Buying a used Juwel Rio 400 aquarium.
I hadn’t kept fish for around 10 years; my previous tanks and equipment were sold for next to nothing prices to my local fish store, and my pride and joy collection of specimen Triggerfish and Angelfish were donated to Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay and The Deep Aquarium in Hull.
The opportunity recently came up for me to buy a second hand Juwel Rio 400 aquarium from a friend, the tank and stand would have cost over £900 new, so I jumped at the chance. The tank, equipment and resident fish stock cost me £110 in total, bargain!
Stripping out the Juwel filter system, useless waste of swimming space.
The first job was to get rid of the tropical freshwater fish with a plan to re-build and convert to Marine. My local fish store (Trimar Aquaria) gave me a credit note of £17 for the unwanted Plecos and the 5 x moody looking convict Cichlids (good riddance to them) – Now it was time to go to work as the Rio 400 was in need of some urgent repairs and modifications.
My first job was to strip out the internal filter system from the Juwel tank. A quick Google search found that to replace the Juwel filter system would cost me over £200, I have used the inbuilt Juwel filters on other tanks, but I wouldn’t say it was worth spending so much on, so I took a long sharp knife and hacked away at the silicone until the ugly black box was out. – I must say that taking out the filter box has made a vast improvement to the look of the tank, and also freed up valuable space.
Replacing the Juwel brace bars before the tank exploded.
When I picked up the tank from my friend, it had almost been emptied, and if I had seen it full of water I would have noticed the front and back glass bowing under the water pressure. After I got the tank home (and filled with water), I noticed very soon that the lighting and hood didn’t fit, and the cover flaps kept falling into the water. Somebody had removed the Juwel brace bars from the tank.
It’s easy to see why they did it, they do look terrible, and they get in the way when you are cleaning or maintaining the tank. But I assume it was done without really thinking about the consequences. The lighting rig was broken (evidently from falling into the tank, and also the top trim had started to come away at the corners, which had been covered over with silicone to avoid leakage. – (having owned Juwel tanks before, I really should have spotted that).
I found the Rio 400 Brace bars on Ebay for £28 (including postage) and they even threw in a tube of superglue to fix them in with. The replacement job was a bit of a pain as I dripped superglue down the front of the glass, and I also glued my fingers to the plastic. But the overall task was easier than anticipated.
To repair the corners of the plastic top trim, I used L-shaped brackets secured to the outside of the tank with 20mm M5 nuts and bolts, all sealed off with trusty silicone. I didn’t want to fit the brackets on the inside because the salt water would corrode the metal and poison the water.
The tank was now ready to hold water, without the fear of leaks or the sides of the tank exploding outwards.