Help me build the perfect loach tank

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loachnoob
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Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:37 pm

Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by loachnoob » Sat May 05, 2018 7:42 pm

Hi all, as many of you may or may not know my existing 55 gallon really belongs to my son and I've been dealing with an ich issue for about a month now. That issue is drawing to and end. To read more, see this thread: https://forums.loaches.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=42197

Here are the facts:

"Experienced" fish keeper, but completely a noob when it comes to loaches.

My 55 gal, which is really my sons tank is going to continue as such. Ahead of schedule, thanks to a recent financial "windfall," is leading me push forward with my goals of setting up a 125 gallon tank. I wanted to do this, this December, but I'm in a position to do it sooner. This tank is going to be for loaches only - plus 2 angel fish - unless I see a purpose to get more. I've developed a soft spot for angels but if someone can convince me otherwise, they can stay in the 55.

I want to understock the tank, this is to be a loach haven. No tank mates filling the upper strata - the unnecessary bio-load is of no interest to me.

I'm fixated on botias - yoyos and kubotias specifically. The tanks full purpose is going to be built around them.

I love aquatic plants, almost as much as I love loaches.

The 55 will serve as a quarantine tank, because its easy and affordable to quarantine fish there. Plus my sons beloved fantail gold fish is his favorite, and frankly he is tough as nails. The 55 is set up for a loaches comfort, so in quarantine they can enjoy themself until I determine they are safe to move to my new tank.

I'm in-visioning a 125 gallon tank with a nice stand. Awesome filtration, great lights for plants.

The tank doesn't need to be 100% planted, I'm thinking 50% lighted appropriately. The other side I want to keep dark at all times for my loach friends.

I want to avoid at all cost ever having to treat the new tank for disease. Perhaps a UV for insurance?

I want a substrate best suited for loaches. The exisiting tank has hideous confetti cololred gravel. My son loves that - so its cool :lol:

I want more loaches than I have now, but simultaneously I want the tank under stocked to minimize bio-load as mentioned before.

3 kubotias, 2 golden zebras, and 2 yoyo's will call this this their new home. How many more of each species will I be able to add - again I want it understocked :)

I'm prepared to do a fishless cycle on the tank, and have read the post on this forums about it. I'm in no rush.

Given that 50% water changes will be required, I want to do this easily - no more 5 gallon buckets at a time.

So.... give me your dream loach tank ideas! I'm all ears and SUPER excited!

NancyD
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Location: SF bay area,US

Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by NancyD » Sat May 05, 2018 10:59 pm

Wow, a 125g loach-centric plant tank, I love the idea! I would get 7 or 8 kubotais & striatas both. Skip the semi-aggressive yoyos, they may pester your angels or boss your other loaches. Besides, you know loaches like lots of friends of the same species, they're much more fun that way too.

My thoughts: have, for 2 species, at least 3 or 4 big caves or other hiding spots. When I kept 12 sids & 6 striatas together in a medium planted 75g, they divided themselves in a surprising way. Half of each species lived together with the other kind with an alpha female of each. There was no fighting at all, or even much interactions except at feeding.

If you have more than a "true M & F pair" of angels you may have trouble, but not as likely in a 6ft tank. The plants & decor will help if you get 2 males, but the dominant male will "own" at least 2/3 of the tank no matter how many angels you have IME (say, 6 max). 2 is a good plan.

Plants will depend on your lighting, but you should be able to grow a few kinds at least. I do medium-lowish lighting mostly, good for many plants & light shy loaches too.
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Bas Pels
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Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by Bas Pels » Sun May 06, 2018 2:56 am

With regard to the plants, I'd choose Cryptocorynes. They don't grow fast, so you will not need to get your hands wet every week or so - with the resulting advantages for the fish. Loaches like quiet tanks.

I have a 75 * 70 * 30 cm tank (30 is het height) with a lot of wood in the back, and Crypto's in the front. The far front is plantless. Substrate? Sand mixed with clay, 4 cm, and a layer of 0.5 cm only sand in order to keep the waterfrom clouding. The first 10 cm in the front and back are also only clean sand.

I have 2 TLs over the tank, 15 - 20 cm from the front and from the back, that is, these first and last 10 cm are never lighted.

Population? Y sidheymunkey, Petruichthys brevis and Sundadanio axelrodi

Loachloach
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Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by Loachloach » Sun May 06, 2018 3:14 am

Having darker non lit areas is a good idea as Bas suggests. I recently did the same in my clown loach tank and they're now out all day long while the lights are on, hanging around the darker side of the tank. Swords, crypts and large anubias species like barteri var. barteri or anubias angustifoloa will do well in such an environment and will give higher areas for fish to explore. For bottom feeder tanks I'd stick to a sand substrate only. I highly recommend emersed plants as well. It looks beautiful and emersed plants have access to aerial CO2, meaning they're more efficient at keeping the water quality good. I personally wouldn't do a tank without.....

