View Full Version : 120 Gallon Tank as Footboard to Cedar Bed

10-31-2018, 08:15 AM
My 10 year old son has limited space in his room, so as a way of making it possible to have a large aquarium in that space, I integrated one into the cedar bed we made together. Pics of project coming soon...

Second Hand Pat
10-31-2018, 09:54 AM
Sounds intriguing Nate, looking forward to pictures!

10-31-2018, 10:11 AM
I would like to see this as well.

10-31-2018, 11:41 AM
Me three.

10-31-2018, 02:24 PM
I can't wait! The last thing I need is another tank but that is just to enticing to resist.

Paul Sabucchi
10-31-2018, 03:07 PM
Me 4!

10-31-2018, 03:20 PM
Opppsss…. missed the footboard in the Title.... disregard my previous bunk bed comment. Looking forward to see this!

10-31-2018, 10:23 PM
Im trying to add pictures from my phone and for some reason it keeps failing. Does anyone have advice for me?

10-31-2018, 10:27 PM

Here is a link to a picture of the finished bed. You can see the footboard is the cabinet and stand for the aquarium. At the point that pic was taken I was waiting for a custom aquarium build with two holes drilled in the bottom on the tank. One hole for overflow and the other for all the hoses, wires and cords.

10-31-2018, 10:30 PM

Here is another shot of the bed after the last coat of poly.

10-31-2018, 10:34 PM

The day the 120 gallon custom tank arrived. My son had to try it on for size.

10-31-2018, 10:39 PM

The tank is getting set up. A 100gpd RO system is plumbed underneath, as is a CO2 system with a 20lb cylinder, an Eheim canister filter, pH controller and temperature controller, and wires for the LED lighting. Plants came from AZ Aquatic Gardens and the drift wood came off the lake from behind the house.

10-31-2018, 10:41 PM

First residents: Cardinal Tetras and 5 small albino Bristlenose Plecos.

10-31-2018, 10:42 PM

First residents: Cardinal Tetras and 5 small albino Bristlenose Plecos.

10-31-2018, 10:46 PM

5 months after setting up my tank I've finally selected and added the discus.

10-31-2018, 10:50 PM

The two discus on the left (Giant Blues) started their spawning dance 24 hours after introducing them into their new home.

10-31-2018, 11:19 PM
well done.

11-02-2018, 08:43 PM
Today is day 3 for the discus that I purchased from Kenny. All 18 are doing well. There are 3 pairs already defending their potential nesting areas. Here is what I received from Kenny:
6 - Spotted Leopards
6 - Tiger/Carnation Turquoise
4 - Red Eagles
2 - Forest Giant Blue

I cannot say it enough, Kenny provided the highest quality discus I've ever seen and he shipped them from CA to GA and they ALL arrived safe and sound. They acclimated to my aquarium immediately. Thank you again Kenny! All is well on day three. Here are a few pictures from earlier today:


11-04-2018, 11:02 AM
So I need some advice. I caused a leak in the fitting for my overflow where the bulkhead screws together at the bottom of the tank. I tried everything I could think of to tighten the nut and although I slowed the leak there is still a drip. Does anyone have a proven method of sealing a leak like that that doesnt require breaking down the tank?

11-04-2018, 12:39 PM
I'm like Pat. I can think of nothing that might work. I would put a bucket under the leak and hope that enough tiny crap worked it's way into the leaking area to seal it. A perfectionist would drain the entire tank and start over but I'm not a perfectionist.

11-04-2018, 01:21 PM
I have used JB Weld on broken hot tub fittings. It works great and can be removed if you break it down. Just rough up the area to be sealed. mix it up, roll it up on a ball and smash onto the leak.


11-04-2018, 07:19 PM
Thank you Jeep - do you know if the JB weld will stick to a surface that is wet?

Second Hand Pat
11-04-2018, 09:21 PM
Is the leak inside the overflow? If yes, lower the water level below the teeth of the overflow, drop a couple of sponges and heater in the tank. Drain the overflow and properly fix the drip.

