Disclaimer: please excuse the cell phone pictures. Its all I got for photography right now. My P&S is out of batteries and not much better than my HTC One S.
This new setup has come about for a variety of reasons. I had planned on eventually converting my 55g display into a sump/refugium for my 200g tank that is sitting in my garage awaiting a house that can support the weight. I live in a rental townhouse and can't add supports to the floor to support such a large tank nor do I have room.
I had originally planned on swapping all the plants and fish out to the 45 temporarily while I fixed the 55, but the setup in the 45 looked so good I decided to leave it as my display and start working on installing baffles in the 55 to prepare if for use as my sump.
A week or so ago I noticed the center brace on my 55g DT broke and was in dire need of fixing or replacement. A couple days ago I found a tank on craigslist listed as a 60g for $65 bucks. It was the only aquarium under $100 at the time that fit my needs so I went and picked it up. I was in such a hurry I didn't notice the center brace on this was broken. I DID notice that it wasn't 60 gallons, but it was a neat form factor so I didn't care. More on size and shape to come.
Broken brace on the 55:
and was bowing pretty bad.
Measurements on the 45 are 36"w x 24"h x 12"d. It was the only option under $100 that would hold all my plants and livestock and its a pretty neat form factor. The 45 was broken in a much better place than the 55 so I ghetto fixed it with zip ties that is holding very well. In the near future I plan on doing a better fix, but it will hold for now.
A picture of the break and about halfway through scraping the hard water residue off the glass.
Here its waiting to go in its place with center brace "fixed". Zip ties did get clipped BTW.
I plan on fixing it with a much more permanent solution in the future.
She's a classic. I thoroughly inspected all the seams and they look good. Apparently this was holding water most of its life.
Now that the replacement tank is ready to be setup, the 55 needs to come down. Here is some progress. Most of the water out and mostly de-planted.
Temporary 10g holding tank that will be converted into a fry grow-out tank for some mystery fry I noticed in my tank while tearing it down.
Psuedo "sponge" filter. I have a small HOB filter for this tank, but in the past when I've used it as a QT tank I had some mystery deaths and I'm trying to rule out the possibility that it may have been due to something funky in the filter.
The 55 had sphagnum moss with a silica sand cap. When I was digging out the 55 I noticed the moss wasn't very well permeated with water. There were even some dry spots even though I thoroughly soaked it before capping with sand. In hopes that I could encourage more water into the substrate, I mixed the sand that was the cap with the moss. It came out LOOKING really good. It looked very similar in color to ADA soil that I see pictures of all the time (never used it before myself). I thought I might be able to use this as the substrate without a sand cap which I have realized is a little too bright for my liking. As soon as I added water it became obviously apparent it wouldn't work as the dirt immediately washed out of the sand. So I capped it.