180G with Display Refugium - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-04-2019, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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Last weekend I stopped by my other local LFS and loaded up on loaches and shrimp. Felt like a high roller when I had 3 salespeople taking care of me after I told them I wanted to buy every loach and shrimp in the store lol.

Added:
12 Kuhli loaches
5 Zebra loaches
10 Amano Shrimp
1 Bamboo Shrimp

All the loaches went into the main display and the shrimp into the refugium. Unfortunately one of the amanos managed to escape into the main display when I was unbagging them and was swarmed by the barbs. I found another dead amano the next morning that must not have handled the transition but the rest appear to be doing well. I've found several shells from successful molts.

The shrimp are able to climb the divider between the sump chambers and have been moving back and forth so I don't see a lot of them. I could build something to block them but if they want to help keep my filter pads clean I don't mind.

The loaches are a different story. After the first night I found six of them in the right hand overflow, even after I had patched it. While I was catching them I bumped the support for the hood and crushed my arm, bending one of the support brackets in the process. Each support is able to hold 50lbs so I'll be fine for the time being but will need to repair the other bracket soon.

As for the overflow I removed all the old wide mesh when I did my water change and replaced with fine window screen, extending 2 inches above the overflow and secure by a bead of silicon, making sure there were no gaps. The mesh is tight enough that it raised the water level in the tank slightly so it is now at the level of the center brace. Still I found 3 loaches in the overflow last night. I have no idea how they are still getting in there. I added a 1" thick piece of poret foam around the outside of the overflow but if that doesn't work I'm not sure what else to try. Everything I can think of will restrict the waterflow too much.

Anyone have any brilliant ideas for loach proof overflows?
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post #17 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-04-2019, 05:59 PM
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Can you take a picture of the overflow itself? That might help with some ideas.

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300g 8' acrylic aquarium acquired, in process to build/setup/plan setup

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post #18 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-04-2019, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by chayos00 View Post
Can you take a picture of the overflow itself? That might help with some ideas.

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I'll grab a picture of it when I get home. They are basic full height rectangular corner overflows, similar to the ones below. I've completed covered the slots with fine mesh window screen that is folded over the top and siliconed to both sides.

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post #19 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-04-2019, 09:24 PM
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I'll grab a picture of it when I get home. They are basic full height rectangular corner overflows, similar to the ones below. I've completed covered the slots with fine mesh window screen that is folded over the top and siliconed to both sides.

Thanks! Seeing those, if you've secured the screen like that then it's possible they could be jumping up and over and down the tube for a swim. Do you have foam you can trim and put in the opening?

Something pretty open like Matala mat, either the course black or medium blue.

Blue
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LJ257II

Black
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LJ1UN9M/
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post #20 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 09:30 AM
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Have you thought about a weir or overflow to hide your pump? That could provide a double function hide your pump and also provide some protection from overflowing your tank if something happens to clog the overflow from your main tank
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post #21 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-05-2019, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by chayos00 View Post
Thanks! Seeing those, if you've secured the screen like that then it's possible they could be jumping up and over and down the tube for a swim. Do you have foam you can trim and put in the opening?

Something pretty open like Matala mat, either the course black or medium blue.

Blue
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00LJ257II

Black
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LJ1UN9M/
The siphon pipe has a screen on it so none have made it into the sump, they just like to hang out in the overflow because loaches gonna loach I guess.

This is what it looks like now. Since I added the black foam I haven't seen any in the overflow but its only been a day. I need to find a better way to secure it as its currently just held in place by the water flow pushing it against the overflow/background.



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Originally Posted by DarkXstar View Post
Have you thought about a weir or overflow to hide your pump? That could provide a double function hide your pump and also provide some protection from overflowing your tank if something happens to clog the overflow from your main tank

I've been building a cover to hide it that I hope to have installed this weekend. I cut the center out of the lid for the box its sitting inside and replaced it with window screen and am going to attach some moss and java ferns onto it. This should keep it hidden, while still allowing water flow and easy access to the pump.

