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Re-designing tank log - help needed

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Okay so I've been staring at my tank for a while now and I've been thinking that I want the tank to be more of a display tank and look really neat etc.

To do this I have to:

Start off with selling spare things like tanks i have to kick start funds

1. reduce numbers of fish in my tank

2. remove a lot of the rocks

3. change to sand

4. hide the hardware a bit more

The first is easy because I know which fish to keep and which to get rid of

I want to get rid of everything but my Tropheus and Cyprichromis , for the bottom area of the tank i want to either keep my calvus, comps or get something new

I can sell the fish i dont want, to get a bit of cash to put towards 'upgrades'

for the second point, what i plan to do is take all the rocks out and once ive fixed up everything put back only the rocks i need and then sell the rest

the third point is where im having problems, How should i swap out the gravel for sand

right now there 60KG of black gravel and i can take out all the rocks from the tank, but not the fish

The way im thinking of doing this is, is to take out all the rocks, sell the fish i dont want and keep the ones i do want so that the tank is nearly bare

but then how should i take it out?, would disturbing the substrate release too much gases for fish to survive in the tank? is there an easy way other than scooping it out?

Then once its all out ill have clean sand ready to put in straight after

and i'd keep the tank bare until i figure out exactly how i want it set out

forth thing is trying to hide hardware

ideas? painting things black? using plants or rocks as cover ?

i really need to get rid of the crappy plastic background and use something better, any ideas on that? maybe painting it? the only problem is there is limited space behind the tank... i can squeeze through when im sideways so to paint it i'd have to use a roller or something with a long arm

This is the tank that has inspired me:


I'll take a picture of my tank tonight, right now theres too much reflection

then more pictures to add as each step goes, first i want to plan everything though

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Hi Shon,

I just did a re-scape of my 8x2x2 (mission), keeping just a few fish of my original stock.

I siphoned enough water to fill a 70L container and moved one of my tanks filters so it was filtering just the container.

I removed all the hardscape (except substrate) and netted the fishies into the container. The excess dudes were put in a bucket and taken to the LFS. I have lots of big containers, so siphoned out a fair bit of water to keep for the re-furb.

The way I remove my gravel is to take the cylinder off the gravel siphon (so it is just the clear hose) and then put a strainer over a 20 L bucket and just use the siphon hose to suck up the gravel (mine is quite small grains). Each time the strainer or bucket fills just empty and start again. It was a slow and labour intensive process, but very effective. EDIT: discard the water from the buckets cos it will be FILTHY black. :lol::lol::lol:

In my case, I completely emptied the tank and removed everything. I had everything ready to go, so once it was empty I put a couple of perspex sheets on the bottom of the tank, placed my rocks on top of them and then the driftwood in its place, before replacing the gravel. (should have replaced it with different gravel, cos this stuff is kind of grey looking and I prefer a blacker appearance... ah well)...

Then I returned the original tank water I had saved and reconnected the filters to the tank before returning my fish. I prepared new water as per a regular change, and then added it the next day to top up the tank. Whole job took several hours, cos it is a big mama of a tank, but it works very well and everything stays healthy.

Hope this helps you out???

All the best... :):)

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oh i forgot the other thing...

as for hiding the hardware, I use canister filters on my big tank. One end I replaced the filters intake and outlet piping with black plastic stuff of similar diameter which I sourced from an irrigation supplies store. It is much more subtle in appearance.

The other end I've not done much to it yet, but am considering just getting some black shadecloth and wrapping a turn of it around the piping.

once i get around to doing it i will let you know how it works out.

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THANKS SO MUCH ! :woohoo:

theres some good ideas there and i'll probably do what you've suggested

so you managed to do pretty much all of it in one day?

i want to get this done before the holidays end because once school start i doubt ill have the time to make a huge change

what do you think if i kept the fish i want to keep IN the tank?

I have some sort of an idea of what im going to do...

im waiting to clear out some extra aquarium related stuff first then ill work on this

the main things are:

change the substrate

take out rocks

get rid of some of the fish

hide hardware

keep things alive

things i need to do before hand are:

sell extra stuff i have lying around

have sand washed and ready

get hose, strainer and containers for the gravel

and maybe a place to put the fish in for a while

so in the end im left with a tank with hidden hardware, sand substrate, a select few fish and a couple rocks

a container full of black gravel and spare rocks

sorry, im a bit crazy... i like to have EVERYTHING planned and typing it out helps :lol:

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okay my brother has been visiting from the nations capital, so of course now i am crissed as a picket and a little dribbly on the speakage....

anyway we seem to be on a similar wavelength... IMO if you are gonna do it all in a day, you have to have everything ready to go at once.

if you wanna keep some fish in the tank I would have plenty of NEW conditioned water ready to go (better still is to retain as much as possible of the original tank water... that way when you re-use it the fishies will feel right at home.. If you do the way I did it, you will churn out heaps of old crappy water with your suckage of the gravel ( SORRY FOR MY NEW INVENTIONS OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE..... " suckage") :lol::lol:

Fish (in my experience) do ok in turbidity (so if you make a temporary mess it is generally OK) just make sure you enable your filters to keep functioning. With that in mind....... if you are intending on keeping the fish in the tank during the whole transformation, I don't think I am suitably qualified to offer you advice....YOU WILL KICK UP SOME MAJOR CRUD IN THE TANK. .....sure you can't put them somewhere else for a little while???