11-04-2018, 10:12 PM
Hi Second Hand Pat - Unfortunately I cannot do as you suggested because the overflow is the pipe coming up from the bulkhead. At this point I have the situation contained, albeit not properly fixed, because I cannot figure out how to get any more pressure than what I've already applied in tightening the nut on the bulkhead.

11-04-2018, 10:41 PM
I have used JB Weld on broken hot tub fittings. It works great and can be removed if you break it down. Just rough up the area to be sealed. mix it up, roll it up on a ball and smash onto the leak.


This product doesn't say that it's recommended for glass and rubber and if the gasket is leaking I wouldn't.

11-05-2018, 05:19 PM
I have used JB Weld on broken hot tub fittings. It works great and can be removed if you break it down. Just rough up the area to be sealed. mix it up, roll it up on a ball and smash onto the leak.


I've done this with a waterproof jb weld. However, it was used on my plastic 55g drum. I cannot advise that it would work on glass.

11-05-2018, 08:36 PM
JB is formulated specifically for wet conditions, but after double checking what the others said, I don't know if is would be a good solution after all. It works best when you can scuff up the surface and it may not work on glass. What does everyone think about Flex Seal tape?

11-06-2018, 12:45 AM
I've never used or seen it in person, but from what I understand it is a silicone based. The trick would be getting the surface clean. The best place to apply it being inside the tank so that you you have water pressure working with you and not against may prove difficult.
I'd add, check for toxicity. . .

11-08-2018, 11:07 PM
Thank you all for offering advice. At this point the leak is completely stopped so I'm assuming as long as I don't disturb the seal again all will be well. By way of update, from the 18 discus I bought from Kenny just over a week ago, I now have a third pair that spawned.

11-09-2018, 09:01 AM
What a relief that must be. I know that even a small drip must have been driving you nuts after all the hard, beautiful work you did.

11-09-2018, 10:34 AM
You got lucky... That's great!
There's a lot of inexpensive water/leak monitors available these days.
It's nice to have a few set up, especially in such a nice setup as yours.

11-09-2018, 11:15 AM
I will check into a monitor as you suggest. Having a dripping ceiling below the tank is probably not the best way to discover a leak!

11-09-2018, 11:58 AM
You can get them any Loews or similar place. They make a sound loud enough to wake the dead.

11-09-2018, 01:46 PM
I've sometimes found that over-tightened bulkheads leak worse. They compress the gasket to an extent that they buckle and no longer form a good seal. Sometimes very slightly loosening can help them seal especially if was tightened by a person that has the hands-on ability to build a custom cedar bed.

11-09-2018, 01:51 PM
I've sometimes found that over-tightened bulkheads leak worse. They compress the gasket to an extent that they buckle and no longer form a good seal. Sometimes very slightly loosening can help them seal especially if was tightened by a person that has the hands-on ability to build a custom cedar bed.

I concur :-D
Though at this point I'd leave well enough alone.

11-10-2018, 08:10 PM
Too funny:) No, despite what you might think, there is no way for me to get enough mechanical advantage to crush the thicm rubber gasket with the tight space I'm forced to work within. Since its been 3 or 4 days without any dripping I'm calling it fixed. Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.

11-10-2018, 08:16 PM
Good deal!!! If it starts again, do you have access from straight down? From your photo's it looks like it's solid under the tank with zero access, or did you drill a hole? If there's any access from underneath, maybe a basin wrench could work???

11-10-2018, 08:37 PM
Yes jeep, I can access it from underneath. On another thread it was suggested I use a strap wrench. If I have any more issues I will give that a try. In the next few days ill post pictures of the cabinet so you all can see clearly whats going on under there.

11-10-2018, 08:46 PM
Here is a brief update on the discus:
-18 discus - 1.5 weeks in the tank
-3 pairs formed.
-2 of the three pairs are on their second brood after eating their first batch of eggs/wigglers.
-3rd pair ate their eggs on day 3. About to lay again at any moment.
-2 of my tiger turqs are dark in color, hide, but are eager to eat. Any explanations for this? Are they simply low on the pecking order? I'll be curious to see how they respond when I move them to the 120 gal grow out tank.
-Plan on moving the 12 unpaired discus to the 120 gal grow out tank in a week or so.