The main tank uses a bean animal style setup with the full siphon and open channel running into the sump and the emergency dry pipe connected to the external drain so the risk of overflowing the main tank is low. The sump has its own overflow that connects to the external drain. Under normal operation there is a steady, light flow from the sump overflow into my front garden thanks to the continuous drip system.
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post #22 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-16-2019, 09:39 PM
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LOVE the visible refugium! What a cool idea. Looks awesome so far - can't wait to see where this ends up.
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post #23 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-29-2020, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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I keep meaning to come back and post an update on this but life always gets in the way. Quite a lot has happened in the tank over the last 18 months so I'll divide it up into a few parts.

Not long after the last update I stopped by one of my local stores hoping to find more zebra loaches. They didn't have any but did have another interesting loach I had never seen in a store before, Acantopsis choirorhynchos, aka horse-faced locach. I told the clerk I wanted to buy all of them, thinking there were 3, but after sifting the sand we found 6 more and came home with all 9 and am glad I did. They like to hide when startled but spend a good bit of time out in the open and can be quite entertaining to watch. They will often move around the bottom of the tank in pairs or small groups, competing to stay first in line while they filter sand through their gills to feed. One will nose ahead, then the other, and so on, back and forth across the tank. Other times you'll walk up to the tank and spot just a nose and some eyes poking up out of the sand.

Two of them doing their thing:


Water changes are scary:



A few weeks later I noticed something swimming in the refugium with them which a closer inspection revealed to be fry of an unknown origin. This set off a fun game of trying to guess what type of eggs had hitchhiked on my recent plant additions while watching them slowly grow out. After about a month of watching closely, the body shape and coloration had developed enough to identify them as black ruby barbs! Apparently, my adults enjoyed the tank well enough they had successfully spawned and some of the eggs and/or fry were small enough to slip past the mesh on the overflow and catch a ride to the refugium. I was thrilled with this as I had been wanted to expand the school but don't often see them in stores. In total there were 12, doubling the size of my school overnight.

Here's a photo from august when they were about 2 months old, alongside some cherry barbs:


And here's a full tank shot from around the same time:
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post #24 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-31-2020, 03:49 AM Thread Starter
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2020 - Year of Hell

2019 was wonderful. I finally got to set up my dream aquarium after purchasing it more than 10 years prior and lugging a giant empty tank around from house to house and everything went better than I had planned.

2020 started off great as well. Early in the year I moved the juvenile barbs up into the main tank to join their parents and create a lovely school and added a colony of cherry shrimp to the refugium in their place. Some plant species had struggled for various reasons, most notably hungry barbs, but I had found others that were thriving and had the CO2, dosing, and lighting, and maintenance dialed in so algae was rarely a bother.

Then covid hit. I'm lucky and was able to switch to full work from home but my workload tripled and I went from 9-5 M-F to working 12-16 hours days 7 days a week for several weeks in a row. During the second week of this chaos, I came downstairs in the afternoon to check the fish and was crushed to find all my barbs dead.

The final loss count came to:
All 24 black ruby barbs
All 6 cherry barbs
4 SAE
1 Rainbow shark
1 Horseface loaches

Over the next few days I lost one zebra loach and my opaline gourami.

This left the following survivors:
4 Pearl Gourami
2 SAE
12 Kuhli Loaches
8 Horseface Loaches
4 Zebra Loaches

None of the dead fish showed any signs of disease but I had just done a water change the night before so I assume something must have gone wrong there. All the water parameters tested normal but it had been nearly 24 hours since the WC and I hadn't checked the tank with the lights in between so it's possible whatever did it might no longer have been present by the time I tested. The best guesses I've been able to come up with are that I either:

a) accidentally turned on the CO2 system when reactivating the pumps after the WC. The WC was after the normal lights out time so the auto off wouldn't have triggered until the end of the next day.
b) grabbed the wrong bottle when treating the water and added some kind of meds instead of dechlorination. Excess chlorine could have evaporated off

Regardless of the exact cause it was a crushing blow. I've been in this hobby for 25 years and have never had losses like that. For a little while I just wanted to give the tank away but knew I could never do that. I kept up regular water changes but didn't devote much attention to plants over the next few months leading a very overgrown tank. To try to prevent a similar failure I reorganized the whole cabinet to separate chemicals used for different purposes and added additional shut off triggers for the CO2 system every hour outside of the run time so if it ever gets accidentally turned on it won't be able to reach a dangerous level.

