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Old 09-20-2012, 11:21 AM   #1
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My Craigslist Find - Restoration Project (1)

I found a pretty sweet deal on Craigslist the other day. An old O'dell 55 gallon aquarium along with a ton of nice equipment/accessories for FREE. I took it upon myself to rescue the tank inhabitants, and make this tank my first project restoration. This will be my thread for progress pictures and questions I may have as it all comes together.

So to start, I'm now kicking myself for not taking pictures of the tanks initial condition when I got it for comparison. Let's just say it was NASTY.
Here's the best representation I have... the tank's lids. Yes, the entire tank looked like this. It smelled godawful!





And here's some of the nifty stuff that came along with it:



Also came with a really nice metal gang valve (not the crappy plastic kind)
Another Tetra 60 Filter that I'm currently working on getting clean
A complete undergravel filter set-up (That went straight into the garbage/recycle bin)

To start, I removed and discarded the garish blue gravel and proceeded to scrubbing. Using vinegar (2 1/2 gallons total was used cleaning this tank), various toothbrushes, scrubbing pads, a lot of elbow grease, and about 3-4 hours out of my day off work, the tank is now clean and algae, water deposit free. (During this process I managed to break the cross support trim on the top of the tank. More on this later!)



Next up, I painted the trim and back of the tank using Krylon Fusion Satin Black spray paint.




(You can see Kenbob in the reflection painting the stand for his 40 Gallon )

Also I painted the stand that came with it black to match. It's pretty crappy and leaves no place for storage, so I'm debating either doing some woodworking, or replacing the stand entirely.



So this is where it sits now. I'm currently trying to figure out how to either repair the trim crossbar, or replace the entire top trim piece. I'm having trouble finding the part for it though! It's an O'dell 55 standard aquarium (Glass measures 47.5" Long x 12.5" Deep). Also trying to find a glass top for it, and suitable lighting as it will be a live-planted tank. Here is where I need your guy's help so I can continue on this project!
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:35 AM   #2
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Sounds like my night last night! I can sympathize.

I got a 50 gallon that was in miserable shape. Luckily it was only up for 6 or 7 months so the water deposits weren't bad but the algae and gunk was horrible! I'm also kicking myself for not getting picks of the before disaster... 6-7 months and not once did the owner clean the gravel or decor. I scrubbed and boiled and the stuff still smells like dirty tank. It's soaking in a light bleach mixture now and will air dry in the sun for a couple days. If that doesn't work then I give up.

And what's with that blue gravel? This tank had it too.

Still need to clean the light fixture on mine but it's got a coating of dried up algae that should be real fun to get off.

Any plans on what you're putting in yet? I'll def be following along! I actually kind of ike the style of the stand you have but I like a minimal look sometimes. I'd toss a shelf in there with some baskets/containers to stash stuff in.
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:00 PM   #3
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glasscages.com for the top frame. $15 and $15 shiping
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:01 PM   #4
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I will be re-locating my 20 Gal. Planted community into this tank after I get it in working condition. I just need to get the top trim replaced or fixed, and find a suitable glass top so I can add lighting for the plants...

Would this top fit this aquarium?

Perfecto Glass Canopy 48 Inch

I find myself obsessing over whether there will be gaps, etc...
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:05 PM   #5
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What type of silicone would you recommend to use for the new trim? Since it's just for the trim I'm assuming it doesn't need to be something fancy like would be used to hold glass panels together?
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:06 PM   #6
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Thanks bob! I'll check them out right now
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:24 PM   #7
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What type of silicone would you recommend to use for the new trim? Since it's just for the trim I'm assuming it doesn't need to be something fancy like would be used to hold glass panels together?
I forget if it is GE Silicone I or II. Whatever one does not have any anti-mildew/mold inhibitors in it. You will still want an "aquarium safe" silicone as water will more than likely splash up on it at some point.
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:12 PM   #8
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Decided to temporarily fix the center brace until I can find and order a proper replacememt top trim for it.

Cut a strip of plastic to fit between the front and back panels the width of the brace. Will glue then screw it to the top of the existing brace. Then coat the screws liberally with silicon to prevent any possible corrosion. Pics posted when I finish this step
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:59 PM   #9
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Thats awesome that you found an Odell tank. Those were the #1 tank when I first got into the hobby. You have a piece of history Looks like you did a great job, bringing it back to life
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:11 PM   #10
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Thanks! I'm working on it. Won't consider it 'back to life' though till I have it planted and stocked
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:32 AM   #11
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I've been looking into lighting for this thing and have been pretty much stumped. A bit of information overload. If someone can help point me in the right direction that would help tremendously!
Tank specs:
19" tall
48" wide
12.5" deep
I want to be able to sustain healthy plants without breaking my wallet. Some of these lighting set-ups I've seen are insanely expensive. I'm working with a budget of around 100-300$ for lighting (including bulbs) Which I know isn't much, but it's what I have right now to get this tank going. Any lighting experts out there?
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:44 AM   #12
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You may want to look into setting up your own DIY Led system. They are actually fairly simple to wire up just need a heat sink to dissipate the heat they generate but the 3watt leds put out an amazing amount of light and the total cost would be around 100 - 150 $ depending on how many lights you want.

I've been researching them for the last few days and On my 55 I'm thinking 10 3watt leds should be more then enough light to grow plants and enjoy the colors of the fish in the tank.
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:26 AM   #13
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Check out Foster&Smith, and Petsolutions on line they both have LED, and T-5 HO lights in the price range your looking at!! Free shipping over $49.
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:23 AM   #14
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I couldn't help myself. I've put off ordering the replacement trim for now as the repair has proven to be more than sturdy.
So I cut some eggcrate to fit the bottom, added 1/2" Pool filter sand, then about 2" of flourite and polished pea gravel mix, followed by another 1/2" or so of PFS. Set up 4 HOB filters to clean up the ensuing 'mud tank', and added my heater. After 2 days of filtration the water had cleared up nicely, and thanks to the filters being from cycled tanks, I had 0 down time so I planted yesterday (yes, I know I got a bit ahead of myself).

Then I cleaned the lids and the spare filter that came with the tank, which turned out pretty good by the time I was done and will do their job for now.

And added my stock:
1 Clown Pleco (New Addition) I LOOOOVE this Pleco! <3
2 Black Kuhli Loach (New Addition)
2 Peppered Cory Catfish
9 Scissortail Rasbora
1 Rubberlip (Bulldog) Pleco
About 12 Ghost Shrimp
1 Rainbow Shark

Everyone looks extremely happy for the larger home, plants, and sandy substrate!

Just ordered a Glass Top for the tank, along with a 48" T5 HO light fixture to help get these plants growing! Gotta love free 2 day shipping from Amazon Should arrive on saturday...

I'll get updated pics posted as soon as I can find my phone!
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:16 AM   #15
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Clown Pleco was bein harassed by a shrimp here, haha!



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Old 09-28-2012, 05:43 PM   #16
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So I received my new lighting today.

AquaticLife Dual Lamp T5 HO Freshwater Light - 48 in.

Only took me about 20 minutes to get it prepped and set up/ installed on my tank. Looks and lights GREAT! Hoping to see some improved growth from my plants soon.

On a down note though... as soon as I flipped the light on, I noticed my favorite fish (clown pleco), looking very pale. Upon closer inspection I realized he had passed... not feeling so good right now. Couple shots of tequila should help...

Pics posted later.
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