55 Gallon Reboot

  • #1



Welcome to my 55 gallon build!

This is actually a reboot of my 40 gallon long that I setup several years ago.


My wife and I recently moved from our old apartment into a house, and all of my aquariums were completely broken down. I decided now was the time to make some minor upgrades. And so I am swapping out my 40 Long for a 55 and doubling my filtration from a single Fluval 206 to a pair of 206's.

Originally, my plan was to drill the back of the new 55 gallon tank for a 1 inch bulkhead with a strainer and a 3/4 inch bulkhead with a lock-line attachment. I picked up a Aqueon 55 gallon from my LFS, painted the back, and proceeded to drill the tank. (This was ill thought out)


It turns out that 55 gallon tanks are all made with tempered glass, and for some reason I was thinking only the bottom glass was tempered. Foolish me.

So I had my LFS order a Deep Blue 55 Gallon Non-Tempered tank.

After waiting a week for this one to come in I was quite disappointed to learn the hard way that the Non-Tempered tank, was constructed with tempered glass. So I added another corpse to my graveyard.


So much for drilling my new tank, which is a shame because it would have been an elegant solution. Fortunately, I was able to get a free replacement for the Non-Tempered tank with tempered glass from my LFS. Hopefully, the third tank will be the last.

For the last month I have had driftwood soaking my my old 40 long, and have had my filters running on this tank while I added occasional fish food to start cycling the filters. And the driftwood is finally waterlogged.


Which brings us up to last night. I have finished the plumbing the stand which is complicated because this is not the only aquarium on my custom-built stand.


The smaller tank is a 12 gallon long Nano-Reef, or at least it will be again. It is plumbed into a 20 gallon long sump under the tank.

Finally I was able to add my substrate and hardscape to the 55. I don't know that I am 100% satisfied with it. There is something about the pile of rocks on the right that still bother me.


I forgot to take pictures of the tank after adding water, but I accidentally blew some substrate around during the process. Oh well it needed to be redistributed a little anyway.

I have ordered quite a few plants: they should be shipped sometime next week. I am so excited to finally be seeing some progress on this build!

Let me know what you guys think of my current hardscape.
  • #2
Beautiful 40L. Looking forward to the progression pics of the New Setup.
Good Luck.
  • #3
I actually really like the hardscape you got there on the 55 gallon. It looks great!

All that matters though is if YOU like it. If your not 100% satisfied with something you can always change it to suit your standards.
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  • #4
Minor update. I re-aranged the rocks on the right to break them up a little, and shifted the whole group farther over. This feels a little better to me.
Please ignore the cloudy water, I pushed the substrate around a little. I still want to add a little more substrate on the left side, especially in the back. I was hoping to have my filters running on this tank today, but the intake tube I was hoping would fit with 3/4" pvc came in, and it did not fit. I went ahead and ordered 3/4" black pvc pipe, coupling, and suction screen, but I will have to wait until the middle of next week before it will get here. Incidentally, that should be just a day or two before my plants arrive.


What do you think? Is this an improvement?
  • #5
I think it looks even better! it gives the tank a greater illusion of depth.
  • #6
man... your luck with tempered 55 gallon tanks is terrible.

I know it's too late, but you could have scoured craigslist or offerup for an older 55 gallon tank. mine was made in 2005 and it wasn't tempered anywhere.
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  • #7
The first inhabitants for this tank have been brought home! (BN Pleco, and Peacock Gudgeon) Or rather to the office for them to grow a little while.


All three may be sharing a 2.5 gallon aquarium right now, but they are all under 1" so they should be OK for a little while.

I turned on my filters finally on Monday after finally receiving the pieces necessary to construct my drain attachment. Unfortunately I discovered a leaking union behind the tank. Well fortunately it was discovered, unfortunately it existed. It turns out the O ring was missing. Luckily it wasn't too hard to find. Then yesterday I discovered a small but continuous leak from one of my canisters. The filters are back off again, and I have had to order a new aquastop, as that was the source of the leak.

