Uneven tank - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-23-2012, 09:39 PM Thread Starter
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Uneven tank

Hey all. It's been a while since I posted. Busy with work. I still come on and check the fourms but just have not posted much.

Any way' I realized yesterday that my tank is preeeeettty uneven. And I'm starting to freak out. I used heavy cardboard on one side when I set up the tank but that was about a year and 4 months now. I'll get a level tomorrow and post a pic of how bad.

So I know I won't be able to move it with water in it. So I guess I'm going to have to get all the fish out. What is the best way to do this as I have always been in successful. I have super fast rummy nose and zebra loaches that I can never catch.

I'm just really freaking out and I know something will go wrong when I try to do this. Whenever I do something major I always screw something up, that's why I have made no changes in the past 6 or 7 months (except water changes )
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-23-2012, 09:45 PM
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Why not just lower the water level so there is enough in there for the fish to swim while leveling the tank out. This way you will not have to tear up the tank trying to catch fish and it should save them some stress. Also I would put the water that is removed into buckets for reuse unless of course your do for a water change.

Semper Fi
Mark
Planted 29 gal. High, Planted 60 gal. Hexagon, 55 gal. waiting in the garage waiting to be set up.
My Aquariums
http://www.fishtanks.net/fishtank.php?fishtank=1598
http://www.fishtanks.net/fishtank.php?fishtank=3732
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post #3 of 13 Old 01-23-2012, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Should have mentioned this is my 29 gallon. I feel that I won't be able to lift the tank and stand enough even to get more cardboard under the stand. I dont really have a way to lift the stand as I don't want to pull Up on it
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post #4 of 13 Old 01-23-2012, 10:02 PM
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I wouldn't use the cardboard under the stand. As you have already found out it compresses over time and you will be back to the same issue. I would go to a Lowes or Home Depot and purchase some shims used in construction and remodeling. 1 pack should be 5 dollars or less. There will be a couple of different types of shims. Get the plastic ones. They are usually a dark brown in color. The wood shims will eventually compress over time and are not water resistant should you have a spill. Can you get a prybar under the stand to lift it? This way your lifting the whole stand and not just off of a piece of trim.

Semper Fi
Mark
Planted 29 gal. High, Planted 60 gal. Hexagon, 55 gal. waiting in the garage waiting to be set up.
My Aquariums
http://www.fishtanks.net/fishtank.php?fishtank=1598
http://www.fishtanks.net/fishtank.php?fishtank=3732
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post #5 of 13 Old 01-23-2012, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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I agree with the shims but the thought of lifting the tank and stand, even with little water, with a pry bar reeaaaaaaallly scares me. I'm sure it would work if I lift from the bottom, but even if I left only 10 gallons in that tank that's still over 100 pounds when gravel is included. Scary stuff
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post #6 of 13 Old 01-23-2012, 10:53 PM
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in the fire service we always assume water, plus its container is around 11 pounds per gallon. that leaves a little wiggle room. remove 3/4ths of the water, roughly, and take the tank off the stand. even at 1/3 full 100lbs is fairly manageable, especially if you have someone give you a hand :)


level the stand, and badabing!

for what its worth, where I keep my fish used to be a garage. The floor is pitched pretty rough. I heard a billion times that I needed to level them, but never did. I even have a 110g tall thats uneven, and its not seen any ill effects in 5+ years. not that id recommend it, though.

Dedicated, converted, lowes / home depot bulb buyer!
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post #7 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 09:56 AM
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Drain the water quite a bit, if you need to drain it further than the fish need to not completely freak out it should be easy to catch them as they have less volume of water to get away from you. You can use a 5g bucket or a large plastic storage tub (clean of course) to temporarily hold the fish while you monkey with the stand.

Just don't drain the water below the substrate so you don't disturb the bacteria. Keep your filter media wet (in aquarium water, NOT tap water) for the same reason.

When refilling, put something in (like a bowl) to deflect the water again so you are not disturbing the substrate.

Regardless of what you do, the fish will be stressed through out the process. So just make sure you have everything you need before you start, so you're not running out the door to the hardware store with your fish in a bucket. And have a helper who can help you lift and move the tank, don't try and do it by yourself.

Monitor your water quality for a bit afterwords to make sure all is well, if you get ammonia or nitrite spikes do water changes as necessary to keep them in check while the bacteria re-establish themselves.
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post #8 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 02:45 PM
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I moved my 29g across the room once, with the help of my neighbour. I drained the tank down to about 2 inches of water, just enough for the fish. I left all wood and plants in it, so the fish had cover and would be (hopefully) less stressed. The tank was on a sheet of plywood so we just picked it up and carried it. In your case, although I don't know the stand design, perhaps someone could lift up the one end an inch or so and you could slide the shim(s) under. Just get out as much water as possible, and never lift the tank by the frame itself.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #9 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
never lift the tank by the frame itself.
I just wanted to underline, italicize, highlight, bold, and capitalize this bit from Byron. Very important! The two best ways to spring a leak in a tank (maybe immediately, maybe down the road) is to have an uneven tank (as you know) or to move a tank with any amount of stuff in it. If you have the type of stand with a solid top surface, then the entire bottom frame of the tank is in contact with the stand and its not such a big deal to carefully tilt the stand with the nearly empty tank on top. BUT if your stand is the type that only makes contact with the tank's bottom frame at certain points, I WOULD EMPTY THE ENTIRE THING BEFORE MOVING/TILTING IT. That's me, that's what I would do. I had one small slow leak once, and it was a HUGE pain. That was one hellacious week! Heck, after that experience, I'd probably empty the tank regardless just to avoid any chance of having to do that again. Boy, it was a headache.

Just think ahead. Make a plan, write down each step. Make a list of what you'll need. Close your eyes and imagine yourself performing the operation. As you're doing it in your mind, step by step, notice which items you'll need to gather and organize. Think about what could go wrong, and plan for it. Have plenty of time available so you don't have to rush. Strive for perfection so you don't have to do it again. Make adjustments to the stand, not the tank. Have plenty of time so that you're not rushed. Don't feed your fish that day. Keep the lights off for a few hours after to help them calm down. Not only buckets, but big, clean plastic storage bins are awesome for keeping things wet (fish or substrate/decor/filter media/plants). Take a look at your filter, you may even be able to run it on the bin with the fish in it.

You're doing the right thing, and you'll be fine. We're here for you!

"My dither fish need dither fish!"
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice everyone. What I would like to do is a combo of all listed above. Very careful planning beforehand is a must. Plastic shims are a must. The stand is a solid flat surface that makes contact with the tanks at all points so i would like to lift the whole piece just enough to shim it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
I moved my 29g across the room once, with the help of my neighbour. I drained the tank down to about 2 inches of water, just enough for the fish. I left all wood and plants in it, so the fish had cover and would be (hopefully) less stressed. The tank was on a sheet of plywood so we just picked it up and carried it. In your case, although I don't know the stand design, perhaps someone could lift up the one end an inch or so and you could slide the shim(s) under. Just get out as much water as possible, and never lift the tank by the frame itself.
This is my issue. I would love to do exactly as Byron said above, i just don't think 2 inches is enough water for all the fish. The tank is a little overstocked I guess and all though I have no issues with water quality, i just don't know how all those fish in so little water will work out. I should be able to remove the pearl Gourami although he is super fast, and really really freaks out under stress.

I think ill try to remove him, the BN pleco if possible, and keep the water about 2-3 inches. See if its possible to lift the stand juuuuust enough.

Also, I need to make sure I turn the heater off since ill be removing the water that covers it.
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