Help me build the perfect loach tank

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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 9:32 pm

NancyD wrote:
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.
The locally owned store i purchased my tank and stand at today had a SunSun canister filter to sale for $99.99. It box looked old and dusty, I respect what small businesses are trying to do :) But I didn't give much thought to it, given it was obviously old. Perhaps I should revisit it when I picked up my new tank and stand.

Was just looking at pool filter sand, nice and cheap from the big box stores!! Thanks for the recommendation.

Haven't looked into the local fish trading market, no offense, but I have no problem throwing away over grown plants or composting them as you suggest ( i do have an awesome redworm set up that I throw organics into - I've actually fed them o my loaches but the worms fight back :D)- a lot of non-natives that plague our natural bodies of water in my area are from the aquarium industry not properly disposing of them

Diana
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Location: Near San Franciso

Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by Diana » Sun May 06, 2018 10:20 pm

If you want 2 filters on a 125 gallon tank, you could use 2 of the Aquaclear 110. These are hang on back filters, but do not use cartridges, they are the next size up from your Aquaclear 70. LOTS of room for media of your choice. I like to keep the big sponge, then add some finer mechanical media and top it off with the ceramic bio-noodles. I like the ease of cleaning HOB filters.

Pool filter sand is a good media for fish that may dig. Check the pool supply places as well as masonry yards and the big box stores.
Around here the pool filter sand is 30 mesh. I would not want anything finer. A bit coarser would be OK, perhaps 20 mesh. The particles fall out of the water column very quickly when they are disturbed. It is a bit tricky to vacuum sand, but once you get the hang of it you will find it is almost as easy as gravel.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

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 10:59 pm

I hear online sun suns are ~$50-60 or so, shop around! & look at the different "types". They sound similar 302, 303 etc., but like other filters, they're different.

I really like giving my plants away to anyone who wants to try them. I used to give a grocery bag of java fern to anyone I met who had a tank & "might" want to try plants...No shame if they kill them or the fish eat them, they'll just be compost otherwise. & I know I've helped some take the "next step" in our hobby or try something new just for fun! You can also donate to your lfs, I've done that too & they remember your good will.

Shop around for sand too, it's usually locally sourced (it's expensive to ship). Ask to see it a pool shops & independent lfs, there's almost always spillage. Rub it between your fingers to see if it feels scratchy if you can. Yes, they'll think you're weird, but so what?
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Bas Pels
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Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by Bas Pels » Mon May 07, 2018 2:46 am

loachnoob wrote:
Sun May 06, 2018 8:32 pm
So are we in consensus that sand is the way to go for a substrate, at 2" for the tank for loaches?
unless the bottom is rock, any water, wherever, has a sandy bottom. The word sandy can, however, include even finer particles we rather not have in our tanks. So yes, regardless what you want to keep in the tank, sand is by far the best.

I'm a cichlid keeper and all my tanks have sand - which turns when a Pterogoblichthys gibbiceps of 50 cm swims along.

However, the 2 inches, or 5 cm - I have plenty tanks with less. And with more. It is always a choise, and a 30 cm high tank with 5 cm sand: I don't like the look, I rather have 3 cm. Which has worked nicely for years.

loachnoob
Posts: 138
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Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by loachnoob » Mon May 07, 2018 7:44 pm

Thanks again for all the thoughful responses!

Sand it is for substrate!

Leaning towards two Aquaclear 110s after all your reponses.

Any heater brand recommendations?

NancyD
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Location: SF bay area,US

Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by NancyD » Mon May 07, 2018 10:15 pm

Bah, I've never found a heater that I liked & could be relied upon, the weakest piece of equipment in our hobby. My favorites, until they were recalled, were Visi-Therm Stealths. Right now I avoid the issue by keeping unheated tanks.
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loachnoob
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Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by loachnoob » Mon May 07, 2018 10:20 pm

Been thinking about my substrate more, and here's a curve ball for you all to consider.........

In my experience with fish the lighter colored their environment the less color they exhibit, where as dark backgrounds/clear water conditions cause them to color up more. To be kind of inconsistent with that observation, fish in dirty water (muddy/low vis) are often very much whited out and fish in clear water are much more colorful. Without going into too much detail, professionally I work in the realm of mid-west ponds and lakes - which is what I'm basing these observations on. Dark back grounds (substrates with or without dense vegetation) in clear water seem to cause fish to exhibit their best patterns, which I assume to help them camouflage themselves more to their individual evolutionary advantages. The lighter colored their environment, primarily from lack of light from water turbidity the more washed out their patterns are, again as an observation, because it gives them the best camouflage. No need to be patterned, if your background isn't right?