11-11-2018, 09:09 PM
Since I have been using RO water my pH is slowly dropping. Noted it was 5.4 today. My plan is to add some declorinated aged tap water (pH 8.2) in small doses (1 gal) each time I perform a water change. What do you all think? What would you do in my situation?

11-11-2018, 09:24 PM
What was your pH before you started adding RO? How fast has the pH been dropping. Please tell us the kH in the tank and from your tap.

11-12-2018, 10:45 PM
Hi Liz - The pH of the RO water is 6.8, the tap water pH is just over 8. Lets see...before adding the discus the pH was 6.5, so over a 2 week period it has fallen to 5.5. I went to test kH and discovered my testing solution tipped over and all spilled out. Bummer. My guess is the kH in the tap is pretty high as it is quite alkaline and the tank kH is next to nothing.

11-12-2018, 10:58 PM
I've been feeding the discus frozen Hikari blood worms since Kenny was feeding them the same during their quarantine period with him. I decided to switch them over to a more balanced diet, so 5 days ago I researched various recipes and ended up making the following:

1.5 lbs fresh and some frozen salmon
.5 lbs fresh tuna
24 medium raw peeled and cleaned shrimp
2/3 cup Tetra cichlid pellets (crushed)
2/3 cup flake food
2/3 cup freeze dried blood worms
6 Tbs boiled frozen peas (crushed and strained to separate the shells)
6 cloves garlic minced and crushed
3 tsp Agar Agar
1 tsp vitamin powder

I used a meat grinder for the fish and shrimp, then mixed everything else together by hand. After putting the right amount in a 1 gal freezer ziplock bag, I used a rolling pin to flatten it out thin before freezing.

At each feeding I introduced a small amount of the new food with their beloved frozen blood worms. On day one they pecked at it and totally rejected the new recipe. On day 2 one discus ate a tiny amount. On day three, they would eat from the new food, but didn't seem to care for it as long as there were enough blood worms to consume. On day 4 I only fed the new food - at first the just looked at it in bewilderment. Then one discus pecked at it and a full on feeding frenzy ensued.

Second Hand Pat
11-13-2018, 08:15 AM
That is great news Nate :) There is nothing better then healthy hungry discus. :D

11-14-2018, 09:06 PM
My Red Eagle/Tiger&Carnation Turq pair ate all their wigglers by day 2. My Giant Blue pair spawned for the third time today. All eating well, pH is hanging out at 5.3-5.4.

11-14-2018, 09:30 PM
What is your WC schedule? Are you changing water with 100% RO? With such a low pH you might be sitting on the cliff of a pH crash.

11-15-2018, 10:17 PM
Hi James - That is exactly what I'm worried about. Today I started adding dechlorinated tap water. Here is what I've been doing and what I plan to do:

Since the startup of this tank 5 months ago, my water changes have been daily at 50% with RO water and I have been adding back in minerals for plant growth 2 out of three days. Up until I added the 18 discus 2.5 weeks ago the pH has been 6.5. Since then the pH has fallen to 5.4. As of today I have stared adding dechlorinated tap water in the amount of 2 cups her feeding. This may not be enough, but I am starting here. My tap water is around 8.2 pH. What would you suggest at this point to avoid a pH crash?

11-15-2018, 10:25 PM
What is your kH? It will give me a better idea of what to advise you to do. Since you don't want to raise fry you can go with harder water. I would start doing WC with 1/2 aged tap and 1/2 with RO and quit the mineral ferts until we fix your pH problem. What are the ingredients in that liquid fertilizer?

11-15-2018, 10:44 PM
i will be able to test the kH on Saturday of both the tank water and tap water and then I will post results. I do actually want to raise fry. In the near future I will be building breeder tanks. Next week I plan to move the 12 unpaired discus to an unplanted 125 gallon tank. The liquid fertilizer I use is the GLA PPS-Pro Fert Pack system. Are you already familiar with this system?

