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DIY tank and budget

Nko

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Hey guys, I am looking to upgrade my tank and really want to budget where I can and also have a custom, diy aquarium (probably plywood). I am fairly new to the hobby at around the 7-8 month mark but want to get out of my 29 gallon tank and into something a bit bigger. I was thinking that this would be a excellent time to start thinking about that since I am getting ready to move. Does anyone have any recommendations on what or what not to do? Or tank dimensions for a 120 gallon that would give room for a little depth and some length? Also, any tips of advice for moving a tank?
 
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What are you planning on keeping fish wise?

Also, when you move your stuff over, don't reuse your current sand or at least only use a little bit (like the surface of the sand or something after the fish and everything have been moved.
 

TJDSEKULA

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Cheapest way to do something that size is likey looking used. Plywood are cool etc but the supplies are more than most people think you really make out when your going 200gals and up. Before you decide I'd recommend doing a bill of materials I've seen 120gals +- stock tanks go as low as $450 here if you hit the right stores at the right times. I paid $650 for my 100 4 years ago new.
If you really want to build to build go for it but I'd recommend shopping around if the goal is to save money.
 
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Nko

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What are you planning on keeping fish wise?

Also, when you move your stuff over, don't reuse your current sand or at least only use a little bit (like the surface of the sand or something after the fish and everything have been moved.
I was thinking about getting a few tangs and eventually a trigger or two
What are you planning on keeping fish wise?

Also, when you move your stuff over, don't reuse your current sand or at least only use a little bit (like the surface of the sand or something after the fish and everything have been moved.
Fosh wise I would really love to keep a few yellow tang, a purple tang, a trigger or foxface, a hawkfish or two, some clowns, a goby pistol shrimp combo and then a little type school or chromis or some other schooling fish.

and about the sand why shouldn’t I love sand? Pests or other little things hiding in the sand?
 
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Nko

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Cheapest way to do something that size is likey looking used. Plywood are cool etc but the supplies are more than most people think you really make out when your going 200gals and up. Before you decide I'd recommend doing a bill of materials I've seen 120gals +- stock tanks go as low as $450 here if you hit the right stores at the right times. I paid $650 for my 100 4 years ago new.
If you really want to build to build go for it but I'd recommend shopping around if the goal is to save money.
So do you think I should call into some Lfs and see what size tanks they have for what price? I know there is a store near me that is kind of like a fish wholesale where I can get tanks. What do you think about craigslist or eBay?
 
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Nko

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I know that those are a lot of fish for a tank but those would be my top choices. If I were to go down to around a 100 gallon I would scrap the foxface and triggers and go with a trio of tangs
 

TJDSEKULA

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So do you think I should call into some Lfs and see what size tanks they have for what price? I know there is a store near me that is kind of like a fish wholesale where I can get tanks. What do you think about craigslist or eBay?
Yes, I would. It doesn't hurt to price out your options. Price all the stuff to do the plywood build and price tanks too if price is really the factor. If you've never built a tank before I'd recommend doing a tiny test build with the same materials, for example build a 20gal plywood (glass, acrylic whatever your wanting to use) you can use as a frag tank or qt etc later to test your hand. When tank building everything must be straight level and accurate so this will also help you figure out what tools to aquire etc that you will need to build the large tank, as you go larger any small inaccuracies will be magnified. I'm not saying not to build your tank, I build tanks and love it but most times price is a wash untill you get to about 200gal. My custom 155gal cost more than a stock 155 but less than having someone custom build it but I built it in an L shape to wrap the corner of my room so to me it was worth it.
Looking at eBay or Craigslist dosent hurt but I'd absolutely plan on water testing etc. Are you comfortable resealing a tank? If you taking about building I'd assume resealing a tank would be an option as well and you maybe able to find something almost free if your willing to put in that kind of work.
 

Elaine123

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What are you planning on keeping fish wise?

Also, when you move your stuff over, don't reuse your current sand or at least only use a little bit (like the surface of the sand or something after the fish and everything have been moved.
I am planning an upgrade too and am wondering why you recommend not reusing your current sand?
 

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I am planning an upgrade too and am wondering why you recommend not reusing your current sand?
There can be a lot of gases and other substances being broken down or built up in the sand that would be kicked up and could cause an ammonia spike
 

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I was thinking about getting a few tangs and eventually a trigger or two

Fosh wise I would really love to keep a few yellow tang, a purple tang, a trigger or foxface, a hawkfish or two, some clowns, a goby pistol shrimp combo and then a little type school or chromis or some other schooling fish.

and about the sand why shouldn’t I love sand? Pests or other little things hiding in the sand?
You might want to try a 125g or another 6ft tank so you can get a variety of tangs.


As for the sand, there are lots of things being processed in thete and kicking it up can cause ammonia spikes.
 
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Nko

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You might want to try a 125g or another 6ft tank so you can get a variety of tangs.


As for the sand, there are lots of things being processed in thete and kicking it up can cause ammonia spikes.
Could washing the sand help with this at all? Because I am going to be trying to save as much money as possible. And about the tank, would I be able to keep a trigger or foxface if u had a few tangs in a 125 that was 5ft long and 1.5-2 feet deep?
 
