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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I'm going to try to use this thread to document my project that I've gotten going, and maybe get a few ideas.

First off, here's my existing tank.

It's a 75 Gallon glass. I've got some Labs, electric blue, demos's, a Gold Severum (wife Wanted), Silver Sharks (Son wanted), and a big Pleco of unknown type.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago a neighbor that builds custom aquariums was doing a job for a client, and they didn't want this one anymore, so he gave it to me, free of charge.

The inner dimensions are 31x31x 35 tall, and subtracting out the overflow area, it comes in just a tad over 135 gallons.

I've already started to build the stand, and unfortunately, didn't take many pictures of it. It's already 'skinned' in Oak, but I'll try to get some good shots tonight as I am going to trim it out, as well as make the canopy.

The only issue that I have with the aquarium is that it's pretty scratched up, and one side the previous owner had siliconed in another blue panel (so only one side was 'clear'), so it's proven to be a little work to get that residue off, but it's coming.

So, here are my plans and concerns, with hopes that someone or everyone, will provide a little assistance.

Location: Because of the size of the aquarium (and now the size of the stand ... lol) I am not able to put it in my basement because the door is too narrow. I was thinking sawzall, the wife suggested just putting it in our living room. But it has to look 'nice'. Fortunately, the location that I have picked out is out of any direct sunlight, and also will rest on the 8" steel i-beam that spans the house. Couldn't have lucked out anymore.

Stand The stand is made of 2x4's, but mostly 2x6's. Glued and screwed. I could probably park my truck on it if I wish. I've made it 'compact', barely wider than the tank itself, and it will be stained a 'dark' tone of some sort. The top is 3/4" solid plywood, the three 'front' sides are 1/4" oak plywood, and the back is 1/2" pine (no one is going to see the top or the back, so why bother).

Filtration: Because of the odd size, my stand is not that big 'internally' for a sump but I will do with what I can. My wife works for Coke, and she brought home a couple of 55 gallon white plastic barrels. I've cut one almost in half (20" tall), and it just fits the opening, but I'm afraid that there is just not enough space to see what I need to see, so I'll be cutting it down a little more. But, the aquarium has three holes in it, so I figure two for the sump and one for the return. I'm going with a Mag Drive (Danner) 12, according to my calculations it should be enough.

Lighting: a 35" deep tank is going to be interesting to light. I'm hoping some 'dual' 24" coralife bulb setup is going to work, we'll see. I'm also going to be installing some moon lighting at the same time.

Background: Currently, the two back corners are 'blue', which I don't like at all. I thought about just painting them, but I want structure. So, I've ordered some 'waterfall pond foam', and am going to try to somehow 'design' it onto some egg crate, which will be siliconed into place. I'd like to incorporate some sort of 'shelf' structure maybe, but I haven't yet decided. (Kind of like a reef, going down to the depths, only freshwater) lol.

USJ or something. I'm not looking forward to cleaning a 35" deep tank at all. And since I've heard that USJ seems to alleviate most of the 'issue' for the most part, I need to design something for this particular aquarium. The only concern I have is that I only have the one 'skimmer' at the top of the overflow. Am I going to be able to 'flow' the detritus 35" upwards? USJ? Koralia 4? Opinions? My current thoughts are

1) do a straight USG
2) perhaps use my XP3 in conjunction and put a 'long' tube on it, specifically for this application?
3) Make an 'outer' overflow, using a LARGE piece of PVC pipe, and slot it at various levels in the water column.

Maintenence: Fortunately, my wife brought home 2 55 gallon barrels. Right now the game plan is to fill up the non-cut up one the day before a water change, treat the water, and heat it up. The aquarium itself is going to be 10' from the front door. My thoughts are garden hose from the sump to the outside (good for watering the grass), and pump from barrel in garage (also 10' away), to aquarium. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing anyway to do any sort of CAWC system in it's location. That's going to have to wait until the next house in a couple of years.

Decorations: I've got Cichlid 'gravel' (Ivory coast I believe), and in addition to the back ground, I want to incorporate some sort of 'natural' looking rock system, however light enough that it is easy enough to maintain. Ideally, I'm thinking some sort of three piece 'rock structure' column that would be a sort of 'island', hopefully going up at least 2/3rds of the height. Three pieces for easy removal and maintenence. Still working that one out.

Anyway, I'll start posting pictures of my progress. My hopes are to have this up and running by the end of April.

Thanks for any advice in advance.


· Registered
9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
F8LBITEva said:
Id make a nice saltwater reef in that tank. keep us posted with pics!
Yea, when we get moved into our next house in a year or two, I'll get a 'bigger' tank for the Cichlids and make this a reef tank, but right now, it's just not in the budget.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

A little bit of an update, pictures to come.

1. I've got the stand done, except for staining. It actually turned out fairly well in my opinion, however I base it on the fact that I am a fabricator of all things metal. Wood kind of throws me. LOL. The goal is to get it stained and poly'd this weekend, so that I can set it up in the house by Sunday night. Then, probably get the tank sitting on it before I start decorating and such. I don't have a door(s) for it yet, still trying to figure out a solution. Working on the canopy, but right now, I want to get it up and running and then I'll worry about the canopy.

2. I've started planning for my filtration, Wet/Dry, etc. Still, I have a few issues I'm trying to resolve. Mainly, the use of UGJ (USJ), the over flow, etc. Right now, I'm considering my return from my sump down and output of the USJ, we'll have to see.

3. I picked up 100 lbs of PFS today. I wasn't going to go with Sand, my last sand 'endeavor', honestly, I didn't like. But after looking at the PFS today, I understand why. Earlier in my 75, I had gotten regular play sand, and it just seemed way to fine. The PFS seems to be of a courser grain. I'll throw my 'cichlid mix' Ivory Coast gravel in the sump, good for insulation, I'll still be able to use it for 'buffering', I don't want to waste the $50 bucks I spent on it, and it'll insulate when I throw my heaters in it so they won't burn a hole through the barrell. Anyway, I don't know if it's enough, but it's cheap enough so I can go get more if necessary.

4. I've gotten 3 cans of 'waterfall foam', for a background of some sort. Way early planning, but I've got some.

Pics to come

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9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
As promised, here are pics of the Stand, and a few after I cleaned up the aquarium a little bit better. The 'structure' in the aquarium is an attempt at creating 'structure' for the aquarium. Not quite happy, but it's v1.0

Obviously, like I said, the stand needs to be stained, and I need to make some doors. But all in all, I am happy.

You'll notice my 'half barrel' former Barq's root beer syrup barrel. It'll work out just fine.

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