan sounds better with the 40B than the 55G for maintenance purposes.

Do you have a prefab stand or a DIY one? Will you be able to get the 40B through the stand doors or have to put it in place before you put the 125G on the stand?

Also, how stiff is the floor of the stand? On my older 75G and 220G prefab stands, the stand floor is a thin lauan panel just attached to the bottom of the stand and I notice bowing of the panel with my Eheim 2260/62 filters installed. You may want to consider adding 3/8" plywood panel or strips under the sump so it's supported evenly and if you need to shim it level.


Thanks. Stand is a DIYer from when I was running before. The bottom already has plywood and 2x4 cross supports. When I had the tank setup before I was using a 55g for a sump but it took maneuvering to fit in and space above the tank was tight (also was only really using 5g buckets for my filter media and the 55g was basically only the pump chamber so not well executed back then). So the 40 fits even better with more access. I've probably got an old thread somewhere but all the pics got nuked by photobucket. May or may not build a new stand but that's what I'll start back up with - that was my first attempt and there's lots I would do differently now.

Stu W2 wrote:Some info from the Swiss Tropicals site ... the supplier of Poret foam in North America.

"The purpose of the foam is not to filter the water as is often assumed. The foam serves as the habitat for a vast array of microorganisms that include bacteria, archaea, worms, ciliates, flagellates, and many others. These microorganisms live in a community that is based on biofilms. The biofilms are created by bacteria that secrete extracellular polymeric substance (EPS), which is often called “slime”. The community forms a bioreactor that processes the waste and turns it into food and energy for its members, and ultimately into organic or inorganic products that are then used by plants, evaporate, or removed by water changes. It takes a considerable amount of time to establish this “filter community”; consequently, it is very important not to disturb it unless absolutely necessary. The brown filter sludge in a filter is for the most part alive and not simply waste. Removing this mud does more harm than good."

Regards,
Stu


Cheers Stu, yeah aware of that. Pretty sure I got my poret directly from the swiss tropicals site. I'm not really using the poret as intended though. I'm going to be using it at least in part as mechanical filtration (in direct contradiction of the first sentence of the quote) so I'm going to want to be rinsing it out somewhat regularly so it doesn't turn into a big nitrate factory. Basically thinking of it as an oversized version of the foam blocks in the aquaclear filters. But I'm hoping to catch all the particles in the first block so I can leave the other 2 blocks mostly undisturbed. I should have enough redundancy with the 3 foam blocks and the bioballs where I can occasionally rinse out the pieces, as long as I don't do something dumb like clean them all at once :thumb:
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Re: Setting my 125g back up after 9 years stored in garage

Postby Rhinox » Tue Mar 16, 2021 4:33 pm

Making progress slowly...

Got my power hooked up last weekend, that's a big step to being able to set up. I took some time away from aquarium setup to put together a sandbox for my kids since we're getting closer to spring and my youngest is getting sandbox toys for his 3rd birthday the beginning of april.

Another major project is going to be getting the utility sink in so I have a drain and a more convenient main water source.

Still need to start my sump cycling. Haven't had time to cobble together some temporary plumbing yet. I've been buying a lot of tubing and fittings and various bits and pieces I think I need for the tank drain and return lines and sump continuous water and overflow drain. Need to start putting it all together. Getting antsy wanting to get things set up just need to get the tank and stand downstairs and it should all come together.

Weird rock issue. The gray drainage ditch rocks I used in my setup years ago turned purple in storage, particularly the ones on top exposed to ambient light. Not Dark/brown/reddish purple, but literally PURPLE purple. I have every intention of reusing these rocks now. I don't know yet if I can scrub or power wash or bleach the purple away or just try to use the ones that didn't change color (there are more without purple than with, at least, and more than I need). Guessing whatever bacteria or algae was present on the rocks reacted with the light and turned purple as they died off? For example the rock below I'm almost certain was buried in sand up to the line where the purple starts, and it only turned purple where the rock was exposed to light in the aquarium. Idk. It's weird.

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Started thinking more seriously about stocking but I'll probably head over and post in the malawi subforum

The waiting really is the hardest part.
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Re: Setting my 125g back up after 9 years stored in garage

Postby Deeda » Tue Mar 16, 2021 5:09 pm

Congrats on getting the electrical power done!

That is a strange color on the rocks, definitely purple and you may be correct that it was algae combined with weathering and sunlight that turned it that color but still really weird. I would think that drainage rocks along the roadside would also exhibit the same reaction but maybe they don't because most are under bridges? I'd try a bleach/water mixture and spray some on and see what happens.
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Re: Setting my 125g back up after 9 years stored in garage

Postby Auballagh » Tue Mar 16, 2021 5:27 pm

Whoa... totally fake looking, absolutely non-fake rocks! That purple is kind of wild. Maybe it will fade and disappear over time in the aquarium? I dunno, a fresh coat of diatoms can do that sort of thing to a rock. And, nice work getting this big project buffed up and put back into service again. I can see with your mention of the utility sink, that this effort will be a fresh 're-boot' from your last go at it, hmmmm?
Applying some lessons learned, to improve the next go-round! :thumb:
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Re: Setting my 125g back up after 9 years stored in garage

Postby Rhinox » Wed Mar 17, 2021 12:49 am

Yeah definitely looks like purple dye. I know it's changed over time... Used to be darker and covered more of the rock, now it's lighter and brighter purple and wherever it's not purple is back to the plain gray they looked like when I grabbed them. And yeah never seen anything like that in the wild. Surely some rock somewhere grew algae then later dried out? There's plenty that didn't turn purple though if it doesn't clean.

