Thank You, You Helped Us Transform A Gross Tank Into An Underwater Fantasy Land!

Jenoli42
  • #1
You beautiful people helped our family create a marine-themed freshwater tank that is a whimsical fantasy land! I figured the least I could do is share it with you all - those of you struggling through your cycle and fish compatibility will have something to look forward to if you stick with it! Without this forum, we would have given up. Here's a glimpse of what our tank looks like now and more pics showing the transformation below

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Some of you know we bought a used 72g bowfront in early January that was disgusting. It hadn't been cleaned in at least 6 months and once we tested the parameters we were amazed the 5 rummy noses were even alive (eg, Nitrates off the charts).

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We spent 7 hours cleaning the tank and getting the water parameters right (with the help of sfsamm , CanadianJoeh , Nataku & others) , and then started planning our stocking options (relying heavily on TexasDomer ). My partner and I are both SCUBA divers and watch too much "Tanked" with our daughter, so we decided to do a marine theme but not add the difficulty of marine parameters.

So for the past 2 months, we've gradually bought fake coral/marine decorations, reef glue, fish safe epoxy and a new Sunsun HW 304B 2000 LPH filter.

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We got a moisture rated LED multi-colour light strip, too.

This weekend (we're in NZ so today is Monday for us), my partner and I spent Friday evening, from midday Saturday until 7am Sunday (all-nighter!) and then Sunday mid-afternoon until 10pm doing the following:

1. Epoxy and glue the main real rock (schist) cave, coral base and fake rock pinnacle onto a sheet of 8 mil fish safe clear acrylic. Silicone around the edges (silicone needs 24 hours to cure). Leave overnight.

2. Next day, drain our tank into as many containers as we could find to keep the water (we ended up storing 125L).

3. Once the tank was half drained, we caught and moved the fish into our QT. To do this, we filled the QT with water from the Bowfront so the parameters were identical (our QT is cycled...we had to delay this project because despite using cycled media it decided to start cycling all over again and we had to wait until the parameters were back to safe).

4. We moved the Eheim filter that was on the Bowfront to the QT so the fish had 2 filters running while they were in the QT overnight (about 30 hours) and so the BB in the Eheim filter had food and airflow. (Thanks CanadianJoeh for the tips on this!)

5. We finished draining the entire tank and scooped out all of the very ugly gravel. I was stoked to find that because of the initial clean and weekly maintenance, there was hardly any muck in the gravel at all.

6. We got some white vinegar and scrubbed out the inside of the tank to get rid of the dead fish smell it's had since we got it. Then we dried it with a towel.

7. We (carefully and with much stress) inserted the acrylic with the foundation pieces. This was very hard because of the structural plastic bar across the middle of the tank (which meant we had to insert diagonally and couldn't build the whole thing outside the tank). We put towels down in the tank just in case we lost our grip so we didn't shatter the tank or the insert.

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8. Then we stayed up all night Saturday night using glue and epoxy to put every single piece of decoration exactly where we wanted it. Because the epoxy starts to set and dry quickly, we had to do this in 15 minute blocks. We would plan which pieces would go in next and exactly where, heat up the epoxy, work the epoxy for 5 minutes after the microwave so it was mixed, and we then had 15 minutes to cover various openings in the decorations (so the fish don't get stuck) and place onto the structure in the tank. We used dots of reef glue on the bottom of the decorations and again on top of the epoxy so we only needed to hold in place for 30 seconds - 1 minute in the tank. Music helped this stage. We were able to hide the air tubes for 2/3 airstones behind the decorations as we were building. As a treat, in the wee hours of the morning we put the LED light strip up to see how it looked...

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9. We slept for about 5 hours so the epoxy could set and dry.

10. After we woke up, we added sand around the outside of the insert and gravel in the back and middle.

11. We swapped ALL the media from the Eheim 2222/2224 to our new Sunsun (adding more new media to fill it up) and put it on the Bowfront. This left just the built in filter on the QT with the fish. We will seed the Eheim with BB in one of our established tanks so we have an extra filter available in case of emergency.

12. We used the siphon pump to fill the tank back up with the 125L we saved, then topped it up with the remaining 110L of treated tap (rain) water. We then pumped the Sunsun for what seemed like years until we got it running.

13. We got the airpumps running and left it for a few hours. Then I tested the parameters to make sure it was close to the QT the fish were in.

