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Fishpondinfo > Notices from Robyn > To Tank Or Not To Tank?

Title: To Tank Or Not To Tank?
Description: Should I buy a new tank?

Robyn - March 2, 2007 03:03 PM (GMT)
I have a dilemma that's been bothering me for weeks. I don't know whether or not I should go to the aquarium store this Sunday and order a 65 (or maybe 50 or 40) gallon tank. Here is the background. After reading it, please vote in the poll. I will heavily consider the results of the poll before making my final decision. Thanks.

I currently have the following aquariums:

50 gallon in laundry room with fish
20 gallon in laundry room with fish
5 gallon in laundry room with fish

40 gallon with a 15" 13-year-old pleco and three 2-year-old goldfish ranging from two to four inches long in the family room
120 gallon tank with 3' 13-year-old sailfin lizard in family room
20 gallon tank with my turtle, Tator, 1.5 years old, over 5" long in family room

10 gallon tank in basement with my green anole and six-spotted roach colony
Half a dozen small plastic "tanks" with various insects in the basement
Out of service - 40-year-old 20 gallon high slate-bottom aquarium, 40-year-old broken 5 gallon slate-bottom aquarium, 2.5 gallon aquarium, 3 gallon acrylic aquarium

There is no more room in the laundry room or family room for any more tanks.
Those three areas are the only indoor parts of the house with cement under the floor (bottom level).

When I bought the 20 gallon tank a year ago for Tator, the plan was to move Tator to the 120 gallon after Einstein, my sailfin lizard, passed away. Tator is a red-bellied turtle male and will grow to about a foot long in a few years. Einy was sick a year ago. She hadn't eaten in half a year as she was egg bound. The vet tried all sorts of shots. We almost had her operated on but the eggs finally popped out. Einy is old and lethargic but now seems to have entered immortality (like my ancient 99.9% dead cat, Samantha; if you saw her, you wouldn't believe how she not only hangs on but functions pretty well).

Anyway, Tator is fast approaching half a foot long. He doesn't have much swimming room; he needs more room. So, what to do? If I buy a 40 gallon breeder for him, that would be pretty good. But, what if I bought a taller 65 gallon tank and exchanged that with my 40 gallon aquarium? That would mean my 15" pleco would have a tank tall enough that he could actually suck on the side and fit. The 40 gallon tank hasn't been totally redone in 8 years. Where the 20 gallon turtle tank is, there is room for a tank up to 45 inches long and 20 inches wide. The tank with the most surface area that large is the 36" 40 or 50 or 65 gallon tank (each being taller than the other). So, my best bet would be one of those tanks to improve Tator's room. Then, there's the dilemma about who will move all these tanks. I think the store kids might be willing. I'm torn as to what to do.

In addition to that, my 50 gallon tank hasn't been redone in 6 years. Plus, the Magnum 350 Pro in there is now 11 years old. I absolutely abhor the thing. I have a scar from 1996 (the week my first cat Bootsy died) still on my hand from the first time I cleaned the thing. It's painful to take apart every two weeks. When I clean the hoses, it leaks. Two weeks ago, I couldn't stop the leak and finally had to ask my mentally disabled father for help. He exploded so I kind of lost it too. I want to finally replace the filter with an Emperor 400 like I have on my 40 gallon tank. The problem is there is an inch less space behind the tank than I need for that. I'll have to empty the tank. Then, who will push it out? I doubt my father and I can even do it.

I really don't know if I should just do nothing because things are really fine or do renovations. If I renovate, it has to be now. In a month, the pond cleanings, repottings, mulching, mowing, weeding, etc. begins and things get even more out of control.

