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Old 01-20-2014, 03:45 PM   #1
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65 Gallon Aquarium and Stand Project

The wife and I recently decided we wanted to build an aquarium. We picked up a 65 gallon tank with everything needed plus the stand off craiglist this past weekend. Tank was full when we went to look at it, no fish. We've spent countless hours doing research and we're getting more and more exciited. This is all brand new to us I found the Freshwater Startup guide on this forum and its one of the best I've ran into yet. I've printed it out and highlighted some of the key parts.

Guide to Starting a Freshwater Aquarium

Right now we have the tank clean and the stand apart. Its a light color, we are going to stain it. Really enjoying the hurry up and wait aspect of this new adventure for us. I've also made a chart for us to document the water testing using the Freshwater Master Kit as well as a list of "things" we'll need.

IMG_6289.jpg is the image I took of the tank on Saturday night setup. We went back sunday morning to pick it up.

IMG_6291.jpg is a picture of the stand (hopefully start staining this week) with the tank in the background.

IMG_692.jpg is of the tank.

We have the filter and decorations out of the tank. What should we do when we are ready to get it running as far as cleaning them? Rough guess it will be another 2 weeks before we get water in the tank. Otherwise from what I've read starting the fishless cycle would be easier since these were established before hand.

Thanks in advance and I look forward to learning a lot more and joining this community!
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:17 PM   #2
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It looks pretty clean! It also looks like a 4' tank which is unusual for a 65. I'd measure to double check the gallonage.

As for cleaning, I'd put the gravel in a bucket, dump very hot water on it, leave it to cool, rinse well. Any decorations that are filthy with organic matter, clean with plain bleach, rinse well. Wipe the tank down if you like with bleach water or vinegar but be sure to rinse very well afterward. If you've already bought a bottle of pure ammonia, that would be even better for cleaning things since ammonia residue is no problem at all. Just no soaps, ever. Aquariums don't like soap. Salt is useful if you need to scrub something.
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Old 01-21-2014, 02:29 AM   #3
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The freshwater guide is a wonderful tool to have!

Ok, so what do you plan on cleaning? The tank and filters can be cleaned with plain white vinegar then rinsed well with plenty of water.

Are you keeping the gravel and decor? I honestly would toss the gravel and invest in a new substrate (which can be done very inexpensively). Cleaning used gravel sufficiently especially when you do not know its history (disease, parasites, snails, other critters, etc) can be very cumbersome. Decor can be soaked in a 10% bleach solution (1part plain bleach to 9 parts water) followed by a good rinse in hot water then a second soak in water that has been double or triple dosed with conditioner/dechlorinator.

Please ask any questions and enjoy your new adventure!
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:35 AM   #4
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It looks pretty clean! It also looks like a 4' tank which is unusual for a 65. I'd measure to double check the gallonage.

As for cleaning, I'd put the gravel in a bucket, dump very hot water on it, leave it to cool, rinse well. Any decorations that are filthy with organic matter, clean with plain bleach, rinse well. Wipe the tank down if you like with bleach water or vinegar but be sure to rinse very well afterward. If you've already bought a bottle of pure ammonia, that would be even better for cleaning things since ammonia residue is no problem at all. Just no soaps, ever. Aquariums don't like soap. Salt is useful if you need to scrub something.
I actaully mentioned to my wife last night that I thought the tank was a 55 gallon. I didn't get a chance to measure it. We used vinegar to clean the inside of the tank and then wiped it down with just water a few times. Ammonia is on my list of "things" to get!

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The freshwater guide is a wonderful tool to have!

Ok, so what do you plan on cleaning? The tank and filters can be cleaned with plain white vinegar then rinsed well with plenty of water.

Are you keeping the gravel and decor? I honestly would toss the gravel and invest in a new substrate (which can be done very inexpensively). Cleaning used gravel sufficiently especially when you do not know its history (disease, parasites, snails, other critters, etc) can be very cumbersome. Decor can be soaked in a 10% bleach solution (1part plain bleach to 9 parts water) followed by a good rinse in hot water then a second soak in water that has been double or triple dosed with conditioner/dechlorinator.

Please ask any questions and enjoy your new adventure!
We actually let the guy keep the rock. We didn't want the black/red theme he had going on. We aren't sure if we are going to use any of the decor at this point either. We will be using all the pump and heater so thats really the only thing that will need to be cleaned.

Thanks for the tips!!

Attached is an update of the stand. We need do apply one more coat of stain then apply the bond coat and the glaze. Really happy with the stand so far. It should match the rest of our living rather well.
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:54 AM   #5
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Looking good!

I bought a used 65 and when I measured, it actually measures as a 70 tall. But, by the time it has gravel and driftwood and decorations, 65 is probably more accurate for the water capacity. Yours looks like a standard 55 to me but a couple inches make a big difference so I'd measure to be sure. You'll want to know for dosing. And I hear Ace is the place for janitorial pure ammonia.

You'll also want some sort of water changer device for ease of filling and weekly cleanings. I filled mine with kid power because they thought running buckets was great fun. It's a lot of buckets!
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:37 PM   #6
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Following along with this build! Love when people do their research, and don't just go in head over heals and rush things! Good luck
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Old 01-21-2014, 02:59 PM   #7
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Looking good!

