New Tank - Clown Loaches

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Megan
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Location: Mackay, Qld, Australia

New Tank - Clown Loaches

Post by Megan » Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:48 am

Hi

I am in the planning stage of a new tank for my clowns.

Wondering if someone can advise on the optimum tank dimensions for a new 6 foot. Still saving, but need to have dimensions to get a price.

Also what is the best substrate. I have 2mm gravel now, is that ok or should I be going down to sand. How many clowns can I put in the 6 foot, I have 5 already.

Thanks

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redshark1
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Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, Great Britain.

Re: New Tank - Clown Loaches

Post by redshark1 » Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:17 am

Who knows what size tank Clown Loaches need to reach their potential maximum size of 12"/30cms?

My fish have reached 8" so far after 17 years in a 6' x 18" x 18" aquarium (they are still growing as proved by my continued measurements).

The advantage of this size to me is that there is ample length for the fish to swim yet I can reach all areas of the aquarium for cleaning purposes etc.

I tried a 6' x 24" x 24" aquarium and I could not reach the rear substrate at the height the aquarium attained on the cabinet (and I am a tall flexible guy).

On substrate I started with 6mm black gravel that gradually turned white, then found a more colour fast black gravel. The Clown Loaches had much brighter colours when my gravel was lighter coloured.

I have had great success with undergravel filters driven by powerheads but then I don't have plants (I was told that Clown Loaches would eat them so never planned for them).

I vacuum half the tank each week changing a third of the water which is piped straight to the drain and refilled by piping from a temperature controlled tap. Takes half an hour (or longer if you wish!). This results in water that is only 5ppm nitrate, amazingly the same as the incoming tap water. I've just been told by an environmental engineering professor on this forum that this is because the undergravel filters not only trap dirt and clear up ammonia and nitrite but also convert nitrate to nitrogen which goes into the atmosphere.

I believe that undergravel filters are inexpensive to buy and simple to maintain and despite being old fashioned should not be discounted for reasons of effectiveness because this may be their strongest feature.

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6 x Clown Loaches all twenty-seven years of age on 01.01.2021, largest 11.5", 2f4m, aquarium 6' x 18" x 18" 400 ltr = 90 uk gal = 110 US gal.

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chefkeith
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Re: New Tank - Clown Loaches

Post by chefkeith » Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:07 am

Megan- Tank size? Probably best off with a medium sized 6 foot tank (18" wide and 18 to 22" high). Larger tanks are very difficult to move, getting threw doorways, around corners, or up and down stairs.

how many clowns? That should be enough space for 10 to 12, but you will need to quarantine any new fish for a few months before adding them to the main tank.

Substrates? I think a blend of pool filter sand, pea gravel, and rounded river rocks works nicely. If you want a black substrate that's good for plants, then Eco-complete is an excellent choice.

redshark1- it's not the ugf that is lowering the nitrates. It's the anaerobic bacteria and microbes that have been colonizing in the bottom layers of the substrate. It's takes many months and years, for these diverse interconnected microbial colonies to fully develop in the substrate bed. You don't need a UGF, you just need a deep enough substrate with some undisturbed spots, gravity, and plenty of time for the colonies to develop. Almost any substrate can be used as long as it doesn't get compacted too tightly. When trying to create a mini-ecosystem like this, the use of antibiotics or any other fish medications should be avoided.

Here's an excellent article that describes what I'm talking about, but with Deep Sand Beds -
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_7/ ... 1/dsb.html

Megan
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Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2006 11:07 pm
Location: Mackay, Qld, Australia

Re: New Tank - Clown Loaches

Post by Megan » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:11 am

Thanks for the info redshark1 and chefkeith

The location for the tank in either house is on the ground floor with easy access, so no trouble about hallways, corners, or stairs. Wanting the best for the fish though.

Not too worried about not being able to reach into the tank. I had to get a replacement cabinet after we were flooded and the original (chipboard one) started to disintegrate. The guy was supposed to make me exactly the same thing but in marine ply, except he made it for a giant (cabinet too high). So I already have a step ladder that I have to use to do anything in the tank. But will prob not go over the 18" high.

Thanks for the link to the deep sand beds. It was a really interesting read. We have had marine tanks years ago, so do know a bit about the bacteria in them. My small gravel substrate does have the anaerobic bacteria - I can see it on the walls of the tank. I do not vacuum the bottom. I just swish my hands over it when I do a water change and let all the current from my filters and the clowns, yo yos, kuhlis, chain loaches and cory catfish do their thing and stir everything up. I have very little rubbish on the bottom.

Was considering the pool filter sand, will that mix with my 2mm gravel or should I just have the pool sand on its own?? Would I be better going down the track of UGF or just have the sand on the bottom. I do have plants now, they are just in the gravel - no other substrate. I have just started using plant fert tabs again. I would like to have plants in my new tank. My clowns don't mind the plants, just if they are planted too close to their cave then they re-arrange them.