Here is a list of pros and cons if I do buy the 65 gallon tank. I appreciate your input. I asked my mother and brother and neither would say a definite yes or no if I should do it! My mother did say that Tator is fine, and I need to reduce my animals. She always says that when of the 15 non-aquatic "pets" I have, only two (Tator and the anole) are ones that I got. She had to have the 3 rabbits, 4 chickens, 2 of the cats, and Einy the lizard. She just dumped the rabbit and lizard on me one day (and hamsters and guinea pigs that are now deceased). I do all the work. The bugs are to feed those animals. Three cats showed up on their own. The aquariums and ponds are all my fault. Why did I have to start this? Anyway, the list:

1. Tator would be much happier and have room to swim (up and down). I have plans to build a good filter system as well to keep it cleaner.
2. Plecy and the goldfish would enjoy the additional room.
3. The 40 gallon (and maybe 50 gallon) would get a long overdue renovation with new filters, full cleanings, etc.

1. Say bye-bye to a week's pay. I can afford it.
2. It will take an additional 20-30 minutes to clean Tator's tank each Saturday I'm guessing.
3. I will need a step stool to clean a 65 gallon tank requiring more time.
4. I'd have to have some sort of grabbers to change the cucumber daily in Plecy's tank.
5. I'd have a year old great 20 gallon tank and stand and no where to put it! My brother and his almost 2-year-old daughter love fish but his wife detests all animals unless they're on her dinner plate. Yesterday, I was saying "fish" to my niece. She usually says it back but she said repeatedly and emphatically, "MY fish!" Ok, it's more like "feeeesh" than "fish". That didn't convince my brother to take the tank. If I had room for it, I'd move my anole into it (and get him some buddies).

By now your head is spinning trying to keep it all straight. You're probably wondering how I'm sane. Well, I'm not quite! So, if you could enter your opinion, it would help me stop obsessing about this. Do I go for a major overhaul requiring a ton of time and money or keep the status quo. I feel guilty hoping my old and extremely rare sailfin lizard will die to benefit my turtle. It's wrong. My boss is going to become suspicious so back to meaningless work I go. Sorry to have wasted your time. Thanks.

jessw931 - March 2, 2007 03:27 PM (GMT)
hey robin,just a quick post on why i voted no, you have so much to do all ready helping us poeple that need all the help we can get with the problems we have here and helping all your family and animals you have, you do not need to take on another challenge thats gonna take up more fo yuor time!! it sounds like the animals would be fine the way they are!! thanks again robin for all the help you give

bjge501 - March 2, 2007 03:45 PM (GMT)
Robyn, you have to give your plecy (& Tator) more room! I have my plecy in a 90 gallon preform, above-ground, pond on my back patio (it's very difficult to dig holes in south Florida) and I really couldn't imagine putting him in anything smaller. As far as the cucumber holder (we use zucchini), we have a big PVC tube in the middle of the pond (so Plecy can go there for more shade when he needs it) and we use a dollar store plastic coated clip and clip the zucchini on the top end of the tube. In that location, plecy actually lays on top of the tube while he/she eats on the zucchini. And since you already spend quite a bit of time attending to your pets, what's another 30 minutes?

HChen - March 2, 2007 05:58 PM (GMT)
Yes you should! You've been telling me to increase my aquarium size which I have. Now I see the need for space for all the lil'animals/fish. Will be better folr them! I'm new to this and don't know all the different equipment names/functionh but I'm learning and a bigger space would make perfect sense for all! Personally a swimming pool filled with fish would be ideal!

I once went to a restaurant in Paris where under the entire floor was an aquarium filled with Koi and other fish. The floor is of 4" glass. :)) it was NOT a seafood restaurant! It was so impressive that I never can forget!

Johnnyboy - March 2, 2007 08:19 PM (GMT)
Robyn, I can't vote! I can't decide! On one hand I say yes, give the pleco and others more room. On the other hand, I don't know how you keep up with everything you have already; including our requests. It tires me just reading. I'm afraid adding another tank will, well, for lack of terms, kill you.

We want to keep you around and healthy, Robyn; as well as all your critters that dearly love you.

Having said that; if you can promise to consolidate two tanks into one larger tank, and GET RID of the two samller tanks, then I'd say "yes". But if I know you, that won't happen; you would probably give up space in your bed before doing that.

