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Old 02-13-2013, 01:25 AM   #1
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Hey there everybody! So I was looking on Craigslist for anything interesting, and I came across a gentleman parting out a saltwater setup. Everything had been broken down and he was selling of all the pieces. He happened to be selling a "50 gallon" acrylic tank and stand for 175 bucks. A dimension check told me it was a 55 gallon though.

Well, I got him down to $120 bucks for the pair, which upon further inspection, I believe I still paid WAY too much. Well, live and learn!

The tank itself is going to need a lot if work. He had a 6 year old child, who apparently took keys or something similar to the tank. There are scratches everywhere, some of which are pretty deep. There are also algae deposits all over the back since it was a FOWLR tank. I thought I would create a thread and get some feedback on what I'm doing, and maybe get some opinions, as I've never repaired acrylic before.


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This is my friend and I starting the first sanding process.

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It looks like we killed it! :-(


So I got some sandpaper, ranging from 600-2000 grit, along with Plastix cleaner and polish, and a polishing ball. Wish me luck!
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:28 AM   #2
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I also bought a bunch of cotton towels and microfiber towels to clean the acrylic during sandings. I know you aren't supposed to use the same towels, or the larger acrylic power will damage your current work....
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:23 AM   #3
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So this is after the sanding first with 600 grit, then 800, 1000, 1500, and finally 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper on the outside. I've just started using the polishing ball. It's still not looking all that great...
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:25 AM   #4
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But this one section looks pretty good actually! There's tons of scratches on the inside, but maybe this wont turn out so bad after all.
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Old 02-14-2013, 01:56 AM   #5
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Take your time. That's the biggest thing.
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:31 AM   #6
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Yes, I'm trying to work slowly. I don't want to have to redo my work if I mess it up. The last thing I want to do is severely weaken the acrylic!
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:39 AM   #7
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I just used this product on my 2 frag tanks and it worked great. There 4'x2' and each took about 2 hours to do start to finish. Just make sure you change direction of sanding for each grit and be thorough.
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:52 AM   #8
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I am using the Plastix and switching the direction with every change in grit. I know that you're supposed to sand one way until the marks from the previous sanding is done... after the first couple passes going up to 1500, I wiped the acrylic down only to realize there were still old sanding marks, and I had to go back and redo it. -____-
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Old 02-14-2013, 03:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrc8858 View Post
I just used this product on my 2 frag tanks and it worked great. There 4'x2' and each took about 2 hours to do start to finish. Just make sure you change direction of sanding for each grit and be thorough.
I'm wondering, What buffer did you use to get in the corners? Also, did you only go up to 2000 grit? I was reading that some people go up even higher than that.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:23 AM   #10
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I got the headlight kit which came with 2 pads each side with different grits up to 4000. I started with a power sander and 2000 grit sand paper then hand sanded with the finer grits.
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Old 02-14-2013, 04:32 AM   #11
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4000 grit huh? Maybe I should step up my grits.

I'm hand sanding the whole thing, since the power sander I have is a.corner cat, and has a "hook and loop" attachment for pads. When I went to Home Depot to see if they had really fine sanding pads, he looked at me funny and said sanding pads only go up to 600. O_o naturally that won't work for acrylic! So I went to autozone. I'll pick up some 4000 tomorrow after my research methods class.

Thanks for the tip!
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Old 02-15-2013, 02:58 AM   #12
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Well, this is where I'm at right now. The auto parts store only had up to 3000 grit sandpaper, so I stopped there. What does everyone think?

The areas on the bottom still need some work.
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:24 AM   #13
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I managed to snag a Fluval 405 off of Craigslist for 40 bucks. That's a score!!!

The only thing that needs to be replaced are the rubber attachment pieces, that seem to have been melted... somehow. So I'm going to order new ones, and maybe the replacement filter sponges, since those don't look so hot. But it came with biomedia as well, so all I have left to get is a proper heater for the tank and some decent lighting and I'll be set.

After that, I just have to decide what type of substrate I'm going to use. This is where all of you guys come in! I have natural-colored gravel in my 125, but I was thinking maybe a fluorite/black sand setup, or maybe a fluorite and Arizona blue rock top. I want it to be at least moderately planted, but no Co2.

I have 2 Angelfish that are going to be going in there right now, but I can't decide if I want to keep it all angels, or maybe do a community tank.
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Old 02-16-2013, 07:48 PM   #14
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Looks so much better than when you started!
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Old 02-16-2013, 09:03 PM   #15
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Thanks! Now I just have to decide all the hard things!
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:19 AM   #16
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Okay guys, so with this week starting, I need to plan out my substrate. Does anyone have opinions on dirted tanks vs. fluorite? and for a top layer, would you recommend sand or gravel?

I'm pretty sure this will be primarily an angelfish tank, so I want it to look good and be able to support a host of plants!
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:24 AM   #17
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honestly I dislike my dirt bottomed tank. I am going to eventually switch it out to eco-complete. I prefer it but it is costly for as big of a tank as you have.
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:32 AM   #18
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honestly I dislike my dirt bottomed tank. I am going to eventually switch it out to eco-complete. I prefer it but it is costly for as big of a tank as you have.
Yeah... that's what I was thinking... Eco-complete is super expensive, that's why I was thinking doing a base of it, then maybe covering it with black sand.

Just a question, but why do you dislike your dirted tank?
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Old 02-18-2013, 01:37 AM   #19
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I don't like it because no matter how much sand I cap with the dirt still makes the water tinted. My dirted tank is only a 10g too so its hard to keep good parameters. Some people on here have very large dirted tanks and they love them. I also have one tank that is play sand and the sand has turned dark in spots and looks dirty. I did another tank in eco-complete and its great! Any show tanks I do from now on will be eco or black sand I think.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:18 AM   #20
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That's good to know, thanks!
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