Tank makeover. What to do with my fish?
I don't know if this belongs here (since it's a question about keeping my fish alive) or in the DIY section (since it's all due to a DIY project I'm planning). Mods please move it if you think it belongs elsewhere. :-)
First, some background info. I've had a 67 gallon tank up and running for at least 2-3 years. When I first bought the tank (used), it had no bracing and no lid. I designed a brace and lid when I didn't have any plans for plants in my tank, and didn't make allowances for a light that's as long as the tank - there's just an opening in the middle. Since then I've added plants but am limited to only putting them in the middle area of the tank, and I want to do more. I should also mention that when I got the lid made, my friend welded the lid to the brace so it's all one piece. This means that the lid cannot be removed unless the water level is low - at least below half. Tank measures 48" L x 18" W x 18" H.
Now, the makeover. I went to one of the fish stores in town and was talking to the guy about what my options are for bracing, and he suggested glass and showed it to me on a couple of his tanks, and it's what I want to do for sure if I can work out the details. However, this will mean that I have to drain most of the water from my tank so I can get the lid off, and not refill it until the silicone dries on the bracing.
The tank is quite fully stocked. I've got 7 angelfish (not fully grown yet, the largest ones are 1.5-2" or so), a shoal of 15 harlequin rasboras, a shoal of 9 bloodfin tetras, 5 yoyo loaches, 5 zebra loaches, 7 platies, 2 mollies, and a bristlenose pleco.
Is it a terrible idea to try to do something like this with the fish in the tank? I'm not worried about dropping silicone in the tank - I plan on hanging something underneath the areas I'll be working on in order to catch anything that falls - but I'm worried about whether my fish will survive in a half empty tank for as long as it takes for the silicone to cure. If keeping them in the tank the whole time is a viable option, I would skip feeding them for a day and then do a water change before draining the tank so the water won't accumulate too much waste.
If it's NOT feasible to make them live in a half empty tank for a day or two... I don't have a big enough spare tank to house them all, but I have plenty of buckets (how long could I keep them in buckets for though?)... I also have a 20 gallon aquarium at work that I could move a few fish to temporarily (I'm thinking the platies, if anything).
Any thoughts/suggestions? Scrap the idea and come up with something different?
I'd suggest that a half empty tank is better than a bunch of buckets. The aquaclear being a HOB filter though.... Would you consider upgrading to a canister filter? If you did that, and let the filter ripen for a month, you could still use it while the water is low.
Exactly how much smaller is the hole than the length of the tank? If it is only light area that your are concerned about and not access then you might be able to just skip it and go with a fixture that fits the space. I use a 24" fixture over a 30" tank, slide the light all the way to one side so it is effectively a 6" end that has no fixture. I put lower light plants at that end (java fern, crypts and the like) and they do fine.
Hmmm... is the light in your pictures already the full size of the hole? If so, it is pretty small relative to the size of the tank.
A few issues arise when draining your tank to only half full with fish and your stock levels. At half full do you have a filter that can run while the tank is in this condition? Your best bet and I've done this before is to buy a large plastic storage container that allows you to run the filter in it. Remove the water down to the level needed and fill the plastic storage container with it. Gently place your fish inside said container and run the filter. Pretend it to be a temporary tank with all the comforts of home just in a plastic container. I have a 20 gallon plastic container that I bought at Walmart for very cheap and it works. I used this method on a 2 day project when I upgraded from a 55 gallon to a 75 gallon. If you can you could place some plastic plants in the container leave them floating or anchor them somehow.
Now if your project takes more than 3 days tops it might be a little more stressing on the fish and the ioload will build up fast in the container you'll have to do a partial of the container with any tank water in your aquarium. I don't advise this though. It's more of a last and final resort of other options fail.
Maybe someone here can chime on with some better advice but that what I got for now.
Ah I should have thought to update my aquarium info before posting. :) I have been running an Eheim 2213 canister filter for over a year.
The light shown in the picture is the light that I've got. The hole is only 24" long and it's right over the middle of the tank, and the light is 24" long so already maxed out there.
The big plastic container with the filter running might be the answer! I have a good amount of floating plants in my tank so i could move those over into the container to make it feel more like home. I've also got a substrate layer that I want to add under my sand so I could move the sand into the container and get it all out of the way at once and have the added benefit of more bacteria in the plastic tub...
Do I need to worry about what type of plastic container it is? I've seen people keep pond fish over winter in rubbermaid tubs... do I need to do anything to the container besides rinse it to make sure it's safe?
Then my only concern becomes how to keep my dog and cats out of the tub. I guess the dog will just have to get used to not sleeping in the bedroom for a few nights... I'm sure my hubby will have no complaints about that. :lol:
I doubt that I t really ,taters what kind of container it is as long as it will take the water weight on the sides.... it would a problem if it collapsed.
What are you planning to put under the sand?
A large cooler is a great container to use for a temporary shelter - the insulation helps to keep the temperature more steady and the darkness (vs a clear container) lessens the stress on the fish, imo.
Cooler, great idea! I use them to transport fish for those very reasons, makes sense as a temporary tank.
Oooh a cooler is a great idea! I have a couple large ones at home but am going to see if I can find a rubbermaid container that's larger.
The substrate that I'm adding is eco-complete for planted aquariums.
Given the hassles involved in using the eco complete and the lack of any real difference between that and sand with proper fertilization (ask Byron about this, he's the one with direct comparative experience) I don't know that I'd suggest doing that. Then there is the cost, I think it's pretty pricey for what it claims to do.
Here's where I actually at least read the product claims
Now I see why it doesn't really make any difference. When it gets right down to it, they say it only provides only trace minerals... that goes into the water with something like Flourish Comprehensive. Unless you were not dosing any trace element fertilizer and had only root feeding substrate plants, there likely would be little, if any, noticeable difference. With stems and floaters you pretty much need to be dosing these anyway.
Of course without a direct side by side comparison there would be know way to know this for certain so I am sure that there are many happy customers buying and using the product without really knowing if it is actually making any difference.
Plus you can't really put sand over gravel. Eventually the sand will sink through the gravel and push it to the surface and then it all gets mixed. If you have bottom feeders of any kind this isn't good, that Eco Complete is really rough and can/will damage their bellies and mouths. If you don't have bottom feeder it's nbd, but if you do I'd advise against the Eco Complete. Too many risks with not enough benefits.
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