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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry for the long post, but I am seeking advice on set up for a 100-180 gallon freshwater tank.

My job is building a new facility within the next 6 months. I have a 30 gallon tank sitting around at my house that I was going to put in my new office. I approached my boss to see if he was cool with that, and his response was "No, you're not going to put a 30 gallon tank in your office. What we're going to do is install a 150 gallon tank in the wall so that it can be seen in both in your office and the reception area. You just need to maintain it."

Pretty cool, right?

But a tank that size presents a number of problems for me. I've never had a tank that large before. The largest tank I have is a 55 gallon high tech planted tank. Also, the tank will need to be viewed from two sides, which means that I can't use the back of the tank to hide hoses/overflows/wires/etc.

So, doing some searching and brainstorming over the weekend, I was thinking of doing an African Cichlid tank. A Lake Malawi tank is interesting, as the haps and peacocks are a pretty good size and are very colorful. But, I like biotopes, so a Lake Tanganyika tank really appeals to me. I think a mixture of shellies, rock dwellers, substrate swimmers, and free swimmers would make for an impressive display.

I've thought out some issues, and general brainstorming:
-The boss said 150 gallon tank, but I'm thinking a 180 gallon would be better, since it is shorter than the 150 gallon and will be easier to get my hands in there to reach the bottom if needed.
-How to handle water changes is something I need to figure out.
-An African Cichlid tank. Probably Lake Tanganyika, unless y'all have a better idea.
-My experience with aquariums has been with mostly high tech planted tanks, so keeping cichlids is pretty foreign to me.
-I'm debating on going with a sump system, or using 2 Fluval FX6 filters instead.
-If I do go with a sump system, since the tank needs to be viewed from two sides, bulkheads for the overflows, outlets, etc. will either need to be drilled into the center of the bottom pane of the tank, or something along the lines of a peninsula style overflow will be needed.
-If the overflow is in the center of the tank, it will be hidden by rockwork.
-I've never used a sump before, so I need to study up on that.
-I need to figure out lighting here. Obviously I won't need as specialized lighting as I do with my planted tanks. But I do want something that is LED, programmable, and can be controlled either with a remote control, or via an app.

That's what I have so far. Thoughts/concerns/advice will be very welcome. Thank you.
 

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Another thing to check is HVAC on weekends. Some buildings turn off air on weekends...your tank will need a stable temp from day to day.

bluecheese said:
The boss said 150 gallon tank, but I'm thinking a 180 gallon would be better, since it is shorter than the 150 gallon and will be easier to get my hands in there to reach the bottom if needed.
I would go with 125G since it is just as long and even shallower. Plus it will not stick out of the wall as far on your side.

bluecheese said:
-How to handle water changes is something I need to figure out.
Make sure you have a faucet with hot and cold and no water softener within 50 feet of the tank. Use a Python.

bluecheese said:
-An African Cichlid tank. Probably Lake Tanganyika, unless y'all have a better idea.
Lake Tanganyika sounds good.

bluecheese said:
-My experience with aquariums has been with mostly high tech planted tanks, so keeping cichlids is pretty foreign to me.
They are easier...just sand and rocks.

bluecheese said:
-I'm debating on going with a sump system, or using 2 Fluval FX6 filters instead.
I like the canisters.

bluecheese said:
-If I do go with a sump system, since the tank needs to be viewed from two sides, bulkheads for the overflows, outlets, etc. will either need to be drilled into the center of the bottom pane of the tank, or something along the lines of a peninsula style overflow will be needed.
Either way you will have equipment to hide. Go with in-tank 3D backgrounds at the ends instead of along the back and put your intakes behind. Use in-line heaters.

bluecheese said:
-If the overflow is in the center of the tank, it will be hidden by rockwork.
bluecheese said:
-I've never used a sump before, so I need to study up on that.
bluecheese said:
-I need to figure out lighting here. Obviously I won't need as specialized lighting as I do with my planted tanks. But I do want something that is LED, programmable, and can be controlled either with a remote control, or via an app.
Not too bright and no more than 6 hours/day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply.

DJRansome said:
Another thing to check is HVAC on weekends. Some buildings turn off air on weekends...your tank will need a stable temp from day to day.
Good thought. Thankfully the hvac is still on during the weekends

DJRansome said:
Make sure you have a faucet with hot and cold and no water softener within 50 feet of the tank. Use a Python.
I use a Python at home. I'll be maintaining this tank during work hours, so having hose snaking from the kitchen to my office may not be optimal. I just talked with the boss, and we're going to install a sink and drain directly under the tank.

DJRansome said:
Lake Tanganyika sounds good.
I thought so too. It'll have to please the boss also. I have a feeling he's going to like the Malawi tank better though.

DJRansome said:
They are easier...just sand and rocks.
That's what I've noticed. I was looking at Carib Sea Cichlid sand, which looks pretty good. I have to make sure I make the rock piles aesthetically pleasing. I was thinking three piles of rocks of varying height and shape.

DJRansome said:
I like the canisters.
So do I. That's what I have experience with. I looked into the Fluval FX6 brand, and they have an integrated drain for water changes, which would work out well if we install a sink below the tank.

DJRansome said:
Either way you will have equipment to hide. Go with in-tank 3D backgrounds at the ends instead of along the back and put your intakes behind. Use in-line heaters.
As far as I can tell, the only inline heater worth a sh*t is the Hydor. But they don't make one that fits the 1" line on the FX6. Unless I'm mistaken. I'd rather inline heaters as they aren't cluttering the tank, and that's what I have on my tanks at home.

DJRansome said:
Not too bright and no more than 6 hours/day.
I was hoping to run them for 8 hours a day - the full work day for us. I was going to keep them off on the weekends as no one will be there to view the fish anyway.
 

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8 hours and you risk algae. No need for FX6 canisters...I love my XP4 Rena Filstar filters and they fit the Hydor heaters.

Make sure the custom sink has a Python connection and hot/cold mix and no water softener.

Use pool filter sand. Looks more natural, easier to clean and cleaner and cheaper.

Choose your fish before you decide your décor. You want high caves for cyps and piles of shells with open sand swaths for shellies and vertical rocks for calvus or horizontal rocks for julidochromis.

If he insists on Malawi, skip the haps and peacocks and go for mixed gender mbuna. Much more reliable color. THEN you fill the tank completely with rocks.
 

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i just started a 240 gallon with Mbunas only. My experience is with freshwater planted (too) and saltwater reef. All of my tanks in past 20 years were overflow with sump. This way can keep display tank water level constant, hide all equipment down below, use Auto Top Off for evaporation water replacement, and increase water volume. I think the overflow, esp. if low profile ghost overflow makes display tank look entirely equipment less. I have high stocking level in my tank - 100+ fish - since I have a huge 6 foot sump with a ton of filtration, including UV, huge bio towers, and carbon and chemipure canisters, and an Algae Turf Scrubber.
 

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Keep in mind we stock Africans from the Rift Lakes by the length of the tank as opposed to gallons.
 

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As far as the view of tubes and what not on a two sided aquarium, it's no big deal. There's a canister filter on either side with intake and outtake tubes and an inline heater mounted on the "back" of the aquarium. There is also a powerhead with a filter attachment.

With my setup, routing them on the sides would not be ideal or practical, but may work better for you. In this case, it's the view from my couch. The tubes do not bother me in the least.

 
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