Take care, Robyn. Thanks for everything you do. You're one amazing gal in my book.


Robyn - March 2, 2007 08:32 PM (GMT)
Wow! My message sure got a lot of people to visit the forum anyway! I'm leaning more towards getting the tank. It's going to give me more work for a short time but not long term except for maybe the turtle taking a little more time. I'm still not positive if I'm doing it. It would be nice if just one real person (not cyber person) would tell me it's a good idea.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger they say? How come I still can't lift anything over 30 pounds then? Trust me, another tank wouldn't kill me. I have never "gotten rid of" any animals. I do let many die off. As that happens, my work load goes down. If my mother didn't keep impulse buying animals, it wouldn't be too bad. Ironically, I desperately want a puppy but my mother forbids it even though she wants one too [just not any work (yeah, like I wouldn't be doing it all except house training while I was at work which she'd have to do; it's so hard to lead a life of leisure!] because my father hates animals. My 99.99% dead cat, Samantha, has kidney failure so she goes potty all over the house; that really sets him off. She can't help it though. None of this has to do with my tanks; I should get back to work! P.S. Of my critters, only my cat Gino is in the running as far as possibly feeling remote feelings of love for me. I have scars to prove the others don't like me one bit!

I did try sleeping with Gino in my bed once because he kept crying all night. I couldn't fall asleep at all. I'm a kicker when asleep, awaking to sheets on the floor. So, no animals in my bed, at least when I'm there. During the day, Gino and Dude sleep on my bed sometimes.

psmurff - March 2, 2007 11:29 PM (GMT)
Hello Robyn,

I go for a new tank !!!!!!! The bigger the area of the tank, the better you are. Have you ever tried this site for "aquariums", ( ? If you try this site do it four ways. Look for "aquariums" and "fish tank" in both categories "everything else" and "pets". You really can get some good deals on tank setups. Tanks that would be ideal for what you want are practically given away on this site. I will talk to you later about moving and what to do with my pond fish and plant etc.

Hank (Baltimore Maryland)

Leyster - March 3, 2007 12:18 AM (GMT)
Hi Newbie here but I say go for it. Get the bigger tank your animals would be grateful. Have you considered turning the leftover aquarium into a fish condo in your pond??

John - March 3, 2007 12:54 AM (GMT)
Hi Robyn,

It's funny, but my thoughts are almost identical to what Johnnyboy posts. I am voting no. You are the most important thing here. First, you have to make sure that you are saving enough time for yourself. Even if you have time for yourself, consider the curves that life will throw you. I don't know your personal situation, but I'll assume from what you just posted. You find Mr Right. You have a kid. Your parents are hospitalized. All those will take even more time. You've already noticed your time impacted as work has gotten worse. Will you be able to take care of the animals while you are taking time for yourself?

In October, I had a new baby. 2 weeks later, my mother was rushed to the hospital and needed surgery. I am her next of kin and she was there for a month. Between being constantly at the hospital and a baby who needed to be fed every 2-3 hours, I was a zombie. I was not able to take care of my two tanks at all. This was when my fish picked up something and they started dying (I posted on my zebra danio ills). OK, I was able to do massive water changes every 2 weeks and while you might say that should have been ok, I think the change of routine totally stressed them out (haphazard feedings at all different hours, etc). It wasn't fair to my fish, but nothing I could do, and most of the fish died.

As Johnnyboy says, if you truly were going to get rid of the smaller tanks, then ok. But, I also doubt that it's what you are going to do.

Hey, I'm all for giving the animals more space, but not at the risk to your health or sanity.

If you need help pushing out the tank, why not ask? If I were closer, I'd be glad to help you. Or, offer your tanks on freecycle with the caveat that they will need to help you move the tank or something like that?

Now, did I really read that you have a tank of roaches???

