Boyfriend tank build

junebug
  • #1
As many of you know, I recently rescued a pleco from a closing pet store and gave it to my boyfriend for his pond. Given where we live and how cold it gets for just a few months every winter (ground frost is a regular occurrence at his house) we decided he ought to have a tank to put PlexI in for that time.

I know it will be really difficult to find and catch the fish, but we thought we should at least make an effort. So, my suggestion, given how short a time PlexI will be spending in that tank, was so simply get a 20 gallon long or 29 gallon at Petco's next dollar per gallon sale.

Until someone offered me a tank I can't use. Apparently her mom had a huge (like 100+ gallons) saltwater tank with the deluxe setup. Unfortunately her mother has long since passed away, and her family has just randomly had this tank sitting in their garage for the better part of a decade. They apparently don't want it anymore and she asked me if I would take it.

So I reported to the boyfriend and he said he'd love the tank. It comes with a stand and I believe a sump, but we'll see about that. All I'm waiting for now is my friend to text me to let me know if/when I can come get it.

If for whatever reason that doesn't work out, apparently my boyfriend is now interested in having a display tank in his living room (I thought he was going to stick it in the basement, but this works too). So I suggested in the case that I don't hear from this girl, that we look around on Craig's List for a good deal on a large acrylic tank setup. I recently saw a 50 gallon freshie setup with stand and sump for $70 so I know there are deals out there.

My dear sweet bf went with me to the fishstore recently and fell in love with CPDs. So I'm sure they will be included in the tank should this really take place. And what's fun is, I'm at his house so often and he's so clueless about tanks, that I'll get to build, help stock, and take care of a really awesome, planted, large tank. YAY!

I'm sure there will be more posts. I'll try to contain myself to this one thread.
 
ricmcc
  • #2
That is a lovely story, nothing like snuggling up to a loved one in front of a roaring tank--you sound so happy, is lovely to hear.
My wife is not really interested in fish, but she does tolerate me, which I can settle for--must be nice to have both--sorry, I'm a sucker for happy ending type stories, so am smiling now, and will for awhile, thx to you--rick
 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
He really is the sweetest guy He even tolerates my fish obsession and helps me with projects I can't do as well by myself. He's talking about building me an acrylic setup for my betta barracks haha.
 
Tonia
  • #4
It sounds like you have such a great relationship! I hope the 100 g tank works out and you get all that space to play with! I must admit to being very lucky to have found my amazing husband. He not only tolerates the fish, he has encouraged me to get different ones that I've never tried and allows me to fill so many areas with new tanks. He does not really participate much in the care taking, but he does thoroughly enjoy the fish.
 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Well, talked to the boyfriend and talked to the friend, and it looks like we'll be picking up the tank this weekend sometime. I'm going to have him do a water-tightness test, and if he still wants to put the tank in the living room, I'll probably refinish the stand for him. Because apparently it's hideous.

I will update with any equipment they give us and the tank's actual dimensions as soon as I can
 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Okay all! The tank turned out to be 55 gallons. Narrow by a bit but overall in pretty good shape. We're water testing it on a table on the back porchand ccleaned up the stand today.
 
dakota
  • #7
Let the fun begin!!!!!
 
petaddiction
  • #8
Hopefully no leaks! So happy for you. Sounds like this will be a fun project.


xx
 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
It doesn't seem to be leaking thus far, but we're going to let it sit until tomorrow just to be sure. IME if a tank is going to leak, it does it within the first few days lol.

I'm going to bring my python to his house since I can't use it on any of the faucets in my apartment and it's too big to use in my biggest tank. Should make water changes a breeze. I'm hoping to convince him to let me put a pair of apistos and some peacock gudgeons in there, and let the rest be up to him.

I'm scared though. He's already expressed an interest in putting a betta in with the community lol. I told him I will allow him a female in the tank, but no males, and I will have to be in charge of adding her to make sure she doesn't go nuts and kill everything in the tank.
 
