Over the last few months, we've decided to throw the tank limit out the window. There are so many fish we would love to keep, and after learning how easy it is to have a few tanks in one place in regards to maintenance, we decided to start building a fish tank rack. This journal will be a way to track the progress on the room.
The room itself is a small room in the basement. When we replaced our furnace, we added in a return vent and the whole room stays about 15° warmer than the rest of the basement. In general, with all of the tanks running, the room stays at about 73 on average. Previously the room (which is also an office, its oddly shaped, but the back portion is where the fish tanks are located), housed my 120g FW, and my BF's 120 SW tank. It is still home to the 120g FOWLR tank. The tank takes up a lot of room due to the built in wet-dry in the back, so I figured a compact, organized rack, was the best way to make the most out of the small amount of space. The rack is a 6' Gladiator steel shelving unit with a capacity of 2,000 lbs per shelf. I also added plywood to each shelf as a safety net. I did leave the wire racks on, but only to allow for easy mounting of lights and to allow me to easily zip tie cords and other stuff up and out of the way. The plan is for 20g Highs on top, 10g tanks in the middle, and the bottom shelf - I have no idea. Currently the 40g long is on the shelf, which leaves an awkward amount of space next to it, but maybe I will find something fun to do with that space. It's a 24" space that's left. In addition to the shelf, the old table I was using, currently has a 75g I picked up for an excellent deal. I need to figure out how to reinforce the table, as it's 4'x2'. I did reinforce the top deck early on, but I likely will just go the route of adding two additional legs - one in the middle of each short side, that go all the way to the ground. It should make it sturdy and strong enough for the tank. If anyone has any input on this, please let me know. I want to make sure it's sturdy as can be.
Equipment wise, I have an Alita AL-15 running the show. I just built the central air system this weekend, but I already am finding some faults. While the entire system is very quiet, I would like to cement the PVC together. It seemed as though many people were fine with just dry fitting the PVC, but especially where my blow off valve is, I am losing air on the fittings. I also had bad luck with three of the single lever valves stripping after tapping the holes (these were NOT self-tapping as advertised), so I plan on just running a bead of silicone around the threads of the valves, and calling it good. The system isn't under a ton of pressure, so it should work. Aside from the faults, I am really pleased with how it is running. Really nice to have one very quiet
pump running all of the tanks. After talking to club members, it should be capable of running everything I have planned for in the future, with the blow off valve ensuring the pump stays healthy for the time being. Lighting, I have a handful of Sunblaster T5HOs. Currently the top and bottom shelf each have their bulb, I have yet to install the one on the middle shelf. None of these tanks will be high-tech tanks, so the one bulb over each shelf should be enough to keep low-tech plants, while not allowing for too much algae. For now, the 10g just has an old hood I found lying around with a T8 in it. LEDs would be nice, but these T5s are cheap, and I like that since they are so light, I can hang them with wire super easily. I do need to move the one on the top shelf, as it's using the same hooks the table used, but for now, it's functional.
For filtration, the 40g and 10g are both utilizing Swiss Tropicals' cubefilters with the jetlifter, and they are silent. I have another one seeding in my sump for use in the 75g, and I plan on going with these for the rest of the future tanks. The 20g is using a cheap sponge filter I picked up a while back. It does work, but it's noisy, and awkward with how it sticks out in the tank.
Here is the rack, it's a tight room (as you can tell), but between the end of the 75g stand and the front of the rack, there is a very comfortable 2.5'. Very easy to work on the bottom tank. I left a good chunk of room inbetween each shelf, so that I do not have any issues reaching into the tanks or doing maintenance.
40g Grow Out
40g long, with the current batch of fry. They are at 9 weeks old.
It's running with a 5x5" cubefilter with the jetlifter, a jimmy rigged filter, a handful of gravel for extra BB space from cycling the tank, and a 300W Finnex heater. I aim for 50% daily water changes on this tank, but if something comes up where I miss a day, I will do a 75% the following day to compensate. I try to keep this tank spotlessly clean as best as I can.
20g High Angel Pair
This tank, everyone is likely familiar with, so here is a picture of tonight's batch of eggs. I fed nothing but live blackworms for the last few days, and it seems to have done the trick with getting my male to do his part instead of starring off in space. My male did a very good job this time
. Interesting place to lay, the eggs wrap the whole uptake tube. The female, since being removed from the fry, has spawned every 9 days like clockwork. It's amazing how happy they've been in this tank.
This tank is running with a cheapy sponge filter that I would like to replace with a cubefilter with the jetlifter, a 200W Finnex, and some flourite. It also has two java ferns, a tumble-weed style ball of willow moss, and a bolbitus I didn't plant in my 120g, but found. It's not pretty, but these fish have been very happy and healthy in this set-up. This tank, with just the adults, is getting a 50% water change twice a week. Once the eggs become free swimming, I will go to 20% every day, and gradually increase to 50% daily until they are big enough to go to the 40g. It seemed to have worked with the last batch. I would like to pretty up this tank a bit, but have to work around these angels spawning all the time.
10g Apistogramma Cacatuoides
And the new tank, I've talked about, but have not yet shared. This tank, equipment wise, is using a 3x3 cubefilter with jetlifter, and a 100W heater I had lying around. Using just plain old aquarium gravel, and lava rock as hardscape that I also had lying around. Plants, it has bucephalandra, a melting madagascar lace, some crypts, willow moss, a marsiliea species, anubias nana petite, pygmy chain swords, java ferns, and broad leaf bolbitus. It's inhabitants are 2xApistogramma Cacatuoides, and a handful of Endlers Livebearers as dithers that I picked up at the last club meet. I originally was hoping I ended up with a male and a female apisto, but I am thinking I may have a sleeper male. They are still quite young, so time will tell. The tank has a lot of sight/line blockers, and I haven't noticed any aggression between the two. This tank is getting a 30-40% every 2 days or so right now. I have been feeding mostly live blackworms, and light amounts of flake foods, so despite the heavy stocking, the tank and it's inhabitants are doing very well. I still have some bioballs in the back corner, and a filter pad, from cycling the tank, that need to be removed, but I want to make sure that the sponge filter is fully seeded before I remove them. No ammonia or nitrite readings, so I am not worried. I hope that the plants will take off in this tank sooner or later. It is truely a low tech, no ferts either, so we will see! I would like it to have a jungly look to it, eventually, to help with keeping aggression in the tight space to a minimum.
Full tank shot:
Female (I suspect this to be a sleeper male):
I plan to update this thread with tank updates for the individual tanks and/or with progress on the room and rack in general.
We still haven't decided what to do with the 75g. I am debating on using it as another grow out, but still not sure. It was too good of a deal to let it go by
It's amazing how quick it is to do maintenance on these tanks. To do all of my water changes on all three, while still scrubbing the tanks down with my handy dandy magic eraser, takes a total of 30 minutes if I am not spacing out watching all of the fish. It's easy when everything is in one spot.
A few projects I need to do, aside from tweaking the central air system:
1. Tank backgrounds. The one on the 20g is for a 10g and looks awful. It works to provide privacy to the angels, but it just looks tacky. I hesitate to paint the tanks, so I may just go for black window film.
2. Organize storage in the room better for equipment that's nice to have around for quick access. I.e. paper towels, magic erasers, food, etc.
3. I have a little end table I will be setting up for my hatcheries. I need to get a desk lamp for it and organize it neatly to make harvesting/hatching, fast and easy. I likely have a new batch of fry coming down the pipeline that will need food started in T-Minus 8 days, so the clock is ticking.
Any advice, comments, or tips are greatly appreciated!