The great rebuild of my 55 gallon fish tank.


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Jul 8, 2024
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Hello everyone, This will hopefully show my progress on my 55 gallon fish tank rebuilding.


Above is what I started with.... A little background of this tank, I have had this 55 gallon tank for a little over 20 years now I think. It has been through quite a few set ups in that time. In the picture above you see it as it was before I started to really think of trying to redo it again. I had a water line connected to the tank that had a little valve on it so I could fill up the tank when it got low or changing out the water, problem was that it was slow to fill and 4 or 5 times I had forgotten that it was on only to come back in the room to find the tank had overflowed and soaked the stand and the carpet. :rolleyes: So the stands MDF soaked up the water and started bulging, I have kept the water level where you see it because I was afraid the whole thing would collapse. There is one very old pleco living in there still.

So here was my plan at first, get a smaller tank set up to put the pleco in so I could take my time and redo the whole thing. below is the smaller fish tank I dug out of my attic. Notice I built the stand on measurements I thought was the fish tank's size. I was wrong the tank was longer than I thought! :(

Now the tear down and cleaning of the 55 gallon can begin.

Here is what is left of my first attempt at replacing the old fluorescent bulb with the new at the time LEDs, this is an old tank! :D

Here is the 55 gallon after much scrubbing, scraping and washing.... by the way vinegar is really good at removing calcium build ups...

I built a new stand for the tank out of square mild steel tubing and clad it with plywood painted black, I trimmed the edges and top with rosewood which came out looking pretty good I think.

At this point I was just going to put the tank back on and call it a day, but I had been watching a you tube channel SerpaDesign and on it Tanner was showing all the planted tanks and other builds he was doing and I got hooked on the idea of doing something more than just putting fish in my newly cleaned up tank. I curse you Tanner!!! :lol:

Here is the start of the expanded new plan


I planned on creating a sort of half fish tank half terrarium type thing.

I made the terrarium top part out of all stainless steel so nothing would ever rust. The side panels are also stainless steel with holes punched for the various things like in and out for the filter, float lever switch, etc.



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Here is me trying to figure out the new LED light I was trying to build.



Here is a lesson about ordering metal and having it delivered to your house, The one on the left is what came in the mail the first time, not very straight anymore! Lucky for me the online metal place sent me a new one at no charge.. :cool:

Here is the current stage, top part all done, sliding glass panels installed with a plate of glass on top so the LED light never gets wet.


my attempt at planting lotus seeds in the tank

Can anyone tell me if my light isn't bright enough, the leave on the lotus plants aren't opening up but the ones in the little pond outside are all open. I calculated that the light is putting out about 5000 lumens?

Things left to do...

Switch the large canister filter from the old set up to the new tank, it is currently on the small tank keeping the pleco alive.
Move the float switch to the hole I punched for it.
Populate the tank with fish and plants.
Make the sliding doors for the stand.

Well what do you all think? Thoughts, suggestions?
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Just had an idea for you. What about a really long plant holder for terrestrial plants along the top of the water line? Can fill it with Peace lilys, Monserta, Pothos, Ferns, etc. Also makes a great filter ;) I used an egg crate in mine siliconed and spray foamed in.


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Just had an idea for you. What about a really long plant holder for terrestrial plants along the top of the water line? Can fill it with Peace lilys, Monserta, Pothos, Ferns, etc. Also makes a great filter ;) I used an egg crate in mine siliconed and spray foamed in.
Yeah I kinda had that idea too.

When I hook up the canister filter back up to the tank the output will flow up in the middle of the wood that is sticking out of the water which will have plants and dirt. you can kind of see it in the picture below. Your idea is much simpler, wish I have thought of that before doing it the way I did! ;)
That moss will love the humidity 😍 I made a drip wall in mine and within a few months was covered in moss. I really like your design the wood has been incorporated really well. Will be great to see the results in a few months time!
I added some things to my tank today!

My Sister inlaw told me about a local fish store she found, so I went there and ended up with a bunch of plants and 2 snails.

new plants...



and the snails, look at them go! eat all the algae please.


I was also talking to the guy who helped me and explained about the light I had built and he said it was probably too much light so I cut power to the two strips in the center so it should be putting out around 3000 is lumens.

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