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New to the world of cichlids? For discussion on how to set up new tanks, including placement, filtration, substrates, water, etc. No stocking discussions here.
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Re: 180 gallon Mbuna Setup - Tight Tank Quarters

Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:48 pm

Or you could do a whole house filter. Who wants to drink all that chlorine anyway?

Re: 180 gallon Mbuna Setup - Tight Tank Quarters

Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:51 pm

Yeah that's true but catalytic carbon is pretty expensive... I'd hate to have to replace it very often lol.

Re: 180 gallon Mbuna Setup - Tight Tank Quarters

Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:42 pm

Speaking again to LFS, he suggested I have a cabinet installed over top of the aquarium to make it look completely built-in. I assume it will already be a challenge removing some of my excess males out of the tank, let alone access for cleaning the tank. If I have two doors that are each three feet wide that can be opened from the center of the tank, would that give me reasonable access to the tank? I am tall and long-armed, but there are limits ...

With respect to lighting, I plan to put in LED's. If I have cabinetry above the tank, do the LED's just lay on the top of the tank, or are they suspended from the cabinetry?

For the canister filter, if it is hooked up to take and discharge water into the sump reserve water, anything special I need to do to ensure minimum levels or is this something the LFS can easily address on the install. He was initially suggesting that I put the canister outside the tank and run separate lines up to the top of the tank. As I am tight for space, I prefer DJRansome's option of having it tied directly to the sump.

Finally, when considering the various pieces of kit drawing electrical power, do you tend to keep all the aquarium electrical devices on a single circuit breaker, or do you split some of your apparatus up to mitigate the impact of a breaker going off?

Re: 180 gallon Mbuna Setup - Tight Tank Quarters

Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:45 pm

caldwelldaniel26 wrote:Your best option in that situation would be to have a drilled tank and a sump filter in my opinion. You wouldn't have to worry about hoses and all that mess behind the tank with such little clearance. I run a 40 gallon sump on my 180 gallon aquarium with a canister filter intake and return in the return reservoir of the sump for a little extra mechanical and biological filtration. I'm also running denitrifying reactors and growing plants in the sump.

I believe I was the one who suggested that you run the canister directly to the sump because DJ doesn't like sumps lol. To answer your question, you don't have to do anything special since the canister will only take out as much as it's replacing. I have a tunze ATO and it works great to keep the sump and display at the right level

Re: 180 gallon Mbuna Setup - Tight Tank Quarters

Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:47 pm

Haha - thanks Daniel. With my setup I think I have no option but a sump, and would prefer to keep everything consolidated under the cabinet, as much as reasonably possible.

Any advice on the electrical question - do you keep your aquarium on a separate breaker, or deliberately keep some elements on one circuit vs another to mitigate a breaker fault? For example, I could run my two heaters on separate circuits to ensure at least one is up and running if the other side trips. Of course, if the whole house trips, that's another matter but Portland, OR is pretty tame for outages.

Re: 180 gallon Mbuna Setup - Tight Tank Quarters

Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:13 pm

I run all my equipment on two GFCI outlets that I installed with a surge protector/timer for all the lights. It's on the same circuit but different ends of the tank for convenience.

Re: 180 gallon Mbuna Setup - Tight Tank Quarters

Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:06 pm

Another question / update:

I am looking at a 30" cabinet height (I am 6' 2" so I should be able to reach over the glass for maintenance without a step at this height). Even with this height, I will only have 9-10" of clearance above the sump walls as the sump must be raised about 3-4" off the ground to create sufficient clearance to run to a drain. Would 9-10" give me enough room to install and maintain the kit in the sump in the future?

Secondly, my LFS contact believes I would get much more value out of my canister (probably a Fluval Fx4) by having it run separate lines up the main tank, rather than the downstream side of the sump. As I am looking at a reef ready Aqueon 180 gallon tank that has multi-level water intakes, how much added value would I get out of the canister having direct access to the tank rather than indirectly through the sump?

Re: 180 gallon Mbuna Setup - Tight Tank Quarters

Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:04 pm

Speaking from experience, you will be fine using your canister in the sump. You don't want to run hoses behind that tank with such tight clearances.

Re: 180 gallon Mbuna Setup - Tight Tank Quarters

Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:09 pm

Thanks Daniel. Would the 9-10" of clearance over the sump give you any concerns?

