Loach Island 2.0 for the river tank

The forum for the very best information on loaches of all types. Come learn from our membership's vast experience!

Moderator: LoachForumModerators

Post Reply
User avatar
chefkeith
Posts: 2645
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 9:37 pm
Location: Detroit

Loach Island 2.0 for the river tank

Post by chefkeith » Sun Dec 07, 2008 5:51 pm

I've spent a few hours thinking about how to build a new island. The new island won't use any Styrofoam. The main materials in the plan- Cement Board, Drylok, Lightweight Concrete (Portland Cement and Perlite), PVC Pipe, Krylon Fusion Spray Paint, Driftwood, Plants, Sand, and Peat Moss.

Image

The drawing only has the basic structure of the back and the middle. I'll try to use real driftwood as part of the supporting structure in the front so that it will look as natural as possible. I have no idea how well this will work out, but it should be an improvement.

The plant box and main cave will made of a 10” PVC pipe split in half. The plant box will be sealed off on both ends and will have aquarium water pumped into it. The water will exit the plant box through a filtered overflow and the water will cascade back into the aquarium. The plant box will have a sand and peat moss substrate. The plants will get additional fertilization from the contents of 6 canister filters that I'll dump into the box when they are cleaned. I'd like to try to grow some edible plants that the fish will eat, if anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

The inside of the caves will be spray painted black. To spray paint the inside of the 6” pipe I'll have to saw that pipe in half also. This is something that I wish I did with the current island caves because having white caves look terrible. Since the main cave and the 6" cave are so large, I will putting many removable 2" PVC caves inside them. This way I'll be able to remove fish easier in the future.

The goal is to add some aesthetics and more functionality to the river tank. I want this island to look as natural as possible, like a big hollow tree trunk that split in half and has fallen into a river.

I guess I should also mention the problems with the old island.
- the bristlenose plecos and clown loaches have been nibbling on the cement and styrofoam. Hundreds of small styrofoam pieces are now floating on the surface of the water. Cleaning up this mess is becoming a constant PITA. I've already tried using epoxy putty to plug up the bad spots, but is still seems like an endless battle.
- it's really difficult to catch and remove fish when they are in the main cave. With this new design it should be much easier.
Last edited by chefkeith on Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Keith Wolcott
Posts: 720
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 1:49 pm
Location: Charleston, Illinois USA

Post by Keith Wolcott » Sun Dec 07, 2008 8:40 pm

Very nice plan! The idea for the bog plant box is fantastic.

Do you have experience with the Krylon Fusion Spray Paint over a long period of time? I was thinking of using it on white PVC, but don't want to if over time the paint comes off. I heard one report that Chinese algae eaters could actually remove it from PVC.

Diana
Posts: 4675
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:35 am
Location: Near San Franciso

Post by Diana » Sun Dec 07, 2008 8:52 pm

I have Krylon Fusion on white PVC pipe in a tank with Clown Loaches, Bichers and a Pleco (common or not has been a longstanding question), and a few other fish. The set up has only been running this summer, so it is not really a long range story, yet. However, the paint is holding very well.
I lightly sanded the PVC before painting it, using plumbers sanding cloth, just enough to take the gloss off the pipe. I sprayed it in 3 thin coats. The first was so thin that the painted pipe looked more grey than black. Each additional coat was also thin, but 3 coats did a very good job.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

User avatar
chefkeith
Posts: 2645
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 9:37 pm
Location: Detroit

Post by chefkeith » Sun Dec 07, 2008 9:25 pm

I have no experience with the Krylon Fusion underwater. I've heard mixed results. I'll look into other paints or epoxies before I start anything.

When I drew out the plans I was thinking of using bog plants, but now I'm not so sure. I'd have to grow something other than Bog plants if I want the leaves to be submerged. I'd like something that can drape down over the cave like in the drawing. They don't necessarily have to be edible plants either.

I've been researching this for a few hours, but I'm still drawing a blank at what plant I could use.

User avatar
mistergreen
Posts: 1640
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 12:41 pm
Location: Round at the ends and Hi in the middle

Post by mistergreen » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:03 am

interesting idea for the bog box. Some water loving edibles would be water crest, Bacopa monnieri, penny wort.

A slight issue with the plants though. They won't grow down into your tank... They'll most likely will grow up or float on top of the water.

andyroo
Posts: 885
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:00 am
Location: Mo-Bay, Jamiaca
Contact:

Post by andyroo » Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:00 am

Very nice.
As an extension to the theme, one could emulate the bank-wall of a flowing stream(?)
If you are doing drift wood, concrete etc... as structural elements why bother with the PVC, particularly if you have to paint it (my paranoia again) and/or use HDPE or another black/dark plastic pipe ?
Is it a linear or circular flow? If it's in the text and i missed it i apologize.

Some ideas to mull-over:
- have one of the system intakes inside and at the bottom of the bog-box to maximize water-polishing. Take 'dirty' water from the bog rather then putting cleaned water into it. This way all water going through the pump is generating/maximizing river-tank current.
- put sicks (ie 1-1.5" bamboo with hidey-holes punched in each segment) along that back wall to maintain the river-bank aesthetic... if that's the goal.

A
"I can eat 50 eggs !"

