Lake Malawi Species • New journey begins! 125 gallons of Mbuna here I come.

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New journey begins! 125 gallons of Mbuna here I come.

Postby JimSparks » Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:26 am

Hello all

So I decided to bite the bullet. Headed to pick up a clean 125-gallon tank tonight.

Will need to build a stand. Want to do a custom DIY background for this. Planning for a 'dream tank'. I don't think I will be able to get another tank (the financial manager barely approved this one :-) ) so this one is it!

I am super excited. Now for the first of many questions...It is not drilled. The tank resides in my office so I am concerned about the noise a sump would make. I have two FX4s and one FX6 at my disposal. Use all 3? Sell one FX4 and use the other 2? Sell them all and find a magically quiet sump? What are your thoughts?

Thank you
Jim
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Re: New journey begins! 125 gallons of Mbuna here I come.

Postby DJRansome » Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:46 am

A sump is not necessary, I don't use them. As long as your canisters total 8X to 10X GPH you should be fine. I always prefer two filters in case one is down for a day or two for whatever reason.
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Re: New journey begins! 125 gallons of Mbuna here I come.

Postby JimSparks » Thu Apr 29, 2021 10:39 am

In your experience, do you have a guess at what is the typical dropoff from the ratings listed for the filter vs what is really flowing?
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Re: New journey begins! 125 gallons of Mbuna here I come.

Postby DJRansome » Thu Apr 29, 2021 10:44 am

I don't. I have never worried about this. My thought is if I was worried about flow I would just clean the filter.

I think you can use the published GPH without regard to actually measuring the flow to achieve the 8X.
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Re: New journey begins! 125 gallons of Mbuna here I come.

Postby SenorStrum » Thu Apr 29, 2021 10:51 am

So Fun, Jim! I shared your concerns about the noisy sump, but I had to have one. I did figure out the silent magic, and I actually wrote it all down here yesterday.
https://www.cichlid-forum.com/phpBB/vie ... 4&t=454653

I don't think you need a sump in your case, indeed the lack of drilling means it would be a lot harder. Considering all the benefits and draw backs, Here is my break even calculation:

+ Dream tank - you could hide all your stuff.
+ Dream tank - you could hide all your stuff.
+ Dream tank - you could hide all your stuff.
+ No heaters or anything in the display :)
+ If you build a sump, you get to match the return pump to the situation, and return pumps come with loss curves, and you could actually estimate much more accurately based on how high you were lifting water, how much water you were pushing without having to measure.
- Would probably cost $300-400 to build from scratch and outfit
- Free pre-existing filters are free
- Never drilled a tank before, doesn't look hard (Don't go with siphon based over the wall overflow. Never seen a silent one.
____________________________________________________________________
Meh - personal decision. It's a wash

As DJR said:
DJRansome wrote:A sump is not necessary, I don't use them. As long as your canisters total 8X to 10X GPH you should be fine. I always prefer two filters in case one is down for a day or two for whatever reason.



For the canister filters, good rule of thumb would be to cut it in half once it's full of media that's been used for a while and the flow slows down. Again, +1 to DJRansome on the dual filters. I love redundancy.
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Re: New journey begins! 125 gallons of Mbuna here I come.

Postby DJRansome » Thu Apr 29, 2021 10:59 am

I hide all my stuff with the canisters plus an in-tank 3D background. I use in-line heaters so no problem there. And I put the filter intakes behind the background so you just see the returns at the top which are hidden by the covers and lights, etc.
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Re: New journey begins! 125 gallons of Mbuna here I come.

Postby JimSparks » Thu Apr 29, 2021 11:09 am

Thanks for the feedback so far. I'm pretty set on the canisters based on your feedback. My only problem is using 2 or 3. All three would probably be overkill. But I sometimes lean towards overkill. So that is something I have to figure out in my head.

One concern I do have is how to hide the big intakes from the FXs behind a background and then does that mess up the ability for the filter to actually intake all of the floaties?
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Re: New journey begins! 125 gallons of Mbuna here I come.

