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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some things I have come up with over the last 20some years that save time, equipment and energy.
Big cichlids want big flat rocks for spawning right? Bubble wrap is an excellent thing to place between these big rocks and the glass, cheap too. Going on 2 years under some 30-40 pounders for me and still inflated just fine, can climb under the stand and still see it.

Save your drains! One of them 32g rubbermaid tubs is and excellent aid, I keep a siphon just for the tub. As I do my water changes, roughly 200 gallons a week, I empty my buckets into the tub, when full I dip the siphon and it drains out, just the water, all the sand, gravel, poo, carbon ect.. settle to the bottom, guess I get 6" a year in mine of 'sludge'.

Garden hoses, one of the best things I have ever done!! Most everyone has a washer connection in their home. You can buy splitters for the connections and run garden hoses to your tank room with nozzles on the ends, hot and cold so you get your prefered temp. You can run them thru the basement, crawlspace or attic, beware of freezing tho. I do not miss luggin buckets thru the house at all! Total cost was about $15 from wal-mart. I flushed my hoses for the first few months to be safe, never had any troubles.

If you are fixing an old Metaframe tank, seal any cracks or natural fissures on the surface of the slate bottom. Just had that thought, back to context now.

Most know this now, but the Magnum 350 is a great piece for a bio only system, and is easily moved to another tank if extra bio is needed. I have saved a few tanks this way. I keep an extra M350 going just for this.

Great tank decor and cheap. Old Marble table-dresser-counter tops. When I retired a few years ago I started hitting auctions (awesome places to find cheap tanks) and happened across some old broken ones. Natural and safe rock, easily stackable and it looks supa nice. Local marble supply probably will have broken bits and pieces, I never checked. The ones I bought I just dropped on the concrete (breaking it) till I got the sizes I wanted. I go for the black and dark grey marbles, not the white kind, yet. They have natural quartz like fissures in them, really nice looking stuff.

Gift wrap. Comes in all colors and foils, easy and cheap backgrounds.

Got some fry on the way? Get some snails. Them babies will devoure the snail babys, and snails make alotta babies. Free natural food. I keep a couple 10g tanks for this. You can have thousands of tiny (pin head size) snails in a months time. They spread easily so take care when relocating the fry, my tub as mentioned above has been infested just from the water changes.

Whisper filter cartridge, lifetime version (or close enough to it, my lifetime ain't over yet but all are still going fine). Sure it is on the forum here somewhere. I know this has saved me likely a thousand dollars over the years. Very fine mesh bag that fits the plastic cartridge snugly, some Marineland* blue filter material, add carbon. You can figure it out from there. I keep a second piece of the blue filter in the HOB for bio, similar to what the newer versions have, can't hurt.

I have observed that my fish know their food containers. I have learned that putting a new brand food into the old brands container makes them accept it more readily.

One I have not figured out yet is a cheap replacement for the plastic hinges for the glass tops, they seperat at the seam about every 2 years. Any ideas??

Good luck with you friends (the fishys) and hope this can help at least one person some day. I could not keep half the tanks that I do if not for these ideas and others.
 

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Many thanks for sharing your experiences! I am sure there is something here for almost everyone!

I especially like what you say about garden hose. I don't know how many times I've seen the discussion here if it's safe to use. I've personally used garden hose to drain and refill my tanks for decades, and it's never caused a problem.

On the other hand it will be a cold day you know where before I put gift wrap behind any of my tanks, but I guess there is no obligation to implement all your ideas :lol:

Regarding the hinges in glass tops, that's a tough one. I just saw a whole box of them go at a local auction for $5, and I still kick myself for not buying them. I just wasn't paying attention until it was too late!

Frank
 

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Zane said:
Some things I have come up with over the last 20some years that save time, equipment and energy.
Big cichlids want big flat rocks for spawning right? Bubble wrap is an excellent thing to place between these big rocks and the glass, cheap too. Going on 2 years under some 30-40 pounders for me and still inflated just fine, can climb under the stand and still see it.

Save your drains! One of them 32g rubbermaid tubs is and excellent aid, I keep a siphon just for the tub. As I do my water changes, roughly 200 gallons a week, I empty my buckets into the tub, when full I dip the siphon and it drains out, just the water, all the sand, gravel, poo, carbon ect.. settle to the bottom, guess I get 6" a year in mine of 'sludge'.

Garden hoses, one of the best things I have ever done!! Most everyone has a washer connection in their home. You can buy splitters for the connections and run garden hoses to your tank room with nozzles on the ends, hot and cold so you get your prefered temp. You can run them thru the basement, crawlspace or attic, beware of freezing tho. I do not miss luggin buckets thru the house at all! Total cost was about $15 from wal-mart. I flushed my hoses for the first few months to be safe, never had any troubles.

