Operation Fish Tank Restore.

Discussion in 'Freshwater Aquarium Builds' started by Cruise, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. Cruise

    CruiseValued MemberMember

    This is my four-foot tank. It’s a mess, I used to have fish in it but I got busy with studying my insurance course and it got neglected. The tank silicon seals are only 3 years old so no problem there. I do want to setup this tank once more and get things happening.


    I was hoping to spark some interest and conversation on it, and what do you suggest I do in setting it up. There is a wealth of knowledge on this forum and I wanted to tap into it. So, feel free and comment. Even if it’s just “oh dear!” what happened to the tank !

    I have keeping fish for the past 15+ years I don’t know everything.
  2. :) fatcatfish (:

    :) fatcatfish (:Well Known MemberMember

    What are the exact dimensions of the tank? That helps a lot in stocking!

    What sort of fish are you looking for?

    Planted? Hardscape only?

    As a person who used to have gravel as a substrate, I can safely say that sand looks much better and a lot more natural. I have natural coloured sand which looks especially good with leaf litter and black-water. Black sand is good for planted set-ups IMO since it helps create contrast against the green or red of the plants and the fish, but in the end it's entirely up to you!
  3. OP

    CruiseValued MemberMember


    4-foot-wide x 1.5 feet deep (front to back) and 1.6 feet high (approx.)

    I have black iron sand in a tank, it clogged up the impeller of my filter, and I got anaerobic pockets of gas in it. I didn't realize this so I lost fish. I am hesitant to use sand again. Maybe some big snails that could churn through it, though I have never had snails before

    I have had mainly tropical fish before, live bearers, tetras, catfish. I am happy to try something new, I am up for a challenge to a new breed of fish, so long as I can source it here in Australia.

    I was thinking a planted tank using drift wood to have a raise piece of wood as sort of a bridge with plants growing on it. I was thinking a black background that would make the tank look bigger but I am unsure as to what type.

    I had a basic light fixture with a long fluorescent tube. I wanted to change it for an LED Light specifically for fish tanks, but that too I am unsure of what to get and what is good and what is not.
  4. KimberlyG

    KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    Just start playing with it and we'll start telling you "No". lol
    What a Beautiful tank! Can't wait to see what you do with it. (Planted with driftwood sounds good)
  5. Fish tank

    Fish tankValued MemberMember

    After you decorate some fish ideas are.
    I would put in for fish some pearl guramies -2 (1 male and 1 female) with some community fish
    Or I would put in 2- dwarf guramies (one male and one female) with community fish
    A cool idea is to do a community tank with all different tetras.
  6. vikingkirken

    vikingkirkenWell Known MemberMember

    You're in Australia and you're doing a planted tank. This is a no-brainer, you should absolutely do rainbowfish :D:D:D
  7. AWheeler

    AWheelerWell Known MemberMember

    I think the first order of business would be a good cleaning with some white vinegar and hot water :) Planted sounds good!
  8. OP

    CruiseValued MemberMember

    I will do a stage by stage and post pictures as I go.This forum has given me the kick in the pants to get the tank sorted.

    I am guessing white vinegar is safe for aquariums; silly question I realise. I would normally use cold water and elbow grease.
  9. AWheeler

    AWheelerWell Known MemberMember

    It is, so long as you rinse it out really well :) Elbow grease works great too!
  10. KimberlyG

    KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    vinegar is easier. old person talking here. so easier is better. lol
  11. AWheeler

    AWheelerWell Known MemberMember

    LOL, Easier is better for me too ( magic erasers and vinegar is a like a magic wand) :)
  12. OP

    CruiseValued MemberMember

    I know fish and vinegar is tasty. Not in this case though.

    I use baking soda and vinegar to clean the kitchen bench. Now who is showing their age.

    So a small update. I got the wooden top off the tank last night, I had piping from a canister filter attached through the top, I couldn’t get the hose and pipe apart so I used my Swiss army knife with a serrated blade, and I lost about an inch of pipe.