Good luck with the decision.

mikette - March 3, 2007 07:40 AM (GMT)
Robyn, Hi
You have helped me so much in the I have the 50 gallon tanks with 4 large gold fish,,one fancy fan tail and a plestamacous. The 2nd plestamacous, I needed to give away as My fish all our 8-12 inches each.
I wish I had bought an 80 gallon take but I did regrets.

Yes I would strongly recommend a larger tank for your Pleco. You will not regret it and you can use the old tank for fish changes or even just if a fish gets sick or if the new one breaks down.Its important have a spare tank and motor.

Good luck and what brand and where will you buy?

Take care, Mikette

SadieMay - March 3, 2007 01:28 PM (GMT)
Just my 2cents...I voted yes. Newest tank would be for the pleco, I agree it would let him get a good size stretch in ( maybe able to combine a group or two). Then go down the line to redo the tanks you have. Sounds like you still have time for the turtle, so he'd get the next biggest tank and so forth. Your smallest tanks being stored for emergency tanks. You say you'd have to stand on a step stool, is there any way your brother can help you make a stand to drop the tank lower? Not all the way to the floor, but a little more reasonable height. The clip/pvc pipe sounds like a easy enough doable feeder, or a pond gripper. I'm a firm believer in 'the older I get, the easier I want it'. So sit down and seriously think of what would be easier for you after the moving/buying part is done.

Karen1961 - March 3, 2007 10:11 PM (GMT)
I voted yes, also. I do not know alot about fish (cats are my bag) but after reading your posts, (there were no other posts when I voted) it just seems like in the long run it will make your life easier.
While I was trapping and neutering 18+ strays, and doctoring up some strays I took in some who had some major probs, (clostridium perfringins, whip, hook, chlamydia, and FeLv) plus caring for my Alzheimers mom, I still found time to do "stuff".
So in the long run, Robyn, I think it will work out for the better. How could it not. You are a wonderful person.

nuzzskee - March 5, 2007 01:14 AM (GMT)
:rolleyes: Hi Robin
I had to vote no... I know it's crazy trying to take care of so much, but somewhere we have to draw a line. I always want more.. then more means bigger tanks, space, energy and time. The biggest factor I considered is your lack of help.. It's one thing to gather friends and family for a planned expansion event, but when emergencies arise and help is nowhere near I wonder why I did this. Is there any other consolidation plan to ponder? Good luck with whatever you decide. I really appreciate all the help I've gotten from your web site and forum members. Usually I just read the forums and don't contribute. From now on, I plan to participate more.

Best regards

Robyn - March 5, 2007 05:39 PM (GMT)
It looks like there are starting to be more no's in the group. I finally got a yes from a real person, my boss who said to go for it. He normally tells me to "get rid of" my animals. I went to the aquarium store yesterday because I decided to get the tank, and it was closed! They have new owners but the web site said they would open on 3/2/07. It was 3/4/07, and the sign on the door said they'd open 3/7/07. I hate lies! I'll have to call before trying to go again.

My ideas with getting this new tank would benefit the following animals:

Plecy and the three goldfish would go from 40 to 65 gallons.
Tator the turtle would go from 20 to 40 gallons; he is the impetus for this all.
Fourmi the anole and the roaches would go from 10 to 20 gallons; I would probably get Fourmi a few buddies.
The 10 gallon would be stored.
Total gain in volume = 55 gallons (25 for Plecy, 20 for Tator, 10 for Fourmi)

The amount of time this would add to my weekly routine?
Initially probably five hours of setup spread over a month (the 40 gallon needs to be disinfected and new silicon put on the corners which are separating). This includes a total redo of the 40 and 50 gallon aquariums (new filters, airline tubing, hand wash all the gravel, clean the tank, etc.).
Then, weekly, maybe 5 minutes more for the 40 to 65 gallon tank, maybe 20 minutes for the 20 to 40 gallon tank (it may in fact take the same time since I couldn't lift the tank to the sink for a 100% cleaning), and as far as the 10 to 20 gallon tank goes, I only clean that tank once every two months. For the 10 gallon, it takes an hour because I have to sift through the litter for baby roaches. With a 20 gallon, it might take another 10 minutes unless I put in more total volume of litter. I could just make it more shallow (less litter to go through by hand little by little).