If you are fixing an old Metaframe tank, seal any cracks or natural fissures on the surface of the slate bottom. Just had that thought, back to context now.

Most know this now, but the Magnum 350 is a great piece for a bio only system, and is easily moved to another tank if extra bio is needed. I have saved a few tanks this way. I keep an extra M350 going just for this.

Great tank decor and cheap. Old Marble table-dresser-counter tops. When I retired a few years ago I started hitting auctions (awesome places to find cheap tanks) and happened across some old broken ones. Natural and safe rock, easily stackable and it looks supa nice. Local marble supply probably will have broken bits and pieces, I never checked. The ones I bought I just dropped on the concrete (breaking it) till I got the sizes I wanted. I go for the black and dark grey marbles, not the white kind, yet. They have natural quartz like fissures in them, really nice looking stuff.

Gift wrap. Comes in all colors and foils, easy and cheap backgrounds.

Got some fry on the way? Get some snails. Them babies will devoure the snail babys, and snails make alotta babies. Free natural food. I keep a couple 10g tanks for this. You can have thousands of tiny (pin head size) snails in a months time. They spread easily so take care when relocating the fry, my tub as mentioned above has been infested just from the water changes.

Whisper filter cartridge, lifetime version (or close enough to it, my lifetime ain't over yet but all are still going fine). Sure it is on the forum here somewhere. I know this has saved me likely a thousand dollars over the years. Very fine mesh bag that fits the plastic cartridge snugly, some Marineland* blue filter material, add carbon. You can figure it out from there. I keep a second piece of the blue filter in the HOB for bio, similar to what the newer versions have, can't hurt.

I have observed that my fish know their food containers. I have learned that putting a new brand food into the old brands container makes them accept it more readily.

One I have not figured out yet is a cheap replacement for the plastic hinges for the glass tops, they seperat at the seam about every 2 years. Any ideas??

Good luck with you friends (the fishys) and hope this can help at least one person some day. I could not keep half the tanks that I do if not for these ideas and others.
For the glass top hinges that go, the plastic gets brittle. Just keep it clean and keep a layer of tank safe water based lube on it, like Eheim lube
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
fmueller
Thanks for the response. The garden hose is a great thing, I usually just fill buckets myself, but have cleaned a few empty tanks also. I know they sell both potable and non-potable hoses, the potable hoses have been tested safe so maybe that may ease some minds in that discussion. Yea, wrapping paper sounds cheesy to me, but it is so easy. I did a solid light blue-green color on my 6 footer awhile back, it looks nice now that the algae and funk have built up on the back, I am not much of a back glass cleaner, feel the build up is a bit more natural to the fish than glass:) Too bad on those hinges you missed, it is so easy to get distracted at auctions, have to try to get that to work in your favor, I should pay my kids (with treats) to start screaming and fighting, maybe that will lower the high bids, usually just that one person that runs ya up on price.

under_control
Hi again. The 350 needs to be modified into a bio filter, I am not speaking of using it in the way it comes out the box. Besides the casing-motor-tubing, the prefilter material is all that remains of the stock system.

Mistersprinkles
Thanks for the advice!! I will see if any of the stores have it when I deliver the fishys this week. Sure one of them must carry Eheim
 

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Thanks for all the good tips Zane.

I havn't tried it, but could you use a two part epoxy to glue a brass hinge for the glass top. Brass won't rust and the epoxy should be more than strong enough....? Just a thought.
 

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I use to run a garden hose from the up stairs laundry tub to the holding tanks down stairs. We recently got two puppies and they started chewing on the hose. I finally got around to setting up a hot/cold faucet down stairs. Can't get much easier and quicker now. The water pressure is much higher and it only takes six minutes to fill both trash cans (used to take 25 minutes using a single hose and a few trips up stairs to adjust the temperature). This is one of the best things I did to make my fish keeping hobby more enjoyable.

 

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Zane said:
Save your drains! One of them 32g rubbermaid tubs is and excellent aid, I keep a siphon just for the tub. As I do my water changes, roughly 200 gallons a week, I empty my buckets into the tub, when full I dip the siphon and it drains out, just the water, all the sand, gravel, poo, carbon ect.. settle to the bottom, guess I get 6" a year in mine of 'sludge'.
what do you do with the "sludge?" and water?(2 different Qs)

and thanks alot dude, i copyed this to a txt file and will try to keep it forever

oh, do you run your hoses threw the wall/under the floors etc? (permenetly) and if so what do you do about stagnent water?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Boomr99 said:
Thanks for all the good tips Zane.

