Our Stand Build - May Need Helpful Opinions 180 Gallon Tank

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Jeremy Brown, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. Jeremy Brown

    Jeremy BrownNew MemberMember

    Hello guys, I'm Jeremy, a portrait photographer from Boise, Idaho. I've been recently thrust into the land of aquariums. My wife is a big fish nerd due to sharing it her whole life with her father.

    Well recently we inherited a 180 gallon fish tank from her father before he passed, and it was her big dream to get the thing put on display. Before that it sat unwrapped for 20 years. So we finally got it up this 4th of July weekend.

    I know you guys only do Saltwater here, but it was a Freshwater tank. We have tons of gear for Saltwater, but for an initial setup, we wanted to at least get it up with some fish.

    As a newcomer, I thought I would share what we were able to do!

    Here is the initial setup. We really didn't have the money or ability to make a fancy wooden stand, so we had to go the cinder block route.


    We spent 24 hours running two strong canister filters pushing nearly 1000gph through the tank before we introduced the fish.

    This is what we managed to complete the tanks look (No fish in yet, just final touches)


    Finally we were able to put our fish in. We don't have a huge selection yet, but we're working on it, we have:

    3 Bala Sharks
    1 Redtail Shark
    3 Tiger Barbs
    2 Tin Foil Barbs
    2 Siamese Algae Eaters
    1 Bristlenose Pleco

    Here is the tank with all our fish in it:


    So that's our start to our big tank. I'm not sure how we did, or if we did something wrong, but I hope you guys can make some suggestions. Oh and also hello from Boise!
  2. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!

    This site is not a Saltwater site, it is for both salt and freshwater. In fact, you posted this in the Freshwater beginners forum which is the prefect place for your question.

    The very first thing I want to recommend is that you read up on the nitrogen cycle (words should be a link to an article explaining it). This is truly the most important thing to understand when keeping fish. Once you understand the nitrogen cycle, you will realize you have a bit of a problem, but it is solvable.

    Your problem is that you need to get that tank cycled. Usually when people who were unaware of the nitrogen cycle are in your situation they have a couple of choices on how to handle getting the tank cycled without killing any fish. One way is thru daily 50% partial water changes with a water conditioner called Prime until the tank cycles which usually takes about six long weeks (are you starting to see the problem?). The other way is to add a bacteria in a bottle product that actually works (Tetra SafeStart or Dr Tim's One & Only) which is far easier since you baxically add the product and do noting for 14 days. (There is a bit more to know, nothing difficult though so if you deciede to go the route just post for further guidance). Lastly you could rehome the fish and do a fishless cycle, but most beginners really are not in love with that idea.

    You do have some stocking issues, but they can wait until after you get the cycling thing straightened out.

    Best of luck and feel free to ask any questions you may have, the members here are eager to help you out.
  3. Rivieraneo

    RivieraneoModeratorModerator Member

    Hi Jeremy, Welcome to Fishlore!

    We do fresh/salt/brackish and discuss other pets as well. Under the freshwater beginners section, you will find a group of topics "stickied" at the top titled, freshwater beginner topics. I highly recommend you read through those thoroughly to jump start you into the hobby. You are very fortunate to be starting with such a large and beautiful tank. Best of luck.

    EDIT: Ninja'd by jdhef

  4. Phishphin

    PhishphinWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to the community! As the other posters already stated, we have a thriving freshwater forum in addition to the saltwater forum.

    I can tell by your setup and placement that you are very invested in this tank. I'm really excited to see how far you take it. To piggy back on what others already said, the nitrogen cycle is one of those aspects of fish keeping that is fundamental to the aquarist. Fishlore has some fantastic articles about the process and its hugely important impact on an aquarium.

    There are also some really wonderful "stocking calculators" that provide a wealth of information about the types of fish you have and what they need out of an aquarium. I personally prefer "AqAdvisor". It will calculate how close you come to reaching your stocking limit, recommended temperature for your specific tank mates, and your level of filtration. It will also address certain compatibility issues for various species of fish.

    Please continue to ask any and all questions! Many of us make it a hobby to share what knowledge we have on this site on a regular basis.