In terms of diseases, they're triggered by water quality quite more often than anything else as it compromises the fish's immune system. I'd not add fish to an uncycled tank and when I add fish, I'd stick to daily water changes for a couple of weeks at least, as a prevention....

loachnoob
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:37 pm

Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by loachnoob » Sun May 06, 2018 8:25 am

Thanks all, gave me some ideas.

Im going out window shopping today.

What kind of sand are we talking about?

No one said anything about filtration.

loachnoob
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:37 pm

Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by loachnoob » Sun May 06, 2018 9:16 am

Another question, I see some larger tanks have what I beleive are overflows in the corners, and some do not. Is this a salt water tank function or worthwhile in fresh water?

Bas Pels
Posts: 304
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Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by Bas Pels » Sun May 06, 2018 3:10 pm

@ sand, I once had the road builder put a cubic meter of sand in my yard, and this is the sand I use since. Originally it was rich, with clay and so on, but in the case of the tank above, the sand has been used in a tank for 4 years, and all nutrients werre used. So I added clay and so on. In other words, any sand will suffice, as long as it is not fine gravel

An overflow in a tank is, I think only needed in case you would want a bioloogical filter, such as a sump. I don't like them myself: water falls down, and a lot of energy is needed to get it up again. Further ground level is cold in any house, and that would imply, at least in most cases, further heating - that is energy costs

loachnoob
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:37 pm

Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by loachnoob » Sun May 06, 2018 3:17 pm

So much for window shopping today :D

Purchased a 125 with a stand. The LFS will have it avialable for pick up this Wednesday. I shopped all the stores in my area and found the best price I could. For 700 dollars+tax I got a Marineland 125 with stand, glass tops, and 2 30" LED lights.

Picked up 3 more kubotais and put them into the 55 - that brings me up to 6 total. Looked at some yoyos and stratias (per Diana's recommendations thanks!) but they didn't look good. Not making that mistake again!!

Online, I've ordered an Aquatop 400W Titaniaum heater with an adjustable thermostat.

Right now I'm torn on the filtration system, one LFS told me all I need is 2 good hang on the back units for loaches another place recommended an Aquatop CF525 w/ UV sterilization canister style and even showed me how to use it. The price was right, but online reviews are sketchy - then again people love to grind an axe when they aren't satisfied.

My gut tells me to go with Fluval canister styles, either the the FX4 and and FX 6. The FX4 is 100 more than the Aquatop CF525 and the FX6 is 200 more. Neither have UV, but their reviews speak for themselves. Suggestions on this will be much appreciated!!

That brings me to the last thing, substrate - I'm all ears. I want something natural in color and conducive to plant health/loach foraging.

Thanks!

loachnoob
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:37 pm

Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by loachnoob » Sun May 06, 2018 3:26 pm

edit, canceled the order for the 400Watt heater. Should I get 2 smaller ones as a fail safe?

Bas Pels
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Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by Bas Pels » Sun May 06, 2018 4:58 pm

don't know whether 400 watt is needed for your 300 L, but 2 is Always safer than 1

In fact, you could get 2 cheap ones, costing much less than 1 good one, and be safer

With regard to filtration, the main thing in filtratio nis the volume of the filtrer substrate. This should be at least 6 % of the tank contens.

Don't now what hasd been suggested exactly, but the hang on things I've seen in Europe never fit this percentage

loachnoob
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Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:37 pm

Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by loachnoob » Sun May 06, 2018 5:51 pm

Bas Pels wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 4:58 pm
don't know whether 400 watt is needed for your 300 L, but 2 is Always safer than 1

In fact, you could get 2 cheap ones, costing much less than 1 good one, and be safer

With regard to filtration, the main thing in filtratio nis the volume of the filtrer substrate. This should be at least 6 % of the tank contens.

Don't now what hasd been suggested exactly, but the hang on things I've seen in Europe never fit this percentage
Thanks Bals, i've excluded the hang on backs as primary filtration. I'm leaning towards FX6 unless someone can convince me otherwise.

NancyD
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Location: SF bay area,US

Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by NancyD » Sun May 06, 2018 8:22 pm

I use pool filter sand. It's often white (shows everything), or if you're lucky, tan. It needs minimal rinsing & is screened for size. I tried play sand & didn't like it other than the color. It was dirty & tended to compact. If you want plants in the substrate you need ~2 inches.