Tonia
  • #10
Best of luck with the stocking!!! The python should be a huge help! I love the one I have.. had it for...umm...welll....years. I had recently read up on the peacock gudgeons, they will be gorgeous in there. You'll have to show some pics, you always decorate the tanks so nicely.
 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
It's going to be really fun to put together a tank for him. Our only stocking limitation is the pleco, really. We want to be able to "fit" PlexI into the tank for a few months every winter. It theoretically shouldn't be a huge issue if we can't find him/her, as we live in San Diego, and the bottom of the pond is going to stay fairly temperate, if a bit chilly for a pleco's needs, but ideally we will remove her.

The awesome news is, with all the disease in fish stores these days, and him knowing my personal experiences with it, we will likely be stocking fish from a few select sellers that I know online, on AB, and through friends. All stock should be extremely healthy and therefore adjust well to the new tank.

I'm going to bring my master test kit to his house at some point (hopefully today if I remember) and do a pH test. I have a feeling his pH will be close to neutral and therefore more easily manipulable to whatever fish we decide to keep in there. Should be easy to stabilize with dw, rocks, and filter media.
 
ppate1977
  • #12
Awesome to hear all this! My girlfriend knows I'm obsessed with not only aquariums, but as a veterinary technician, in ALL animals. She tolerates my zoo and even likes most of my pets.
 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Yeah, I lucked out. My boyfriend has three cats, two dogs, and an awesome pond with two koi and a goldie, now PlexI the pleco, and a hoarde of mosquito fish. So he's very tolerant of my three dogs, my apartment full of fish, and the newest addition, a tank full of bumblebee toads lol.

Now he gets this awesome excuse to set up a big tank in his living room, as a pleco winter home haha. And he's going to be stuck with me telling him how to do it
 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Welp, the tank has moved inside. The lid has been placed on, and taped sticky side up to deter the master of his cat herd, Wileycat, from peeing on it (he is deathly afraid of tape after a rather unfortunate experience he once had) and all is sanitized and washed out.

Stocking updates: CPDs (also known as "the spotty ones") are a must have. I suggested Rummynose tetras for a second school and he really liked the idea after seeing a picture of them.

Apistos are apparently a no, as they are not schooling fish. The boyfriend is big on schoolers lol. He says they're "zen". So, to help bring the tank together, I have suggested another large school of pygmy cories, and if I'm lucky, a colony of Peacock Gudgeons. The number of gudgeons is, as yet, undetermined. I've always really liked them, but oddly have not researched them very much lol. So I'll be trying to determine how many are a good fit for this particular tank.

I have obtained permission to plant the tank, which means another one of my extra-fun substrate mixes (in this case, a bag of miracle gro organic something, pea gravel, and a bunch of topsoil leftover from all the work he's had done on his yard). I am probably going to throw the mix together on a large trash bag and mineralize it a bit, hose it down and let it dry a few times, before making an attempt to add it to the tank.

We have also agreed to go on a driftwood expedition in the manzanita forest by my house. Which means he gets to be a packmule again haha. The good news is, this will greatly assist in convincing our dogs to get along. Mine tends to ignore his obnoxious puppy much more easily when he's tired.

I will bring my camera with me next time, for some pics with the update on the build.
 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Woo hoo! Assuming we can get all of the fish, the stock list is official.

10 CPDs
10 Rummynose, possibly some weird albino strain of rummies
10 pygmy corydoras
3 pairs of peacock gudgeons

We may add to the schools, particularly the CPDs and Rummies, as time goes on. I would like to up the number of CPDs to at least 15 in the near future, hopefully the rummies as well.

We will be using RO water for the tank and aiming for final pH around 6.7-6.8. This is going to be weird for me lol. I'm putting together a tank full of fish from all over the world.

The tank will get plenty of natural daylight, so I'm not too worried about lighting. We're starting off with low light plants, so I'm just going to pick up whatever I can get my hands on. Will have plenty of vals, hornwort, anubias, java fern, etc. I'm hoping to locate an amazon sword mother plant and use it as a centerpiece plant.