Deeda wrote:Congrats on getting the electrical power done!
Thanks! All went smoothly. Outlet tester says they're all wired up correctly and trip the GFI protections as expected. Still need to get my lights on switches rather than pull strings but that's not a prerequisite to getting the fish tank up.

Auballagh wrote:And, nice work getting this big project buffed up and put back into service again. I can see with your mention of the utility sink, that this effort will be a fresh 're-boot' from your last go at it, hmmmm?
Applying some lessons learned, to improve the next go-round! :thumb:

Oh yeah, biggest lesson learned is "don't let the fish tank inconvenience the spouse in any way". So... Not tying up the kitchen faucet with a water hose attachment a couple hours every week was a big priority for this project. :D Explains why I've been tankless for as long as I have. I've had space for a 4 footer upstairs and indeed ran a 90g there for maybe a couple years after I moved to this house but the tank was basically in the kitchen and the maintenance was too much of an inconvenience. Down in the basement rec room with continuous water changes and a nearby utility sink is about as convenient as a setup can get. Just hope the tank doesn't leak after sitting in my garage for 9 years.

Hey that'd be just the excuse I'd need to get the 8 footer I really want for the space down there. "Honey I basically have to everything else is set up I'm just missing the tank!" :lol:
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Re: Setting my 125g back up after 9 years stored in garage

Postby Rhinox » Wed Mar 17, 2021 10:51 pm

Put water in the sump today. Cleaned out the pump and got it running. It's a Rio 32HF. Trying to get the temperature up before testing water parameters and adding ammonia. Ambient temp in the basement looks to be around 60F and the water came out of the cold tap at about 40F. I threw in my 150W Marineland Stealth Pro that I used to run the 125 setup with. It was capable of raising the setup temp about 14degF above room temp IIRC. The light turned red and the water started heating up, but I checked a couple hours ago and the light was green with the knob set to like 86F and the water temp only about 60F so... not sure if it's really working. Probably going to need to find a 200W/300W anyways for the full setup given the cold basement and the continuous water changer adding 1-2GPH cold water.

I'm remembering correctly that warmer water is better for fishless cycling, right? *checks* yes it does say that in Deeda's sig link.
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Re: Setting my 125g back up after 9 years stored in garage

Postby Deeda » Thu Mar 18, 2021 11:02 am

Definitely time for a new heater, the Marineland Stealth and Stealth Pro heaters were recalled in 2016 due to serious malfunctions, including damaging tanks when water seeped into the heater through cracks and blowing out the tanks.
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Re: Setting my 125g back up after 9 years stored in garage

Postby Rhinox » Thu Mar 18, 2021 12:23 pm

Deeda wrote:Definitely time for a new heater, the Marineland Stealth and Stealth Pro heaters were recalled in 2016 due to serious malfunctions, including damaging tanks when water seeped into the heater through cracks and blowing out the tanks.


:o ok wow yeah good to know. I did notice it bubbling when I submerged it like water was getting in, but assumed that was normal/acceptable. Probably not. I realized this morning the heater is toast anyways, in the worse of the 2 ways it could fail - stuck on. Sump was 92F this AM and up to 96F now even though I turned the knob down. The light was green and the heater itself was still hot to touch. Taking it out immediately. What brands are considered the least unreliable these days? (note I did not say "most reliable" :D ) Can't remember if we're allowed to talk/recommend products here or not. When I got the stealth pro's they were considered one of the more favorable heaters IIRC. I've got a 50W stealth pro in my box as well.

Did all my water tests this morning and started adding some ammonia. Parameters seem all good and as expected. No detectable chlorine after circulating ~15hrs (measuring 2ppm at the tap and confirmed no chloramine). KH changed color at 5 drops and brightened up fully at 6. GH was 8-9 drops. So those seem adequate. pH is right around 7.6 where I remember it being 10 years ago - right on the cutoff between the low range and high range pH so especially difficult to read. call it 7.4-7.8.