11-19-2018, 12:58 PM
PPS-Pro shouldn't cause the pH crash, it also provides an appropriate mixture of salts. Find out your KH and bump it up to around 2-4, gradually, over a few weeks.

A few points on how I would approach this problem:
Go slowly
Start with 1 teaspoon of baking soda (NaHCO3, Arm and Hammer brand) in your WC with RO water
Check the results
Do this 3-4 times to get a baseline where you stabilize
Consider adding 2 teaspoons
Repeat until you get to a KH you are comfortable with.

I can't stress enough how much you need to remain consistent. Wildly changing water parameters is what kills discus. The fish are fine right now but you might want to take a few steps back off of the cliff (pH crash). Don't run blindly the other way.

Do you use a whole-home water softener? If yes then you can likely simplify this by mixing non-softened tap and RO together. Again do it slowly like you are now. Start with 10% tap in your WC and bring it up until you have a KH you are comfortable with.

11-19-2018, 10:28 PM
I don't recommend Baking soda for raising kH. It't too short acting. Most folks used crushed coral in a media bag. It's best for helping maintain water stability.

11-21-2018, 11:36 AM
Crushed coral works too, though it's effect will depend on particle size, water movement and quantity.

11-24-2018, 10:46 PM
James - Thank you for the advice. Liz and I went back and forth a few times in PM and her advice motivated a few changes to my setup. I tested my tap water before and after letting it age and was pleasantly surprised to find the aged tap water was perfect - pH 6.5 and just the right amount of kH. Since I had a 275 gallon water storage tank on hand, I decided to get it up and running. I have a pH digital monitor so I've been adding the aged water to the tank until the pH bumps up .2 then I finish the water change with RO water. I will work the pH back up to 6.5 slowly over the next few weeks. So far so good and never have the discus looked stressed or upset with their tank. It became apparent I needed to do something to keep the pH from its slow downhill slide. That problem seems to be remedied.

Thanks to you all for sharing your advice, it has all been most appreciated!

The 275 Gallon Storage Tank - The water inlet is set up so it auto shuts off. There are 4 - 300+ watt heaters and 2 air lines inside the tank. It took 6 hours to fill the tank with my 1/4" feeder line.

The discharge feeds into a 1/2 hp pump that reduces down into my 1/4" supply line. My tank is 25' above the pump so I needed something capable to creating enough head pressure and running the water through the high friction 1/4" line which was already in place from my original install for the RO filter which is housed in the cabinet under the 120 gal tank.

A few valves allow me to fill the storage tank and switch between the RO supply and the aged tap water supply.

11-24-2018, 10:58 PM
In the cabinet you can see more valves to direct water between the RO filter and aged tap water but also to change between filling the 120 and the 125 gallon tanks.

In the middle of the cabinet is my 20lb CO2 cylinder, high pressure extension hose (very hard to find), regulator, bubble counter and pH controller. Because I am bringing the pH back up and do not want to stress the fish, I set the pH controller .2 higher than what it currently at when I do a water change and then set the CO2 to turn on if the pH happens to run higher than that .2 increase so as to keep the pH from running any higher. So far I've been able to monitor the pH and the CO2 hasn't had to kick on. I will work CO2 back into the tank for plant growth once I get the pH up to 6.5 AND the 12 unpaired discus get moved to the 125 gallon tank.


The canister filter and temp controller sit on the left side. The cabinet space is only half the width of the aquarium so I could build a book shelf over the mattress on the other side of the tank. This makes everything super crowded under the tank, but it works.

11-24-2018, 11:03 PM
I believe this is the 4th attempt for this pair. On attempt 2 they had wigglers. Then the 3rd spawn was small and they ate them all rather quickly. This spawn is larger and they are guarding them much more aggressively.


11-24-2018, 11:07 PM






11-25-2018, 03:00 AM
Tank and fish look gr8 Nate.

Marc Davis
11-25-2018, 03:17 AM
Maturing very well

11-25-2018, 04:39 AM
Wow thatís some system !!!

The fish will love the ph and when itís all dialled in it will be so simple to maintain and manage the water changes !

