Re-tanking My 55 Corner To A 90 Gallon Seaclear And Changing Stock

  • #1
I've had my 55 gallon corner set up for about 5 years and always wanted a bigger tank.


About six months ago I scored a deal on a SeaClear 90 gallon acrylic tank (60"L x 18"W x 20"D). I'm not totally crazy about the integrated filter system but it'll hide my equipment and I can run my canister along with it.

I need to move the tank because we're having our house tented for termites (common thing here in SoCal). It's an opportunity to redo my stock and finally do the re-tank. I plan to move out the corner and move it in to the garage when I bring it back. I can then set up the 90 inside the house to cycle and seed it with media from the 55.

Currently I have these fish in the tank.

2 Gold Angels about 6-7" across
2 Eartheater Cichlids
2 Upside Down Cats
1 Rafael Cat
1 Common Pleco
3 Gold Barbs
1 Blue Gourami
1 Gold snail
2 Striped snails
1 Siamese Algae Eater

My wife is ok with the bigger tank as long as I re-stock with "colorful fish that don't fight". That means at least the Eartheaters (gray color) and Angels (they fight) need to be re-homed. Those four are also most likely to eat the fish she wants.

One LFS will give me 10% off a purchase for bringing in fish, the other won't give me anything but will put them in an adoption tank. I'd like to re-home the pleco too but my son thinks he's the coolest. I might be able to get a bristlenose to replace it to avoid crowding the tank.

The new tank will have a Black Diamond Sand 20/40 substrate with osmocote tabs. The current tank is around 77-80 degrees year round.

So what do you all think for stocking the new tank?

Endlers? Guppies? Neons? Rainbowfish? 1 Male Betta?

I know I'd like to have a school of Corys and to get some more SAE friends for my little guy.

We had tiger barbs years ago and my wife wasn't a fan.

And yes I know my current stocking is a bit of a mess so I appreciate help getting it fixed.
  • #2
The Siamese algae eater will need to go also, they can get around a foot long and a super aggressive at that point. I would recommend some tetras, maybe rummynose tetras, german blue rams are pretty peaceful and will tolerate tetras, a school of corys maybe. Are you sure its a Siamese algae eater and not an oto cat? They get confused a lot. Good luck, and your tank does look very good now
  • #3
My suggestion would be 6 guppies (choose pretty ones), 10-12 corys, (gonna recommend 77 degrees so sterbias would be best but peppers or pandas would work), red flame or head and tail light tetras (15-20).

You could put a center piece fish or 2 in also. Pearl gouramis? I would also suggest a pair of angels but seems you are done with them.

TexasDomer will show up here and give you a professional opinion.
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  • #4
Thank you for the tips. I'm pretty sure he's an SAE but I will take a picture tomorrow. I didn't realize they would get that big. Your suggestion of Ottos would be a better fit.

I do really like the angels but these two are particularly aggressive toward each other. They've calmed down a bit since I re-scaped the tank to give them some territory separation.
  • #5
The Siamese algae eater will need to go also, they can get around a foot long and a super aggressive at that point. I would recommend some tetras, maybe rummynose tetras, german blue rams are pretty peaceful and will tolerate tetras, a school of corys maybe. Are you sure its a Siamese algae eater and not an oto cat? They get confused a lot. Good luck, and your tank does look very good now

sorry.. that looks more like a siamese algae eater (SAE). the one that gets big and aggressive is the Chinese algae eater (CAE). i've kept both and the SAE is quite peaceful IMO. its also not an OTO.. I also keep those..
  • #6
IMO if it was me I would rehome most of the stock and start it out how you want it.
The gourami is equally as aggressive as the angels, so I would also suggest getting rid of the 3 spot as well... suitable alternatives include pearls, moonlight or snakeskin gouramis... if you want a challenge, consider chocolate or croaking gouramies.

The pleco would be better of substituted with a BN pleco. I would reccomend adding one of the colour morphs, and if you want flashy consider longfins. A few colour morphs that come to mind are blue-eyes, super reds and green dragons.

Never kept a Rafael cat, but heard they can make a nice snack out of their smaller tankmates. So I would highly reconsider rehoming them.

Gold barbs also appreciate cooler water temps than most other fish, so keeping them may reduce your options. If you want to keep them, stick with cooler water fish.

