The 180g Project

Discussion in 'Freshwater Aquarium Builds' started by Jeremy Brown, Jul 8, 2014.

  1. Jeremy Brown

    Jeremy BrownNew MemberMember

    I shared this in the other forum earlier, but I realized that was more of an introduction. So I thought I would share what I'm currently building.

    We recently inherited a Seaclear 72x24x24 from my wife's father. It is a show tank which is acrylic and fairly thick. It had rested in its package for nearly 20 years. So this is the first time it's seen the light of day. We are very excited to do it, but we didn't have any extra money for a stand of this magnitude.

    We originally had a setup that we had thought was working, but realized that we had set up the cement blocks at their worst position. Holes out instead of vertical. So we had to drain the tank and go with a more secure build. We have 2 children, so I couldn't only think about what holds such a large tank well, but also what is going to be safest around children. This is the design we came up with. Keep in mind, the 2x4's on top are just being set there to keep materials out of the way. We are ultimately going with a cut piece of plywood with the 2x4's resting underneath it as a top support for the tank.


    We bought some gravel from Home Depot, the Pea Rocks. We spent nearly all day Saturday and Sunday cleaning these rocks. We want that natural fresh water look which can support a very nice live plant situation and keep a very even bacteria in the tank. We also have two breeding Angel Fish, which ((HAPPY NEWS) spawned yesterday with some eggs that are doing very well. So the dream is after the 10 gallon, we can move our newest angels to the 180 gallon to grow with the tank.


    The tank on the other hand is amazing, it's very light compared to glass, and my wife and I are able to lift it with rock and all (Not all the rock, we had to take out about 160lbs of rock). Then place it on top.


    Yet we are waiting until we can buy some support braces that I plan on installing on the back and the sides of the tank to spread the load. So it's resting on my living room floor until such a time we can get the rest of the tank stand project finished.

    Now finally I'll introduce you to our cast of characters - Starring our Red Tail named lovingly "O'Doyle" as he's quite the bully and chases everyone around all the time. Our bigger Bala - Twitch, who is so on guard after being chased around O'Doyle that he moves with twitchy movements. The rest of the cast is newer additions just recently purchased so we haven't had time to see their personalities and name them accordingly.


    Anyway, that's a look into our little project. If any of you have idea's on how we can improve it, we're always open to suggestions. Thank you guys for the warm welcome into such a vibrant and helpful community.
  2. Disc61

    Disc61Well Known MemberMember

    Awesome start, welcome to Fishlore Jeremy.:;hi2
  3. Fishy Friends

    Fishy FriendsWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to Fishlore Jeremy!

    Those are beautiful angels you & your wife have☺

    I don't know how long you plan to keep your temporary stand - if you want an idea to dress it up a bit - you could staple black material to the wood supports or use upholstery tacks. I had to dress up an open wood style stand at work & tacked material around it - still in use after 3 years.

    Looking forward to watching your build. My husband & I began a 180 glass the first part of this year. I wish I had documented along the way but I may blog it when it gets too hot to work in the garden.

    Have fun☺

  4. OP
    Jeremy Brown

    Jeremy BrownNew MemberMember

    Thank the both of you for taking a moment to say hi and stop on by.

    Disc61, I appreciate you sending out a positive message on our start. Thank you. We're very excited to get it all going.

    Fishy Friends, thank you for saying our Angels are beautiful, we love them. They got such great personalities as well!

    The temporary stand is just until we can save up for a real one, which may take some time for sure. We had the tank fully set up before this stand and we found a nice shower curtain that gave us ton of material to use for a skirt. It worked great. I like the idea though of tacking some material around it. Thanks for that suggestion.

    180 glass? That's impressive. Must of been a very heavy tank to haul around. I'm sure though it's beautiful and a lot of fun. I love the angels in your photo, they're very neat! As far as documenting, this is my first tank, so I thought I better keep tabs on it. It's a great way to share our love of fish with a great community of people.

