Bigpow's 240g Loach Tank

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bigpow
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:50 am

Bigpow's 240g Loach Tank

Post by bigpow » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:40 pm

First of all, my apologies for posting a new topic on a subject that's probably been discussed a thousand times here at LOL.
I tried my best searching for "large loach tank", "240gallon tank", "8ft tank" and only found a handful posts.

I'm going to start a build on a 240g loach only tank.
This is my grail tank, 8x2x2 ft, acrylic - found locally (dream came true).
For me, this is THE tank.

If you could point me to specific posts with similar topics, I'd appreciate that. Or any direct feedback, are certainly appreciate as well.

A little background about myself;
I've MTS syndrome. I've a 10g, 14g, 20g, 50g, 55g, 125g and soon, 240g. I've never had to do hard plumbing on any of my previous builds.

This tank is a long overdue tank for my clown loaches, 8 of them have been with me for the last 5 years inside a 55g (too small, I know). I kept postponing this build due to life circumstances, in fact, at some point I almost gave them up. But life got better, and now I want to keep my promise to these fish and give them a proper place.

I know nothing about hard plumbing and I would really like to learn more about it since I believe this is the only viable option for running a tank this size. Please let me know if I could get away with soft-plumbing, since I'd be more comfortable with that.

Here's what I'm currently considering:
- Inside the tank stand:
2x Fluval FX5 canister filters
2x Hydor Eth-300 in-line heaters
1x Aqua UV 15W
1x Fluidized Bed Filter
2x ViaAqua 3600 pumps, 1 for the UV, 1 for the FB
- Inside the tank:
2x ViaAqua 3600 pumps + pre-filters + venturi, across the tank

The tank doesn't have any overflow or holes drilled. So I'll have to run the conventional ways of intake and exhaust pipes/hoses into the tank. I would love to have some sort of intake or exhaust manifold design, so that it would only have 1 (large) intake and 1 (large) exhaust. I want to keep it simple and low maintenance if possible.

The intention is to set all intakes (for filter and powerheads) on one side of the tank, and all exhaust on the other side. This directional flow is to match that of the powerhead/pumps placed inside the tank.

My experience with running ViaAqua pumps externally (in-line) outside the tank had been a mixed between success (for UV) and failure (for FB). For some reason, it would always leaked on my no matter how I position it. Please let me know if you know a better (and not too pricey) water pump.

Please kindly give me your feedback and advice. I'd love to hear personal experiences with a tank this size, especially when it comes to which equipments/setup to go - in terms of cost vs maintenance.

I'll get the tank sometime next week. It's going to be a long project, since I'm going to refinish the tank stand and probably have to polish the tank (acrylic). That will also buy me more time (to save some money for the equipments).

Thanks in advance for your kind help.

Oh, and I will be documenting the build as a journal here at LOL for more feedback & guidance.
Last edited by bigpow on Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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chefkeith
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Location: Detroit

Post by chefkeith » Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:54 pm

I'll help later tonight. Don't have time right now.

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

Post by chefkeith » Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:40 pm

1st congrats on the new tank. It makes me very happy to see clown loaches getting treated like royalty. They are a wonderful fish to design an aquarium around. I also love seeing how other people set-up there loach tanks. It's inspiring for everyone around.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with just using canister filters, like the FX5's. They are usually easy to set-up and are very reliable. The only real drawback is that they are quite expensive, but IMO they are worth every penny spent. The engineering that has went into the newest model canisters is amazing.

Fluidized bed filters usually aren't used in freshwater tanks. I really don't know much about them though.

If you're looking for a DIY filter project you could build a wet/dry trickle filter with a sump. DIY projects aren't always the most economical though. If you build something you don't like, sometimes you end up spending more money and effort just trying to replace it. Much matters on your own DIY and repair skills. I've seen hundreds of ways to build wet/dry filters and sumps. You can spend a fortune on them with electronics or you can go cheap and simple, yet just as effective. There are some nice economical designs for these at other fish websites, such as -
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=30
http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forum ... y.php?f=30

Many of these are built with easily to find supplies, like PVC pipe, rubbermaid storage containers, and pot scrubbers. Some are built with just spare parts that a long time fish keeper would have laying around.

Here's an example of one-
http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/diy_wet_dry.php

What pumps works best is debatable. Usually you get what you pay for.