Postby Auballagh » Thu Apr 29, 2021 11:41 am

Well..... since this is supposed to be a 'Dream Tank'?
Why not set it up to a more clean/professional level?
By that, I mean you could STILL drill this tank to accommodate your choice of filtration - no matter what type you decide on.
Yep.
Canister Intakes? Low mounted, bulkhead fittings that are sited where you want them on the back wall of the tank, could definitely be the way to go.
Canister Discharges? Same thing, but you could set up an undergravel (sand!) jet system supplied by discharge water from the canisters to provide and distribute better water flow throughout the tank, and help eliminate dead spots.
-
All bulkhead fittings would be provided with a simple globe type, shut-off valve for each, so that the canister connected to it can be broken down and serviced periodically as is normal. And yes, inline electric heaters are a beautiful thing for canister discharge water, that you WILL NOT see inside your aquarium. :)
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Re: New journey begins! 125 gallons of Mbuna here I come.

Postby DJRansome » Thu Apr 29, 2021 12:12 pm

The intakes behind the background still remove the same amount of particulates. You cut holes in the background for the intake of water.

Too much of a good thing is not always better. The fish need water that is not continuously swirling to be able to rest as well. I would not go over 10X.
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Re: New journey begins! 125 gallons of Mbuna here I come.

Postby Sinister-Kisses » Thu Apr 29, 2021 9:11 pm

As DJ noted previously, I'm a firm believer in having 2 filters on a tank in case one craps out or something and can't immediately be fixed/replaced.

for a 125gal, I would absolutely NOT use all three FX filters. I had never used one until very recently, as I refused to shell out the money for one when I have other brands that I like for half the price. However, I picked up a 6ft long 135gal second hand about two months ago, and it came with an FX6. That thing is bloody powerful and I genuinely don't think my tank NEEDS anything more - it's just that security blanket of having a second one running as noted before. Honestly, I think the FX6 is quite a lot more than is really necessary in my 6ft tank, but of course stocking comes in to play as well. Anyway, my point is, with the filters you have available I would do the two FX4 filters personally. At MOST, one FX4 and one FX6. Definitely not all three, it'll be insane overkill and your fish may be blown around the darn tank lol.
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135gal 6ft: Midas
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Re: New journey begins! 125 gallons of Mbuna here I come.

Postby Sinister-Kisses » Thu Apr 29, 2021 9:13 pm

PS - sumps are totally not necessary, so if you don't want to do one don't worry about it. I have NEVER used a sump and deliberately go out of my way to buy undrilled tanks so I don't have to deal with one, I just prefer tanks without. I've done up to 180gal tanks with a combination of canister and HOB filters (large AC 110s).
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135gal 6ft: Midas
40gal long: C. cutteri
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Re: New journey begins! 125 gallons of Mbuna here I come.

Postby sir_keith » Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:44 pm

Two quick points from a slightly different perspective that you might consider-

(1) I run two FX-6 filters on 125's that contain fishes that do not appreciate particularly strong currents (e. g. Xenotilapia), without any issues. The output nozzles of the FX filters can be positioned in many ways, some of which minimize turbulence within the tanks. Simply put, this is not an issue.

(2) There is no such thing as over-filtration. The oft-quoted 8-10x number is nothing more than a subjective opinion.

Good luck, and have fun! :thumb:
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Re: New journey begins! 125 gallons of Mbuna here I come.

Postby jcover » Fri Apr 30, 2021 11:16 pm

DJRansome wrote:I hide all my stuff with the canisters plus an in-tank 3D background. I use in-line heaters so no problem there. And I put the filter intakes behind the background so you just see the returns at the top which are hidden by the covers and lights, etc.


DJ, Not to hijack the thread, but what kind of canisters do you have and what inline heaters do you use?
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Re: New journey begins! 125 gallons of Mbuna here I come.

Postby DJRansome » Sat May 01, 2021 9:38 am

I use Rena Filstar XP canisters and Hydor inline heaters.
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Re: New journey begins! 125 gallons of Mbuna here I come.

Postby jcover » Sun May 02, 2021 12:29 pm

DJRansome wrote:I use Rena Filstar XP canisters and Hydor inline heaters.

gotcha - I run the same set up on one of my tanks, the other though has 2 FX6's, and due to the hose diameter, the Hydor heaters wont work.
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