Building a Multi-Tank Stand

I recently decided that I want to reach a professional level designing planted tanks. After the last year or two of constant researching, planning, plotting, saving…I finally placed an order for six nano tanks. Four were from Truaqua.com, the least expensive yet super swanky tanks I could find available. Two others were from Blooms and Branches, a popular site among aquarium enthusiasts, mostly for its manzanita branches. (Sidenote: get the sand blasted ones! The red bark, while beautiful, will mold and fall off anyway.)

Anyway, with six new tanks, ranging from 1 to 11.5 gallons, on the way, I knew I needed a place to put them all. This was my solution:

And here is that same stand, loaded with the tanks and a nice big mess in front of it after a long week of tank work and being too lazy to clean up after:

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Here’s how I did it… And I’ll also post some nice pictures of it all cleaned up and pretty looking soon.

  1. I wanted something that could hold more weight than I could imagine putting on it, but I also wanted something that would give me flexibility. Annnnd, I definitely didn’t want to have to build all of it from scratch. So I selected this Edsal 48 in. W x 72 in. H x 24 in. D Steel Commercial Shelving Unit from the Home Depot. Sturdy and adjustable, and on sale when I got it.
  2. I wanted to add cabinets of some sort to the unit, but adding hinges and such seemed like a lot of effort. My original plan was to simply add screws that slip into the rivets holders of the shelving unit. This worked decently, but I plan on moving over to magnets in the future. I used thin, prepainted “chalk board” plywood for the doors. I added in a panel between the two side-by-side shelving units to allow to left side to be used for storage. As you can see in the messy pictures above, they give me a ton of useful storage space.
  3. The shelves that came with the unit weren’t exactly the most pleasing looking. On top of that, I wanted the entire unit to effectively be a single construct so that no tanks on top could wind up with an uneven surface. Thus, I took a 1 inche thick board, cut notches halfway through the board to fit the shelving frame, and laid it across both shelf sections. Then I took a piece of carpeting (~$0.45 per square foot) and attached it to all shelving tops with a staple gun. The carpeting wrapped around the edges and was stapled into the bottom of the shelves, and then I added a few extra staples on the top to stop the carpeting from bubbling up.
  4. To make the doors look a bit classier and cover any cuts I made that weren’t quite nice looking, I bought trim, painted them black, then used a few small nails to fix them on the edges of the cabinet doors. Then I painted the tops of the nails with a dab of the black paint I’d coated every other unpainted edge in, and called it a day.

I’d love to see other multi-tank stands people have designed! And let me know if you have any questions about how to do this project for your own tanks!

Quarantine Ready

Having a quarantine tank is a commonly stressed aspect of keeping fish tanks. New fish can bring diseases, parasites, etc to an established tank, so quarantining them is a good way to ensure the current tank stays healthy. Fish already in the tank that show disease symptoms early can also be removed to the quarantine, saving other fish from contamination while allowing only the sick fish to be treated. Despite the obvious benefits of having a quarantine tank, most people seem happy go through life without a quarantine tank, at least until something terrible happens that a quarantine tank would have stopped from occurring. 

That being said, I don’t have a quarantine tank. I keep a quarantine ready setup on hand at all times instead. This way, I don’t need to have an empty tank running at all time just in case something goes wrong. Here’s what you’ll need to do that same:

  1. Seeded filter media – whether you keep an extra few sponges, filter floss, or other media in a HOB filter or a power head with a pre-filter sponge, this media can be used to eliminate the need for cycling a new, small tank.
  2. Water from an existing, cycled fish tank – using water from the same tank the fish came from can help reduce stress if quarantining injured or ill fish you already had in the primary tank. New fish/inverts can benefit from using water from the tank you intend to place them in. Ideally, water will be taken a few days after a water change.
  3. Heater – to keep the quarantine at about the same temperature as the primary tank. An adjustable heater is preferred, because treating some health issues for specific creatures can be enhanced by making the water warmer/cooler than the primary tank.
  4. Filter – I love the Azoo HOB filters for this. They have extra room to add in the seeded filter media, controllable flow, and are pretty inexpensive. Sick/injured fish often benefit from calmer water, requiring less energy for them to stay in place. New fish can take a heavier flow, which will help cycle the tank.
  5. Tank – I keep a 10 gallon purchased at a PETCO dollar per gallon sale on hand for my quarantine. I keep it empty, with the spare filter and heater inside for quick setup when needed.

 

So long as you have space to store the quarantine tank itself, this is a great alternative to having an empty quarantine tank up and running all of the time!

Ludwigia Repens Deficieny – Now Recovering

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Finding the right balance in a tank between the plants, fish, and everything else can be a difficult task. For me, I have recently found that I wasn’t adding nearly enough nutrients to support healthy plant growth. The ludwigia repens seen above is a good example of my tank beginning to bounce back after a nutrient deficiency. The yellowish leaves with holes in them were the original tops of the ludwigia less than a week ago. Since I started dosing with more nitrates (via dry KNO3) and Seachem Flourish, in addition to continued use of Seachem Flourish Excel (for liquid CO2), everything in the tank has begun to grow quickly again with bright green hues.

Victory! At least for now… Hopefully they keep it up!