I have room for a 6x2x2' at the moment but I have concerns regarding maintaining it. Specifically;
How best to arrange an 'in the living room' drain to deal with water changes.
How to reach the glass to clean it when the tank's so wide.
Ditto hoovering the sand
How best to plumb in a sump tank purely for the purposes of water change water prep, heating mainly, pumps, tapwater feed etc.
Can a nursery tank be squeezed in underneath just in case? I don't fancy the idea of treating 100+gallons!
Could anyone pass on their experience of the problem?
Here is how I deal with it.
1) Water changes:
a) New water:
I will prep water ahead of time for some of my other tanks, I use large garbage cans (I have 3), but for this tank my tap water parameters are just fine, so I direct fill. If I want to prep the water ahead then I will prepare water in all 3 of my garbage cans for this one tank. (For example, if I want to mix rain water with the tap water)
I run a garden hose from the faucet that could be adapted (A shower head, in my case) and run a blend of hot and cold water to match the tank temperature. Matched by touch. I add dechlorinator to the water flowing into the tank.
b) Removing old water:
I run a hose out the front door and deep soak my orange tree with the water from this tank. I do similar things with the other tanks, out the nearest door or window and fertigate the fruit trees. In the case of the 125 I do have a sump, so the pump that removes the water is placed in the sump. I siphon water from the tank into the sump (See more below) and clean all the filter media in the sump while I am doing a water change.
2) Sump Plumbing:
a) Out of tank:
I use a DIY PVC self starting siphon to run the sump. Works OK as long as the intake is not blocked. Intake is at the top of the tank, so when the water drops in the tank (such as during a water change) the siphon stops. This is a safety feature intended to prevent overflow of the sump onto the floor. A drilled tank would work SO much better, though. If you really want a sump, then get a drilled tank. For water changes I will add a vinyl tube over the side of the tank and into the sump.
One pump that is rated at 300 gph @ 4' of head. There is a float switch that turns off the pump if the water level in the sump is too low. There is a ball valve so I can stop the water flow if I want to, or slow it. There is a check valve so water will not flow backward from the tank through this pipe. I turn this pump off during a water change.
3) Automatic everything:
Depends on the layout of your house. If there is access under the house to install plumbing, and you want to cut holes in the floor, then you can set up a permanent location for this tank. Water supply is OK using only cold water, as long as the flow is slow enough.
Dechlorinator is optional if the amount of water is small, less than 10% of the tank volume per day. (I have done top offs of 10% tap water which has chloramine, and the fish are OK with this.) You can also look into auto dosing the tank with dechlor as needed. A lot of planted tank people use something like this to add small, measured amounts of fertilizer daily.
Drain or outlet is more difficult, since it will probably be gravity fed. If you are willing to drain it to the garden (if you have one) this is better. If you have to drain it to a sewer system get a professional to help, do not DIY.
Have a big enough sump so there is room for filter media, and for open space for a float switch, heater and pump.
A sump and tank work together, but the water is at different heights. This opens the possibility of the water in the tank flowing down into the sump, overflowing the sump and onto the floor. Look into all the DIY methods of plumbing the sump so as to prevent this. They include a few basic concepts.
~If the water flows from near the top of the tank, then the tank can only drain down that far (an inch or two) before the siphon stops. As long as the box used for the sump is large enough to hold that much excess water the floor is safe.
Here is the math: A tank that is 6' x 2' holds 7.5 gallons of water for every inch of depth. If your intake is 2" below the top of the water then your sump needs to be able to hold 15 EXTRA gallons of water in case of a power outage, when the pump would quit. So, if your sump normally ran with about 20 gallons of water in it, I would size it at 40 gallons (more than 15 gallons extra space, just in case).
~Installing a check valve in any plumbing may stop the water from flowing backwards, but do not make that your only safety.
~If the tank is not drilled the water needs to move up and over the rim before it can flow down into the sump. DO NOT pump it in this direction. You cannot match pump rates in and out, and make sure they stay matched. Use any of several overflow boxes, siphons or similar systems to allow gravity to help the water to flow uphill over the rim. Then, as long as the water level in the tank is stable, the flow will continue. Do not size the pump in the sump too much faster than the siphon will flow. A little faster, then add a ball valve to control it is the way to go.
If the sump is going to be under the main tank then make sure you can work under there, that there is enough room for you to reach into the sump to do whatever you want.
