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"Hotrodding" the Marineland 5 gallon Portrait Aquarium


Alesha
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I remembered that a couple of you have this same tank, so I thought I'd share what I'm working on and ask a few questions. I plan to set this up as a QT.

I removed the pump, tubing and filter material. Then I used a razor blade to remove the sealant on the plastic partition that has caused everyone so much trouble. It was really satisfying to get it out of there and see I was left with a nice open tank!

My questions:  Do you all use this tank with its pedestal? I've never quite understood the use of it, because it doesn't support the entire tank bottom. Is there a reason for that? If there is, I've not figured it out.

I'm concerned about the less-than-tight-fitting lid. The front leaves about a 1/2 inch gap and the back one is bigger, even with the light attached and the air hose going out there. Have any of you lost fish through those spaces?

Has anyone removed the black vinyl from the back of the tank? If so, was it difficult to get off? 

I plan to run it bare-bottom with a small sponge filter. The filter has been in another tank for several months, and I also used some water from that tank too. I plan to plant a couple of clippings from stem plants (from my aquariums) in rockwool in little mesh cups to pop in there too. 

Any other suggestions or tips with this tank? Thanks so much!

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On 9/6/2020 at 12:38 PM, akconklin said:


My questions:  Do you all use this tank with its pedestal? I've never quite understood the use of it, because it doesn't support the entire tank bottom. Is there a reason for that? If there is, I've not figured it out.

Any other suggestions or tips with this tank? Thanks so much!

I have this tank!

I didn't hot-rod it as much as you; I ended up leaving the filter pump in the back and fill that area full of foam pieces and plastic pot scrubbers. It's also a good place to hide a heater.

I found that the glass top is designed to fit only one way. If I line up the curved front of the lid with the curved front of the tank, there is no gap in front, and the black plastic piece covers most of the space in the back.

I love pedestal tanks; I have three! The pedestal is nice because it allows me to slide a towel under the "drip-edge" all around the tank prior to maintenance. Cleanup around a pedestal tank, for me, is always much faster than the regular ones.

I also found this tank's light to me inadequate. I picked up a cheap NICREW clip-on from Amazon and it is SO much more powerful.

My Portrait is planted very heavily, and houses a pea puffer.

Great little tank!

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I have this tank too!  I'm currently using it to house a single betta.   It's not ideal for a betta but he seems to be doing great.  All I did was beef up the sponges and ditch the carbon for the filter.  I'm also housing a small heater in that back compartment.  

I have mixed feelings about the lid.  I like that I can just slide it back to feed, but I'm noticing evaporation problems.  I don't change the water weekly since, with one fish, it doesn't need it.  But after two weeks the water drops significantly.  I should probably worry more about Rowan escaping, but there are a lot of floating plants at the top so I feel like jumping is unlikely (knock on wood).

Regarding the pedestal, I use it.  My understanding is that it absorbs any small irregularities of the surface where the tank sits.  Mine is sitting on a smooth counter surface but I figured better safe than sorry.  I like the way it looks too.  You could get away with some scrap yoga mat or something similar if you don't like the look of the pedestal.

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10 hours ago, Bill Smith said:

I found that the glass top is designed to fit only one way. If I line up the curved front of the lid with the curved front of the tank, there is no gap in front

Well... now I just feel like an idiot! We used this tank for months last year & never realized we had the lid on BACKWARDS! 🙄😂

Oh well... that will be the something new I learned today! And that always makes for a good day. Thank you!  And thank you,  too,  for the thoughts on the pedestal. I like the idea of catching all the drips! 

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8 hours ago, ForestJenn said:

 I have mixed feelings about the lid.  I like that I can just slide it back to feed, but I'm noticing evaporation problems.  I don't change the water weekly since, with one fish, it doesn't need it.  But after two weeks the water drops significantly.  I should probably worry more about Rowan escaping, but there are a lot of floating plants at the top so I feel like jumping is unlikely (knock on wood).

I've noticed I get more evaporation on tanks that catch a direct air flow from my a/c. I may need to move this tank if that's a problem. Thanks for mentioning it! 

I started out with lots of sponge behind that partition too. But I kept losing fish & shrimp back there. Then I covered all the openings & still kept losing shrimp. They'd crawl right up & over the wall! LoL! I plan on lots of plants too, so I hope that won't be a problem. 

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Small head's up. I had this tank for 2 months and then the pump just quit. In your hotrodding adventures, be sure to leave yourself a way to retrieve that pump. I am so glad I did NOT just dump the biorings into the compartment as I first thought I would. Because the bag didn't want to fit, I ended up threading them on fishing line, and I am SO glad I did.

