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Old 06-24-2016, 04:52 PM   #1
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New to forum, new tank too

Hey all, first (massive) post!

I've been keeping a few Cichlids for about 6 months, and they have already outgrown their 55 gallon corner tank - I was hoping to get away with this tank for longer, so I could move, and then setup a bigger aquarium, but I didn't luck out.

Anyways here's where I'm at.... This topic has been covered a million times, but it's always very indecisive, a lot of different opinions, and a lot of the same questions asked... So I'll try to make this different. I live in a renovated apartment above a business - who owns my apartment and the two other units on my floor. The building is very old, but very sturdy. Built somewhere between 1905 and 1907 per what my research found. The seconds story might have been an add-on at some point, but I'm not sure.

My floor is scratch proof "wood" flooring (not really sure what it is, but it's scratch proof), and I have no idea what's under it. I tried the stomp test, listening for a boom, or a dull thud - trying to find out if it's concrete or all wood construction. Long story short, I can't tell. It seems like it's concrete because it's a dull thud, and very little "shake" happens, but at the same time, there's a little shake inside my apartment. That could just be because whatever is between the possible concrete, and flooring, could be a wood sheet, maybe for insulation or whatever, and it has a tiny bit of play in it - transfers some of the shock to the walls, ect.. whatever.

Firstly, I'm insured, by choice. My renters insurance has personal liability of $300,000 that will cover damage to the building caused by my aquarium (water, hole in floor, ect). Currently, the building is only estimated value at $303,000 by just about every realtor site I've seen online, so I might accidentally buy this place. Second, the tank is in the corner, both walls are load bearing - I'm 100% sure (but 0% sure about which way the joists (unless concrete) run. Thirdly, if the tank/water goes down, it's into a foyer of the business - like an area between the outside door, and the inside door into the store. So it's unlikely that anybody would be injured, or anything really crazy happening.

Now, I'd like to hear from people that have setup 125 gallon tanks in apartments/upstairs, figuring minimum 1500 pounds fully loaded, on a 6' flat bottom stand, and have had significant floor problems with no extra bracing. Please no "maybe's." There's plenty of that archived online. Yet nothing regarding a 125 gallon tank going through a floor, like anywhere online. I've heard of tanks being setup, and not being leveled, and ultimately having seals/glass fail, resulting is 1/2 ton of water on the floor. I'll be moving in 14-15 months - into a place with a basement.

Today, I'll be leveling the stand, filling the tank, re-checking the level while full, and then draining the tank. I'm a bit paranoid, and I really don't want to be "that guy." I'm also trying to get an engineer over to take a look, just in case. But in the meantime please comment away!
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Old 06-25-2016, 01:34 AM   #2
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Hi, welcome to the forum

I like the idea of an engineer checking the place out (wood rot, cracked concrete, etc) and getting a firm idea.
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Old 06-25-2016, 02:22 AM   #3
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Not sure if this question will apply to you or not but does your landlord know about the tank / tank size? Some landlords will not allow large fish tanks some will not allow them at all. Many years ago I was leasing a really nice townhouse duplex. When we where moving in the landlord and his wife stopped by to welcome us and brought us a nice housewarming gift basket. Then he freaked out over my 135 gallon aquarium that he seen in the truck. So I stored it in the garage and eventually sold the tank set up. They didn't want pets or fish tanks at all. So had to play by the rules. Other then that experience had a super twin waterbed as a kid in my parents house on the second floor. It ran long ways with the framing so not the best setup... After many years, maybe 10 the damage from that weight was a squeaky floor that we fixed when tearing out and replacing the carpet. So it was no big deal after all. Where we lucky maybe but oh well. Good luck with the new tank I have 2 new ones myself to set up!


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Old 06-25-2016, 02:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Scubasteve77 View Post
Not sure if this question will apply to you or not but does your landlord know about the tank / tank size? Some landlords will not allow large fish tanks some will not allow them at all. Many years ago I was leasing a really nice townhouse duplex. When we where moving in the landlord and his wife stopped by to welcome us and brought us a nice housewarming gift basket. Then he freaked out over my 135 gallon aquarium that he seen in the truck. So I stored it in the garage and eventually sold the tank set up. They didn't want pets or fish tanks at all. So had to play by the rules. Other then that experience had a super twin waterbed as a kid in my parents house on the second floor. It ran long ways with the framing so not the best setup... After many years, maybe 10 the damage from that weight was a squeaky floor that we fixed when tearing out and replacing the carpet. So it was no big deal after all. Where we lucky maybe but oh well. Good luck with the new tank I have 2 new ones myself to set up!