Some people set up a tank room in another area of the house and plump the tanks there for filters, heaters and so on. Especially easy if there is space in the room behind the tank for this, just plumb through the walls.
Reaching the tank for cleaning:
Get a step ladder, and buy long tools. If you can make a step that will do the job, go for it. A step ladder might fall over if you try to move it but keep your hands over the tank to prevent drips. Gotta slide the step ladder along with your foot.
I have a small step (just a small wooden stand) that adds about 7". That does not sound like much, but it is just enough for me, and I can move this along the tank by sliding it with my feet, and it does not fall over.
My tanks are all planted, so I do not need to do any deep vacuuming. I can, if needed, though. Reaching the floor of the tank to plant new plants is a matter of getting that step or even a real step ladder. 24" deep is as deep a tank as I can reach into without a snorkel. I sometimes partially drain a tank to make it easier to work inside.
Happy fish keeping!
Many thanks - your fingers must ache. Funny how one's mind can block, I don't know how long I've struggled with cleaning my tank and not thought to get a step!
I was thinking to run an external filter fed directly by a prefilter that sticks up inside the tank. This does run the risk of a leak but no more than I have run for years and the filter is otherwise closed unlike a sump.
My thoughts on the sump were to have it purely for the purpose of bringing the water up to temp. I'm not sure what temp the water runs down to from 83F when you change 25% or so (as I tend to) but I recently decided to use warm water instead nonetheless.
I did wonder about putting a hosereel within a tank stand/cupboard as I'm pretty short of time and whilst the tanks don't suffer, the family does!
Do you use flexible or rigid pipe?
Still, I have a 125g in the living room, encased in bookcases, and the setup works pretty well.
It is a drilled tank with two overflows and the sump is under the tank, obviously. I keep the heater there with the two return pumps, and whatever extra filter media for a current issue (right now I have a phos absorbing media bag, but that is only temporary).
I have the tank set into a tile tray with drain that I had built specially for the tank to prevent damaging the hardwood floor in the living room. Had a disaster last Jan that I will never forget, which RUINED the living room carpet (think long and hard about what would happen in YOUR living room if the tank fails!!!)
I do water changes as Diana - a hose out the window onto the deck and over the side to water and fertilize the camillia and hydrangeas (they LOVE IT!!).
I also have a regular hose from the bathroom sink to the tank for refill (I just used gardening supply fittings, etc). Comparing the tank parameters to my tap water is a new twist that makes me feel good that the TDS is not too different between the two water supplies. I have just been using my hand to make sure that the inflow water "felt" about the same temp, and this has been fine (verified it recently since my TDS meter will also instant read temps and our hands apparently work pretty well as thermometers!). I am doing water changes about every five days and this is very doable with this setup.
The quality experience in my livingroom is WELL WORTH the effort! I love having the fish in my living space!
I use flexible vinyl tubing for many uses, including some siphoning while cleaning the tank. Not permanently set up.
Depends on how much pipe/hose you need, but a hose reel set up inside the cabinet would be interesting. Perhaps using a pretty small diameter tubing would work well. Fill is slow enough so the water temperature does not happen all at once, yet fast enough that you are not all day doing a water change. Look into that tightly coiled garden hose product. If it does not kink, this might be just right.
Happy fish keeping!
The tank is drilled with wet and dry weirs, water enters one end and exits the other. There will be multiple outlets at various heights, it should be breezy in there for them. I shalln't be running a sump. I shall be plumbing in mains water feeds/drain for water changes and I plan to run this water to a collecting sump to treat and then pump it back uphill to the tank.
I now need some decorative inspiration. I recall seeing a thread which I thought was called "the mother of all loach tanks" but can't find it. Is there a good centralised place to go for such inspiration? I plan to have clowns and a few silver sharks plus a flying fox or maybe two and keep it at that.
As well as the decorative inspiration, can anyone advise on stocking such a tank with clowns? Many thanks in advance.
If you check out my thread below... you will see I used the fabricated stone for my background... it will be three years this April since it has been installed and it looks great. The smaller loaches love to get into the cracks, but there has not been any adverse effects... although I presoaked them in tap water for a month with daily water changes to clean them up.
New tank now in place awaiting plumbing up. The fish are completely unaware..
Something like 187 US gallons less a bit for the weirs, plus a bit more for the filters when they go in.
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/J ... directlink
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