Hardscape will have caves, rocks, and with any luck, a large manzanita burl with roots attached.
 
NCE12940
  • #16
Sounds like this is going to be a great tank! Of course we want pictures
 
petaddiction
  • #17
Sounds like an amazing looking tank! So excited to see it come together. I kind of want this set up myself... haha. good luck with everything!
xx
 
Tonia
  • #18
Sounds fabulous, June!!!! can't wait to see the pictures of this tank!
 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
Fish are confirmed Yay! Can't wait to start setting this up. Ordering the first plants tonight, will probably pick up more at one of the stores near us soon enough.
 
Flowingfins
  • #20
You are going to love the CPDs I only have one( saved from being oscar food but plan to get at least 10 more) she is my favorite fish I have. Make sure you get small pellets. I only have big pellets so she has been nomming on cut up frozen bloodworms and will be eating mosquito larva tomorrow.

I can't wait to see his tank come together


 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
Haha I already love CPDs. I know how much fun they can be and have been known to stand in front of the CPD tanks at the stores and just watch them until someone comes along and asks what the heck I'm doing.

Which is pretty much what happened, except it happened to my boyfriend. We were at Fountain's Aquarium in La Mesa and he spotted them in a nanotank at the front of the store. He stopped helping me look for stuff and just watched them. When I finally turned around to see why I was being ignored, he was like "I could do a tank full of these....". And then he stared some more lol.

I just bought the first round of plants. Yay! I even managed to find an amazon sword mother plant, which is apparently humungous already, and I'm really excited about it. I have a mother plant of a different echinodorus variety in one of my tanks and it's already growing out the top. This one should look amazing as a centerpiece in the background. Rotala wallichiI will be the highlight of the midground as I've had amazing luck with this plant in low light acidic water, it should grow incredibly well in natural daylight. Of course Jungle Val was a must (I may hijack a few of the 30+ plants that are supposedly included in this order for a few of my tanks). I'm also getting a few anubias plants of a larger variety, and hopefully a few feet of hornwort to serve as a floater until we get the tank lights up and running and can do something great like Red Root Floaters or something.

Oh I forgot to mention that. My boyfriend is a handy guy. Like, I'm pretty sure any manual labor he can think of, he can do. I bet he could do plumbing if he desired lol. Weird for a computer programmer. Anyway, the main "thing" with the tank is that the lighting fixtures have bad wiring. It appears to have been eaten. I suggested simply getting a versatop lid and an LED fixture in the future, but he likes the idea of a project for him on the tank. So he's determined to rewire the lights haha. I'm probably going to look at putting reflectors in the fixtures when he has them apart. It would be easy enough to do and would greatly increase the amount of controlled light going into the tank.
 
Flowingfins
  • #22
I'm going through the same problem with my new old lights. The plugs are corroded and the whole thing needs to be rewired. I'm up for it though

I find myself staring at the CPD too...


 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
It pretty much looks like a rat or something got to these wires. Really, really weird, actually. Well... I mean the tank was basically in a garage for a long time, so not that weird. But still.

I am probably still going to price out a versatop lid and decent light, or look at a DIY fixture that might give us more control.

Gah I'm so excited. Now all we really need is substrate and hardscape. Yippie!!!!
 
Flowingfins
  • #24
What substrate are you using?

My CPD is in a 10 gallon with a nerite and a guppy fry for the moment. Ordering the CPD tomorrow. She loves to swim through the caves I made out if rocks. I have taken them out for now while I add plants so none fall on her.


 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #25
We're making our own substrate. Given the fish we'll be keeping in there, it's definitely going to include black and "natural" colored pea gravel if I have any say in it lol. He also has a ton of excess soil in his yard that we're going to use. We may also throw in the smallest size bag of miracle gro organic soil they sell at home depot or wally world to kick start the plants.
 
