540 Gallon Custom Aquarium

540 Gallon AquariumI recently built a 540 gallon aquarium.

A unique 540 gallon aquarium however. In fact, the first of its kind. I wanted to take two completely separate 130 gallon aquariums, use both of their front and back long panels, and create as single large square aquarium.

Sounds easy enough right?

These two aquariums were each 6 foot aquariums. I bought them second hand for about $1 a gallon (which is a cheap way to buy big pieces of glass!).

Now that I had my glass, it was time to put this thing together. Now obviously, I had only 4 sides. This tank was to be a tank that was 6’X6’X2’ (2’ tall). I was missing a bottom piece however. Since this tank was going to be in my basement, a 6×6’ bottom glass piece was not only going to be impossible to get down there, but also far too expensive.

So after weigh all of my options and methods to create a bottom for it, I settled on a plywood bottom. I have built plywood/glass aquariums in the past, but never like this.

Ultimately, the key to a plywood aquarium is what you water proof it with. What I water proofed it with is the focus of this article. Why? You will see why if you read on.

First and foremost, there is a plethora of products you could possibly use. Now, some of you may know who I am, while others do not. My real name is Joey Mullen. I am also known as “Uarujoey” or “The king of DIY” on YouTube. I make videos on DIY projects for my YouTube channel, which happens to be the most popular aquarium channel on YouTube.

That creates a bit of pressure for me as you can imagine… thousands would be watching this build. So I wanted to make sure I not only picked the right product, but it also had to meet, if not exceed, my expectations.

I settled on Pond Armor. Why? You already know why… You are on their website right now, almost entirely due to being referred or based on their reputation.  That’s what brought me.

What made me actually commit to using it? Well, for starters, the reviews. They are all amazing.  More importantly, the price. The price per square foot beats anything else in its class, which is hard to compare, as Pond Shield is in a class of its own.

Then there was the fact that Pond Shield is non-toxic. This is a HUGE importance. We keep pets that cost a lot of money, not to mention, we love them. We need something that is going to be safe.

The color selection Pond Shield comes in is also something unseen. The ability to choose the color I want, instead of using a color that is simply available is a HUGE plus for me. So I was able to make my decision off of these simple points alone. Now the REAL wow factors happened when I received the product and started applying it.

All I did was follow the simple and easy to read instructions that come with the product. In doing so, I was successful with it. I felt it was far easier to apply then I thought it would be.  If you can stir a stick, and paint a piece of wood… you can do this!540 Gallon Aquarium

Ok, so it was easy to use…. what else?

Once applied, I had the option to apply the next coat a short while later, or wait until the next day and sand/apply the second coat. This is a huge plus… I didn’t have to baby sit it. I basically got to pick how quickly I applied it (while following instructions)

After a short while, I had the Pond Shield applied and cured in the required thickness.

Now this was my favorite part. This stuff had a finish that looked and felt like glass! This was a HUGE plus. I could apply suction cups to it if needed, and cleaning it would be a breeze. Not to mention silicone would stick to it after I sand the area I was applying silicone to.  And by stick I mean It’s basically permanent! Perfect! I was able to simply silicone my glass panels into place!

At the end of the day there was not a single thing I didn’t like about it. Even when I tried to find some negatives in it, I couldn’t. Although I did drip some on my cement floor, I figured it would be easier to remove cured paint rather than wet (in this case), I simply let it cure which was bad idea. After curing, I couldn’t get the Pond Shield off the floor unless I took a hammer and chisel to it! I ended up removing bits of my cement floor to get it up. So adhesion I guess you could say well, don’t worry about it sticking to whatever you need it to stick to!

Will I use it again? YUP! I won’t only use it, but whenever anyone needs a recommendation on a water proofing agent for their aquarium or pond, you can bet I will be telling them all about Pond Shield.

I hope this is enough to help with your decision whether Pond Shield is right for you or not. If not the product, the customer service you will experience with Pond Armor is world class. Give your fish what they deserve, and you will not regret it!

Pond Armor certainly gets my seal of approval!

Joey Mullen…

AKA “UaruJoey”

AKA   “The King of DIY”

You can view my complete tutorial on this build on You Tube

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Ten Steps to a Thriving, Self-contained Pond

Creating a beautiful pond in your backyard with fish, a fountain, waterfalls and aquatic plants is an extremely rewarding and fulfilling hobby. By following a few fishpond guidelines, you can enjoy a private, secluded getaway that will melt away everyday stress with each passing fish. The bubbling sounds of the water running over rock invites you to relax and let out a much needed exhale.