    I guess just recently something I hadn't though of hit me. Our floor support. I truly hope it can withstand 18 cement blocks and 180 gallons of tank, water and rock. I saw it on a forum earlier and I hadn't even thought of it.

    If anyone knows a great way to calculate if my floor can hold that much weight, I would be grateful. I do have all my floor plans available online if they are needed to figure out the weight calculation.
  5. NCE12940

    NCE12940Well Known MemberMember

    Looks like that's going to be a fantastic project! (And I concur, your angels are beautiful.) I'm guessing your house is pier and beam, as is mine. My tank's nowhere as large (45g) but the floor isn't level. We put a piece of 3/4" plywood down, leveled it, and screwed it to the floor. We did not look under the house (skunks live there...) but felt reasonably certain the floor could hold the weight of the tank. In your case it probably would be a good idea to check under your house to see where the beams(?) are and take that into your calculations. I'd think that if you had enough support under the floorboards, it could hold the tank. Do you have any civil engineer friends? Architects? ;) And do keep us posted on the progress of this neat project!

  6. Mattfinn

    MattfinnValued MemberMember

    You seem good with wood and hands on diy projects you could. You could always take this design and create a permanent stand with built in cabinets and you could easily use a thin plywood that has a darker wood finish (American walnut), for panelling I give it a nice contrast with your tank.

    Feeling fishy
  7. OP
    Jeremy Brown

    Jeremy BrownNew MemberMember

    Hello again everyone. Got a big update, but first I need to thank the two nice folks who took time to make some comments.

    Hi there NCE, it's been a wonderful project from the get-go. We both had a little case of the grumpiness later in the evening, but we fixed that up real quick with a nice glass of wine and a quick fry on the BBQ. Yeah we talked to a general contractor today who is going to come look at it tomorrow. The man said we should be fine, but wants to make sure our blue-prints were accurate. Free estimates are always a welcome thing!

    Mattfinn, I let the genius fall upon those who helped me, there was quite a few people through-out forums across the web that aided me in building this. So I was lucky that I got it together like I did. I'm no wood-worker at all. I am that guy that keeps carpenters in business. :) Thanks for the thoughtful comments though!

    Ok, time for our update. We were quite busy tonight, we decided against a permanent solution on the block situation and simply are counting on the weight of the tank to keep our stand in place (It's very secure, just requires a bit of securing just in case of an Earthquake).

    We re-cleaned our rock, washed out our tank and got the tank on the stand.Poured the rock in and got ready to start planting. Pay no attention to the man behind the tank!


    The plants are in, our cheesy decorations have made an appearance and the tank is filling up rather quickly. By-golly I think we'll have some fish in here soon.


    Next up, time to get our tank to temperature, play with our levels and do another bacteria injection from their old tank. Why it's looking pretty in here under those blue lights.


    Next up, our lovely guests, they even brought party favors. While waiting, our Bala, Twitch, decided to see what our living room floor looked like up close. The sneaky little fella did a belly flop onto the floor, my wife with her nimble fingers though came to his rescue. Finally, time to introduce the little guys to their new home. It was a bubbly good time, our Redtail "O'Doyle" went nuts for all the bubbles, and bubblers, and he was as happy as a Tin Foil Barb at feeding time! The end result for the setup was serenity, the very reason most of us own a tank to begin with. Don't fret though, more to come. My wife will be sewing the skirt for it tomorrow, and we're taking a trip to the fish store after a week of our guys getting used to it.


    In closing, we had a lot of fun doing this, there's still much more to do, as this is just the beginning. We wanted to see what you guys thought about maybe introducing our mated angels into the tank? They're pretty old, and the last batch of eggs they produced went sour for the 3rd time in a row. (We have a separate 10 gallon and use the standard breeding method) I and my wife think that the male may be sterile.