You can have an attractive tank using plants like anubias, java fern & bolbitus, like Loach said. They are attached to wood or rocks & need only low light. I love crypts of all kinds. They are mainly root feeders & in new pool sand would like a root tab fertilizer pushed almost all the way to the bottom to keep loaches from digging them up. I have some stem plants that, like Bas said, tend to need more trimming than I like but I do like some for contrast. I'm not a moss fan, it traps detritus & spreads (slowly) where I don't want it. Ground cover plants are both more difficult to grow well & easy for loaches to uproot. Smaller crypts are a better choice.

For filters, I like 2 on all tanks. You want at least 10x tank volume hourly turnover. On a 4ft 75g I have a Fluval 404 (I think it's the "old" version of FX4) & an Aqua Clear 70 HOB. With only 1 filter on a 6ft tank you'll likely have dead spots or areas of little flow. Instead of a power head to move water, a second filter does that & provides more filtration too. Use prefilter sponges on the intake(s) so filters can be cleaned less often. The prefilters will need to be rinsed & squeezed out more often, but it's quick compared to filter cleaning. What filter(s) do you have on your 55g? Don't be afraid of HOBs & plants, that's only if you inject co2.

I know FranM recently bought a FX6 for a 4ft 120g but I don't know if she has it running yet.
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loachnoob
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Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by loachnoob » Sun May 06, 2018 8:32 pm

NancyD wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 8:22 pm
I use pool filter sand. It's often white (shows everything), or if you're lucky, tan. It needs minimal rinsing & is screened for size. I tried play sand & didn't like it other than the color. It was dirty & tended to compact. If you want plants in the substrate you need ~2 inches.

You can have an attractive tank using plants like anubias, java fern & bolbitus, like Loach said. They are attached to wood or rocks & need only low light. I love crypts of all kinds. They are mainly root feeders & in new pool sand would like a root tab fertilizer pushed almost all the way to the bottom to keep loaches from digging them up. I have some stem plants that, like Bas said, tend to need more trimming than I like but I do like some for contrast. I'm not a moss fan, it traps detritus & spreads (slowly) where I don't want it. Ground cover plants are both more difficult to grow well & easy for loaches to uproot. Smaller crypts are a better choice.

For filters, I like 2 on all tanks. You want at least 10x tank volume hourly turnover. On a 4ft 75g I have a Fluval 404 (I think it's the "old" version of FX4) & an Aqua Clear 70 HOB. With only 1 filter on a 6ft tank you'll likely have dead spots or areas of little flow. Instead of a power head to move water, a second filter does that & provides more filtration too. Use prefilter sponges on the intake(s) so filters can be cleaned less often. The prefilters will need to be rinsed & squeezed out more often, but it's quick compared to filter cleaning. What filter(s) do you have on your 55g? Don't be afraid of HOBs & plants, that's only if you inject co2.

I know FranM recently bought a FX6 for a 4ft 120g but I don't know if she has it running yet.
Thank you for your reply Nancy, I highly value your opinion. Your suggestions will be seen in the end result! I have 2 AquaClear 70's on my 55, both have the carbon filters removed and replaced with the biological cylinder things. The more I look at the price of a FX6 ($340ish) the more I'm compelled to purchase 2 Aquatop CF525. I was able to feel the outflow of one Aquatop 525 at the LFS today and wasn't all that impressed. I've seen videos of the outflow from the FX6 and it looks amazing, that's whats making this all that more difficult. I want to do this right. A personal friend of mine also suggest the Aquatops. Trying not to buy into the hype of the FX6, but damn they're sexy :twisted:

So are we in consensus that sand is the way to go for a substrate, at 2" for the tank for loaches?
Last edited by loachnoob on Sun May 06, 2018 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

loachnoob
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:37 pm

Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by loachnoob » Sun May 06, 2018 8:46 pm

I should add my 55 is heavily planted with crypts. I have 2 or 3 other plant species, but none have grownlike the crypts, as matter of fact they are simply in suspended animation for lack of a better explanation. I've actually thrown some crypt babies in the trash due to how fast they are spreading, looking forward to adding them to the 125. I'm super excited :D

NancyD
Posts: 1495
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:17 pm
Location: SF bay area,US

Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by NancyD » Sun May 06, 2018 9:05 pm

I don't know anyone that uses Aquatops. You might look at Sun Sun canisters, they're much, much less expensive, you could afford 1 for not much more than an AC 70, maybe less. I haven't used them myself but hear good things.

Diana & I belong to a plant club so we get to try different plants all the time (I've killed lots, :oops: ). I've been know to give a squeal of delight over a new crypt, :D Bucephalandra are "relatively" new to the hobby but grow like anubias. I have a couple I'm trying.

Have you tried "trading" your excess plants to a lfs or selling/donating at a club auction? I used to get store credit toward fish, food or whatever when I lived in MA. They loved java fern & moss especially. Now I give plants away if anyone wants my easy growers, otherwise they're compost. Clubs are fun if they're not too far away.
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