Someone asked if/why I have roaches. A sailfin lizard person told me that Einstein, my lizard, would really love some roaches. I bought a colony of them. The guy sent me a smaller colony of another species as well. The big colony with Fourmi is heated. They had a few hundred babies which I have in another container. Half the adult heated roaches have died of old age. The smaller colony only had three left which I put into the lizard cage this Saturday. So, there you go, I have one less tank, albeit a 3 gallon plastic tank. If anyone in MD wants a bunch of baby six spotted roaches, I would part with them. I kind of have grown attached to the adults. Tator the turtle ate a few roaches but now is not interested.

Of my 15 non-aquatic, non-insect, non-wild animals, six are geriatric and won't live much longer. I don't plan to replace them. It's harder to lower the number of fish aquariums because even though some fish die, they also breed (and I sometimes can't resist buying a few more but not often). My indoor fish aren't breeding recently except the rosy barbs (I don't intercede and babies survive). The two paradise fish in my 5 gallon tank are geriatric, and one has whitened eyes. They won't last much longer so I'll be putting that tank up leaving me with three aquariums for fish, three for reptiles, and six for insects. My lizard, Einstein, takes the most time for an individual animal - an hour every two weeks, a half hour on those weeks I don't do a 100% cleaning, and probably 15 minutes daily for feeding (preparing fruits, vegetables, and insects but this also goes towards other animals as well). If she ever does pass on, Tator gets her 120 gallon tank. Then, I guess Fourmi gets the 40 gallon. The 20 gallon, who knows.

Here I am fantasizing about tanks and such while my co-workers are planning on what to do with their lottery winnings. Just so you know, if we win, I'm not getting any more tanks!

wayne r - March 6, 2007 01:00 AM (GMT)
Actualy Robyn the replies on your site are real people also.

(first line of your last post) Your funny! LOL


Robyn - March 6, 2007 04:13 PM (GMT)
People that you talk to on the internet are "real people" but they don't know you. They haven't seen you, met you, know you for real. I ordered some supplies last night by calling in an order. It should have taken less than 15 minutes but took 50 minutes because the lady was slow and inept. Half the stuff I wanted is on back order. These must be more signs that I shouldn't be doing this. Once I say I am though, a weight of worry is lifted. It's the decision that drives me batty. It was the same thing when I needed a new car - should I wait longer, repair the car for a 20th time, buy a cheaper car, etc. but I finally spent my life savings on a Toyota Prius. Now, it's just my car, not so special anymore. All that worry for nothing.

EllenR - March 6, 2007 05:55 PM (GMT)
Hi Robyn,
I voted no because you already have so much on your plate and a new large tank would just add more stress. You give so much to everybody and everything...the extra time you could save on not getting another tank, maybe you could spend a couple of minutes on yourself. If I lived close to you, I could try to help you with some of your chores. I wish I could help you. You give so much!! Sometimes too much!!

swampview - March 10, 2007 11:18 PM (GMT)
Hi Robyn

I am really having a hard time deciding on which way to vote.Your internet family has all come up with some very good points.I think the main concern with everyone is your health.
If the larger tank will benefit the fish and save you time down the road then I say yes.

I do agree with Johnnyboy, I also don't think you will leave any tanks empty and that will only be more work for you.


Robyn - March 11, 2007 10:45 PM (GMT)
Wow, I came on today, and there was not a single new post! It's been a long time since that happened. No spammers even.

