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angella 04-06-2012 01:46 PM

Building a 55gal Stand with Internal Tank! (How do I move it??)
55 Gallon w/Internal 10 Gallon
Those are the plans I will be following. Although I'm thinking of making one side a shelf (One of the shelves will be where the 10gal or two smaller beta/shrimp tanks sit) for easier viewing of the internal tank, and then having the other side with the shelves behind a door. And the door(s) will be different, as in look better if you know what I mean, and it will be a darker stain to match my tank and IMO be more appealing lol.

As far as construction, the plywood will be oak. Anyone notice any things that could be modified/could make it better? I would love opinions.

And how should I move my 55gal? I guess I could drain it to a few inches, catch all my fish (like 40+?) and put them in a bucket of water, and then move it and add double the required amount of Prime water conditioner, fill it up with a water hose, and wait like 24 hours to put them back? I have bubble pumps and could put a heater in the bucket. Plus like keep it in a dark area? Or just bring the water to 3 in, leave them in, add prime, and fill it up with the hose like that? It seems the bucket would be less stressful.
Should I try and save half the water and put it back in?? Or is new water fine..? I have a lot of plants now and I'm not sure how to treat them, either. It seems like just adding the prime then directly untreated water could hurt them even though it is supposed to take effect immediately and a lot of people do partial water changes this way... It's a pretty big and heavy tank. I want three people to help move it just to be safe..

Has anyone ever done this before?

Geomancer 04-06-2012 02:01 PM

To move the tank you need to remove everything. Drain all the water and place the substrate into buckets, keep the substrate wet to save the bacteria. You do not have to do anything special with Prime, just move the tank, put the substrate back in, and fill with de-chlorinated tap water (remember, so you save the bacteria in the substrate). Have the filled water as close to normal tank temp as possible.

This will take a couple hours, a large cooler or storage tote works great. Re-acclimate the fish to the tank as you'll still have a temperature shift.

No need to save any of the old water, all you would be saving is Nitrate which you don't want anyways. The bacteria is on the hard surfaces (decorations, substrate, filter media, etc) and not in the water itself.

You want to move the tank empty because it can't take all that much weight when you are only holding it by the corners, the bottom will break/fall out easily or best case it would just weaken the seals and you'd end up with a slow leak/burst in the future.

As far as the stand itself, I don't see anything wrong with it. Just make sure the outside pieces of plywood are thick (3/4"), they are the only things that will keep the stand from rocking left/right or front/back. It's also a tall stand, and 55 gallon tanks are narrow. Might not be a bad idea to anchor it to the studs in the wall to ensure it dosen't rock forward.

mikejp67 04-06-2012 03:35 PM

Make sure you use nails and not screws especially for your framing. Nails bend and screws snap. A little contruction adhesive never hurts either. It will just keep things a little tighter when its moved around.

angella 05-08-2012 06:58 AM

Ok, thank you guys for your insight. We are building the stand right now and the 2x4 frame is done, so far it is VERY stable. Or at least my shop people and those who have looked at it have thought so. I hope so.

Oops on the plywood though, we're making an oak face frame for the front and the sides have 1/4 in oak plywood. The back will have that too.

And Geomacer, the thing I'm most worried about with my fish is the pH shift :/ I need to check but with all my driftwood I'm pretty sure the tank pH vs. Tap pH is at least 1.5 points more acidic.

I guess if I don't save water though, saving the gravel will be easy.

So if I drain and remove gravel, then move the tank and replace it, can I ADD the correct amount of prime for 60 gallons straight into the tank then just add the water directly from the faucet? Or will the short time it's getting settled the unneutralized chlorine and chloramines kill the good bacteria?

Geomancer 05-08-2012 07:22 AM

If your tank pH and tap pH are that far apart, yes you should save 50% of the old water so it will be no different than a normal weekly water change.

You can add water conditioner directly to the tank, and fill the rest straight from the tap. That's how many do large tanks using a Python (or similar).

It's 50/50 on if people add enough conditioner just for the new water, or adding enough for the entire tank volume. Do what you're comfortable with.

Are you sure the oak plywood is 1/4 inch? Usually what I've seen is 1/8 inch which is definitely too thin for structural support. At least in my area, they have 1/8 inch and 1/2 inch for oak, and it's really just an oak veneer not solid oak. On the inside, you might want to a small triangle piece of 2x4 in each 90 degree corner of the 2x4 construction. That will help prevent any swaying. You'll probably be fine with 1/4 inch if that's what it is though. I'm not civil/structural engineer so take my advice with a grain of salt ;)

angella 06-01-2012 07:22 AM

Our stand was finished this week, it is VERY sturdy... Weights over 100lbs probably. And yeah the oak plywood is 1/4in, but the support comes from the frame mostly.
I will have to get pictures!

Anyways I redecorated a lot. And we have had no casualties and yesterday (the day after the move) they ate with gusto ;)

We put the new stand in front of the old one, drained the tank half way (put the "clean" water into three 5 gallon buckets) and removed the decorations and plants (putting them into the buckets of water). After draining the tank to minimal water I scooped all the fish out and they had their own bucket. We then drained it more, and lifted it on the new stand. We took out the old one and lifted/pushed the new stand with the tank on it into position. Then we used a basically "python" hose from walmart with my faucet to fill it mostly up, then adding prime while that happened.
After the filter had ran for like 20 minutes we went and added plants from the buckets and the lava rocks and driftwood. I adjusted them a lot and ADORE the new arrangement, I feel it's much more open and natural. Oh, and before this I added more gravel...
I tempered the fish some because in the 3 hours or so their bucket had cooled to like 73 degrees and the tank is usually 78-79. After considering this I am kinda surprised no one has gone into shock at all or anything... But anyways, my betta was netted back in but we dumped the bucket with the water and fish right back into the tank haha. I left the lights off the rest of the day.

So it's day two after that, and we're still pretty good. No blooms of algae or ammonia/etc. or dead fish! So thanks to all of you guys! :)

angella 06-07-2012 07:56 AM

Still no deaths and the tank is fine. Yay :D

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