I bought a used 65 and when I measured, it actually measures as a 70 tall. But, by the time it has gravel and driftwood and decorations, 65 is probably more accurate for the water capacity. Yours looks like a standard 55 to me but a couple inches make a big difference so I'd measure to be sure. You'll want to know for dosing. And I hear Ace is the place for janitorial pure ammonia.

You'll also want some sort of water changer device for ease of filling and weekly cleanings. I filled mine with kid power because they thought running buckets was great fun. It's a lot of buckets!

This is my current list of supplies we need -

API Freshwater Master Test Kit
Python No Spill Clean and Fill Aquarium Maintenance System (Fill and do water changes)
Sponge
Fish Food
Ammonia (100% Pure)
Dechlorinator (Prime)
The gravel vac came with the tank.

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Following along with this build! Love when people do their research, and don't just go in head over heals and rush things! Good luck
Thats hard to do! But I know its the right thing to do. Still trying to figure out what we will stock the tank with. My wife likes the "bright pretty" fish. Also, doing some research on the under gravel filter that came with the tank. I don't think we are wanting/planning to put plants in the tank. But I guess we'll have to decide that soon. I Might pick up a new filter and do away with the UGF.
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Old 01-21-2014, 03:09 PM   #8
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African cichlids are super colorful, probably one of the most colorful freshwater fish there is.

Ditch the under gravel vac, they're crap! I'd invest in an aqua clear filter. Silent and gets the job done!
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Old 01-21-2014, 03:13 PM   #9
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Under gravel filter***
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:07 PM   #10
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I had under gravel for years and years. It worked (meaning the nitrifying bacteria lived and so did the fish) but then I tried adding a HOB and that was an improvement. Better circulation and clearer water. Then I downsized to a little tank and the HOB alone was fine. But for the new tank? Hands down, canister wins.

Your tank is really too long to adequately circulate the water with one HOB. But a canister allows you to put the intake and the outflow at opposite ends to circulate the whole tank. So, by the time you price two HOBs, may as well go canister. And in case you didn't know, most (if not all) supplies are cheaper online. For example, that API kit is twice Amazon's price at the big box pet store.

Did you get a heater and thermometer? Nets?
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Old 01-21-2014, 04:11 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by tnfinfan View Post
I had under gravel for years and years. It worked (meaning the nitrifying bacteria lived and so did the fish) but then I tried adding a HOB and that was an improvement. Better circulation and clearer water. Then I downsized to a little tank and the HOB alone was fine. But for the new tank? Hands down, canister wins.

Your tank is really too long to adequately circulate the water with one HOB. But a canister allows you to put the intake and the outflow at opposite ends to circulate the whole tank. So, by the time you price two HOBs, may as well go canister. And in case you didn't know, most (if not all) supplies are cheaper online. For example, that API kit is twice Amazon's price at the big box pet store.

Did you get a heater and thermometer? Nets?

+1 to this. Canisters are great!
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Old 01-21-2014, 05:25 PM   #12
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I had under gravel for years and years. It worked (meaning the nitrifying bacteria lived and so did the fish) but then I tried adding a HOB and that was an improvement. Better circulation and clearer water. Then I downsized to a little tank and the HOB alone was fine. But for the new tank? Hands down, canister wins.

Your tank is really too long to adequately circulate the water with one HOB. But a canister allows you to put the intake and the outflow at opposite ends to circulate the whole tank. So, by the time you price two HOBs, may as well go canister. And in case you didn't know, most (if not all) supplies are cheaper online. For example, that API kit is twice Amazon's price at the big box pet store.

Did you get a heater and thermometer? Nets?
Heater and thermomter and a net came with the tank. Im going to buy another thermometer and 2nd net. The tank was full when we picked it up, so I know the heater works. I'll probably pick up an extra one. I like to have spares when it comes to important parts!

Thanks for the advice!!
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Old 01-21-2014, 10:53 PM   #13
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It looks pretty clean! It also looks like a 4' tank which is unusual for a 65. I'd measure to double check the gallonage.

As for cleaning, I'd put the gravel in a bucket, dump very hot water on it, leave it to cool, rinse well. Any decorations that are filthy with organic matter, clean with plain bleach, rinse well. Wipe the tank down if you like with bleach water or vinegar but be sure to rinse very well afterward. If you've already bought a bottle of pure ammonia, that would be even better for cleaning things since ammonia residue is no problem at all. Just no soaps, ever. Aquariums don't like soap. Salt is useful if you need to scrub something.
Just measured the tank. You were correct. It is a 55 gallon. And that's fine, plus now I know to take a tape measure with me for the next purchase.

Moving foward.. The wife and I put the 2nd coat of stain on the stand tonight. I'll hopefully start ordering my growing list of items we'll need. I've also started thinking about building a 20 gallon tank shortly after we get the 55 started. The 20 will serve as a backup tank in the event something happens to our big tank.
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:28 PM   #14
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Thumbs up Cherry is looking good!