Also, my driftwood is growing white fuzzy stuff. I don't know for sure what it is but I've seen it before, and it went away on it's own.


Finally, after a week and a half my plants have shipped! ...just in time for me to be out of town when the arrive. Fortunately, my father in law is being gracious enough to come by tomorrow, unpack the plants, and float them in the aquarium. I'll be back Saturday night though (the day after). So the plants won't be left un-planted for long.
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  • #8
Ok, so here comes a photo dump! My plants arrived and looked pretty healthy for the most part. The roughest looking is the Jungle Val. Fortunately, the S Repens that arrived was tissue culture and completely unaffected by the travel. All of the Crypt Balansae have super short leaves but I am confident the leaves will soon be long and healthy. The dwarf sag worries me as it is significantly longer than what I have previously had experience with. I cut them back before planting in hopes that with frequent trimmings they will grow in thick and short.


My filter is still offline until the replacement part I ordered arrives. Until then I guess the water will remain cloudy.
  • #9
Looking Good. Now sit back and let it grow.
Dawn Michele
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  • #11
Looks great! You have done a fantastic job!
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  • #12
A few updates here. A diatom bloom is in full swing. I have backed off on the lighting a little, and added some amano shrimp. I also added a few new plants. and have trimmed some of the existing plants a little to remove damaged or melting leaves.

New Plants:

Crypt Parva, TC. Planted in several clumps around the tank.




Flame Sword is hiding behind the Melon Sword. I want to move it the right a couple inches.


Bonus shrimp pics:

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  • #13
It looks like it has been a month now since my most recent update. I don't have too much to share. I was able to add 100 more dwarf sag and 50 more jungle val . I trimmed down all of the jungle val as it had started melting, not unexpectedly. It took a little longer than I expected, but the amano shrimp eventually got the algae and diatoms under control, and cleaned the fuzzy mess of the driftwood, and quite a few fish have been added a few at a time.

The current stocking list is:
12x Silvertip Tetra
6x Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish (4F:2M)
3x Peacock Gudgeon (1M:2F)
2x Bristlenose Pleco (1 Normal, 1 Orange)
4x Amano Shrimp

I still plan to add:
12x Corydoras Habrosus
3-5x Sparkling Gouramis
6x KhulI Loaches
6x Silvertip Tetra
6x Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish

  • #14
I really like what you've done in your tank, I can only hope mine turns out as well. I won't be growing nearly the amount or types of plants that you have, just too new to the hobby to even attempt it. My only criticism of the 'scape is the left hand side seems a bit empty and the bare space draws my eyes to it. Do you have plans for that side? I'm not familiar with the plants so are you expecting them to fill up there? Anyway, it's really nice and mine is just one dolts opinion.
  • #15
Your tank looks amazing, I was just curious where you ordered your plants from? I am quite worried about getting half dead plants
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  • #16
I really like what you've done in your tank, I can only hope mine turns out as well. I won't be growing nearly the amount or types of plants that you have, just too new to the hobby to even attempt it. My only criticism of the 'scape is the left hand side seems a bit empty and the bare space draws my eyes to it. Do you have plans for that side? I'm not familiar with the plants so are you expecting them to fill up there? Anyway, it's really nice and mine is just one dolts opinion.

The left side will not remain empty for long. I have about 60 jungle val plants planted behind and next to the driftwood in the corner. Jungle val is a grasslike plant that grows very long. Once it has grown in there will be a thick "jungle" of grass growing up to the surface and then laying halfway across the surface of the tank toward the other side.

Here is an example of what it should look like when grown in:


I ordered most of my plants from Aquariumplants.com. I was very happy with the quality and size of the plants, and they even threw in a few extras. But be aware that their shipping policy is a little difficult to understand and that their customer service is basically non-existent. I also purchased some plants through Aquabid.com which is almost like eBay for aquarists.

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