Obviously in an aquarium the water is crystal clear and my concern is that going with pool filter sand, which is predominantly dull in color the fish will "white out" more, due to it signaling their brain to match their environment. I looked at pool filter sand today at two stores, and both were whitest/tan.

When I was more involved with tanks, I always loved black substrate. The contrast of the fish against it always seemed to make their colors pop. Granted, years ago, I was more into the cichlids which exhibit way more colors on the spectrum. Loaches are simply black and white, at least the species I'm focused on. Not to disregard all the awesome suggestions, and I sincerely appreciate the recommendations, the more I think about it - the more I want to go with a black colored bottom. I accept this will cost me considerably more, since here in the mid-west large quantitys of black sand aren't obtainable affordably compared to the 7 dollar 50 pound bags I've seen. I can't deny the price tag alone is REALLY attractive regarding pool filter sands. The bottom line, and my question at the core is - do you think the substrates color will influence the loaches appearances? After all, this is a straight up loach tank I'm building.

Thanks again for all thoughtful responses!

loachnoob
Posts: 138
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Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by loachnoob » Mon May 07, 2018 10:21 pm

NancyD wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 10:15 pm
Bah, I've never found a heater that I liked & could be relied upon, the weakest piece of equipment in our hobby. My favorites, until they were recalled, were Visi-Therm Stealths. Right now I avoid the issue by keeping unheated tanks.
How do you accomplish this!?

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 » Mon May 07, 2018 11:45 pm

I keep fish that don't need higher temps than low-mid 70Fs. With filters & lights, mellow-ish climate, I'm good at house temps of 68F day, 62 or 63 winter nights. I have a couple Visi-Therm Pro? but they're not plugged in these days. (disclaimer, I have solar panels so electrical expense pretty much moot)

If you live near an area with a Tractor Supply you might look at Back Diamond blasting sand. I saw it in a club friend's tank a few weeks ago & liked it. It's fairly fine & a bit shiny but much less expensive than my Eco-Complete (not the sand).

I too like a dark substrate or at least a black background. I tried Flourite black sand & hated it! almost dust like. If $$ is not an issue, I love the look of Carib Sea "Peace River" but haven't tried it. Small rounded very small gravel in beautiful brown natural colors, same price as Eco but without the CEC (cation exchange capacity) of Eco. A small fortune for a big tank, I think my 75g 4ft tank needed 6 bags @ $20 per...back in the day, for not quite 2 inches depth...but I still have it & use it.

My sidthimunkis, on black Eco, were almost without their chain pattern, almost just dark brown & a bit of off white. That may happen with kubotai too, but the striatas looked great!
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Loachloach
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Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by Loachloach » Tue May 08, 2018 1:55 am

Any black sand sold is not actually sand but some other type of material be it volcanic sand or some other artificial colored type of resin. Most black sands could also bee too sharp for the fish. I keep predominantly bottom feeders. I tried my fish on two types of sand that were not quartz based and the did not act on it as they did on plain normal sand. My corydoras for example did not sift much on anything but quartz type/river sand....So personally, I'd stick to normal sand. On another hand I completely dislike the look of black sand/black substrates in a tank. It looks way too unnatural. I'd also avoid white colored sand as it can cause light reflections and spook the fish but tan colored or river type of sand is great for them. In nature fish don't encounter black sand....

As for fish colors, their colour varies depending on substrate but not in terms of being washed out, just a different variation of it and not necessarily being less attractive. Certain fish are even better colored on lighter substrate, for example clown loaches. Otherwise the yellow part of their colour also takes on a black tint and sort of distorts the stripes, as Nancy has mentioned on her other loaches. Fish colour has a lot more to do with diet and water quality...I have green corys that are stunning on tanned sand. I also have denison barbs that have the best colour I have personally seen so far on these fish and I doubt it the colour of the sand plays any part.
Dark back grounds (substrates with or without dense vegetation) in clear water seem to cause fish to exhibit their best patterns,
I agree but the same effect is not achieved if you actually use dark substrate and white/transparent background...

If you want to take the full advantage of fish colour, its best to actually have lighter colored substrate and black background, and even black sides. The contrast of both will prevent the fish from releasing pigments that are too dark and will balance their overall colour. The black background/sides make the fish feel way more secure, so it matters behavior wise although it may obstruct viewing angles...