For water flow, setting up the intakes on one end of the tank and the spray bars on the other doesn't always work out as well as it sounds. I think the more intakes there are around the tank the more effective the filters will be. This way debris doesn't have to travel as far to get filtered out.

The same thing goes for the spray bars. I have spray bars located everywhere, at both ends and in the middle. It's really something you have to experiment with and much will depend on how the tank is aquascaped with driftwood, plants, and other decor.

I've never owned a good heater, so I'm interested in how well the in line Hydor's work.

A 15 watt UV sterilizer with a ViaAqua 3600 pump probably isn't going to do much good. The flow rate from the pump would be way too high for that UV to be effective. A 15w UV only needs a flow rate of 75 - 220 gph.
Here's a chart for UV wattage and flow rates-
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/artic ... 23&aid=440
I use a 36 watt turbo twist UV and have about 400 GPH of water flowing through it.


I'm looking forward to seeing this thread grow.

bigpow
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:50 am

Thanks chefkeith

Post by bigpow » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:02 am

Really happy to receive your advice, chefkeith.

Filter:
I'm actually an Eheim fan. I'm a bit worried to go with Fluval, but I believe 2 of those Fluval FX5 monsters should be sufficient. Otherwise, I'd have to go with something like 3 or 4 Eheim Pro 3, and have to skip lunch for several months.

The Fluidized Bed Filter is just something I already have, never really took the time to run it since like UV, it requires certain GPH & has to be placed after a mechanical filter. From what I understand, it acts like a biological filter turbo booster.

Heater:
I used to run Ebo-Jager (Eheim) heaters <best conventional heater>, but I switched to Hydor Eth-300 because IMO, it's a far more efficient design.

UV:
AquaUV 15W is also something I already have, was used in the 55g loach tank earlier, in-line with an Eheim 2026.
It's true, it won't be sufficient for a 240g.
I will either get a larger unit, or get another 15W (for redundancy).
UV can't be run during cycling anyway, so that'll buy me some time.


I looked at the links you added and DIY filter/sump is probably not something I'm able to do. I almost always end up spending more with DIY, due to my lack of knowledge. My 1st DIY of anything is almost always a throw-away/redo :)


Thanks for sharing your experience with the intake/spray bar positioning.
Multiple intakes/spraybars will be tricky since I'm really bad with hard plumbing :(
Hard plumbing and drilling fish tank = my worst nightmares

bigpow
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:50 am

240G is in the house

Post by bigpow » Sat Aug 01, 2009 4:37 pm

Tank moving was a big success!

The instant I lifted the tank (with 2 other strongmen), was the moment I realized that this tank will never leave the house forever.

Since it's too large/heavy to move around, I'll be doing all the cleaning and rework on the tank & stand inside the house :(

Really tired, but also very happy.

Stage 1 completed.

raving_wayne
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Location: kent UK

Post by raving_wayne » Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:50 pm

the fluidised bed filter acts as a sole biofilter works amazingly once established and will breakdown any crap that does go through it, sand is extremely tough against particals of food plants and such, well worth putting a fluid bed on any tank

rave
If Life is simple...... Why are there so many clever people about?!!!

bigpow
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:50 am

FBF Q

Post by bigpow » Sun Aug 02, 2009 12:53 am

Rave, thanks for the advice.

Just want to confirm that FB should be installed after the pump, right?
Pump pushing water into FB, and output goes back to tank.

bigpow
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:50 am

Early pics

Post by bigpow » Sun Aug 02, 2009 7:15 pm

When it first came:
Image

After a day of scrubbing:
Image

bigpow
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:50 am

Beating a dead horse - change of plan

Post by bigpow » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:37 pm

Tank has been cleaned, buffed and polished.
I'm unable to do the inside wall since it's too tall and I couldn't get inside.

I think I'm going to scrap the previous plan;
Instead of 2x FX5, 2x Hydor heater and river tank manifolds + 2 ViaAqua pumps, I'm to get:
- 1x Eheim 2080 Thermo
- 1x Hydor Koralia 4

I think this will be lot simpler/easier to maintain and should do the perform similarly.

What do you think?
Any experience with Eheim 2080 Thermo and/or Hydor Koralia 4?


Substrate will be 3M ColorQuartz Black S-grade sand, some smooth river rocks and drift woods.