Without the help on here I donít think any of us would have a chance at getting the fish to succeed!

Great thread

11-26-2018, 04:11 PM
I came home from work this morning to discover my Red Eagle x HD Forrest Giant Blue pair are now parenting 75 wigglers. AND there is a new pair - a beautiful pair of Red Eagles.


11-26-2018, 04:14 PM
Thank you Mick - It is so true; this community has been a huge help and there seems to be no end to the learning curve.

11-26-2018, 08:38 PM

Red Eagles that paired up today. No spawn yet, but they are getting ready.

11-26-2018, 08:41 PM




A few close up shots of the wigglers. Counted over 75. Will they make it to the next stage?? The parents are making progress!

11-26-2018, 08:43 PM


11-26-2018, 08:44 PM
Nate, every time you post I'm afraid that you came home to a leak! I've had very small leaks heal themselves but it's not the normal thing. You are doing the right thing with your water. Your tap water is to die for. Congrats on the new pair. BTW, your tank is drop dead gorgeous.

11-26-2018, 09:55 PM
Thank you Liz - The leak was scary! Thankfully it is completely leak free. There are now 3 measures in place to mitigate catastrophic outcomes - the drain pipe is no longer attached to the main drain so I cannot apply any pressure against the seal if I happen to bump or need to work on the main drain piping - the main drain has an oversized fitting attached under the tank overflow drain, so any leaks that may form will hopefully run down the drain pipe into the main drain, -and third, I now have water leak monitors set up in several places under the cabnet on the floor to warn of major leaks.

Was able to bring the pH up to 5.5 today. Shooting for 5.8 by late tomorrow.

12-01-2018, 08:27 PM
After slowly ratcheting up the pH over the past week with water changes, I was able to get the pH in my 120 and 125 that same. Since I watched the cardinal tetras in my community 120 eat all the wigglers from my Red Eagle x HB Giant Blue Turq pair, I decided to move the 4 pairs into the 125. Perhaps the 4 pairs, alone in their own tank, will spawn undisturbed and succeed at raising fry. In the mean time, I've got plans to build breeder tanks to provide the pairs optimum opportunity for success.

12-01-2018, 08:41 PM
You could have just started changing water with aged tap, you know, but you were more comfortable doing it the long hard way. That's OK.

12-01-2018, 10:53 PM
Get at it Nate, lol :)

12-08-2018, 11:00 PM
A week after introducing the 4 pairs into the 125 there have been three spawns. No wigglers yet, but there is success in that the discus are all happy, eating well and have taken to defending their own spawning areas in the tank. A few days ago I acquired 1/2" acrylic, so this coming week I plan to construct 4 breeder tanks. Here are a few shots of the 125 tank...

12-08-2018, 11:29 PM
Looks great mate! Love the hard scape. Beautiful fish!!

12-25-2018, 12:39 PM
Merry Christmas to all!

By way of update - All is well in the 120 and 125. Three of the four pairs in the 125 are spawning regularly, but no wigglers yet. The pump I used to lift the water from the basement 275 gal storage tank to the second floor was too loud and inefficient so I replaced it with a BlueLine 70 HD. In addition I ran 1" PVC up to the second floor from the basement to increase the overall efficiency of the system. I also replaced a 1/4" supply to the storage tank with a 1/2" supply line - went from a 6 hour fill up to 1:20. The old pump from Harbor Freight was inexpensive but loud and weak. It took 6 hours to pump the 275 gallons up to the second floor tanks. With the Blueline 70 the noise level is insignificant and it can pump 275 gallons to the second floor tanks in less than 2 hours - I actually recycle most of the water back through the storage tank because I don't want to run more than 275 gallons in 2 hours into the 120 and 125 gallon tanks.

The breeder tanks are a step closer. All the pieces for 4 breeder tanks are cut out. Just need to build the jigs and cement them together. The 1/2" acrylic was easy to cut. Achieved smooth edges using a new saw blade on my table saw and didn't experience any chipping or saw marking on the cut edges. Looking forward to starting the "glue" up tomorrow.