I havn't tried it, but could you use a two part epoxy to glue a brass hinge for the glass top. Brass won't rust and the epoxy should be more than strong enough....? Just a thought.
You are very welcome. I will keep this in mind next time I lose one, they stick mirrors to windshields so you may be onto something.

Hi TheeMon

what do you do with the "sludge?" and water?(2 different Qs)
For the sludge, I rinse it with the hose once in-a-while and drain the brown water. The sand gravel etc.. mix I dump out back in the bushes. For the water, some goes to my wifes plants, the rest I use an old gravel vacuum that stays in the tub and drain it into the floor drain.

and thanks alot dude, i copyed this to a txt file and will try to keep it forever :)

oh, do you run your hoses threw the wall/under the floors etc? (permenetly) and if so what do you do about stagnent water?
I have my hoses run thru the basement ceiling. I use them enough that the stagnent would not occur. I would flush the hose if concerned, a hose might hold a gallon or two. They are as permanent as my main water line, but can be easily removed if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
under_control said:
Why not buy a filter that does bio right the first time and offers good mech filtration too?
That is always an option, I think the main reason would be cost. But there are other reasons, say you find one at a sale for 5 bucks, given one that is missing the filters, say you upgraded to that sweet filtration system and what happens to your old 350. There are alotta them 350's out there.
 

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Very nice writeup Zane.

Have you ever considered siliconing the 2 halves of the glass top directly together? My glass top came from the factory joined with a bead of silicone down the top. Its worked beautifully for the last 17 years. Only within the last couple months I am noticing that the silicone is starting to fail.

I like the garden hose idea as well... I use one to fill my tank with and have never had an issue with it. I have a shutoff connector on the end of the hose that goes into the tank, adjust the temp at the sink, close the shutoff and go to the tank and start filling. Works like a charm.

You know it still amazes me how people are so paranoid about using a garden hose and yet there is rarely if ever a concern about the existing pipes that are filling the buckets. I'd venture to bet that almost any new garden hose is cleaner than the pipes that feed our homes.

Cheers
 

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I flushed my water hose twice with the hottest water I could get and then ran it into the tank for adding water......my little babies are still as healthy as ever.

I will have to agree with Cichlid Fan in SJ about water coming from the pipes is well more toxic than the water coming from a brand new water hose. Would they let kids drink from them if they were possibly harmful???? Nope.

I am new to all this and this post has been a life saver already, I have learned so much in ten minutes of my time than the hours I spent reading books. I keep referring to it so I make sure to do some things and not others. I like the sludge barrel b/c there are other uses for the sludge. Especially since I am also into plants.
 

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Here is another tip...

Get a good instant read digital thermometer (the kind used for cooking).

For years and years I have adjusted water temp for refilling my tank by floating the aquarium thermometer in a small bucket and then waiting for it to adjust. By the time it gave a reading the bucket would be full and I would waste all that water. Sometimes it could take several attempts to get the temp right where I want it.

Now I use my instant read thermometer and I get a very accurate reading in just seconds. No more buckets of water just running down the drain for me.
 

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Could you raise snails in a 10 gallon bucket? Or do they need filtration and steady water temp. as well?

Awesome info, BTW, thanks!

-Cheryl
:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Cichlid fan in SJ said:
Very nice writeup Zane.

Have you ever considered siliconing the 2 halves of the glass top directly together? My glass top came from the factory joined with a bead of silicone down the top. Its worked beautifully for the last 17 years. Only within the last couple months I am noticing that the silicone is starting to fail.

Cheers
HEY! I tried that as soon as I read your post. That has got to be the cheapest and easiest solution. I did an old lid I had sitting around. Glass was dirty as can be an it held.
Guess I will work on a little jig to shape the silicone bead and go from there. Thanks for sharing this!!
A digi therm is nice to use. I been doing so many water changes the last year I have been skipping that step. I have an old electric multimeter that comes with a temp probe that I used, been sitting since the battery died, or started going dead.

mommasangelbaby

Could you raise snails in a 10 gallon bucket? Or do they need filtration and steady water temp. as well?

Awesome info, BTW, thanks!

-Cheryl

I would think a bucket would be fine, they reproduce fine in my sump tub and it is about the worst conditions possible. I would have to research, but I would believe they will reproduce at a temp 70 or above.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Nice tip for the thermometer, dollar store item I bet too.

One I did not add, put some filter material(I use the blue marineland) under your airpumps. It quiets them and keeps them cleaner, they last longer and work better longer.
 
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