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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So it turns out my wife is OK with basically having a bath tub in our living room. If we move the 29 to the other side of the room, slide the computer over and rearrange some guitar wall hangers we'll be able to fit a six foot tank after all which is what I had in mind originally.

So here's the deal... I'll be building a DIY stand (2x6s and lag bolts and since we're going so big I'm thinking of doing a sump rather than having other tanks below the bigger one. Problem is, I don't really have a clue about sumps other than some reading I've done in the Library section here and a few pics in various threads.

First off, if I buy a 180 pre-drilled and equipped with overflows should I go with corner overflows or the other kind with the overflows across the back centered on each side?

Then should I DIY a sump using, say a 55 gallon tank or how about a Rubbermaid tub w/ plastic drawer setup like I've seen? Or, being my first, should I bite the bullet and pay through the nose for say, an Aqueon sump that's designed to work with the tank I'll be getting?

Pros and cons of that stuff anyone?

Once I get all that figured out there's still the stocking list. I had planned on going with 4 species in the 75 I was planning, how many are possible in a 180? I don't want to go hog-wild, I want a fairly peaceful "working" Tanganyikan community setup.

I definitely want calvus and cyps. Will paracyp nigiripinnis work with the cyps or is cross-breeding a concern? Can I go with maybe two additional rock dwellers, a shellie and maybe some sort of sand sifter? I have no experience at all with sand sifters or feather fins, I'm just looking for possibilities.

The clock is already running too. I'm attending the ACA Convention in DC July 22-24 and plan to fully stock or as much of my tank as possible at that time. I'm going to design the stand this week and build it this weekend at which point I'll need to have an idea what tank, sump and pumps I'll need so I can start gathering all that. I have plenty of filters, media and rocks I can add to the new tank to speed cycling, but still need to allow sufficient time to establish a full bacteria colony since I'll be stocking the tank all at once.

Any help, links to threads, advice, know-how anyone cares to share will be greatly appreciated and carefully considered.

Thanks in advance.
 

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I have a 125G 72" x 18" with normal filters (no sumps) and you can see my stock list.

I would not get a drilled tank, overflows or a sump. I use an in-tank background to hide filter intakes, and use in-line heaters. I don't see the huge advantage of a sump for freshwater if hiding equipment is not an issue.

Featherfins, you might want just those for the bottom. And cyps for the top. If you want more of a community you might want to avoid the featherfins.

I stick with just one bottom dweller, I chose Callochromis instead of Synodontis or shellies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks DJR. I'll scratch the featherfins then. I wasn't sure about them anyway. I like your stocking on your 125. I'll definitely be going with 3 of yours, the calvus, caudopunks and cyps. I've kept julies before and like them, but I wouldn't mind replacing them in the rock dweller niche if there was something else that would work that I hadn't kept before. My wife did like the j. dickfeldi when we were looking at species profiles yesterday.

Interesting that you don't think a sump is needed. I'd gotten the impression that they were somewhat de rigeur (pardon my French :wink: ) with tanks of a certain size. I think they're neat, but would be just as happy going with a large canister and an Emperor 400 say. I do plan on UGJs as I really like what they do in my little 20 gallon setup that was my first try with them.

Anyone else?
 

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I'm of the opposite thought as DJRansome -

My 180 is a pre-drilled (overflows on back wall/not corner) tank and I love it. I think the location of the overflows is purely up to you. I use a wet/dry sized for a 200 and I use it in conjunction with an Eheim 2262. I'm not a DIY type person so I buy all of my gear. Yes, it costs more than making it yourself but there's rarely any problems and you know they work how their supposed to.

Pros of wet/dry:
increased oxygenation of water without having to use an air pump or HOBs to break surface
awesome bio filter
hide other items in the sump area and out of display
easy maintenance

Cons:
Lousy at mechanical filtration
Can be costly depending on manufacturer
You have to buy/use a pump on the system
Will be noisy unless you use a durso or some other method to quieten the overflows

Can you get by on a 180 without a wet/dry? Absolutely. I think that once you have one you wont want another tank without them though. The ease of maintenance alone (slide out tray, rinse pad, slide tray back in) is worth it to me.

