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Hello,

I am going to set up a grow out tank for my breeding Apistogramma Cacatuoides. They breed easily in my main display tank (40g long. 48x13x16). The fry get to the free swimming stage and hang out with their mother. I want to set up a tank where I move mom and the free swimmers until they out grow her care then move her back to the main display.

I have a few thoughts I would like to get your opinions. Keep in mind these requirements. Must not be too large. Must be able to survive on weekly water changes. Other than that its fair game.

If I was to set up a bare tank for the sole purpose of growing the fry what would I need? Here are my thoughts.

10-20 gallon tank.
No substrate.
piece of drift wood for hiding.
couple ceramic caves like I have in the main display for more hiding.
Sponge filter. (powered by air)
Heater.
Thermometer.

How would this tank cycle or keep ammonia down? The sponge will need to be cleaned regularly so I am not sure how I would avoid ammonia spikes. There is no bio media in a tank like this so where would the good bacteria grow?

Another idea is to use a sump for this purpose. But how can I set up a sump w/o drilling to work at, or slightly below, the same height as the main tank? I would love to set up something that requires no extra filtration. I am heavily over filtered on my main display so picking up the extra gallons from the sump will not be an issue. I might have to add another heater to pick up the extra volume though. How would I plumb such a thing.

Set up would be:

10-20 gallon tank.
No substrate or very thin substrate.
piece of drift wood for hiding.
couple ceramic caves like I have in the main display for more hiding.
Return pump (to pump water back into the main display.
Heater.
Thermometer.
Plumbing equipment.

I'm open to completely new Ideas as well. I just want to provide a safer environment for the fry with weekly maintenance. Option 2 above would be ideal I just don't know how to set it up.

Thanks,
Jason
 

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A hob power filter large enough for the grow out tank would be easy to set up and won't take up room in the tank. You could also modify a sponge from one of the filters from the main tank to put inside it and you wouldn't have to cycle at all. Just add the female.
 

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Sponge filters will provide all that you need. They are great for bare bottom fry tanks. You only rinse them out in the tank water, as long as you do that, there will be no issues with the cycle. I run 2 sponge filters in each of my 40 and 33 breeders.

If another breeder size is too large, I'd say get a 20 long.

So with a sponge filter, heater and air pump... you are good to go!
 
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