I got the austin's clear ammonia brand and I'm not sure the solution %age. I know the ace janitorial strength was 10% so I figured it shouldn't be higher than that. I added about 0.5mL at first, into ~30gal or 113.5L of water. Assuming 10% that should get me pretty close to .5ppm. I checked and it at least wasn't more than that so I added another 1mL and about to check again. I remember when I first fishless cycled I overshot my ammonia by a lot without realizing (really hard to tell the greens apart on the test above 1-2ppm) and went over 2 weeks without ammonia dropping, so being careful to not do that again. I also realized that 2ppm in 30gal of water is not going to be the same "bioload" as 2ppm in ~150gal of water so just noting to remember that I should continue to fishless cycle after setting up, even if the sump becomes fully cycled on it's own before then.
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Re: Setting my 125g back up after 9 years stored in garage

Postby Rhinox » Thu Mar 18, 2021 12:41 pm

Also, this shadow nearly gave me a heart attack earlier

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Re: Setting my 125g back up after 9 years stored in garage

Postby Deeda » Thu Mar 18, 2021 12:44 pm

Yes we can discuss products on C-F but not vendors which can be done via PM!

I've only used 2 brands of heaters, Eheim/Jager for in tank use and Hydor ETH for external use. Obviously the Hydor ETH models require either hook up to a canister filter or a water pump that is always submerged such as in sump use and the heater must be installed vertically, I hang mine behind the tank but within reach for maintenance purposes.

I think the Austin clear ammonia is 2% ammonium hydroxide so just keep track of your dosage to reach the desired PPM.

What caused the shadow? It would have given me a bit of a pause as it looks wet.
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Re: Setting my 125g back up after 9 years stored in garage

Postby Rhinox » Thu Mar 18, 2021 2:07 pm

Cool. I'll look into the Eheim/Jager's. I think in-tank is probably more convenient since I can place it in the sump right next to the pump. In-line would be difficult because my return splits shortly after exiting the sump and the returns enter the tank through bottom bulkheads in the overflow. Best use for inline is probably with a canister.

Yeah 2% is seeming correct after 2 test results. Still looking more yellow than green in the test tube. I'm up to 2.5mL of ammonia which should now be just getting to .5ppm in the sump if it's 2%.

The shadow was just a throw pillow sitting on the arm of the couch next to the sump, but I sure thought I had a leak and/or cracked tank!
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Re: Setting my 125g back up after 9 years stored in garage

Postby SenorStrum » Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:22 pm

It seems like you know this from your original question, but what I discovered in setting up my tank and researching them all, is that they are indeed trash.

I went and read a LOT of reviews and a lot of forums, including asking folks what they'd do in my case. Apparently, heaters suck. I would definitely go check out the reviews on the Eheim/Jager. I don't have one or personal experience, but what folks say is that they used to have great quality, but the stuff they are turning out now is super undependable. Fish-cookers.

And that's what I wanted to avoid - must not cook fish. After all the review reading, I bought 2 300W Aqueon Pro heaters for my 500 gallon system. It is holding steady at 80. In fact, I'm going to turn them down today as I'd prefer to be between 75-79. I got two heaters, neither one of which is capable of raising my temperature 15 degrees alone if it malfunctioned. In your case, I'd put 2 100w heaters in there depending on how cold the basement is. Further option is to put a heater controller on, so that if it heats up too much, the controller shuts it off. I decided not to go really expensive as the reviews were not materially better, and I intend to replace them annually.

Keep up the updates, I'm enjoying the read.
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Re: Setting my 125g back up after 9 years stored in garage

Postby Rhinox » Thu Mar 18, 2021 11:02 pm

Glad you're enjoying! 500g system sounds nice. What size tank? Someday I'll have an 8 footer down in my basement but the 125 will hold me over for a little while.

what is it about heaters that makes them so darn unreliable? Is it some sort of industry wide planned obsolescence? I had the same must not cook fish mindset when I sized the 150watt for this setup when it was running before. It could only manage ~14 deg above room temp. I had one struggle when my furnace went out for a weekend, but I insulated the tank with a layer of warm air from an electric heater to compensate. I didn't realize I need to add "must not explode" to my list of apparently unreasonable demands. How about "must not electrocute my fish, myself, or my kids"? Asking for too much? :D

Now I need to maintain 20deg above ambient so probably want to be capable of no more than 25-30 over. I'm also going to be adding 1-2 GPH of cold tap water per hour so that will require a little extra load but not too much? If I dump 1 gal of 40F water into my 150G system at 80F I'd only expect about a 0.5 deg drop in temperature.

So yeah I think you're pretty close there with 200W, maybe 300W tops. If I assume linearity and get up to 28deg over with 300W, but might lose temp quicker with the bigger difference between tank and room, so maybe 300W is about right.

I'm bearish on using more than 1 heater. There's additional cost and it just increases the odds of experiencing a failure in 1 of them. Also seems pretty much impossible from a controls perspective to get multiple heaters to synch if they're all not plugged in to a single external temperature controller. Always seemed like 1 would constantly run and only the other would cycle. But maybe there'd be an advantage going with 2-3 100W/150W heaters if there's a temperature controller setup that can ensure they can synch. On an external controller, it wouldn't matter if one failed "on" as long as it didn't ya know explode or electrocute someone.
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