User avatar
chefkeith
Posts: 2645
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 9:37 pm
Location: Detroit

Post by chefkeith » Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:55 am

Mistergreen- Thanks. I kind of thought that that leaves wouldn't grow down, but wasn't sure. I'm thinking only plant roots will do that, which could look very natural if I can figure out how to do expose the roots. I could make part of the plant box perforated, so that roots will grow though it. I need to think about this a little more

Andyroo- I like your ideas too.
I was thinking that the PVC was a structural component that helps shape the caves and prevents the concrete from collapsing on the fish.

I think I'll get some Drylok and experiment with it, to see if it sticks to PVC. I'd like to paint the entire thing, so that everything will be one color.

I'll look into HDPE pipe if the Drylok doesn't work, That's another very good idea though. Thanks.

It's a circular flow, like in this video-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUUyfhlD5js

Here's the old drawing of Loach Island 1.0. Same concept regarding water flowing around the island.

Image

andyroo
Posts: 885
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:00 am
Location: Mo-Bay, Jamiaca
Contact:

Post by andyroo » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:46 am

This sounds like the trout and salmon/river tank in the Vancouver Aquarium from when i was kid.
If you use grasses (Bermuda?) they will grow/extend out and sink.
How about making at least one wall of the bog-trough with fibreglass/plastic bug-mesh? Roots will come through in a mat.
"I can eat 50 eggs !"

User avatar
chefkeith
Posts: 2645
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 9:37 pm
Location: Detroit

Post by chefkeith » Mon Dec 08, 2008 12:39 pm

Back to the drawing board. 10" pvc is far too expensive for this project. $96 per 10 ft. I was thinking 10" was going to be too wide anyways. I need to scale the plant box and main cave down quite a bit.

6" pvc pipe costs $28 per 10 ft.
4" pvc pipe costs $$12.60 per 10 ft.

3' x 5' sheets of cement board costs $10.55

I want to utilize the materials the best I can, but also make this island easier to move around than the one before. So now I'm thinking that I'll build 2 small islands instead of a single large one. Since the cement board comes in 3' x 5' sheets, I'm thinking it would be best to build two 3' long islands that connect together.

Lastly, I bought a quart of Drylok to see if I can paint pvc pipe with it. I'll give it try and take some pics.

User avatar
chefkeith
Posts: 2645
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 9:37 pm
Location: Detroit

Post by chefkeith » Mon Dec 08, 2008 2:02 pm

Hope this works.
This is the Drylok-
Image

To prep the pvc I sanded off the glossy layer with 220 grit sand paper.
Image

Then I used 60 grit sand paper to scuff it up real good. I scuffed it vertically and, then horizontally so that the Drylok will have plenty of unsmooth surfaces to hold onto.
Image

I scooped out a little bit of the Drylok then mixed it with some red cement coloring.

Image

Then painted it on-
Image

I'll put another coat on in 3 hours. The 2nd coat will be black.

User avatar
chefkeith
Posts: 2645
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 9:37 pm
Location: Detroit

Post by chefkeith » Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:04 pm

The 1st coat of Drylok bonded quiet well to the pvc. This might actually work.
Now the 2nd coat-
Image

I redrew the plans to utilized 4" pvc pipe and added anyroo's idea of using a false bottom on the plant box so that roots come out of it. With the false bottom idea I won't have to pump water into the plant box. I can also add Java Fern on driftwood in the front to add even more cover and naturalness. This plan is starting to shape up nicely.
Image

User avatar
Tinman
Posts: 1485
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 10:21 pm
Location: Kansas,USA

Post by Tinman » Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:05 pm

Hey CK, What about using a sheet of lexan for the wall and screwing the pipe to it , less volume used in your tank for not water stuff...

The paint is only for you so imo an unneccesary part of the tank, no chem's man......

How long a piece of big PVC do you need ? I may have some 10 "or 12" available , I will look in the laydown yard this week if the snow doesn't get to deep tommorrow. TM

User avatar
chefkeith
Posts: 2645
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 9:37 pm
Location: Detroit

Post by chefkeith » Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:44 pm

Tinman- Thanks for the ideas.

I think Drylok is safe to use. It says on the label that it is used for fish ponds and bird baths. I know people who have used it in fish tanks also.

Thanks for the offer on the pvc. I changed my mind on using 10" pvc though. 4" will work fine since I'll be cutting it in half.

Diana
Posts: 4675
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 1:35 am
Location: Near San Franciso

Post by Diana » Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:28 am

the bristlenose plecos and clown loaches have been nibbling on the cement and styrofoam.
How thick was the concrete over the Styrofoam?

I am thinking of doing this, and have a lot of caves somewhat set up, but if I have to put thicker concrete over them I will have to hollow them out more.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

User avatar
chefkeith
Posts: 2645
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2006 9:37 pm
Location: Detroit

Post by chefkeith » Tue Dec 09, 2008 10:27 am

How thick? Well that is a good question. It's been about 2 years since the build, so I had to look back in this thread to figure that out.
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/view ... &start=150

These 2 photo's reveal why the concrete was weaker or thinner in some areas. The problems 1) I did not use one single base coat. 2) I missed some spots 3) I think I only put one layer of concrete in some areas.
Image
Image

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 14 guests