Many requirements for proper pond maintenance are similar to that of an indoor aquarium. The main difference is that a pond is not a self-contained, artificially controlled environment like an aquarium. Instead of a see-through habitat with a lid, the pond is an interactive part of an uncontrolled environment that is affected by all of its natural surroundings. Assuming your pond is now constructed and ready to run, here are some basic tips that will keep your head well above water and your toes away from the sharks.

Ten Steps To A Thriving, Self-Contained Pond

1.) Give a lot of thought to placement when building your pond. Avoid areas where direct sunlight is the rule and not the exception. Seek out an area that is at least partially shaded by trees or other objects. If the pond is in direct sunlight, the temperature will be higher than recommended. On the other hand, if the pond NEVER gets sun then you may have a never-ending battle with algae and chemical imbalances.

2.) Aquatic plants are a NECESSITY with a pond. A pond functions its best when nature’s balance is replicated. Aside from natural beauty, aquatic plant life will control algae and also assist with oxygenating the water. No matter how diligent you are with your pond maintenance there may be the occasional algae outbreak. Fortunately there are many products available to the everyday hobbyist and they work quite well. But remember, it is wise to use these chemicals sparingly; Mother Nature always does best in the long run.

3.) Although a fish pond is a much larger body of water than an aquarium, the same rules still apply when stocking fish. In almost all scenarios, you will be stocking your pond with either goldfish or Koi, both of which can grow quite large and have a VERY long life span. Since both varieties of fish are well known for being messy eaters mechanical, chemical and biological filtrations are required. The basic idea, when choosing a variety of fish, is to pick species that have the same fin type, body shape, handicaps and impairments. For instance, a Black Moor Goldfish and a Comet Goldfish would not make good pond mates. Moors are infamous for having enormously flowing fins and an awkward style of eating due to its eyesight and round body shape. A Comet on the other hand has much better sight, is much quicker and will consume the food before the Moor will get anywhere near it. An ideal pond mate for a Koi or Goldfish would be a Rudd, Orfe, cold-water Minnows and Plecos, Tench and Stone, Hill Stream and Weather Loaches.

4.) The amount of food that is fed to your fish should be based on water temperature. During the warmer seasons your fish should be fed more often due to increased activity. Yet, during the colder months, they may not eat very much at all. Overfeeding during this time is very easy to do. Due to their inactivity in near freezing water, much of the food will go uneaten and will contaminate the pond.

5.) Goldfish and Koi can acclimate themselves to a wide range of temperatures, as long as they are gradual temperature changes. Pond fish are so durable they can even survive cold winters, as long as the pond water freezes on the surface only. This is easily accomplished by maintaining a continuous water flow and proper filtration.

6.) Not only does adequate water movement prevent freezing, but also helps oxygenate the water and aides in removing chemicals and contaminants due to the surrounding environment. By maintaining a gentle current in the pond the nutrients are evenly distributed throughout the water and prevents the water from becoming stagnant and infested with insects. This is paramount, stagnant water will become a breeding grounds for both harmful algae and disease carrying insect larvae. By placing an aesthetically pleasing waterfall or fountain in the pond not only adds a beautiful oriental-like atmosphere but also aids in the goal to create maximum water flow.

7.) As was stated earlier, the same rules apply to ponds that apply to home aquariums, which means a pond MUST be cycled as well. When a new pond is installed, the filtration system is immature. Regular ammonia, nitrite/nitrate and pH tests must be done for 4-6 weeks BEFORE any fish are added to the water. Once the cycling process is complete and the fish are added, you will still need to practice regular water testing for optimum living conditions.

8.) One of the MANY advantages of a fishpond is the regularly scheduled water changes are, for the most part, handled by everyday weather conditions. One of the few times water changes may take place is during a drought, where evaporation plays a large part in chemical imbalances. Needless to say, when water levels are low, more MUST be added to keep water volume ideal for plants and fish.

9.) Remove visible debris from the pond with a net on a regular basis. Do not let dirt, mud and rocks fall into the pond. Keep leaves and other foreign objects out by placing a rock like path or border around the pond. This will cut down on the amount of debris that could be accidentally kicked in by an admirer or neighborhood pet attempting to grab a quick snack.

10.) When all of these guidelines are utilized, a healthy growth of aquatic plants will flourish on the surface. This will provide your fish with shade from excessive heat and offer coverage from predatory birds and animals.

Creating a beautiful pond in your backyard is an extremely fulfilling hobby. Simply implement a timely maintenance schedule and you can enjoy a private, secluded getaway that will melt away everyday stress with each passing fish.

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