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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Outdoor tank

So my african cichlids are getting too big for my current tank and I don't want to get rid of them. I have a small patio right on the side of my house. What would I need to do to make this happen? I'm not worried too much about heat or weather because I live in Hawaii so it doesn't get out of hand temperature wise and weather would be just when it rains heavy.

My main concerns are:
1) How to keep the power cord covered as it makes it's way from the house so that there is no exposure spots and possibly short circuit.
2) How big of a shed do I need to build

P.S. Looking at either a 100g or 125g tank.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-09-2013, 10:23 PM
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You could put the extension cord in a small 1/2" or so PVC pipe and run it underground to your shed. The question of how big a shed you need to build is really up to you and how much room you want. Also does it get excessively cold and/or hot there?

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 12:34 AM Thread Starter
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Not excessively, although I'm more worried about when it does get hot. How could I cool it off?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 12:52 AM
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I keep Dempsey pair and pair of salvini cichlids outside in Rubbermaid stock tank with no filter . I simply change about 50% of the water once a week and use it to water my plants than add pre-dechlorinated water .

If I was going to do a tank set up like yours , I would do the same as far as no filter but I would use a screen top or egg crate over the tank so they do not jump out . I do not know African cichlids but heard some jump due to other cichlids chasing them.

I would paint the outside of the tank bottom and no substrate only because easier to siphon out the waste but again I know nothing about Africans other than they need rock or pvc .

As far as heat goes planted plants around the tank go a long waking they , as far blocking the sun and you can use African type plants such as dwarf papyrus and reg papyrus .

Once you figure a method that works for you , you will prefer keeping them outside , their colors with real sunlight , even dappled sunlight are amazing .

I guess you will need a heater if you get chilly nights?

My stock tanks are partially buried and even in the rare 60 degree winter nights they hold temps in low 70s . I have never found heat to be an issue and the wild cichlids in the area breed in such hot summer temps that the water is even bit to warm for human standards.

Lol, I just noticed that my Dempsey stock tank is in my avatar , I do use floating frogbit , Too many in this pic and I removed a lot after taking the pic.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 12:53 AM
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Do you need a shed or can you just put the tank outside, the weather there is so good I've seen African cichlids living in ponds there,

is there good shade in that spot? or mostly sun? the shade would be good if you're worried about too much heat, and I think having it in a shed, the shed would tend to heat up more than if the tank was in open air and had some shade

Originally Posted by Lia View Post
Once you figure a method that works for you , you will prefer keeping them outside , their colors with real sunlight , even dappled sunlight are amazing .
it's true the colors are sooo much better, I used to breed cichlids in my outdoor pond here in Arizona during the summer a few years ago

Last edited by Darkblade48; 11-11-2013 at 11:03 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 01:54 AM
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Ok so if theres a big tree in your yard build your shed there. Just make it big enough for you to barley be able to move around in so it looks nice and have like 2 fans blowing on the tank to keep it cool and as far as no short circ make sure to buy a new cord and makybe cover it in a trp like wrap it and burry it under ground.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 03:14 AM Thread Starter
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That's wat I was thinking, I was thinking of just building a "shed" big enough to shield the tank from the rain.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 04:02 AM
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Do you just have a patio, or do you have a yard-type area?

If you have a yard, would a pond be a possibility? It would be pretty easy to make a relatively large one for probably quite a bit less then what a tank would cost (but would involve a bit of labor, so...), and the combination of sitting in the ground and being a large volume of water would provide a lot of temperature stability.

If not, I'm not entirely sure you would actually need to protect the tank from much, I doubt a bit of rain would hurt it (hey, free water change...), but if it's subjected to direct sunlight for too much of the day, it might get a bit warm, but it wouldn't be difficult to limit the sunlight (and, hey, free light...)

As to the power - just get an outdoor-rated extension cord, and run it up to a post near your tank, plug in your equipment, and stick an upside-down 5-gal bucket over that. It'll keep the rain out, but it will probably get full of spiders. Throwing some pvc conduit or something won't hurt, and will also make it easy to bury the cords and keep them out of the way/keep people from tripping on them, etc. You might need to protect the individual pieces of electric equipment, etc., depending on what you are using. If it's outside, you won't need lights, probably not a heater either, but will still need filtration - if you just do something with a submersible pump, you are probably fine. for a cannister, you could probably do a similar thing with just throwing a bucket or plastic container over it (so long as it's elevated off the ground). Not real sure how to handle HOB filters...
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-10-2013, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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It's a small patio. So there would be no need for lighting? Do then the only things needing protection would be all the electrical equipment.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-11-2013, 12:28 AM
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You might want to think about some sort of netting over the tank too so birds don't come and eat your fish.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-11-2013, 12:37 AM
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Do not put electrical in WATER pipe. There is PVC conduit that will work well. But if someone is digging and breaks a water pipe, no big deal. But if that water pipe really contains a live wire, that is a major problem.
Almost impossible to put an extension cord through PVC conduit unless you get really large conduit or else cut the plug off one end. Then you have to rewire it.

Have an electricial tap into the house wiring in the right way and add a GFI protected outlet near the pond/tank. The electrician will know what sort of protection to use.
Even if you put this under a shedroof (good idea) I would still use fully outdoor rated materials.

I do not think you will need a light for the plants. Under the shade of a tree, enough light will probably get through. If the shed roof is just a roof and not too large there will be enough light from the sides.
You might want a light for when you are out there at night and want to see it.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-11-2013, 07:01 PM
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I am not an electrician but I would try to get a quote on running power out there. I would imagine that it would need to be on it's own circuit to be up to code so cost would likely depend on where your fuse box is.

That said, I have been running power out of my garage for awhile and my parents (father is quite the electritian and has wired up his whole home, everything to code) both do the same. Get a super heavy duty extension cord an bury it. Always replace the receptacle with a GFCI. They have had no issues with their pond in 3-4 years, I have not either, just less time. Both of us plan to do things the right way but we need power outside and if my dad trusts that it's safe enough, I feel confident as well.
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