Thanks again.

NancyD
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Re: New Tank - Clown Loaches

Post by NancyD » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:30 pm

I'd skip the UGF with plants in the substrate, the roots really clog the slots making the filter less effective & plants hard to move.
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chefkeith
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Re: New Tank - Clown Loaches

Post by chefkeith » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:09 am

Do you already have enough 2 mm gravel for a 6ft tank?

Megan
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Re: New Tank - Clown Loaches

Post by Megan » Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:13 pm

OK so I forget about the UGF. Thanks

2mm gravel - prob almost have enough. Most of the 4' has a good depth of the gravel (except where the loaches are - they like to scoot it around a bit). I also have some more in a bucket in my store room. I bought too much initially. It will need a good clean, but will be fine. If I am short it would only be by 1 bag I would think.

stevenallenbarnard
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Re: New Tank - Clown Loaches

Post by stevenallenbarnard » Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:59 pm

skip the gravel and use pool filter sand or a combo of both. PFS is cheap, about $10us for a 50lb bag. and easier on your clowns barbels. i currently have 26 clowns and 6 kubotai in a 72x16x24 120g along with several other different fish and they are happy, although I am thinking that an 8' 240g is in my near future.

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Vancmann
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Location: Ft Collins CO.

Re: New Tank - Clown Loaches

Post by Vancmann » Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:54 am

chefkeith wrote:redshark1- it's not the ugf that is lowering the nitrates. It's the anaerobic bacteria and microbes that have been colonizing in the bottom layers of the substrate. It's takes many months and years, for these diverse interconnected microbial colonies to fully develop in the substrate bed. You don't need a UGF, you just need a deep enough substrate with some undisturbed spots, gravity, and plenty of time for the colonies to develop. Almost any substrate can be used as long as it doesn't get compacted too tightly. When trying to create a mini-ecosystem like this, the use of antibiotics or any other fish medications should be avoided.

Here's an excellent article that describes what I'm talking about, but with Deep Sand Beds -
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_7/ ... 1/dsb.html
Hi CK, I have been thinking about using sand to make a DSB for nitrates. During research, I found lots of warnings about the accumulation of poisionous gases accumulating in the sand whick kill fish. Whats your take or anyone with a DSB take on this. In the past when I had a small gravel bed about 3" deep, I had no problems with losing fish. Don't know if I was lucky either.
120 gallon planted aquaponic tank with 10 clown loachs, first one since 1994, 1 modesta and 3 striadas.

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Vancmann
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Re: New Tank - Clown Loaches

Post by Vancmann » Mon May 02, 2011 2:40 pm

Anyone?
P.s forgot to put a question mark on last post
120 gallon planted aquaponic tank with 10 clown loachs, first one since 1994, 1 modesta and 3 striadas.

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Keith Wolcott
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Re: New Tank - Clown Loaches

Post by Keith Wolcott » Tue May 03, 2011 8:18 am

I'm curious about this too. The article argues that if done right, DSB are safe and can be a good thing since they naturally reduce nitrate. This would be interesting to try.

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Vancmann
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Re: New Tank - Clown Loaches

Post by Vancmann » Wed May 04, 2011 2:21 am

Well, I increased the depth of my sand to about 3" a month ago. I will probably use a thin rod to poke the sand and prevent any gases from building up. Just incase.
120 gallon planted aquaponic tank with 10 clown loachs, first one since 1994, 1 modesta and 3 striadas.

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chefkeith
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Re: New Tank - Clown Loaches

Post by chefkeith » Wed May 04, 2011 4:18 pm

Vancmann- Sorry, I haven't been around to see your post. When baseball season starts, I'm usually not around here much.

Gas pockets in the gravel or sand: my tanks have them. Usually when disturbed, the gas just will just bubble up and out to the surface. The gas doesn't stay in the water column for very long, so it usually doesn't cause any safety concerns. What does worry me is if the fish sleep directly on top of the sand above a gas pocket in a spot where there is little to no water movement. I try to avoid having these kind of dead spots in the water column. Those dead spots are usually underneath rocks, driftwood, or inside of small caves. I try to keep all loach caves and hiding spots open ended so that water can travel through them. PVC pipes are ideal because they are open ended and they keep the fish off of the gravel.

Sorry for hijack Megan :shock:

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Vancmann
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Re: New Tank - Clown Loaches

Post by Vancmann » Mon May 09, 2011 1:13 am

Thanks for the reply chefkeith. As always, informative. Megan, apologize for the tangent as well.
Vance
120 gallon planted aquaponic tank with 10 clown loachs, first one since 1994, 1 modesta and 3 striadas.

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