My reccomendations would be to do something like keep a largish shoal of larger tetras, like colombians or keep rainbowfish. I would also consider adding some of the brighter coloured tetras (even though I think colombians are still just as pretty) like rummies, or black phantoms. So, ny prefered stocking list:
5 pearl gouramis (try getting 1 male and 4 females)
20 colombian tetras (or some other type of tetra, rainbow, rasbora or schooling fish... pencil fish are another good option)
8-10 of another schooling fish
12 cories (look into lazer cories!)
4 SAE (or bump down cory school and add some more SAE)
1 BN pleco (look into all the varieties and morphs on offer!)

Then if your looking to add some personality, consider adding a pair of apistos or rams.
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  • #6
I think the 3 spot would be happier with some other 3 spots so I'll re-home him as well. The Rafael Cat only comes out at night but he's a big guy, I imagine he would be interested in some night hunting if I put in small fish.

Here is a pic of the SAE, the bigger of the two eartheaters, and the Rafael. He's a little bigger now, those pics are almost a year old.

  • #8
If you'd still like some stocking ideas for the new tank, let me know and I can suggest a few options
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Absolutely! I'm interested in any ideas you have.

Most of these guys are going to the LFS this week. When we're back in the house it'll be a month or so before I can set up the new tank in its spot. The 55 corner is going to be in the garage with whatever fish I keep. I'll wait until the new tank is set up and cycled before buying new fish so I have some time.

I looked at Endlers and Guppies at the LFS, they do look nice in big groups. I've learned you shouldn't really have both unless you're ok with hybrid fish in the tank. Of course they had a cute school of corys which looked cool.
  • #10
Can you remind me what fish you're going to be left after rehoming these fish?
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
I completed moving the tank to a relatives house and re-homing some fish tonight at the LFS. Here is what I have remaining. It won't hurt my feelings if you tell me something isn't compatible.

Striped Raphael Catfish Platydoras armatulus
-I know he is generally peaceful but will eat a fish small enough to fit in his mouth that gets close enough. Temp range 75-86F

Common Plecostomus Hypostomus plecostomus
-I'd like to re-home this guy but my son loves the giant sucker fish Temp range 72-86F

Two Upside Down Catfish Synodontis nigriventris
-I had three but one passed away. They'd probably be happier with a bigger school. Temp range 72-79F

Three Gold Barbs Barbodes semifasciolatus
-I had five but two were eaten by the Firemouth Cichlid I had. Temp range 64-75F

One Siamese Algae Eater Crossocheilus siamensis
-All of his buddies were eaten at a young age. Completely my fault for putting them in with incompatible tank mates. He'd definitely be happier with some friends. Temp range 72-79F

One Gold Mystery Snail

Two Zebra Nerite Snails

All of these guys are much happier now that the other fish are gone. They're doing a lot more swimming around the tank. Could be because the other fish were very territorial or because the tank was overstocked.

The gist of the situation is that my wife would like to have more colorful fish. She liked pictures of Endlers, Guppies, and even Discus (which I know are not compatible). She knows nothing of fish but wants color in the tank and doesn't really like aggressive fish (the Angels were always fighting).

After the house is tented I will be building a stand for the new tank, building a background for it, and running it for a bit after cycling before adding new fish. In other words it'll be a long process.
  • #12
I'd definitely rehome the common pleco - he needs a bigger tank. There are smaller plecos that would work -maybe your son would enjoy picking out one of those?

Just to clarify, you're going to be running the 90 gal and the 55 gal at the same time, right? So you want stocking for both of them?
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  • #13
I'm going to be replacing the 55 with the 90. I'll put the 55 up for sale with the stand and top once the 90 is established. I wouldn't mind two tanks but my wife is antI that idea.

Establishing the 90 will take some time, here's the plan.

Build a new stand similar to this one from instructables and add a top.

Make a Better Than New Aquarium Stand

Build a background with a sand fall

20/40 Black diamond blasting sand substrate with osmocote pills

Seed the SeaClear filter with media from the current tank filter

Once the new tank is established, cycled, and stable I'll transfer the fish. At that time I'll also run my Magnum 350 canister for extra filtration.
  • #14
Ah okay, I thought you meant you'd keep the 55 gal running in the garage.