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Nko

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Yes, I would. It doesn't hurt to price out your options. Price all the stuff to do the plywood build and price tanks too if price is really the factor. If you've never built a tank before I'd recommend doing a tiny test build with the same materials, for example build a 20gal plywood (glass, acrylic whatever your wanting to use) you can use as a frag tank or qt etc later to test your hand. When tank building everything must be straight level and accurate so this will also help you figure out what tools to aquire etc that you will need to build the large tank, as you go larger any small inaccuracies will be magnified. I'm not saying not to build your tank, I build tanks and love it but most times price is a wash untill you get to about 200gal. My custom 155gal cost more than a stock 155 but less than having someone custom build it but I built it in an L shape to wrap the corner of my room so to me it was worth it.
Looking at eBay or Craigslist dosent hurt but I'd absolutely plan on water testing etc. Are you comfortable resealing a tank? If you taking about building I'd assume resealing a tank would be an option as well and you maybe able to find something almost free if your willing to put in that kind of work.
Alright I will price out some options today, see what I can do to budget. I was thinking I could build the tank and use a broken tank off of eBay as the front panel. That way I could get specific measurements. I would be up for re sealing a tank, I haven’t looked into it a whole lot, I assume you would need a heat gun or something that would be able to remove the silicone and then some more clear silicone
 

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Could washing the sand help with this at all? Because I am going to be trying to save as much money as possible. And about the tank, would I be able to keep a trigger or foxface if u had a few tangs in a 125 that was 5ft long and 1.5-2 feet deep?

You could rinse the sand in a bucket with RO. I have never done that so I can't say if its easy or not. If you have siphoned the sand then maybe it could be safe but I am not sure about that.

As for a foxface and trigger, that tank should be fine.
 
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Nko

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You could rinse the sand in a bucket with RO. I have never done that so I can't say if its easy or not. If you have siphoned the sand then maybe it could be safe but I am not sure about that.

As for a foxface and trigger, that tank should be fine.
Alright thank you for the help. Any recommendations on what tank I should shoot for? Length? Depth? Height? From your personal experience what would you would have done different? I want to have a mixed reef because I really like the way sps looks but I would also love to have sand and some lps
 

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Alright thank you for the help. Any recommendations on what tank I should shoot for? Length? Depth? Height? From your personal experience what would you would have done different? I want to have a mixed reef because I really like the way sps looks but I would also love to have sand and some lps
For the tank, that is completely up to you. I prefer long or deep but not super tall tanks. As for what I would have done different, I would have gone with a heavier sand (I used a mixed of ocean direct and fiji pink) and MUCH less rock (something like a negative space aquascape). I would have also spread out my sps more. I would have also redipped my corals and not reused any of my old rock but that doesn't bother me too much since I didn't have any really nasty pests to begin with.
 

xxkenny90xx

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I'll just comment on the sand thing. There is no such thing as new sand, it's all old. Give your current sand a loooooong rinse in tap water until it runs clear and then soak it in rodi water and now you have "new" clean sand. I've done this in the shower with sand in a pillow case (in an apartment) and with a bucket and a water hose (house)
 

TJDSEKULA

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Alright I will price out some options today, see what I can do to budget. I was thinking I could build the tank and use a broken tank off of eBay as the front panel. That way I could get specific measurements. I would be up for re sealing a tank, I haven’t looked into it a whole lot, I assume you would need a heat gun or something that would be able to remove the silicone and then some more clear silicone
Resealing isn't really hard it's just time consuming. You remove the braces if there are any (sometimes they break and you need to buy new) then scrape all the silicone off with a razor blade on the inside. Once the inside is gone use a blade or wire to break the seal between the panes and pull the pieces apart. Clean each piece with acetone and a razor blade ensuring all the old silicone is gone. When that's done assemble like your building a new tank holding everything together with masking tape while siliconing, nice bead on the inside and then place the old or new braces on.
 
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Nko

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For the tank, that is completely up to you. I prefer long or deep but not super tall tanks. As for what I would have done different, I would have gone with a heavier sand (I used a mixed of ocean direct and fiji pink) and MUCH less rock (something like a negative space aquascape). I would have also spread out my sps more. I would have also redipped my corals and not reused any of my old rock but that doesn't bother me too much since I didn't have any really nasty pests to begin with.
Alright for sure. Since I am on a budget I will probably end up using my rock but I haven’t encountered any pests other than aptasia and asterina. But none of those really bother me since I have a harlequin and some aptasia x. What depth would you recommend for a 120 if I wanted to go 24 inches deep and 5 and a half feet long? Would I want to go taller for a mixed or would I want to go longer?
 

TJDSEKULA

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I personally built my tank based on my own arm length lol. If your going with any custom size get out the tape measure and see where you can reach etc. If not I'd recommend going to a pet store and looking at stock tanks and see what kind of reaching you'll be comfortable with and how the size visually looks. If using a grabber is acceptable there are many on the market but I wanted to avoid this making maintenance as easy as possible so it would be sure to get done.
Anyway you cut it there's not a perfect size for everyone you have to be comfortable. With the stock you mentioned I'd go more for the long wide shallow type builds but it depends on what you find and what footprint you have to work with.
 

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Alright for sure. Since I am on a budget I will probably end up using my rock but I haven’t encountered any pests other than aptasia and asterina. But none of those really bother me since I have a harlequin and some aptasia x. What depth would you recommend for a 120 if I wanted to go 24 inches deep and 5 and a half feet long? Would I want to go taller for a mixed or would I want to go longer?

Aiptasia x will create more aiptasia. However a coppperband may eat them for you. I personally think that aiptasia in a big tank is much more difficult to deal with than in a small tank.

As for depth, I personally like deeper tanks because it provides more swimming room. Height is good if you are gonna have giant sps colonies but I like longer tanks because tall tanks are hard for me to reach into.
 

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