I also have a 90 that I run with (2) Eheim 2217s, (1) 2213 and an AC110. It's a great tank too but monthly maintenance takes longer on it than the 180.

As for stocking - I'll leave that up to others. I have (9)benthochromis, (5)moba, (3/5)kilesa, (2/2)foai and (2/2)callochromis in mine and love the tank.

Whichever way you go just have fun with it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the input. I have a lot to think about obviously.

Now I'm waffling about the 180 gallon. I'm wondering what the extra 6 inches of floor space and 4" of height really gains me with a 125 vs. 180 gallon. It's only 70% the capacity, but I'm wondering if, with the kind of fish I want, (smallish Tanganyikans) if the extra space is really worth the extra cost.

Can anyone share some wisdom on that subject?

I do like the idea of not having a sump because that would allow me to put another tank or two, depending on size, down below which is good because if I buy groups of 6-8 (except for cyps) I'll have some extra fish to find a home for when pairs form. Plus more room for more tanks is always a good thing.
 

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I agree on the callochromis, they are awesome looking and fun to watch. paracyps wont crossbreed with cyps either. as far as the extra height? it is definatly worth it, more room for the cyps to swim and actually observe thier schooling behavior
 

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Norm66 said:
Now I'm waffling about the 180 gallon. I'm wondering what the extra 6 inches of floor space and 4" of height really gains me with a 125 vs. 180 gallon. It's only 70% the capacity, but I'm wondering if, with the kind of fish I want, (smallish Tanganyikans) if the extra space is really worth the extra cost.

Can anyone share some wisdom on that subject?
If you've got the funds for the 180 then I would suggest getting it. It is effectively adding another 55 gallon tank to the 125. The 6" of width alone is a huge addition....

IMO the 180 is the first step into the "large" tanks. Another nice thing is that there are not many fish you can't keep in a 180 so it's a tank you can have for a long time without needing to upgrade.

180 all the way.
 

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If not going for a drilled tank with a sump check out FLUVAL FX 5 FILTER (you can usually get these second hand in the UK for about £80-100 quite a saving on the new price of about £170) . Hugely good filters for the money and will give you most if not all the filtration you need. If you can aford a bit more then the Eheim Pro3 would be a great choice. But very hard to get hold of second hand.
Pros and cons of both given here http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forum ... 3-compared

All the best James
 

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square footage is as important, if not more important than gallonage. get the wider tank

I personally won't ever buy another tank that's taller than it is wide. It's the difference between looking at, or looking through the tank, and looking into the tank.
 

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ox777 wrote:
I personally won't ever buy another tank that's taller than it is wide. It's the difference between looking at, or looking through the tank, and looking into the tank.
That's exactly why I favor the 40Long (48x13x16) or 33Long (48x13x12) over
the ever popular 55gal. for most 4ft Tang setups. I don't keep cyps so anything taller is
wasted space (more water to change, more chemical, larger filters, etc all for nothing). I'm really surprised these tank sizes aren't more popular. I love my 75gal, very busy tank, but there's about
8 inches of unused water at the top. My next 2 tanks (in the works) are going to be the shorter ones. Just me.......

Cheers,
Tom
 

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If you're building a sump, make sure you either build a slide out tray (like 713J said), or make it shorter than you think. You definitely need some arm room to work with it.

If it were me, I'd go with a canister (or pair of canister) filters, but I've had a bad experience with a sump and a wet floor (upstairs) which led to a wet ceiling (downstairs).

One thing to consider with a sump is the noise they make too. If you don't use good durso stand pipes inside your overflows and do a good job plumbing, there is a LOT of splashing noise. Not great if you're trying to watch a movie in your living room.

Sumps make great filters, and maintenance can be easy, but they also have their downsides. Not to mention the cost and research necessary to build one right.

Definitely go with the most floor space for cichlids. I've never met anyone in this community who would ever utter the phrase: "I wish I'd gone with the smaller tank..."

Good luck!
 

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xWingman48 said:
pair of canister) filters[\quote]This is what I do on all my tanks. Definitely prefer an extremely quiet tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yes, quiet is definitely a consideration as this will be in my living room, though on the opposite side from the TV. I'd still like to keep it quiet so I'm thinking maybe an FX5 as James suggests above might be just the thing. Would I still need a HOB for surface agitation do you think?