    So any of you freshwater pros out there, if you could give us advice on what we should do with them. I rather them get a chance for a big home instead of lingering in a non-scenic 55g tank. Our current fishes that are in the tank are:

    2 Tin Foil Barbs
    3 Bala Sharks
    2 Tetras
    3 Tiger Barbs
    1 Peco
    2 Chinese Algae Eaters
    1 Red Tail Shark

    Any advice would be very welcome! Thanks again!
  8. Mattfinn

    MattfinnValued MemberMember

    That's ok It was only a suggestion or thought that I had as I enjoy anything diy and love getting my hands dirty. I'm loving the set up too I've always wanted a large tank that I could have sharks in and some more aggressive species. I'm not an expert on the angels but I'm unsure about the CAE as they can tend to eat the mucus layer of your fish and be a pest that's what I thought anyway. Are you going planted at all by chance. Even simple plants like Amazon sword that are generally tank busters in most aquariums would look awesome in there. But awesome job I've subscribed

    Feeling fishy
  9. NCE12940

    NCE12940Well Known MemberMember

    Good deal that you've got a general contractor to look at it :) No need to have unnecessary worries with such a fun project.
  10. celizabethh3

    celizabethh3Valued MemberMember

    That is one amazing tank already and I can't wait to see more progress photos. :)

    Sent from my iPad using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  11. delta5

    delta5Well Known MemberMember

    I think I stated this in another thread, but your barbs are schooling fish. Personally i'd either get up to 8 tiger barbs or re-home the ones you have. Which tin foil barbs do you have? The ones that reach 12" or the smaller kind?

    edit: About your floor. If the wall behind the tank is a supporting wall you're good. if not, see if the supporting beams are at least a 2x6 with no more than 8' between supporting columns. I'm going off of a safety factor of 4.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014
  12. OP
    Jeremy Brown

    Jeremy BrownNew MemberMember

    Well we finally got the skirt done. What a fun chore that was! Velcro and Wood Tacks did great though. Keep in mind this is a big fancy curtain with thick material. So it's water proof, and hopefully, most of all, kid proof.

    Well thought I'd share a fancy artsy fartsy photo of our tank, completed, at night. I will add more photos later, but just wanted to get this one out there.


    Mattfin, my wife says she has never really had a problem with the CAE's, she says this with over 30 years of fish experience. Though people could probably have different experiences. It all just depends on the environment. As far as live plants, we decided against them, the fish just eat them, and they make a huge mess. My wife has tried, she's just never liked them.

    NCE, the guy never called me today, so we're cooling our heels until he does. No worries though, we feel a lot safer knowing we're near a load bearing wall.

    Elizabeth, thanks for the kind words. Hopefully this small update is a-ok for now!

    As far as the barbs, they're pretty docile in our parts. We did however, update our tank with 3 more of them, so there is now 6 schooling about our tank, we have a narcoleptic one, who will be swimming, and then suddenly poof, upside down, and then snaps out of it and rejoins the gang! He's a real keeper! lol

    Our Red Tail Tin Foil Barbs, are the common ones? I didn't know there was any other kind, so yeah heh. Also, understood on the supporting wall, I think we're sitting good, but we'll find out for sure tomorrow!
  13. OP
    Jeremy Brown

    Jeremy BrownNew MemberMember

    Ok we have an update for you. We have added a big more to our tank. Nothing too crazy, just enough to make it feel like a little community. We have added the following:

    3 Clown Loaches
    3 Tiger Barbs making a total of 6 (Though the three we brought in all died, we were so sad...)
    10 Tetras to give us a total of 12 (2 died though so only 10 total)
    1 Cuvier Bichir
    1 Larger Size Bala to help herd the other 3

    Sadly with a large community of fish you'll lose a few. It's been a sad few days for us. We really tried to put them into a containment tank to help them, but they were beyond saving. Our tank is at ideal conditions for them, sadly we think our other 3 Tiger Barbs didn't like the new ones and picked on them.

    I thought I'd introduce you to our little cast of characters:

    O'Doyle - The grumpy fish on the block, he don't want what you're buying and would appreciate it if you'd get off his lawn.


    Twitch - He isn't sure when something bad is going to happen, but even if nothing is going to, he's going to freak out anyway.


    Gulp - Ball, where's the ball? You throw the ball? Huh huh huh? Ball ball ball...SQUIRREL!