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They had a no dogs/cats rule on the lease agreement. For the dogs, I'm sure it's because of the noise during business hours. The business below me is like a at-home care business, like hospice and medical/disabled equipment, primarily for the elderly. Cats, I'm not sure... maybe because of allergies? Not sure though, all 3 units have independent forced air. No stipulation on aquariums or water beds. Plus my landlord saw me, and said hi, while I was moving the tank in with a couple buddies the other day. He's a pretty reasonable guy, and I think I've been a pretty good tenant, plus I need to have a talk with him and his assistant about hiring me to perform general maintenance on the units (like minor HVAC issues, minor plumbing and minor electrical stuff). Their maintenance guy went MIA a few months ago, and they have been pretty bad about repairs/general maintenance. I figured if I could get a few bucks knocked off my rent, I could easily handle most of the routine stuff, and/or handle arrangements to get a professional in there to fix anything major. I'm not worried.

I didn't get an engineer over yet, but I consulted a family friend who's been in building/home construction since the mid 80's, currently the superintendent at a very large construction company, and is very much a "do it right" guy. He thinks I'll be totally fine considering the tank is as close to a load bearing corner as possible. If the tank causes a failure in the floor there, the building should be condemned anyways.

I did level the tank, fill it, recheck level, and empty it 50% of the way. It had a very slight forward lean empty, the front of the tank stand needed to be elevated slightly less than 1/8". After rechecking it full of water, the level was dead on, and everything was very sturdy. I was going to drain it out all the way, but my (brand new) submersible took a crap on me, so the tank is still 50% full, and everything is doing fine.

I made the decision to keep the heavy items in the tank to a minimum, and I don't think I'll fill the tank to its max water capacity. Obviously I'm financially covered in the event of a disaster, as my coverage is enough to buy the entire building.... But I certainly don't want to lose my aquarium. Maybe keeping the tank 300-400 pounds lighter overall (40-50 gallons under capacity) would be another reduction in risk. Like I think I mentioned before, I'm moving into a bigger place that will have a safer location for a big tank in 14-15 months. Plus the fish are Jack Dempsey's, a common Pleco. The JD's cruise around near the bottom anyways. I'll just have to refrain from adding anything big.

Per the advice of my family friend, I'm going to get a new pump, drain the tank, measure from the top center of the tank to the ceiling, as accurately as possible. Fill the tank, and re-measure a few times while the tank is filling. If I see a deflection anymore than 3/8-1/2" I should start to worry - he's putting his money on that nothing moves at all, and if it does, I should move, regardless of the aquarium. Lol
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Old 06-25-2016, 09:31 PM   #5
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Good luck on the setting up, hope all goes well. That's a shame on the submersible as well. Can you exchange back?
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Old 06-28-2016, 09:55 AM   #6
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Good luck on the setting up, hope all goes well. That's a shame on the submersible as well. Can you exchange back?
Yep, I took it back and swapped it out for a slightly better one, and it works great! It's so helpful doing water changes, especially right now with the daily changes. Even though my floor has measured 0 deflection, I'm trying to keep the tank as light as possible. I kept the substrate as thin as possible, maybe 70 pounds total, and I didn't add any new rocks (maybe 40 pounds total). I added one large piece of driftwood, along with the 2 smaller pieces I already had, and I got a few plastic decorations from a buddy, along with a few unused flower pots from my mother, so my fish still have plenty of good hiding places.

I also marked the tank with scotch tape between the 2/3-3/4 full range, and I'm keeping the water level there until I move next year. Even though it looks a little goofy, it's saving probably 300-400 pounds of weight, and I get a higher water turnover with my pumps.

Speaking of pumps, what do you guys think about what I'm running: I moved my Fluval 306 canister over from my 55 gallon (303gph flow) and I bought a new 406 canister filter (383gph). I added some of the already established media to the new 406 to get it going faster. But all in all, I'm getting 686gph turnover between the two pumps. Turning 125 gallons over 5 times/hour is 625gph flow needed, I'm a bit over that. But I could include my 306 with the 55 gallon tank (that is already sold to a beginner who still needs a pump, ect.) and I could get another 406 instead - yielding a total of 766gph. Is there such a thing as "too much" turnover? Or no?

I kind of like that idea, because as the filters get dirty, I'm sure their flow output drops at least a little bit. My long tern plan for after I move is convert the 40 breeder I have into a sump for my 125 tank. But in the meantime, should I just keep the 306/406 combo because it's already running well? Or kick it up to a pair of 406's?
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:18 PM   #7
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I think there can be too much flow for smaller or long-finned fish but otherwise I run two canister filters for back-up / rotating cleaning with no problems. And flow can always be baffled. I can't comment on those filter types as have different ones.

My gravel substrate is quite a few inches thick for the plants and at some stage I'd like to go back to a nice simple tank with just enough gravel for aesthetics. My sister got me onto bare bottom tanks and I find these so much easier for cleaning.
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