Re: 180 gallon Mbuna Setup - Tight Tank Quarters

Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:42 pm

That's about how much room I have on mine and it can be a little bit of a pain to reach the back but overall it's not bad. I don't have issues cleaning the sump or anything.

Re: 180 gallon Mbuna Setup - Tight Tank Quarters

Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:34 am

I had a built-in look 520 gallon aquarium with a 250 gallon sump under it. Instead of hinges, I have used magnets near the top and some blocks the doors sit on. That way i could just remove them completely so they don't interfere with access. There was no top frame, bottom frame, or side frames, just door.

Re: 180 gallon Mbuna Setup - Tight Tank Quarters

Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:37 pm

Thanks all. Met this morning with one of the designers working on our first floor renovation. He is learning a little on the fly as they haven't built a cabinet/stand to house an aquarium before.

Would a 180 gallon tank that will be placed on a 30" cabinet require a steel frame and 1-2 layer of 3/4" plywood (on top of the steel frame to distribute the load on the aquarium tank bottom)?
If I place the canister (FX4) to take its intake and return to/from the sump reservoir, is there a specific height that either the canister and/or intake/discharge points must follow?
I am confused on the top "canopy". On my previous 55 gallon tank, the top had a folding piece of glass to keep the fish in and evaporation down and the lights rested directly on the glass. I will be using LED's and would like to create a panel 8-12" tall that would give the tank a built-in look. In looking at the Aqueon Reef Ready Aquarium pictures, I can't tell if they have a glass cover to keep the fish in, and whether the LED's would be sitting on the glass, under-mounted on the false cabinet, max/min distance for LED's from water surface??? Does anybody use a large canopy that flips up to give access, or is it more practical to have a couple large wide doors?

It would be super helpful if somebody could send a drawing (or a link) of their cabinet and canopy, as well as a layout of sump/canister/denitrifier.
Tank Overview

Re: 180 gallon Mbuna Setup - Tight Tank Quarters

Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:03 pm

No. I don't like canopies and the outside can look however you want. But the frame strength and placement of support...see the video about building tank racks on Ted Judy's (famous fish keeper) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ffely-t4iw. 2x4's under the corners are sufficient and make sure dado joints are used...don't have the weight of the tank hanging on screws.

Re: 180 gallon Mbuna Setup - Tight Tank Quarters

Tue Aug 27, 2019 8:30 am

Hi there,

I just joined and am in the planning stages I am wondering how this build went below is the message I just posted there a marked similarity

“Hi there everyone,

thankyou for approving my membership.im (we) are returning to the hobby after a 10 year absence. We lost our Son and to be frank we quit life of hobbies and went into a coma, anyway suffice to say we are back enjoying life.

My beautiful wife said “why don’t you get a Siamese fighting fish” .......this is what I heard “go nuts!” Hehe

I have a few plans and ideas for over the next 12 months to put a tank together I’m in the research stage previously we’ve had a couple of small marine tanks, we’ve bred a few Cichlids had a community tank even had a nice tank with co2 created with yeast so not all newbie but 10 years is a long time and tech has changed I’m thinking.

Having said all that the basics of my wish list has not plans have begun:

Tank 6ft(72”)-182.88cm W x 3ft(36”)-91.44cm H x 2ft(24”)-60.92cm D probably drilled for intake and overflow

Sump with refugium of unknown size. Mechanical and biological filtration chemical filtration. Heating and pump. I’m thinking and researching constant water change system somehow. And Co2 with lighting over the refugium if we go the fully planted track.

My father is a retired joiner so the stand is covered I made most of our furniture as a wedding gift many years ago so I reckon I’m set that side of it.

Have a few questions are low iron tanks worth the money for any Australian Members and are they hard to locate? And anyone know of an online price list?

In a freshwater aquarium how far above the overflow should I go?so I can work out sump size.

I’m also wondering with a sump and overflow is there a way to stop flooding if for what ever reason the o/f gets blocked?

That will do for a start, I’m so excited to be back with imagination.

Thanks in advance
Regards Darren”

Re: 180 gallon Mbuna Setup - Tight Tank Quarters

Thu Apr 16, 2020 11:54 am

Sorry for the very tardy response. I have not been on the forum for a while.

I didn't actually complete this build as the cost of the renovation project (house proper) became cost prohibitive. Sold the home in late 2019 and moved to Bend, Oregon. Just started a new thread as I am building a significant addition to our new home where I can ensure I have adequate space for a large tank without compromises. If you are still interested in what I am working on, let me know.



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