Mackinaw River Tank - 265 Gal - Discontinued - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 06:13 PM Thread Starter
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Mackinaw River Tank - 265 Gal - Discontinued

Here goes another tank!

This is one that has been rattling around in my head for a long time. First thing you should know...this is going to be a VERY slow build. So if you want to watch it, I suggest replying or subscribing for email updates because it won't be updated very often, so it won't be at the top of this list all that much. The main reason its going to be so slow is because tank needs some resealing work, probably drilling it, lots and lots of planning, and it won't even be setup in this current house. My new wife and I are planning to move to a new house this August, and so its going to have a home in the new house, not our current one. But even so, I'm excited, and am going to be working on planning parts out before we get things setup.

What in the heck is the Mackinaw River, and why are you basing your tank on it?

The Mackinaw River is one that's pretty special to me. Its very small, as rivers go, and has a relatively small drainage area in central Illinois before dumping into the Illinois River. Thankfully, the Asian carp that infest the IL River haven't moved into the Mackinaw more than a few hundred feet from the mouth. Is a river that I have spent a lot of time fishing, wading, swimming, and paddling in. There is a pretty nice diversity of fish in it, and is home to a lot of wildlife. Well....a lot of wildlife for a river that runs mostly through agricultural land. So I have wanted to do a river tank that is unique, and is something that's close to home/heart. I realize that local fish aren't always the most colorful or active, but that's ok. This is something that will be special to us, and fun to make happen and talk about.

So this is the Mackinaw. The water shed kind of looks like a pancreas. lol. Most of my paddling has been spent on the lower 2/3's of the river (on the left of the pic) so all collection of rocks, plants, and fish will come from there. Though there is a fantastic collection point near its crossing of I-55 near Lexington. I don't know who Henry is or why his farm is noted on there, but that's not me...just FYI.


The Plan (so far)
So far, the only thing I know for sure is the tank, and that I will build some sort of river manifold.

The tank is an 84"x24"x30" 265 gallon. Its heavy! It needs to have at least one seam re-sealed, but I will likely do all just to be safe. For ease of use, I will probably end up drilling the glass at some point for plumbing. So far you can only see it hanging out of my truck...but pics are pics!



The manifold system is one that will probably change a few times to get the system right. In my head, I see some baffle system like you see in wind tunnels to even out the flow, but I am probably over complicating it. Then I think I am in favor of an external system to move the water from the intake to the return, and would like to do some sort of large fluidized bed filter in a sump....but I could be convinced otherwise.

Speaking of overcomplicating....one of the things I will be trying to calculate out is what will be a good turnover rate for river fish, and consequently which pump or pumps should I use. I thought about using the existing flow of the mackinaw at a known location to try and calculate what is natural there, but that might be too complicated as well. lol

To fill the tank, we are planning on using all locally collected specimens....rock, wood, flora, and fauna. First will be sand, gravel, stones, and driftwood gathered while we are out paddling. Those will probably be collected all summer and set aside in our storage locker. I am on the fence if we are going to add dirt under sand or not, but if we do, it will be MTS, and NOT muck from the river. I am not interested in river muck in an area that has so much chemical activity from agriculture. But that will be for discussion later.

What kind of updates can I expect soon?
Lots of talking and planning to start. Boring right? Probably. Hopefully in a month or two the resealing work will take place. Then drilling after that. During that time, I will be putting up sump/filter designs, flow plans, that sort of thing, and will be hoping for feedback. Then hopefully before September the tank will be in its new home and the real work will be able to begin. Sooner, if we are lucky!

As with any of my builds, I welcome comments and suggestions. Especially one that's this early in the planning stage.

Thanks for looking!
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Last edited by scolba; 08-03-2017 at 08:45 PM. Reason: title
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 07:45 PM
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This should be interesting. Do you have a list of native species?
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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I managed to find a list from an older survey. The species list is on page 9 of 19.
http://ilacadofsci.com/wp-content/up...3-08-print.pdf

The darters would be cool, and sunfish are probably the most colorful of what is local. This river was the original spot of identification for a couple of madtom species, too, but I think they may be gone now.


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 09:43 PM
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Subbed. I love river tanks and my brother and I have been talking about how cool it'd be to do a local biotope from our dirty river here in Northwest Ohio for the same reasons you listed. A few darters and sunfish would be really neat.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 02:25 AM
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I think this is great.


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 03:48 AM Thread Starter
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Update!! Lol, ok not really, but we moved the tank to its home for a little while...the storage unit. Really this is just for a better look at the tank and stand....and my silly wife for scale.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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Rather than having the entire flow discussion here, with a limited audience, I started a new thread specifically for it here: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/8-...iscussion.html


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Last edited by scolba; 06-17-2017 at 03:02 PM. Reason: removed the flow discussion to put in its own thread
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-16-2017, 07:49 PM
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I used to live in Washington and worked in Bloomington. I have always loved that river, but never swam or paddled in it. I thing you project is the greatest one I have seen, but that comes from where I lived too.I had a similar tank once I took the tank, 10 gallon, into our daughter's classroom and the kids loved it. It had crayfish, tadpoles and small fish it. Maybe some snailsthis was 30 years ago, so I don't remember. Well, the tank started to leak, got a call from the teacher, went up, dismantled the tank and took it home. iI do not remember what happened after that. It was such fun. I would do it again with a creek up here, but am busy enough with my turtle tanks and my crayfish tank. So, Please keep me posted no matter how long this takes! Best of luck! Cate
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-18-2017, 03:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments, Cate! That sounds like a fun tank. I hadn't thought about crayfish! That's pretty cool, and might make a nice addition to this one as well!


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2017, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Sad day today. This particular dream tank is dead. At least for now. We decided that we are going to stay in our house for a few years yet, and as a result, don't have the room for this monster of a tank. Its going to its new owner on Saturday.

I am delivering the tank to the guy, and he's giving me a 55+stand in payment for delivering, so I might attempt a local tank, but on a much smaller, less fancy scale. But either way, this specific build is no more. Sorry for the tease. lol


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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-03-2017, 09:07 PM
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I was exited, its hurting me more than you LOL
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-04-2017, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Lol, I'm right there with ya man. Maybe someday it will be resurrected. Try not to dehydrate yourself with too many tears. lol


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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-05-2017, 12:21 AM
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I'm about to turn into a raisin.
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