    Lid off and I started pulling out excess rocks and things in the tank and I almost burnt myself, I don’t know for how many years but the heater was on!!

    I left it hanging in the tank and I turned it off, I don’t know how long the heater had been on but I would hazard over a year. I don’t know whether it would work ever again, I thought it would’ve burnt itself out with no water. Heater on the right covered in crud.

    I got a spray bottle of vinegar and hot water and using a lint free cloth I cleaned the front pane of glass. It came up a treat, thanks for the tip. I still have to clean the sides and back. You can also see my light fixture, I want to replace that and get a new one, what you cant see in the pic is the rust on the bottom of the fixture.

    Now I want to get rid of the gravel and get something else, I need to work out where to put it but I was thinking of digging a deepish trench in the back garden and burying it, with the fish poo in it, the plants would do well.

    In other news I found the autofocus on my phone hence the sharp picture (rolls eyes)
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  13. AWheeler

    AWheelerWell Known MemberMember

    o_O How did that heater not break, pop, fizzle and crack! How did no one smell it! :wideyed: You are so lucky!

    That is a great idea for the gravel, I use my water from draining my tanks in the summer time to water my garden, using gravel at the bottom just seems like the next logical step.
  14. OP

    CruiseValued MemberMember

    Just lucky I suppose, I definitely didn't smell it. I have a smoke detector on the ceiling about 2 metres away and it didn't detect anything. I don't think I would trust it now, although it may still work I have shortened its life span by doing something it wasn't designed to do. I would think it would fail at the most inopportune time when I am at work for example.
  15. Fashooga

    FashoogaFishlore VIPMember

    This will be a fun journey to restart from a new. Look forward to what happens next over the next few weeks or months.
  16. OP

    CruiseValued MemberMember

    I spoke to one of the shops I go to here in Sydney regarding led lights. I have never heard of them but he suggested I get MR Aqulina for $395.00 AUD. This fish shop knows more about fish than I would ever know, he is expensive but he knows his stuff.

    Not sure if I am allow to, I have a link to YouTube for a vid on Aqulina lighting, in this particular case showing a school of discus. I ask and the lighting will suit any type of tank in the fresh and saltwater range.

  17. Rohit mess

    Rohit messValued MemberMember

    I dont have much idea about lights, but if you are going for a planted tank, i am sure that LED's are not going to help them grow.
    You will need other lighting like grow bulbs, fluroscents and many other stuffs that are available.
  18. TwoHedWlf

    TwoHedWlfWell Known MemberMember

    Some of the more expensive heaters have dry run protection...Don't know what the actual term for it is. I assume it's a high temp cutout on the outer glass of the heater. During normal operation it shouldn't get much over 30-40°C so if it heats up more than that it must not be in water.
  19. OP

    CruiseValued MemberMember

    So after a few months hunting around I have finally got my gravel for my tank and have selected Eco-Complete Plant Substrate which I have been told is good for growing plants though I have never used it before. I have my led light that comes with its own remote control to turn the light on/off or change the colours of the light, maybe I can organise a disco for the fish?, I have the light for it.
    Filtration wise I have bought an aqua one Aqua One canister filter with a max flow rating of 1400 litres an hour, the tank is 270 litres of water or thereabouts. I also have a 2 foot air stone that I will put just below the gravel at the back of the tank for added aeration .

    Do you think this is enough filtration? (that's a serious question) I wasn’t sure whether I would need another form of filter such as an internal filter.

    Would it be okay if I was to put the gravel substrate straight onto the glass bottom of the tank? Something I have never done before...

    Any thoughts, ideas, questions or concerns?
  20. Jocelyn Adelman

    Jocelyn AdelmanFishlore VIPMember

    Ideally you want 10x turnover for hob filtration, canisters would be less just can't remember the amount.... honestly though a lot of filtration will depend on stocking... some like current, some don't, some are dirtier then others, will also depend on the flow for your plants...
    I use eco complete in many of my tanks and love it.