If you're going to use old media to seed the current tank, you're better off just adding all of the old media and the fish at the same time. Fishless cycling isn't really necessary here (you'd need to add ammonia to the tank daily with the seeded media), since you're adding all of the fish over to the new tank. Just move all of the media with them at the same time, and you'll have an instant cycle.

Endlers, guppies, etc. are likely to be eaten by the Raphael. He limits your stocking options some.

I would do something like this for color:

12-15x Congo tetra
10x BoesemanI rainbowfish
6-8x Upside down cats
1x Raphael cat
6-8x Hoplos or porthole catfish
1x Rainbow cichlid

I'd definitely rehome the pleco, but I'd also rehome the SAE and the gold barbs - they aren't temp compatible with the colorful, larger fish I've listed above. If keeping the SAE and the barbs are a must, let me know and I can come up with another option including them.
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  • #15
Awesome! Thank you for taking the time to come up with the list. I didn't think about the fishless cycle issue. I'll research your suggestions and make some decisions about the current fish.

My plan was to keep the current tank running in the garage as I build the new stand and get the layout finalized. If I go with a cement over foam background I've seen that they cause some wild pH swings as they cure. That process might take a bit to complete from what I've seen online. I definitely won't waste any beneficial bacteria on that process.
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  • #16
I set up my temporary stand yesterday and started with getting the scratches out of the tank.
It's not terrible but the scratches are pretty visible.



The first round of sanding was with 400 grit. Here it is after sanding the 600 inside and out.


And after doing 1000 inside and out.


I'll do 1500 then 2000 followed by compound and polish with the buffer. My wife isn't confident it'll turn out well.
  • #17
Good luck!

Wishing the best for your project.
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
First round of compounding. The right side of this end panel has had one pass inside and out. In hindsight I could have saved some time with sanding. I sanded the whole tank with 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500, & 2000.

In the future I'll probably compound first to see what I'm working with and then spot sand the scratches that remain. The compound really takes out a lot of scratches.

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  • #19
I ended up with some sanding marks from hand sanding that just wouldn't come out with compounding. I decided to start over using my palm sander with 800/1000/2000. This seems to be working better. I also ordered some Novus to see how it compares to the Meguiars compound and polish I had on hand.
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  • #20
I'm slowly progressing with my 3D background. The plan is for a couple of caves, a fake tree stump, and a sand fall. Should make for an entertaining tank.

The background has to be done in sections to fit through the braces in the top. It's also a little more complicated because of the integrated sump which makes the background an odd shape.

The tree pic was taken right after the first round of shaping. Since then I've worked it over a bit for a more organic look.

  • #21
Looks like you have a ton of time and effort in this project.

I hope it becomes whatever your plans say it will be.

I want to watch your progress.

Good luck.
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
Thank you for the luck!

I did a little more work on the right side of the tank where the sand fall and cave are located. I used 1" piping but in hindsight I think 3/4" would work just fine. I'm hoping to test it prior to final assembly but I still need to seal up the inlet area and make an intake grill to prevent curious fish from going for a ride.

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  • #23
I finally have some progress pics to put up. The tank was sidelined by other more important house projects.

I noticed a big scratch right in the front that I’d missed with the prior work so I decided to take the tank outside to clean and re-polish it.

I started with 400 then 600/800/1000/1500/2000. At the end of al that sanding I had this.


In the prior polishing I was using automotive products and decided to switch to Novus this time. I used Novus 3 with my random orbital polisher and to be honest I was a little apprehensive that it would polish out completely after this step. Novus 3 is pretty gritty stuff, maybe more so than the 2000 grit sandpaper I finished up with but I’m guessing it’s a diminishing abrasive. As you polish with it the grit gets smaller and smaller.


Next I used Novus 2 with a Mother’s polishing ball on my drill. I was using a powerful plug in drill for this but you really have to be careful and throttle the trigger. If you spin too fast you’ll burn the polishing ball or lose control of the drill. A rechargeable or smaller drill might be a good idea.

The Novus 2 really polished the tank up beautifully. I went back and did the corners by hand before filling the tank. The splatter above the bottle is on the background.

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  • #24
Here are all three steps together.