Filtration wise, I'd go with 2 external filters of your choice, to a total of 10X flow in the tank. As mentioned already, prefilter sponges are essential. Biological filters should not be used as siphons....

Bas Pels
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Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by Bas Pels » Tue May 08, 2018 2:43 am

Quite a few of my tanks are unheated too. I got another with a heater being rathes powerless, and this heater is working 24/7. That one will, therefore, never overheat the tank too

What helps is using intern filtration, with a pump in the tank. Assume this pump uses 30 watts. This energy will go into the water, directly or through friction and therefore you get 30 watts of water movement AND 30 watts of heat.

Watermovement for free, that is

loachnoob
Posts: 138
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Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by loachnoob » Tue May 08, 2018 7:43 pm

NancyD wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 11:45 pm

If you live near an area with a Tractor Supply you might look at Back Diamond blasting sand. I saw it in a club friend's tank a few weeks ago & liked it. It's fairly fine & a bit shiny but much less expensive than my Eco-Complete (not the sand).
A friend and previous co-worker of mine who works in the copepod production industry mentioned this to me today!

BUT, what loachloach said has totally got me rethinking my black substrate idea, he is right from what I browsed online today, it's not true "sand."

If the fish don't push it around, I don't want it. I wanna see these little guys doing their thing!

With all the said - I think I'm going to go tan. I'm sure in the end I'll love it.

On a totally unrelated note, I saw my biggest yoyo and two kubotias doing the loach circle dance last night, first time I've observed that! The yoyo when from fullblown colored up to washed out in seconds!!! Too cool!!!

Tomorrow I take possession of the the new tank, got a spot cleared out for it and intend to fill it some and wash the sand until I can't stand it. I figure an hour or two will be needed.

I'll probably order my filters and heaters tomorrow as well. I'm in no rush to get it fully set up for it's new inhabitants I figure as I start the fishless cycle.

Would any of you recommend using tank water from the 55 to start filling it, or squeezing out some filter matieral from the other tank into this - or should I try and minimize my water usage from that tank since I've been dealing with ich over there (pretty sure it's gone.)

NancyD
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Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by NancyD » Wed May 09, 2018 12:23 am

I couldn't find it right now but years ago the late RJR on aquaria central (but the link usually found on skeptical aquarist site) did a study of glass shards vs high nitrate on corydoras barbels. Glass showed NO problems; nitrate: infected & worn down barbels.

I agree, black is not the most natural color, but white much is worse IMO. Fish look pale, detritus shows & algae grows on it.

I think Bas said it best, to paraphrase, all our fish & plants come from areas that are not easy to recreate in our tanks. Much more "mud" than we'd like in our tanks. & many of our plants are from marginal areas, not truly aquatic at all times, although they can usually survive long term submersion. We're not really trying to recreate the actual habitat of our fish, but what we can sustain in our tanks.
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loachnoob
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Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by loachnoob » Wed May 09, 2018 8:29 pm

Well Said Nancy, thanks for reading between the lines of what Bas said, I didn't interpret it as well as you did!

Semi bad news, the tank and lid came to the LFS today but his provider either forgot/didn't have the stand or lights. I was completely understanding, and he was very appreciative about it. "Don't shoot the messenger" has always been a motto of mine, I work in the customer service industry and understand things are often not our own fault but we have to answer for them.

I asked to him if I could leave the tank in his shop, since having the tank here would be nothing more than a pain in the rear without it on stand. I only could envision my 4 year old trying to crawl into it and something bad happening :lol:

The silver lining here is this gives me a full 7 days to aquire my heater (400 watt Aquatop Platinum), tan colored sand, and making a final decision on the filtration which I am very much still on the fence about :D

As always, thanks for all your thought filled responses. I appreciate you all taking the time!

Another question - dark background. How would you provide this? I've seen some people actually painting the outside of the tank black on the back. Anyone try this?

Diana
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Location: Near San Franciso

Re: Help me build the perfect loach tank

Post by Diana » Wed May 09, 2018 9:46 pm

Since you have been dealing with Ich, I would avoid taking anything from the 55.
The fishless cycle will take 3 weeks if you start with NO added bacteria.
It can be complete in just a few days if you add something like Tetra Safe Start or Dr. Tim's One and Only. Exact time to complete with one of these products depends on how much you use, but I have had them work as fast as overnight on a tank with ammonia problems. You could get a smallest bottle (whatever size that is) then grow them on with the fishless cycle. Might take a week or so this way.
38 tanks, 2 ponds over 4000 liters of water to keep clean and fresh.

Happy fish keeping!

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