Flowingfins
  • #26
Cool


 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
We'll also need a fine sand section for the pygmy cories to feed <3 such cute little guys they shall be.
 
Flowingfins
  • #28
I wish I didn't have flora max In My 100 of I had known how cool cories were before I bought the substrate I would have done sand.


 
petaddiction
  • #29
I wish I didn't have flora max In My 100 of I had known how cool cories were before I bought the substrate I would have done sand.

You could still do sand or just a part of the tank sand so you can have corys
I have pool filtration sand and really like it. It's only $6-8 for a 50lb bag so it's not very expensive.


xx
 
Flowingfins
  • #30
I guess it could work. But it's black.


 
walczowski
  • #31
I use play sand in my tanks. Takes awhile to "clean" before putting it in the tank, but it's only $2.50 for 50lbs.
 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #32
Playsand isn't very pretty or "natural" looking, though. I actually have a great store near me, that I will literally never buy fish from (all of their tanks show very obvious signs of illness, sometimes worse than the average fish store). But they have a bulk substrate and hardscape section. There's a natural colored sand that I've fallen in love with and we'll likely get 10lb or so of that as a cap for the cory section. I'm planning to use smooth river rocks (which they also sell in bulk bins) to visually separate that section from the rest of the tank.

I actually used the same sand in one of my wild betta tanks. I'll be using it in my "India" tank as well, as I have leftovers and it's just the most beautiful, natural looking cap I've seen yet.

We went for a short walk yesterday, which took us through one of the manzanita groves near my house. Naturally we located some driftwood. I'm still looking for "the piece" but I found a beautiful stump and a few small branches he'll be putting in the tank. Now we just need a large background piece.
 
petaddiction
  • #33
pictures


xx
 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #34
Haha I will, as soon as there's more than just an empty tank with painter's tape all over the top.
 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #35
For anyone who is interested, this is the filter we purchased:


And this heater (don't judge. I have one nearly just like this from the same seller in my Jenynsia Onca tank and I will swear by them. easiest thing I've ever used, and super cheap too haha)
 
petaddiction
  • #36
For anyone who is interested, this is the filter we purchased:


And this heater (don't judge. I have one nearly just like this from the same seller in my Jenynsia Onca tank and I will swear by them. easiest thing I've ever used, and super cheap too haha)

this is definitely helpful to me as we'll be putting up a 55 soon hopefully.


xx
 
Lyfeoffishing
  • #37
Cant wait to see this build!!! You both are lucky to have each other. I can't find a women who accepts all my fishing/hunting/aquarium habits lol.
 
petaddiction
  • #38
yes June is very lucky he sounds like a sweetheart. If only I could find a guy like that. oh well haha I'm still young. Hopefully the future will bring bright things.
I seriously can't wait to see this tank up and running it's going to be so stunning! When do you think the initial set up and scaping will begin? How are you cycling? xx


xx
 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #39
I'm actually going to his house tomorrow to make the substrate, do the scape, plant, and add water. So it's coming together quickly.

Cycling will likely be irrelevant because of the low pH and planting. It's going to basically be a Walstad tank, NPT, very low bioload, soil substrate. I already have a bunch of the plants we'll be using. I received the Amazon Sword mother plant, a bunch of jungle val (some of which I'll be hijacking for one of my builds) three large anubias plants from a user here (they are amazing by the way) and hornwort. Java moss is also on its way.

I plan to go to the LFS where I buy my plants tomorrow as well and pick up a few more assorted things. I need to go anyway to get the sand for the cory section of the tank, so I'll pick up whatever nice looking plants they have. He's also likely getting my cabomba from my swordtail tank, as the swordtails have done a great job of uprooting and eating the needles.

Hardscape thus far is just the Manzanita, but I'll likely find a few large rocks to toss in there. There's one hunk of granite outside my house that I've had my eye on for a while.
 
junebug
  • Thread Starter
  • #40
Pictures of the hardscape.


IMG_0099 (1280x960).jpg
IMG_0100 (1280x960).jpg
 

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