Next was installing the background. I was concerned about the background coming lose and floating up so I found a good idea through my searching online. I pushed a skewer stick through the background about an inch from the bottom. Above that I put a hole to run a zip tie through the background. I took some ceramic tile I had laying around, broke the pieces in half and drilled some holes through the tile. Zip tie the tile pieces to the background and when the sand or gravel is put in the weight will keep everything secured. I did use a bead of silicone at the top to secure the background pieces except for the sand fall which turned out to be a good idea.


I let this dry for the day before putting the tank inside.
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  • #25
While the tank dried I washed my black diamond blasting sand. The sand was unbelievably dirty so I definitely wouldn’t just dump it in to a tank. I just put half a bag in a 5 gallon bucket and ran the hose through it until I had clean sand.

I put two 50lb bags in my tank which gave me three inches of substrate.


I think this shot is from the first fill. I drained and refilled several times before adding the new filter media to the tank sump. The plants have been added but I have not added any fish. Next week I’ll add my seeded media from the old tank and the couple of fish I have remaining from the old setup. I didn’t take any pics with the plants in before leaving on a trip.

The sandfall has low flow so I think I pinched the air hose. I’ll need to figure that out next week.
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  • #26
The tank has been filled and the plants from the old tank were put in. I also transferred my media and fish from the old tank.

The bottom photo is with everything from my old tank. The top photo is with some plant additions.

I was able to find a lone upside down catfish at my LFS but no more. There’s a much bigger store 20 miles away so I’ll see what they have on hand. Another store had one Congo Tetra so I bought that as well. Hopefully the bigger store has enough to make a proper school. I looked at the BosemanI Rainbows and I think I’d like to try something different.

I did get the sandfall to work, it’s not as high flow as I’d like. The pump I had on hand wouldn’t move any sand at all. I bought a higher flow unit and it will move some sand. Maybe I restricted the intake too much? I’m using 3/4” PVC with a 90 degree elbow at the top and bottom. The bottom one has the top cut off to make a scoop. I’ll try to post a video tomorrow.

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  • #27
Tank update.

I’ve messed around with the sand fall to get it working better. I think the sand I have is a little too heavy for an air stone driven sandfall, either lighter sand or a bigger air pump will solve the problem.

I’m trying out my Finnex 24/7 Planted Plus to see if I should buy another 30” unit to replace the T8 fixture. The LED is certainly a lot brighter. The first pic is the noon setting and the second is a custom setting.



I added a few plants and finished my tree in the right side of the tank. My son came up with the idea to carve the initials in to the tree. I’m not sure if the plants in the branch will grow well, they do have substrate with osmocote inside. The Rafael Catfish really likes hiding in the big branch. It’s hard to get a daytime shot without glare but you can see the Rafael hiding.


My current stocking is

8 Congo Tetras (love their colors as they’ve grown!)

5 Serpae Tetras

7 Pink Barbs (I don’t like that their color is artificial but I had to acquiesce to my wife’s desire for brightly colored fish)

4 Siamese Algae Eaters (3 little ones school around but I don’t think the big one recognizes them yet)

3 Upside Down Catfish (one little guy I found at a local store, I’ll buy two more when they come in stock)

2 Gold Barbs (These guys are older than my youngest child, I don’t plan on adding to their school until I can get another tank that I can keep colder)

1 Rafael Catfish

1 Plecostumus (this dude is pretty big and will go in to our outside pond as soon as it’s ready)

1 Nerite snail (snails don’t seem to be lasting too long in my tank for some reason)
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  • #28
The Jebo AP3500 sump pump in my tank is a bit loud. Its significantly louder than the Magnum 350 canister filter I had on my old tank. I recently cleaned it out completely thinking that was the problem but the noise didn’t change.

I’ve considered cutting out the internal sump to add more room to the tank and run an external sump or canister. As a last ditch effort to keep everything self contained I bought a Jebao DCT-4000. This pump is allegedly very quiet and includes a nice controller. At 1056 GPH it pushes a lot more water than my old one (700 GPH) but I’m hoping to just decrease the output on the DCT to keep the same flow rate.

Unfortunately my DCT was missing the adaptors when I opened the box so I have to wait until the replacement shows up Thursday to give an account of it.

I also added a second T8 to my fluorescent side and started dosing Flourish Iron as well as Flourish Excel. I’ll update the pics soon.

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