14. Around 10pm last night, we put the fish back into their new renovated home. They love it! Here are two youtube video links:



We can't wait to fully stock this tank! We have sterbais in a different QT who have been in quarantine for over 2 weeks, so they'll join the others soon.

Can't thank all of you enough for your support, advice, patience and encouragement!
 
Dycofree
  • #2
Wow! I remember this thread! Absolutely incredible, kudos to you and yours for putting in the hard work. Enjoy!
 
BReefer97
  • #3
I remember this thread too! I'm so impressed with this! Fantastic work update us with pictures and video once it's full stocked! I'm kind of jealous! Haha
 
Dycofree
  • #4
I remember this thread too! I'm so impressed with this! Fantastic work update us with pictures and video once it's full stocked! I'm kind of jealous! Haha
Sounds like its time for you to get your own!
 
BReefer97
  • #5
Sounds like its time for you to get your own!

Oh boy! I don't have the room for anymore tanks unfortunately, or else I definitely would. I have a sugar glider cage, two 40 gallon breeders with rat snakes, a 10 gallon crab enclosure, a 20 gallon tree frog tank, two crested gecko tanks (and more to come because my boyfriend and I are breeding them), and of course my single 5 gallon betta tank. And that's between two small rooms One day I'll be able to have a large fish tank! And I'll keep this one in mind when I do
 
Jenoli42
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Wow! I remember this thread! Absolutely incredible, kudos to you and yours for putting in the hard work. Enjoy!
Thanks!! That's exactly what we're starting to do: enjoy! It's soooo nice!

Our other tank - the resurrected 165L - is stable & we're able to test weekly & do big wc fortnightly. It's so much easier now. It's just waiting to be fully stocked because we're being anal about a full 4 week quarantine period & because we're stocking this bowfront first.

I'll test the bowfront daily for a few days for ammonia & nitrite because of this big change. Then I'll go to every other day. After two weeks, I'll test weekly. That level of caution is because both our QTs surprised us with nitrites after 8 days & we're determined not to have surprises with the bowfront.

I'm sitting here watching our fish explore our handiwork. So many hiding spots & swim throughs! They've found all of them & seem to love it.

One thing is sure- we'll never catch them alive. Lolz
 
sfsamm
  • #7
Glad to see everything is running smoothly! It's such a nice feeling to finally get to the beautiful side of a new build. Tank looks great!
 
Jenoli42
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Oh boy! I don't have the room for anymore tanks unfortunately, or else I definitely would. I have a sugar glider cage, two 40 gallon breeders with rat snakes, a 10 gallon crab enclosure, a 20 gallon tree frog tank, two crested gecko tanks (and more to come because my boyfriend and I are breeding them), and of course my single 5 gallon betta tank. And that's between two small rooms One day I'll be able to have a large fish tank! And I'll keep this one in mind when I do

We are lucky to have a big old house & not heaps of furniture. So we had the room. We have this 250L bowfront, our resurrected 165L, a 55 gallon turtle tank & 2x 20L QTs. Our power bill is ridiculous.

If you do get a big tank in the future, hit me up for any advice on what to buy. I'll be more than happy. We had to order a significant number of things from overseas & are happy to share.
 
CanadianJoeh
  • #9
Hard work and determination will get you anywhere!

So glad to see your success. Keep us up to date on your future endeavors
 
Jenoli42
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Hard work and determination will get you anywhere!

So glad to see your success. Keep us up to date on your future endeavors

You!!! Legend. Couldn't have done it without your support! Take a bow, mate

Glad to see everything is running smoothly! It's such a nice feeling to finally get to the beautiful side of a new build. Tank looks great!

Honestly without your support & reliable, thoughtful & incredibly accurate info, we wouldn't have made it past the cycle crash in our first tank. You get some of the credit for this success. Thank you SO much!
 
Skye_marilyn
  • #11
Wow! Love the theme and use of color! You did an awesome job and saved a few rummy noses in the process, great job.
 
Jenoli42
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Wow! Love the theme and use of color! You did an awesome job and saved a few rummy noses in the process, great job.

Thanks!!! Yay! The rummy noses are now in our "original gangster" 160L tank so we can stock this one with bigger fish. They're happy with some new mates to school with
 
Skye_marilyn
  • #13
Thanks!!! Yay! The rummy noses are now in our "original gangster" 160L tank so we can stock this one with bigger fish. They're happy with some new mates to school with
What stocking did you decide on?
 