I bought the 65 gallon tank today, about $120 for the tank, $130 for the stand. The tank's still at the store, and the stand's not in. They sure make stands cheap now. I either have to bribe some men to help move the tanks and stands or pay some store employees $150 they want to bring the tank and stand to my house (and move the 40 gallon). The 65 gallon has the center brace. He said all 65 gallons have it but at least All-Glass tanks (which is all this store has). They used to make ones without the brace in the way. That means the Emperor 400 filter won't be in the center but off to one side which I don't like. I'll also be bumping my arms on the brace as I do on my 120 gallon (which has no water since it's for the lizard). At least the brace will hold the tank together better. My 40 gallon tank is more than a decade old, and it's starting to bow. I'm wondering if I should buy a new one for Tator or just hope this one holds up.

The store employees aren't too bright. When I asked if they could move the 40 gallon when they brought in the 65 gallon, he said, "I'm not moving a full tank." Yeah, right, I'd have him move the tank full of water!

rans0m00 - March 18, 2007 05:06 AM (GMT)
65 gal? 120? yikes I never realized how big they were till i went to buy a new tank today was thinking a 55 would be nice till i saw how long it was then backed out quickly.... decided to get a 30 gal instead about the same length as a 20 but taller... 120 gal i dont know if i have ever seen a tank that size or would even have a clue what to do with it... anyways decided i would share my new found knowledge...

Jon :ph43r:

Robyn - March 19, 2007 05:58 PM (GMT)
I set up the 65 gallon tank yesterday (3/18/07). It took 3 hours. I redid the 50 gallon the day before (4 hours). I ache all over but it's done. The tanks hadn't been redone in 8.5 years for the 40 gallon and 6 years for the 50 gallon. I hand bailed (saved 50% of water to put back) and hand washed the gravel. I still have to disinfect the 40 gallon and set it up for my turtle and then fix up his tank for my anole and roaches. I'm going to write a page on my site about the event that hopefully will be up by the night of 3/24/07. I plan to put it at Here are before and after photos of my 40 to 65 gallon swap.

3/17/07 - 40 gallon tank with 3 fantails and 15" pleco

user posted image

3/18/07 - 65 gallon setup (still a little bit cloudy). Plecy is hiding under the fake rock things on the right.

user posted image

Robyn - March 25, 2007 01:35 AM (GMT)

The new 65 gallon tank got a crack in it the day after I set it up. It didn't leak but I had to tear it all down. They refused to exchange it so I bought another tank which has not come in. So, I paid for two 65 gallon tanks and have one empty 65 gallon tank. You can read more about this fiasco on these pages:

It's obvious this was not meant to be.

Leyster - March 25, 2007 11:45 PM (GMT)
Sorry to hear of the defective tank. The pet store is not very good if they don't stand behind their product. I'd email the manufacturer of the tank and let them know about it and tell them you have pictures. Tell them also of the poor help at the store and maybe you will get a rebate or at least an apology. Is worth a try.
The manufacturer wants everyone to be happy or they go out of business when word gets around. My self I would go to the other pet store even if it is an hour away, get the tank, then tell the old fish store what they can do with the tank and let them know you will tell others about the shoddy service you received. But truly am sorry for all the work you are having to go through.

Robyn - March 26, 2007 04:36 PM (GMT)
I have talked to the manufacturer. They needed more photos which I sent so I'm waiting to hear their verdict.

AnimalLove - October 8, 2007 01:15 AM (GMT)
I'm so sorry! I hope they give you a new tank, or at least return your money!

Robyn - October 8, 2007 06:22 PM (GMT)
Nope. I bought another tank and gave away the one with the tiny knick for free. So, I lost $120. I avoid that store now but still have to go there a few times a year for things I can't get elsewhere.

tlc - October 8, 2007 10:22 PM (GMT)
It's probably too late but I thought I would post this anyway.

You said that the store would not take back the defective tank or give you any credit towards a new one, did you pay buy credit card if you don't mind me asking?? If you did then and if you still want to recover any money and are able to get the defective tank back from the "gave it away for free" person, you might be able to do a chargeback with the credit card company. I cringe when I say that chargeback word as we have had a few attempts in our business but sometimes it is an effective tool if a merchant is wrongful.

Just a thought for what it's worth.

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