Oh wow that stand is looking awesome! Much improved with the cherry stain, I like it a lot. Can't wait to see it in action . I am a bright fish fan myself, and to be honest I really like goldfish. I know they're common but they are bright, beautiful, and very relaxing to watch. Although, eventually they might outgrow your tank, but you'd probably get several years of enjoyment before they got big, at least that is my personal experience. Good luck- it looks like you are headed in the right direction.
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:58 PM   #15
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Oh wow that stand is looking awesome! Much improved with the cherry stain, I like it a lot. Can't wait to see it in action . I am a bright fish fan myself, and to be honest I really like goldfish. I know they're common but they are bright, beautiful, and very relaxing to watch. Although, eventually they might outgrow your tank, but you'd probably get several years of enjoyment before they got big, at least that is my personal experience. Good luck- it looks like you are headed in the right direction.

Thanks!! It should match the rest of the furniture in our living room well! We aren't real sure what we will stock in it yet. We've been to the 3 local fish stores and one 45 minutes from our home. They don't have anything super impressive that has caught our eyes.

I have to say I haven't cycled 1 fish tank yet but I have multiple tanks on my mind. Hope this first cycle goes well and I can grow our collection! Guess I've caught the big! Haha
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Old 01-22-2014, 01:01 AM   #16
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I haven't gotten mine yet, so I can't vouch for their temperament, but look into endlers. The males are beautiful! We are getting some this next month!

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Aquarium Advice mobile app
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Old 01-22-2014, 12:24 PM   #17
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I almost stripped and stained the stand that came with my latest tank. But, it lives in the kids' room and they were super anxious to set it up. I put them off a day to give it a light sanding and a fresh coat of poly and we put on an adhesive aquarium background (sapphire blue) that the previous owner bought and never installed. It's now a nice blend of kid tank with mom influence but it makes me want to get another big tank of my own so I can set it up as I'd like. I mean, maintenance equipment could be used on both so that shortens the list a lot...
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Old 01-22-2014, 02:16 PM   #18
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I almost stripped and stained the stand that came with my latest tank. But, it lives in the kids' room and they were super anxious to set it up. I put them off a day to give it a light sanding and a fresh coat of poly and we put on an adhesive aquarium background (sapphire blue) that the previous owner bought and never installed. It's now a nice blend of kid tank with mom influence but it makes me want to get another big tank of my own so I can set it up as I'd like. I mean, maintenance equipment could be used on both so that shortens the list a lot...

This is going in our living room. As much as we want to hurry up and add water we want to make sure we get it perfect! My thoughts exactly on the equipment usage. I'm pretty sure the wife wants to put gravel in this tank. After all of the images I've found I'd love to do sand with a plant or 2.

I've been looking around and it looks like the prices at petsmart aren't much different compared to amazon or ebay. Leaning towards either the Aqueon or AquaClear filter. From what I've read I can run 1 of these in the 55 gallon. We'll more than likely add the air pump for the looks and to help move the water.

API Freshwater Master Test Kit
Python No Spill Clean and Fill Aquarium Maintenance System
Sponge
Fish Food
Ammonia (100% Pure)
Dechlorinator (Prime)
AquaClear 110 Aquarium Power Filter
Aqueon quite flow 55/75
Airpump


Please, if I am missing something that I need let me know!
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Old 01-22-2014, 05:32 PM   #19
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I'd definitely go with sand! With gravel, all the poop and gross stuff gets stuck in between all the cracks and crevices and it's harder to clean. It just sits on top with sand and you can easily syphon it out!

Home Depot and Lowes sell play sand or pool filter sand that's only a couple bucks and I believe is a 50 lb bag. Much cheaper than Petco or petsmart.
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Old 01-23-2014, 04:54 PM   #20
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I had under gravel for years and years. It worked (meaning the nitrifying bacteria lived and so did the fish) but then I tried adding a HOB and that was an improvement. Better circulation and clearer water. Then I downsized to a little tank and the HOB alone was fine. But for the new tank? Hands down, canister wins.

Your tank is really too long to adequately circulate the water with one HOB. But a canister allows you to put the intake and the outflow at opposite ends to circulate the whole tank. So, by the time you price two HOBs, may as well go canister. And in case you didn't know, most (if not all) supplies are cheaper online. For example, that API kit is twice Amazon's price at the big box pet store.

Did you get a heater and thermometer? Nets?
Thanks for the excellent advice. I think I've read enough reviews now! I believe we'll probably pick up the fluval 305. I think the only issue we'll have is we can't put the canister in the middle of the stand. It will have to go on one of the sides. So the hoses might not reach across the entire tank.

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I'd definitely go with sand! With gravel, all the poop and gross stuff gets stuck in between all the cracks and crevices and it's harder to clean. It just sits on top with sand and you can easily syphon it out!

Home Depot and Lowes sell play sand or pool filter sand that's only a couple bucks and I believe is a 50 lb bag. Much cheaper than Petco or petsmart.
Also, thanks jhawk for the advice! I want to do sand, but its up to the wife and I to decide. If we do go sand whats the best way to "wash" it before we put it in the tank?

Thanks in advance!
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