After much thought and a lot of research I have decided to take on my latest project of completely reworking my 55 gallon aquarium.  My current set up has been running successfully for almost a year, aside from the initial trials and tribulations of the initial setup, it has remained fairly healthy. I have found a vast amount of information and help at the Aquatic Community Forum.


What I hope to achieve is to create a more natural environment for my fish by eliminating  all of the fake plants and cheesy decor.  I will be adding new lighting to support live plants and to give the tank a whole new look. The plan also includes a reduction in the current number of species I have, while increasing the numbers of the species I am keeping.  Filtration will be upgraded to allow overstocking of fish schools. The substrate of river rocks will be completely removed and replaced. Removal of the internal heater so as not to clutter the tank with equipment.

 Tear Down

  • Permanent re-homing  of 4-guppies, 1 large Pleco, 1 upside down catfish, and 1 Buenos Aries Tetra
  • Remove current stock to temporary container along with tank water, filter and current heater
  • Completely drain tank and remove the old substrate (keeping appx 50% of old tank water for reuse)
  • Scrub the interior with clean water

Relocate Tank

  • Prepare new location, painting the wall black or dark blue
  • Move and re-level tank stand
  • Remove old background and paint the back of the tank black


  • Wash pool filter sand
  • Add sand to tank at a depth of 1″ to 1.5″


  • Add lava rocks
  • Add Driftwood and Mopani pieces (These will have been submerged several days prior to installation)
  • Temp addition of a few fake plants until I purchase the live ones
  • Refill tank

Filtration and Heat

  • Install new Rena XP3 canister
  • Install new Hydor 300 watt inline heater
  • Reinstall the Aqueon HOB as the secondary filtration


  • Replace the old hoods with new glass tank tops
  • Install new AquaticLife T5 HO Dual Lamp  108 watt Freshwater fixture


  • Add existing stock back to tank
    • 5 Black Skirt Tetras
    • 5 Serpae Tetras
    • 3 Red Eye Tetras
    • 3 Zebra Danios
  • Add new stock (Over Time)
    • 3 Black Skirt Tetras
    • 3 Serpae Tetras
    • 5 Red Eye Tetras
    • 5 Zebra Danios
    • 6 – 8 Cories (these will probably be the first addition)

Live Plants

  • Anubias – tied to wood and rock
  • Java ferns – tied to wood and rock
  • Java moss – tied to slate
  • A few planted in sand (unknown)
  • Some floating plants (unknown)



The tank in its current state

New location offers a better view from my desk

Material List:

  • 20 Gallon rubbermaid container for temp housing
  • 4 – 5 gallon buckets
  • 50# bag of Pool Filter Sand
  • Rena XP3 Filter
  • 2 additional bags of Rena Bio Star Media
  • Hydor 300 Watt Inline Heater
  • 2 – 24″ Glass Versa Tops
  • 1 AquaticLife T5 HO Dual Lamp 108 watt  Freshwater Light Fixture
  • Lava Rocks
  • Driftwood
  • Mopani root
  • Slate


Current Status:

As of 10/30/2012 All materials received