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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yes, you read that right. I'm a total newbie, stepped right off the bus 1 month ago with a 55 gal Malawi tank. Didn't know you couldn't mix Peacocks/Mnubas (still don't know what all my fish are, after searching and staring at them for days upon days....BUT I learned that 1 is a n. fuscotaeniatus and that he'd eventually need a ~125gal tank). So I placed an ad for a used tank.

Someone replied to my ad that they had a 100 gal. full tank/stand setup for $60. Went to pick up the tank/stand and "full setup". It was not 100 gal, it's a 210 gal. acryllic tank with holes drilled in the bottom, white plastic grates & mesh to cover these holes and a sturdy wooden stand with holes drilled to match. Woohoo! Paid the $60, but there was no way it would fit in my 4Runner. So I paid another $40 for him to deliver it to my house...(an hour and a half drive)...very, very, very nice man!!! (I told him it was worth more, but he just wanted it gone...it had belonged to his recently deceased father.)

Now...I have an incompatible 55 gallon that needs its Peacocks and fusco removed before it self destructs. A gianormous tank (in awesome condition) coming tomorrow morning...and no idea what to do about those 'holes' in the bottom...I know they are for filters, or sumps, or overflows, or pumps, or something along those lines. I also need heaters, lights, etc etc etc. So for now it's going in my garage...I hadn't anticipated anything of this size at this time but for $60 how could I say no??? (I know that sounds like a lot of whining about winning the lottery...I apologize but 4 weeks into actively participating in the hobby it's a LOT to take in!)

Money is a concern (I have MS and am currently on disability) and while I can manage the basics, this is a lot of info to try to take in overnight. It sounds like I will eventually want to go the sump route...but I don't know what to do in the interim. So I'm considering simply purchasing another new 55 gal setup which will run ~$200 (with no stand)...I'm kind of assuming I'll want it eventually anyhow and that it would solve the immediate issue of compatability and feeding differences (my fish are all still juveniles which is probably the only reason they're still alive) and it would give me some time to figure out all the intricacies of a 210 gallon setup...which I really only want to move once (from garage to basement) set up once and do it the proper way!

What do you guys think? Does this make sense? I just really don't want to screw up the 210gal...hurt any of my fish or make any more major and costly mistakes....
 

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I'll give you $65 for it :lol: Jusst kidding, One option is to build a sump out of your 55, now I understand you still have fish in it, so you'll want to do your research and get your plumbing all set up first. Next get all the parts you need to convert the 55 to a sump ( pump, mech filter,bio balls, dividers, etc..) When the day comes to make the switch, you would transfer your livestock to buckets or plastic tubs, put your sump together, fire that big tank up , and dump the fish in. That all sounds good in theory, but you should prob think about getting a pre-made sump or a spare tank to build a sump, because if everything doesn't go smoothly, you don't want your fish living in buckets for a week while you figure it out.
 

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Wow! You really did win the lottery getting that tank for the price you paid!

If I was in your shoes, I would also definitely want to take my time setting up the 210 gallon tank properly. Since it's already set up to have a sump and there is a bit of a learning curve on figuring out how to set one up properly, looking at other options for the fish that aren't going to work in your current tank is wise. One option would be to invest in another tank to separate the incompatible ones as you're considering. Another option would be to see if someone else wants some of the fish that aren't going to work in your setup (maybe the place you got them from, an LFS or an ad on Craigslist can help).

Regardless of what you do, it would be a good idea to start doing some reading about sumps. One of the moderators on this site recommends this series of articles. It's in three parts and is fairly detailed:

http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-01/gt/index.php

Congratulations on the new adventure you're starting. Please keep us posted on your progress. I'd love to see where you go with it.
 

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I've gotta tell you though, once you get that sump up and running, you will LOVE it. Sumps increase water quality, provide limitless filtering options, and are very, very easy to maintain. With a 55, you'll have plent of room to divide that baby up any way you like. If it were me, I'd use part of it as a refugium to raise cherry or ghost shrimp for food.
 