Jenoli42
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
What stocking did you decide on?

15 Odessa Barbs. 10 SterbaI cories. 1 Firemouth & 1 other thorichthys (or a hero sev).

We know the temperature for Odessas is meant to max out near the cichlids bottom but the temp for Odessas here for NZ suppliers is up to 29ºC which allows 3º overlap.

We've got 7 Odessas in the tank now. All female. Adding 8 males after quarantine.

Have 4 sterbaI in QT now. They're ready in 2 weeks.

If they're compatible & our bio load is good, we'd look at some diamond tetra or boesemanI rainbow as well.... but we're taking it slowly.
 
Lunnietic
  • #15
This gives me hope! ♡ Your tank is absolutely beautiful. I hope one day I can catch up to that level of beauty.
 
TexasDomer
  • #16
Tank looks lovely, way to go!
 
Jenoli42
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
Tank looks lovely, way to go!

Thank you so much! Means a lot coming from a legend like you. Randomly had a conversation a few weeks ago with someone who works at a fish retailer in Auckland NZ, 5 hours away from our home. He couldn't say enough about how much he agrees with all your stocking advice & we totally agreed

This gives me hope! ♡ Your tank is absolutely beautiful. I hope one day I can catch up to that level of beauty.

Thank you that's so nice! Our Odessas have coloured right up so we think they like their new home, too, which is the most important thing. I'm sure you'll create your own beautiful wonderland. I've seen your posts on here & know how much you care about fish so it's inevitable
 
TexasDomer
  • #18
Thank you so much! Means a lot coming from a legend like you. Randomly had a conversation a few weeks ago with someone who works at a fish retailer in Auckland NZ, 5 hours away from our home. He couldn't say enough about how much he agrees with all your stocking advice & we totally agreed

Oh how nice to run into a fellow FL member in person! I've only met one member, and he's no longer active. But you're making me blush!
 
Jenoli42
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
I remember this thread too! I'm so impressed with this! Fantastic work update us with pictures and video once it's full stocked! I'm kind of jealous! Haha

As promised, we're finally fully stocked in this tank!

15x Odessa Barbs. the females were first in (stocked the school in 2 lots- 7 females then eventually 8 males... and now 1 tiny surviving fry in a breeder net) & have grown heaps.

7x sterbaI Cories (second in. 2 lots. have 8 3 day old fry now in another breeder net)

4x snails (2 Apple, 2 mystery)

1x male EBJB "Haki"... introduced last night

1x firemouth "LucI (-fer)" introduced last night.

I love acclimating to the point where the fish don't even react to their new water, just start checking out their new digs after like 5 wks in a 65L divided QT

photos this morning:

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hakI far left above. various Odessas & snails.

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lucI far right above

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above - HakI streaking across... stunning colours! sterbaI digging in foreground, Odessa in background. snails left.

I'm uploading a video but it will take a while.

AqAdvisor freaks out when I enter HakI in the stocking list... so many red warnings lolz... Dave125g may appreciate that

We very deliberately added the cichlids dead last after 25-36 day QT periods for each group of our stocking & deliberately got quite young juvenile cichlids. so the cichlids are smaller than the average fish size in the tank. we added them together deliberately to reduce territorial aggression, too.

so far so good. we know they get more aggressive as they get older and we're gonna watch to see if this community tank works. so far HakI & LucI live their new huge tank with other fish. HakI knows to eat from our hands so he's the first to the top at feeding time

we can't keep all the fry if we want manageable weekly owc maintenance, but we reckon we may be able to keep the Odessa & a couple sterbai...
 
Dave125g
  • #20
Looking great.
 
Mom2some
  • #21
Congratulations! So nice when a plan/idea/dream comes to reality!
 
GirlFriday
  • #22
just beautiful!
 
FishL:))
  • #23
Looking amazing!!
 
Jenoli42
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
thanks everyone!!

Here's a video of our fully stocked tank with HakI taking centre stage

 
Jenoli42
  • Thread Starter
  • #25
We added an LED spotlight!

here's just the spotlight


both lights on:

 
Mazeus
  • #26
Wonderful! All of your hard work paid off.
 

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