Emergency 3500 gallon constructed in 8 hours, August 2006 after window break in 2400 gallon aquarium

Revised December 6, 2006

Copyright 2006 by Anythingfish, all photo rights reserved. 

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A quick trip to Home Depot,
10 sheets of 1/2" plywood, 24
2" by 6" by 12' timbers
The floor plan, identify the site
dimensions and level the ground.

 Four sheets of 1/2" plywood

Scrap plywood to fill the
The first/bottom row of 2" by
6" timbers are fastened to the
plywood with 2" deck screws.
The second row of 2" by 6"
are secured to the bottom row
reversing the overlap.
The deck screws are 3-1/2" #9 and set in pre-drilled holes to prevent splitting.
The next 4 timber "truss" wall support is fastened as shown but not secured to the bottom.

 This shows how the truss wall supports are positioned on blocks at designed intervals.
I put together 6 rows of truss  timbers, two secured to the bottom, the others as shown.
All truss sidewall timbers are in place and ready to be raised up into position.
All truss rows, except the bottom two, will be tied to the plywood tank walls.
With all truss rows completed & stacked, secure the top row to the plywood.
Next position row #2 about 18" down from top.  Row #3 is secured down 30" from top.
There is a formula for this but I used my best guess.
I secured the overlaps with 4 of the 3-1/2" #9 deck screws.

I secured the plywood  to the trusses with 2" screws every 12".
Next I cut 2 sheets of 4' by 8' plywood in half and added them to the wall sections.
I have about 7 hours labor into the project at this time.
The next step is adding the liner, a Home Depot or other heavy duty silver tarp.

This is one of the tarps I used which gives you an Idea of what type to get.  I have never had any problems with toxicity, but if you try these tarps you must check them out to your own satisfaction.
I took an hour or more to get the tarp into position before adding water.
Just to be on the safe side I used two tarps.
Moving 35 fish from the broken tank to the new one took 4 of us under two hours.

Arapaima, 4', anything moving
in the water is food.  This fish took hot dogs a few minutes after getting moved to the 3500 gallon aquarium.

Weighing 45# Pacu

45 pound Pacu, near 40".

Although Arapaima are notoriously difficult to move this 4' fish was netted in a rubber web (catch and release) type net and moved about 50' from its old 2400 gallon tank to its new 3500 pool.  I do not recommend you try this with your Arapaima and I doubt we will use this method again, we were just lucky.  We found that once the water level has been reduced to 18" many fish will not panic when netted in shallow water. Pacu are one of the  exceptions, once netted they drag you around and can have you on your face if not careful.

When you wade in the shallow water with the fish they quickly become friendly and allow you to pet them.

Tempered Glass, 3/16" by 32"
by 78" just happened to have 8
on hand.  These wooden timbers are also top straps, a 1/4" cable, not visible straps the 12' tank in the other direction.  At present I use a bead filter with a 4 cubic feet of media.  The flow rate is 3500 GPH.  Ammonia is just barely under control and water clarity is fair.  I tested my 9 cubic foot Koi pond filter on the 3500 gallon tank for a while and it works much better in all respects.

12' by 12' tank with Ice on top.
To maintain 75 degrees requires 1500 watts @ 32 F or below, 1000 watts @ 40 F and 500 watts above 40 F.  When adding new water I turn on 2 hot water tank heaters rated @ 5,500 watts each.  This is just enough heat to compensate for incoming water at 50 degrees with a flow rate of 300 GPH.
These 5,500 watt, 220 volt high quality heaters cost about $18. at Home Depot and have a lifetime warranty.  They must be manually switched on and off so you will have to figure out how to remember to turn it off when the new water has stopped.  Home Depot Sells 220 volt water tank switches for about $80 which can be pre-set for a short time cycle. The heaters, I operate two at a time, are easy to mount in a sump using a 1-1/2" bulkhead fitting located where you want to insert the heater.  Next thread in a 1-1/2" by 1" reducer plastic bushing.  Finally thread in the 1" threaded heater which comes with a rubber washer which seats perfectly against the bulkhead fitting.  Be sure to allow 1/2" clearance around the heater element.  Finally, you will need a 30 Amp double breaker suitable for your electrical panel. Use # 10 wire for runs up to 50 feet and # 8 wire for up to 90'.



This temporary tank was not designed to last more than a few months nor support a water depth greater than 36".

To the best of my knowledge there are no toxic chemicals used in the plastic tarps which I used to line my tank.  I have been using off-the-shelf liners such as these for the past 8 years without incident.