On the 180 vs. 125 I think I was just having a weak moment of fear or pre-buyer's remorse about such a big tank. But I'm feeling much better now. :D

I gave my sketch of my DIY stand to one of the mechanical engineers I work with to look over. I'm leaving the front open so I can put an additional tank below but the sides will be plywood skinned and I think the back will have knee braces at all 4 corners to prevent racking that way so I think the design will work. Next I need to look at the basement to make sure the floor will support the load. I'm thinking a couple of those metal jack-type stands and a little header between them ought to tighten up the floor sufficiently, but I'm going to have my builder buddy and my engineer buddy look at it to make sure what I want to do will be safe.

Then I'm planning a PVC drain down through the floor so I can do water changes without running the water in the sink to use the Python. With such a big tank the water bill will start to be a concern.

So that's all this week. With luck I'll be able to buy all my materials Friday and get the floor supported and the stand built Saturday. That'll leave Sunday for painting.

Then I think I'll order the tank and have it for the next weekend so I can get the back painted and things leveled. Plus I still have my 29 to move, but that won't be that big of a deal. After that it's ordering all the technical stuff and getting it up and running. Somewhere along then I'll have to finalize my stocking 'wish list' which I think will be the hardest part really.

Thanks for all the help.
 

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Norm66 said:
Would I still need a HOB for surface agitation do you think?
Nope. Just direct your spray bars up enough that they churn the surface. An FX5 should have plenty of force to keep your surface agitated and aerated.

Norm66 said:
Then I'm planning a PVC drain down through the floor so I can do water changes without running the water in the sink to use the Python. With such a big tank the water bill will start to be a concern.
I love that idea. I almost did that when I got mine set up, but I never got around to it. Even with a 180 and weekly water changes, your bill won't be all that terrible. Definitely not as bad as trying to keep a lawn watered when we have a 95 degree week in St Louis (in freakin early June this year!)

If you stock really lightly, you might even be able to get away with less frequent water changes. I do every other week in my 125.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just realized I hadn't thought anything at all about lighting. I've got Marineland double brights on my two other tanks but I'm thinking a 24" deep tank is going to need something more.

Mods- would it be better if I asked all these questions in one thread or made individual posts in the Tank Setups forum? I realize this section is supposed to be for species discussions and not the technical stuff.

Wingman- I'm seeing a lot of DIY spraybars for the FX5. Is the supplied one so terrible that eveyone feels the need to replace it?

Yea, I'm not worried about filling the tanks after water changes, but running water to suck water out for changes strikes me as horribly inefficient and wasteful. I don't worry about watering my grass, I rather wish it would all die. But that's one way to justify the water use. ;^)
 

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Norm66 said:
Wingman- I'm seeing a lot of DIY spraybars for the FX5. Is the supplied one so terrible that eveyone feels the need to replace it?
I've never owned an FX5, so I can't say for sure, but one motivation for the DIY might be to have the spray bar cover the whole width of the tank. Two benefits of this would be better surface agitation and less of a focused spray. (My XP3 filters move the sand around in my 125 pretty badly if I have the spray bars turned the wrong way). Spreading the spray out a bit should help keep your tank from having areas where the water flow is overly intense.

It may also be that if you DIY the spray bar, you can paint it black and mount it a little more securely so it's less obvious and a little more sturdy.
 

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Norm66 said:
Yea, I'm not worried about filling the tanks after water changes, but running water to suck water out for changes strikes me as horribly inefficient and wasteful.
Ahh yes. I typically throw a garden hose out my front window and drain the water into my landscaping. I suck up enough sand cleaning around corners that I definitely wouldn't want to drain directly into the sink.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I finally got to the point of getting the rocks for my new tank. The ones I had originally wanted turned out to be too crumbly but in looking around at nurseries for some to buy I came across a construction site of some sort where they were cutting out the side of the hillside. Got my nephew and his truck and went to get some. I'll clean them off tonight and hope to have them in by Sunday.

Here's where they came from. Fresh dug out of the earth just a week or so.



And here they are waiting For a good cleaning.


The great thing is I can always go back and get more if I need them. The price is definitely right. hehehe
Things are coming together.
 
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