Photo from May:
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post #25 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-31-2020, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ObsidianRose View Post
2020 - Year of Hell

During the second week of this chaos, I came downstairs in the afternoon to check the fish and was crushed to find all my barbs dead.

The final loss count came to:
All 24 black ruby barbs
All 6 cherry barbs
4 SAE
1 Rainbow shark
1 Horseface loaches

Over the next few days I lost one zebra loach and my opaline gourami.

This left the following survivors:
4 Pearl Gourami
2 SAE
12 Kuhli Loaches
8 Horseface Loaches
4 Zebra Loaches

None of the dead fish showed any signs of disease but I had just done a water change the night before so I assume something must have gone wrong there. All the water parameters tested normal but it had been nearly 24 hours since the WC and I hadn't checked the tank with the lights in between so it's possible whatever did it might no longer have been present by the time I tested. The best guesses I've been able to come up with are that I either:

a) accidentally turned on the CO2 system when reactivating the pumps after the WC. The WC was after the normal lights out time so the auto off wouldn't have triggered until the end of the next day.
b) grabbed the wrong bottle when treating the water and added some kind of meds instead of dechlorination. Excess chlorine could have evaporated off
Bummer. I do know how you feel.

About 15 years ago I had a 75 gallon planted tank full of my friends. I did my weekly water change but forgot to add the Prime dechlorinator. A few hours later I returned to see gasping fish with many expired. It was a terrible feeling.
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post #26 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-31-2020, 06:00 PM
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I really like this tank and your Asian themed stocklist. I am considering going high tech planted in my 2'x4' 120 gal. I always like to see the hurdles that other people are facing before I decide to take the plunge. I finally have the balance right in my 40 cube, but I have a feeling that a much bigger tank will be a lot different......
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post #27 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-31-2020, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Bummer. I do know how you feel.

About 15 years ago I had a 75 gallon planted tank full of my friends. I did my weekly water change but forgot to add the Prime dechlorinator. A few hours later I returned to see gasping fish with many expired. It was a terrible feeling.
It really is the worst feeling. There's no visual clue something is wrong and by the time you notice the damage has been done.
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post #28 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-31-2020, 07:22 PM
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Very sorry to hear about the sudden livestock loss.. The set up is spectacular and the tank filled out very well!

I'm hoping 2021 will better. Keep doing the updates when you can, love to see how projects progress!
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Tanks
75, 2 - 55s, a 20 long, and 2 ten gallons - as well as an old claw foot, cast iron tub converted to goldfish pond

Critters
Fish - Glolight Danios, Dwarf Gouramis, Chili Rasboras, Kubotai Rasboras, Tuxedo Guppies, Otocinlus and goldfish
Invertebrates - Neocaridina, Amano and Ghost Shrimp, Nerite and Mystery snails,
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post #29 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-31-2020, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ObsidianRose View Post
2020 - Year of Hell

Man, I hate that for you. Hang in there. This is a gorgeous tank (and stand, I'm pretty jealous) and you've done some great work.

I'm looking forward to seeing you get some more fish and I hope you have excellent luck at the fish store.
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post #30 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-31-2020, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by robmcd View Post
I really like this tank and your Asian themed stocklist. I am considering going high tech planted in my 2'x4' 120 gal. I always like to see the hurdles that other people are facing before I decide to take the plunge. I finally have the balance right in my 40 cube, but I have a feeling that a much bigger tank will be a lot different......
Thanks! It has certainly been a rollercoaster ride so far but is so rewarding when its going right.

This was my first attempt at a high tech setup. The initial work of building and setting everything up was a bit more than I'm used to but the regular maintenance hasn't been as bad as I thought it might be. I need to trim stuff more often (which is its own challenge in such a large tank), but with the lighting/CO2/WC mostly automated it hasn't been too bad. I've kept the light period fairly short with a break in the middle and the CO2 at a moderate level which seems to have helped prevent algae from becoming much of an issue.
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