If you empty everything COMPLETELY it should be easy to start again with a different substrate. If you keep fish (and obviously water) in there I don't know how you w0uld g0 with changing substrate. Good luck with it all. Can't wait to see end results and please post pics as you go.

Will try to get a few pics soon

sorry f0r dodgy post... too many rums. will get bask soon in land of living

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Okay I've come up with a plan...

1. take out all the rocks

2. take out the fish i want to sell and sell them on the forum or to the LFS

3. using the money from selling the fish buy sand

that will happen on one day


4. have the sand, rocks and plants ready

5. take out the remainder fish and put them into a big container or something

6. siphon out gravel and wash tank out

7. re arrange the hardware and try to make it neater (ill expand on this later)

8. decorate and add water + fish

then ill have gravel and rocks left over which will go towards getting some new fish

because my tropheus will be the main fish, the cyps for the top half of the tank and i want maybe shellies or a fish called "Triglachromis Otostigma" which have come into brisbane a 3 or 4 months ago

as for the hardware, youll see in the picture

but i want to move the 2 atman 2000l/hr power filters to the right side of the tank,

and have the heater and canister filter in/out on the left hand side

also you can see two power heads in the top right and left of the tank for the trickle filter at the top of the tank, they cant be moved but they dont really stand out though

then to hide the hardware a bit more im going to use "val" the grass looking plant and also rocks...

but my plan is to have a side with plants, and rocks on the other side with little rock structures spread out

this is the tank currently:

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Okay so far the only fish removed are the calvus

i took out all the rocks, then the calvus and finally put some of the rocks back in so the fish have some cover

ill continue this process till the fish i dont need are gone then ill have enough money to buy the sand, washed and ready to swap out for the gravel

I will hide the heater, canister and the powerheads in the corners with the plant - val

and the two power filters will be hidden using stacked up rocks

on one side ill have a pile of smooth rocks with algae for the tropheus to graze on

the rest will be open space with some stacks of rocks to form caves

one thing i dont like is how the plastic background is reflective

so it doesnt make it look plain black

for example japes' tank is very neat and dark black

where as mine when the lights shines on it, it reflects from different angles

this is the tank now

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Hi Shon,

where are you getting your sand from?

I went to bunnings and it is slightly brown to to the sand mine at Stradbroke Island being shut down, they are getting it from up north. :(

With your B/ground, take it off and apply vaseline all over it, then place back on the tank.

Once on run a paint roller or similar object all over it till no more air pockets.

Your b/ground will now be more visible/black as it is firmly on the glass! :mrgreen:

The vaseline is easy to remove at a later date with spray and wipe.........


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This is the tank now

ive got to sell the cuckoo catfish, brichardi and a julie

then ive got to sell the rocks i have spare

and finally all the spare aquarium stuff i have like heaters, tanks etc.

BUT ive decided not to change to sand, i like how the tank is now that ive taken alot of the fish and rocks out

instead ill aim to hide the hardware using val

i think i might give my tropheus a chance for breeding

and ill aim to get more cyps and see if they breed


today my aim is to sell everything i need to sell

and if i have time, to use that trick for the background

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aha Shon, the old change is as good as a holiday policy! :):)

The gravel I have in my 8ft was "contaminated" with a bucket load of blue metal gravel, and even though it is thoroughly dispersed it reflects an (IMO) unattractive drab light-grey appearance.

The 6ft has the original black river gravel from when I purchased it several years ago (mostly black with the odd little bit of other colours). I really prefer the look of this stuff and I am gradually sneaking the gravel out of the 6ft (with water changes and my previously posted method) and intend to put it in the 8ft in place of the other stuff. Bit of a pain in the bum, cos it will be a mission with fish in both tanks :lol: Pity I didn't think of this the other week when I had totally emptied the 8ft to re-scape. :roll::roll:

Anyway, good luck with it all. Once I get mine totally finished I'll post some pics.

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well yeah its pretty cheap but i LOVE the look of the tank now

just need to get rid of the "extra" fish

so its going to be a Tang Tank only :)

I managed to try to hide the hardware a bit more, i pushed it into the corners

if i get val for cheap ill add it to cover the hardware but i think the fish might eat it all

sigh , im also waiting on the spare aquarium stuff i have laying around to be sold

But i think the new look is much better, the fish arent always hidden, its alot better suited for tropheus and theres alot more open space for the fish

whenever i get time im going to put the background on again with vaseline

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