I'm going to get a couple of 36" retrofit kit for the lighting. Any suggestions?

irab
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:35 am
Location: Queen Creek , Az

Post by irab » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:03 pm

Sounds like a good plan I also have a 240 gallon loach tank. For filters I went with a Fx5,Eheim 2260,Aquaclear110 and Emperor 400. I dont have any powerheads for heaters I have two 300 watt heaters and everything seems fine.
240 Gallon Tank
22 Clown Loaches 2-7''
5 Red Fin Botia Loaches 3-6''
2 Fluval FX5's

BotiaMaximus
Posts: 536
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:54 pm
Location: St. Pete, Florida

Post by BotiaMaximus » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:06 pm

Nice looking tank! Exactly what I'm looking for myself.

I don't think I would back down on the 2 FX5's though or at least not that GPH. I'd be looking at at least 2500 GP moving around in a tank that size.

My personal theory on the hydor pumps and powerheads is that if you are going to pay to pump water you might as well filter it too.

Here is a new DIY filter prototype that I am working on for a high volume 0 bypass canister type filter that will provide hopefully excellent particulate filtration/biological to a lesser degree/ and with carbon cartridges a little chemical also.

Image

This is one "GE Smartwater" whole house filter with the 30 micron Poly cartridge in it - these cartridges are about $3.50 ea. You can also get 5 micron Carbon ones for about $7 a piece. Those are python fittings on the filter, but standard stuff will also fit.

This test model with the little pump is moving just over 100 GPH. But a bigger pump and more of these filters in a row could provide some good filtration options. The housings are less than $30 each.

Just thought I'd throw this out there as a possible lower cost way to big filtration. I'm trying to fine tune this concept in anticipation of getting a 180 or better size tank later this year.
"Long May You Loach"

irab
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:35 am
Location: Queen Creek , Az

Post by irab » Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:32 pm

I like that looks like a good idea for the price
240 Gallon Tank
22 Clown Loaches 2-7''
5 Red Fin Botia Loaches 3-6''
2 Fluval FX5's

bigpow
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:50 am

thanks for the ideas

Post by bigpow » Tue Aug 11, 2009 12:48 am

Thanks for the sound advice and idea.
I'm honestly going to consider them.

From that detailed comparison of 2080 and FX5 at cichlid forum, I'm convinced that the new Eheim 2080 Thermo should perform at least similar to FX5 (if not better). The Cliff's note about the comparison was that the Eheim was a better biological filter and the FX5 was a better mechanical filter.

I personally don't think any filter that has a lot of foams and small particle filtration will be useful to me, because I know I'm lazy :)


As for the Koralia, I've been hearing nothing but good things from the user base. The modifications on Hydor K4 with MJ2000 impeller look really promising. Even un-modified, Hydor K are suppose to be very efficient.

I personally have used (and still using) Aquaclear and ViaAqua (cheap brands) powerheads/pumps and I never really like them (other than their price point) due to their poor efficiency (GPH vs watt) and inherent noise.

I'll sleep on it some more on these since I've some time.

Right now, I'm re-doing the tank stand. Once that's done, then I'll pull the trigger on the equipments (filter/heater, pumps, lights, etc).

BotiaMaximus
Posts: 536
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:54 pm
Location: St. Pete, Florida

Post by BotiaMaximus » Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:04 am

I definitely have my own problems with laziness, such as laundry and mowing the lawn. However I have seriously Obsessive Compulsive Disorder on the water clarity. :roll: I start to freak if I can see particulate floating around.

I read the comparison on the Fluval and Eheim and was considering getting an FX5 for my 75 gallon because of the mechanical ability, but both filters look like a chore to service compared to these spin on house filters. These housings have a 3-way valve built in so to change the filter you just switch to bypass, change the filter and switch it back online again.

Maybe for my next tank I would go with one of the Eheims for the biological and these cartridge types for mechanical.
"Long May You Loach"

bigpow
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:50 am

backflush system

Post by bigpow » Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:04 am

I think what would be ideal for mechanical filters is a backflush cleaning.
I saw a video of such filter on youtube sometime ago, where cleaning the filter is only a matter of hooking a hose and reversing the filter flow, and all the cruds just flow out.

I tried to find the same video, but ran into something else:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yK7y0dKv00
Now that's a hard work!

^The fish would probably get really stressed out after every cleaning, unless they're male fish ;)

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