    Congratulations on that massive tank!

  5. Adam55

    Adam55Well Known MemberMember

    Hi Jeremy. Welcome to FL. I agree with hef that there are a couple stocking issues, but those can wait. In addition to the cycle stuff, I would check out a water changer by either Python or Aqueon. A 50% or greater water change is common in a new tank. Even accounting for the space taken up by your substrate and ornaments, you could be changing out 100 gallons of water.

    On a more important note, we're sorry for your loss.
  6. delta5

    delta5Well Known MemberMember

    You'll want at least 8 tiger barbs in the beginning, and eventually make sure they're at least 3F:1M. 1M and the rest female would be perfect, but it's hard to tell their sex at a young age.

    btw, very nice tank.
  7. OP
    Jeremy Brown

    Jeremy BrownNew MemberMember

    Hey guys thank you all for the big welcome. My wife has over 20 years of experience with Fish Tanks. I on the other hand am very new to this world. I believe we will for sure work the nitrogen route, it's just we wanted to make sure our stand and everything was to par before we started stocking fish.

    The advice though is greatly appreciated though, I'm learning a lot on this journey and getting this tank up for my wife was a huge priority for me, as this tank had passed through her family for a long time. It was a dream of hers to get it set up.

    We obviously want to do this right, as we do care about our fish. Our first tank was just a simple 30 gallon for our Red Tail, a single Bala, and 2 tetra's, so moving to this tank we did what we could to make it seem more alive.

    Our other tank is a 55 gallon hex tank for our mated Angels we got. So that's been a fun process. I'm learning lots.

    Genuinely though, all this start up advice is fantastic, even my wife, with all the years of experience she has, might be able to pick up a few great things from here.
  8. delta5

    delta5Well Known MemberMember

    btw, tin foil barbs are not from the same family as the tiger barbs and they both need to be in groups.
  9. Adam55

    Adam55Well Known MemberMember

    Well, regarding the stand, is the tank glass or acrylic? I don't have a monster tank like that one, but I think the stand is just fine for a glass tank. Acrylic, I'm not so sure. Acrylic bends. It needs weight support everywhere, and I see there are sections of the tank not supported by blocks. Someone that has more experience with tanks of that size would have to comment on the stand.
  10. OP
    Jeremy Brown

    Jeremy BrownNew MemberMember

    The tank is Acrylic, so it is very light empty, I guess I'm just not sure how to use the cinder blocks right. I am not sure if standing them up is ok or not.
  11. delta5

    delta5Well Known MemberMember

    It looks like you used wedges under the tank to level. You should be leveling at the ground. Other than that keep an eye on the wood the tank is sitting on. Use a piece of paper and see if you can slide the paper between the tank and the wood. If you notice these gaps getting bigger that is a sign that the wood is bending and isn't supporting the weight.

    What's the thickness of the acrylic?
  12. OP
    Jeremy Brown

    Jeremy BrownNew MemberMember

    There isn't any wedges, we're just using a 2x4 on each side to act as a brace between the cinder blocks. We also have two plywood boards to assist in the weight distribution. Though we have changed up how we're going to reset the tank.

  13. OP
    Jeremy Brown

    Jeremy BrownNew MemberMember

    Wanted to add an update on to what we decided to work with the stand. 180g tank is no small matter, so we finally came up with this plan. Let me know what you guys think. I would be devastated if we lost this tank to a bad build.

  14. delta5

    delta5Well Known MemberMember

    The way you laid out the wood on top isn't optimal, but should work. The grain should be top and bottom running parallel to the tank. You're using the weakest part of the wood.
  15. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    While you do have the 2 by's in the weak direction, I think the span is short enough that you will not have any problems. But if you wanted to be conservative you could take pieces of 2x8 (if the fit) or else 2x6 and screw them to the center of the existing 2 by's to make a "tee". You would only have to do the between the "cinder" blocks. And since your tank is Acrylic, I would screw a piece of 3/4" plywood on top. You need to be careful about getting the flake board wet, it tends to disintegrate when it gets wet.

    BTW, I think they stopped making cinder blocks about 40 years ago. What you have are now called CMU (Concrete Masonry Units)

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