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Referb and restart after 30 years. Low tech.

Joined
17 Dec 2020
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154
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Gloucestershire
I have been meaning to start a journal for this little project for ages.
I have all the pics, just have not found the inclination.
So here goes:
The tank has not had water in it for about 30 years. It is only a Small Tank 30.588L, size cm 49.4w x 25.8d x 26.5h
It used to be my breeding tank. Had great success with cherry barbs, 3 generations and my local aquarium shop got all the extra ones for free. Gave me very good discount.

First off. I have put some shelves in the bedroom to take the tank.

Lighting: I wanted to reuse as much of my original equipment to save money.
I had a emersion heater timer and added a household LED dimmer.
I purchased 4 PAR 16 Parcan, 230V black and 4 5W GU10 LED Spotlight, 6400K, 380lm 38deg, Dimmable to go with them.
This gives me 50 lumens per litre.
Wired it all up and it works. The dimmer is only to allow me to reduce the light, but keep the time period.
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So now onto resealing the tank.
 

The grumpy one

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Resealing the tank: This is how I did it and it is OK. I am sure there are easier ways and people will let me know what I have done wrong.
First to take off the old silicone.
Taking off frame.
IMG_9529.JPG

I was worried that the frame was the only thing holding everything together. Just to be safe, plenty of PVC tape.
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Well, so far so good. Frames came off very easily, just wiggle and pull carefully.
IMG_9545.JPG
What a mess the silicone is in. You can tell it was a cheap tank.
The glass is only 3mm except for the base, which is 4mm.
IMG_9553.JPG

This taking off old silicone is fun. Must be careful not to scratch the glass. Or you will make a weak point, like when you score glass to cut it. Very sharp razor blade to start from middle to glass at a 30 deg angle seems to work. Little bit at a time, don't go too deep.
Use a scalpel for the fiddly bits.
IMG_9564.JPG

I put the frame back on at this point. Had to drill 1.5mm holes to let air out as I pushed it on. Put silicone all along the groves
then pushed it on. I knew it was good, because silicone came out of the 1.5mm holes.
So then I cleaned glass with isopropyl alcohol and applied masking tape.
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Put silicone on
Use a spoon to smooth, dip in water then run along silicone at an angle. Don't do it more that 3 times or the silicone will start to go all over the place as it sets a skin. Then Pull off masking tape up away from the silicone (got tape all over my hands, silicone then started to set. What a mess, no pics, could not hold the camera).
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When I used to use this tank, I never filled it above halfway. If filled to the top, the glass bowed alarmingly.
I decided to put glass bracing in. Local glass shop cut it to appropriate length and only 20mm wide.
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Cleaned off all the silicone that went where I did not want it, With razor blade at a very low angle. Took ages.
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Waited 48hrs for silicone to set.
Then for the water test. 2 days of no one able to have a shower was horrendous.
IMG_9588.JPG


Finished and no leaks.
Now you may be wondering "why the brace across the tank" all will be revealed in the next thrilling episode.
Stay tuned.
 

John q

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6 Jan 2021
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Lancashire
A master silicone craftsman at work... I'll pencil you in for when I need the bath doing.

On a serious note it looks like you've done a good job on it.
 

The grumpy one

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A master silicone craftsman at work... I'll pencil you in for when I need the bath doing.

On a serious note it looks like you've done a good job on it.
You should have seen the first run. It was awful. The second run was a lot better. So I took it off and did it again. Had to get another tube of silicone.
 

The grumpy one

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Slight delay since last post. Due to the madness going on in the outside world I have waited 20 month for an routine op. Gallbladder taken away 3 weeks and 1 day ago.

Now for my adventure into Acrylic.

IMG_9593.JPG
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A nice raised cover for my little tank.

Now for the next Acrylic cantata.
 

The grumpy one

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Moved on a bit since last post.
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After the does it leak test. Still wet but I think it enhances the pic.
It only leaked a very little from chamber 2 to 1. Not at all outside (but that does not matter at all).
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I was getting better at not having hand shake and putting the glue everywhere towards the end.

Now for the live test with the tank and pump (Back to work today, so that might be a while).
 

The grumpy one

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Filter finished. Tested. Pic shows pump on.
Had too much foam at first and water did not get through as fast as the pump was taking it away. The last chamber then went down almost exposing the pump.
Took out half white fine filter and one medium blue foam. Worked perfect after that.
Blue foam stuck to outside of filter is to reduce pump vibrations getting into the glass.
Also stuck course black foam around the pump to further stop the transfer of vibrations to the outside world.
Tank is in my bedroom. Must be OK as I could not hear it at all, when I went to bed.

Next to start the scape and redo that horrible looking blue foam on the outside.
 

The grumpy one

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45 days later I manage to get some hobby time.

Just a small simple scape for what is only a hospital/quarantine/breading tank.

Made some acrylic rock stand, 20mm high
IMG_9638.JPG
Lucky I have access to a good supply of cast acrylic offcuts from work. Used acrylic glue, very smelly.

Stuck the rocks on top. One of those 5kg bag of 6 pieces you can get.
IMG_9641.JPG
Only broke up one rock to make this. A bit fiddly sealing all the holes between back and front. used silicone sealant to stick everything in place.