    Last but not least, the tank as a whole. We have added some graphic prints for the background, added more decorations (Tuesday is payday, we're really going to make it neat in there) and have added our little skirt and own touches to it. We're very happy with how it turned out and we think adding more plants and decorations will really bring it into fruition. Water changes on a 180 gallon are a very tiring experience, so why it may look like a neat tank, it takes a lot of work and dedication.


    I hope you guys like what we have so far, if you have any suggestions or requests on things we should or could add, we'd love to hear them, if yours is a great idea, we'll add it! Keep in mind, we're avoiding live plants for now due to how much of a hassle they are, but any other ideas are welcome!
  14. celizabethh3

    celizabethh3Valued MemberMember

    I love the updated pictures! I can't believe how big clown loaches get so it will be fun to watch. Whatever camera you use, it's great. :)

    Sent from my iPad using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  15. OP
    Jeremy Brown

    Jeremy BrownNew MemberMember

    Thank you Elizabeth. My wife loves Clown Loaches so much, and her Bichir has her super thrilled, she has been sitting in front of the fish tank since she got off work :)

    As far as my camera, I'm using a Canon 6D with a Tamron 28-75mm lens. It's amazing at low light situations, and really does some great work with our aquarium photos!
  16. NCE12940

    NCE12940Well Known MemberMember

    Looking really nice! Sad, as always, re the fish losses though. Love your character sketches. It's fun to get to know the individual fish. I can sympathize with the water change woes though. I've decided I don't want anything bigger than my 45g; I'm too old for hard labor :eek:
  17. OP
    Jeremy Brown

    Jeremy BrownNew MemberMember

    Hey NCE, yeah we take the loss of a fish pretty hard sometimes. We do really care about them. We think of them as part of the family, much like a dog or a cat. That's why we try to name them, I always felt the second you name something it becomes important to you.

    Luckily we're only having to do 20% water changes right now, once our guys get bigger though I know we're going to be up around 45-50% water changes. Not looking forward to that lol. Our next goal is to start a saltwater tank. I'm really excited about it. Luckily for us Fish Lore has tons of great information to help us with this.

    I know I should of probably cycled our tank a bit more before we added our fish, and I'm sure the fish guys around here are a bit annoyed with us, but my wife has been raising fish since she was a little girl. I would say she's got fish husbandry down to a science. Also the care and raising of them. So she felt good about their transfer I did as well.

    So far, most of our original stock and some of the newer ones are doing fantastic and are already showing signs of growing.
  18. NCE12940

    NCE12940Well Known MemberMember

    You know, the naming thing is right! So far though I've only named two - the BN catfish (Paz and Elmer, who was supposed to be Emmylou but...) No names yet for the rest of the fish but in time I'm sure their names will come to me. And I'd be devastated if one of them died on me - old age eventually, ok, but not now!

    Once I get my kitchen faucet re-done I'll be able to hook up to it and won't have to haul water. However, just think of all that *good* exercise! :;laughing Up and down the stepladder with buckets of water is a real fitness workout!

    Love seeing all the pictures, especially since they're taken by someone who knows what he's doing! Unlike me with my phone camera...
  19. OP
    Jeremy Brown

    Jeremy BrownNew MemberMember

    NCE, love the names you got already. Very fun and colorful names without a doubt. I'm with you on the losing of any of our fish. Heck I walk into a Petco or Petsmart and my heart just hurts for those animals. I hate going in those places.

    We luckily have a faucet right near our tank, and we found a great hook up for our faucet so we can run water right from it. In Boise, we have a naturally hard and alkaline. So most of the time a direct shot of water works great. Our 30 gallon had no problems with refills, our fish did great.

    Thanks for the nice words on my photos, obviously they're not taken with professional intentions on most of them, I just like doing them for fun. My professional ones are these:

  20. NCE12940

    NCE12940Well Known MemberMember

    Those are beautiful! And I can see the difference, but your just for fun photos are still better than most peoples' :D

    Some names I have for certain fish aren't repeatable on this forum ;)

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