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2 minutes ago, Lynze said:

Out of all the tanks I have sitting around, the 5g Marineland portrait is the only one I have sitting empty. I told myself that I was going to rip the plastic out of the back eventually. After seeing yours, I really want to get it out and use the tank again. Thank you! 👍

Lynze, all it took was a nice sharp razor blade & it popped right out!  Go for it! 😊

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Just now, Lynze said:

What are your plans for stocking? Did you ever remove the black vinyl on the back? I was looking into doing a jar type walstad tank at work, I think if the black back comes off clean, this tank would work well for that. 

I'm going to use it for a QT. I do have some tiny snails in there that came from the plants & sponge. And this little white speck was running around on the glass today. I don't have a macro lens,  so the pic is not great quality. Have no idea what that is! 

I didn't take off the vinyl, as we do prefer the back glass to be black,  but it looks like it would peel right off. And if you keep that blade handy,  it should get off anything that's being stubborn. 😉

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TBH, I do like the back compartment filters for their clean look. I was hoping this would help someone in the next question about this tank, since I know there is a video on it. But if I ever break down the tank, I might consider removing the back compartment. It has been a great foray into dirted tanks for me, with a betta and some inverts, and I debated needing a filter on this size at all. Watching how it recovers from its pumpless days will be interesting. So far just some green water...Replacement should arrive today!

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4 minutes ago, Brandy said:

I was hoping this would help someone in the next question about this tank, since I know there is a video on it. But if I ever break down the tank, I might consider removing the back compartment.

Oh, great idea, Brandy! I didn't consider that. But you're right...chances are someone will see that video and consider the tank. Hopefully, they'll see our suggestions and can make their own educated decisions. I know I've seen this same tank in my area on FB marketplace AND Craigslist, so I know it's still out there. I keep congratulating myself on the price I managed to get on it, though, so absolutely no buyer's remorse here! 😉

I'll be interested in seeing how it does without a filter too. Please do let us know! 🙂

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IMG_5322.jpg.4846df2a5debbd40925b827e4692c648.jpg

I picked this guy up for $20 used and have been working on it for a while now. It's finally cycled. What are people putting in these?

Part of me wants a nice betta... the other part wants something more unique. My original thought had been panda guppies but they're hard to find around here and I don't really want a pair. Also I am just like, full of guppies already.

Edited by RovingGinger
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I'm actually curious about what people are stocking in these as well. I pulled mine out of storage and cut the back compartment out, removed the black vinyl background (it pulled off very easily) and will be dirting and planting as soon as I get the excess silicone and hard water stains removed. 

I have 2 bettas both in their own 10 gallon tanks at home and didn't really want to get another (but will if I don't find a better option). I'm definitely interested in hearing what other people stock in this tank or tanks with a similar footprint.

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@RovingGinger and @Lynze, it looks like @Bill Smith has a pea puffer in his, and @Brandy and @ForestJenn have bettas in theirs. 🙂

I just have snails in mine, so far. And some microscopic floating, jumping thingies!

I plan to use it as a QT when we decide to stock our 20-gallon.

Can't wait to see what you all do with them! 

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I have three bumblee gobies (true freshwater) in a 10g... would this be far too small for them? I’d say they’re each a little bigger than a Pygmy Cory and they move in small darts, not a lot of sustained zooming or distance covered. I haven’t noticed much territorialness and am fairly sure all of them might be female. The flow and the vertical space may actually be pluses for them as they like to sit on the walls. 

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1 hour ago, RovingGinger said:

I have three bumblee gobies (true freshwater) in a 10g... would this be far too small for them?

I think the best fish would be tiny ambush predators like maybe a scarlet badis. Bettas, shrimp, and puffers work...and MAYBE the tiniest of schoolers. Or maybe an endler or two?  It looks like you already have the tank...so you know that it has a tiny footprint.

I would worry about anything that would USE a whole 10g, you know? The portrait shape is convenient for a desk, but fish most often move laterally. I haven't kept gobies, but you could try them and then pull them back to their current home if it doesn't work out? And report back! 🙂

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Moved the gobies this AM, so far so good as they explore and cling to walls with their little monopods. 

 

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Technically, all 3 are semi-visible in this shot...

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And here is a time lapse because let's face it they're not very fast.

This might be a dumb question but how would I know if this was too little space? The 10g felt a little large but they were too nippy to add other fish. Should I be watching behavior and nitrates as my primary metrics?

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9 minutes ago, RovingGinger said:

Should I be watching behavior and nitrates as my primary metrics?

It looks fabulous,  @RovingGinger! I hope they are happy there! 

I would guess nitrates would be an indicator if the tank was overstocked,  which I don't think it would be with only 3 fish. So, altered behavior would be a better indicator, I think. But I'm no expert. I'll be interested to see how they do! 

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