Now for the sub straight.
IMG_9646.JPG
Used a mix of 5:1 Nyasa Sand and Limpopo sand at the front, 20mm deep. I just felt that the Nyasa sand was too light against the slate.
Used Tropica Aquarium Soil Powder in the back section, 50mm deep.
The acrylic rock stands do a good job of keeping soil and sand separate, well until I have fish to move it all around.

So the whole setup now looks like this.
IMG_9655.JPG

Next to get some plants. I want a South American theme.
Was hoping to get:
1 x HYDROCOTYLE LEUCOCEPHALA - to grow by the filter to hide it a bit.
1 x HELANTHIUM BOLIVIANUM - on the left of the tank.
1 x ECHINODORUS RUBIN - for the centre.
Hopefully I have chosen plants that will not grow so high as to come out the top of the tank.
Any suggestions for alternative plants?

Next the hunt for in stock plants.
 

The grumpy one

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Ordered plants on Thursday from Aquarium gardens.
Had a senior moment ant thought it was Wednesday and specified next working day delivery.
Tried to contact Aquarium gardens to get delivery changed to Saturday and pay the difference.
They did not reply and then I got an email on Friday, saying plants had been dispatched and would be delivered Monday.
Never mind, I am sure that they will be OK.

Went out the front door to do the recycling at about 4pm today (Saturday). Low and behold, there was a parcel on the doorstep.

IMG_9663.JPG
So now I am the proud owner of 3 plants.

Bit of a rush to plant, fill the tank and cook dinner. Dinner was only an hour late.
Left: HELANTHIUM BOLIVIANUM
Centre: Echinodorus 'Aquartica'
Right: HYDROCOTYLE LEUCOCEPHALA

Now for the daily water changes for a week.
 

The grumpy one

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Its now been 7 days since I planted and filled the tank.
Been doing 30% water changes every day.

I have been dosing the following:
ProductFrequencyDose / LDose for LTRs
(ml)(ml)(L)
API Tap Water ConditionerEvery water change0.01670.16710Water change volume
Dennerle Carbo Elixir BIODaily0.010.2828Tank
TNC CompleteWeekly0.12.828Tank

Any suggestions or am I doing it all wrong?

Done my first water test today. I think it is a bit OTT to do it every day, after all there is still another 5 weeks before I can put fish in and I can sort issues later.
NT Labs Aquarium Lab Water Test Set
DateAmmoniaNitriteNitratePHCarbonate hardnessGeneral hardness
NH₃NO₂NO₃
mg/Lmg/Lmg/LdKHdGH
Tap water from supplier
0.25​
12.65​
7.58​
6.21​
28/8/21 after 7 days of start
0.50​
0.50​
10.00​
7.50​
3.00​
5.00​

Any issues you experts can see?

Substrate is Tropica Aquarium Soil Powder with some TNC Plugs around the HELANTHIUM BOLIVIANUM and the Echinodorus 'Aquartica'

I have been taking a pic every day after water change. You can definitely see plant growth, so I must be doing OK?
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Well that's it for now. Feel free to comment on anything I am doing wrong

Just thought of an issue I had this week. My Acrylic cover, I made, has been warping. It is because I only have access to extruded Acrylic and that has stresses built in due to the process. I have had to put some more x members in strategic places to stop it warping. I was having trouble getting it off the top of the tank. One day I will replace it with cast Acrylic, which has no built in stress.
 
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The grumpy one

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That's my problem John Q. With all the people on here that struggle to grow plants and I manage it first try. That can't be right, especially low tech?
 

noodlesuk

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21 Jul 2020
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Great project, love all the DIY stuff. Am a big fan of those in tank back sump filters (is there a technical name?) . Keeps it so clean.
 

The grumpy one

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internal sump filter seems to be the popular name noodlesuk. I love them. You can make them very quiet and no chance of a leak. It is also very easy to clean filter medium, pull it out and rinse in a bucket.
 
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The grumpy one

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What a difference a day makes. Just look at the growth on the Helanthium Bolivianum (left), that runner has grown by 25mm in 24hrs.
Day008.JPG

Now to train it to root where I want it to. Glad I kept the ceramic weights from the bottom of the pots.

The (slow growing!!!!!) Echinodorus 'Aquartica' (centre) centre leaf has also grown by a silly amount.

Odd that the Hydrocotyle Leucocephala (right) does not seem to have grown at all? So much for being told that this plant grows very quickly.
 
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The grumpy one

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Water test day. Before 30% water change, results after 14 day of start.
NT Labs Aquarium Lab Water Test Set
DateAmmoniaNitriteNitratePHCarbonate hardnessGeneral hardness
NH₃NO₂NO₃
mg/lmg/lmg/ldKHdGH
Tap water from supplier
0.25​
12.65​
7.58​
6.21​
28/08/21 after 7 days
0.50​
0.50​
10.00​
7.50​
3.00​
5.00​
04/09/21 after 14 days
0.20​
0.25​
7.50​
7.20​
2.00​
5.00​

Well it seems everything is heading in the right direction. Only a small amount of brown algae visible on the top of the spray bar.
 
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