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Holy aquatics! $60 for a 210 acrylic tank?!?! That is unheard of. I'm supremely jealous. I'm looking for a 210 right now, $570 new, and oddly enough two popped up on craigslist today for $1000+ each. And those are glass tanks. You definitely hit the goldmine on this one.
 

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Might sound a bit crass, but I'd probably resell it and hopefully cover the cost of a smaller, complete setup, but that's just me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Decisions, Decisions....I've decided to keep the 210 gal as a project I can continue to work on for future use, since I do have the room for it both in my house and garage (while I work on it). I have a house WAY too big for me and not enough furniture to fill it, which is good because that is one ENORMOUS fish tank!

Meanwhile, other responses to my ad requesting fishtanks/supplies have found me some other great deals. Nothing quite as awesome as the $60 210gal & stand, but the $200 I was thinking about spending on a new 55gal full setup has instead bought me 4 additional used glass tanks (3 full set ups, the 2 largest including stands). I am now the proud owner of one 75 gal, one 55 gal, one 30 gal glass top and one 20 gal (just the tank, tossed in for free). So, it looks like my fish are going to be very happy growing up until I get my 210 gal fish worthy. (OMG! It's just hit me that my desire to own a single cichlid tank....has turned into SIX tanks, in a matter of weeks, I must be absolutely insane!)

A HUGE thank you to everyone who replied!! I really appreciated the link to the sump info Zimmy, that's exactly what needed to read! I think a sump (or maybe 2) is definitely the way I'm going to go. After I get my immediate segregation issues taken care of, I'll start working on the 210 gal and keep you guys updated to my progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Also...

@Shellies215

Your idea sounded great in theory, but as you also mentioned and knowing myself...my fish would definitely wind up living in buckets and rubbermaid containers if I tried it. I think my good luck in getting the great deal on the tank would have definitely caused Murphy's Law to blowup everything if I attempted to do a quick sump build while my fish were in buckets! ....and as for selling it for $65, are you nuts? I wouldn't accept a dollar under $70.....well that, plus your firstborn son! :wink:

@sjnovakovich

I love your idea for the refugium to raise shrimp for fishfood, and will definitely try it. I'm even thinking of using the 20 gal freebie I just got to start raising them now.

@GTZ

No, you didn't sound crass at all. Your idea was actually quite sensible and one I'd toyed with myself. But being a sucker for punishment and realizing that once I get it up and running, I'll never need to worry about running out of room again...I just couldn't let it go. Plus, I realize that there's no other way I'd ever own a tank this amazing again in my life!
 

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PortiaD said:
@GTZ

No, you didn't sound crass at all. Your idea was actually quite sensible and one I'd toyed with myself. But being a sucker for punishment and realizing that once I get it up and running, I'll never need to worry about running out of room again...I just couldn't let it go. Plus, I realize that there's no other way I'd ever own a tank this amazing again in my life!
I can see where you're coming from and if you have the room, go for it.
For me, I'd rather have multiple mid-size tanks 55-120 and different lake setups in each.
Of course, at the rate you're buying tanks, you'll end up doing that as well, with an additional 210g.
:D
 

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Setting up a tank that size does not have to cost an arm and a leg. My 240G was definitely done on the cheap, and people have told me it doesn't look too shabby :wink:

There is lots of info about the entire setup on my website. If you have questions about specific parts, feel free to ask!


For example the sump containers for my 240G are plastic totes that I picked up for little money at Walmart. They have been in operation for over 5 years now without any trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
@fmuller

Thank you for the info and the link! Other than the pumps I think I already own 90% of the pieces you listed on your site...I just need to gather them all and fit them together.

I also liked the info on keeping your tank on the first floor. Although I do have the room in my basement, I also have nearly identical situation in my first floor livingroom with a non-loadbearing wall supported similarly from below...and had been wishing there was a way to put the 'monster tank' in there where I could show it off. I will need to do some more research but I never thought there was any hope at all before!

Anyhow, thanks a lot for putting all that data together on your site, all of your hard work is certainly going to make my life a LOT easier! :)
 
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