DIY Low Tech River Tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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DIY Low Tech River Tank

Hey all,

I've started a rather large build that I fully expect to take me the next six months to build. The tank/container pond that I have built is 14ft long 2 ft wide and only 1 ft deep. The design is as low tech as it gets. At one end there is a 2000 gpm pond pump that feeds to a gravel bog filter at the other end of the tank which creates a nice steady flow from one end to the other. I currently don't have any lighting on the tank and would like to keep it that way if possible.

Since I'm at the very beginning stages of this build I'm open to any changes that may be needed. The main idea behind this design is to preform like a river with riffles, eddies, pools, and runs. I'm not really sure what the best plants to put in a tank like this is going to be but the main purpose of the plants is filtration. I am assuming that due to the current I will need planter boxes of some sort to to keep them in place. Any recommendations on low light plants, semi aquatic plants, and possible options to keep them from getting blown to the other side?
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 04:11 AM
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Wow great idea ! Not sure about the plants but 2 thumbs up on the project!
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, It an idea that I've had for a couple years but just now got around to building. I have looked all over the internet and have yet to find any info on this kind of build. Not really sure what Type of tank you would call it so getting info on problems to watch for and their remedies has been very difficult. Guess I'm kind of playing this one by ear and will just have to experiment a bit.

The bog filter is incredibly simple and so far seems to work really well. I've had large tanks in the past that have taken days to settle down and get that crystal clear look to them but this one only took about an 2 hours. Water basically just flows up through 12 inches of 3/8 pea gravel and out the top which traps the debris very well. The debris breaks down and feeds the plants on top. That and the fact that the water turns over about 15 times every hour has proved effective. Right now I have about 25 lucky bamboo planted on top but would like to find something else that grows quicker and be more effective filtration.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 03:39 PM
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You can go to home depot and get some bog/pond plants that'll work fine. A lot of our aquatic plants will work too: hygrophilia, cryptocoryne, well, anything you can think of except anubias (they like humid, warm air.)

What fish are you keeping?
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 03:44 PM
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Water Hyacinth. Pound for pound the best filter available(chemical...as in nitrates/ammonia). I'll tell you something else which may grow in the filter if it gets enough light through those windows...Louisians Irises.
And for on the rocks around where the water flows out of the filter...Subwassertang.
The WH may do better floating in the other end.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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I actually did think about using water hyacinth over the pump but my concern was if there was going to be enough light. There are two windows in that corner. I also thought about trying some duckweed. I here that stuff grows like wildfire. No idea what kind of lighting that would require or if it's very good for filtration but would assume the faster the growth the more chemicals it would remove. I enclosed the pump in eggcrate so floating plants could be kept over top with out being sucked into the pump.

I was thinking of keeping baby butterfly koi in the tank. When they get to big trade them off for more babies. Not sure if Koi would get to big to fast but if they can stay 1 year before being traded I can make it work. I would also like to do some other smaller species that could be kept separated with the plants. Would require a "planted tank" within the large tank that water could slowly pass through. Not sure exactly how to work that one out yet but like the idea any way.

Any suggestions for a good cleaner crew? The main substrate is pea gravel without soil underneath due to the faster current.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 06:47 PM
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First off, I love new ideas like this, so cheers to you.

Now, I am confused about how the filter works. Can you sketch it out a bit more?

Would be a killer tank for local river fish. My father in law has been bugging me to try something like this to keep trout.

How about some details on how you built the structure, sealed it, etc?


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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 08:40 PM
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Love the idea. Somewhere though I've seen this before. I saw your picture and it was like deja vu all over again. Now if only I could remember where the heck I ran across it.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 08:54 PM
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I think I saw this over at loaches.com.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatekeeper View Post
Now, I am confused about how the filter works. Can you sketch it out a bit more?
Works like a reverse undergravel filter. Water rises through the gravel feeding the plant roots then returning to the main pond



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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 10:20 PM
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This looks like an awesome tank! Definently keep us updated with how it goes. I second river fish for stocking. Hill stream loaches could be cool too.
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-20-2014, 11:48 PM
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I have duckweed in both my tanks. Your "river" my have a similar structure in that
I siliconed rocks/gravel to the back of my tanks and also have a built in filter in them.
Trying to describe a situation where there is plenty of places at or near the top of the tank for duckweed to get caught in or say hide from your search for it and removing it is near impossible. I have never been able to remove all of it from my tans because of this. It just grows right back. It may be drawn down into your pump also.
Just letting you know it may be a decision you can't undo IF it does have enough light.
Water Hyacinth will work better left to float freely and of course as such will end up at the other end from the filter. But that makes no difference in it's effectiveness.
It has hair like roots that capture particles from the water and will work as a particle filter as well as a chemical filter.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by AGUILAR3 View Post
Works like a reverse undergravel filter. Water rises through the gravel feeding the plant roots then returning to the main pond
Ahhh!!!! I thought it went the other way. As if you were pumping into the tank and drawing through the media. Didn't even think of it this way.

Very interesting.


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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
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The structure of the tank is very simple. I used 2x4s to build the entire stucture. The sides are studs spaced 24in on center. I doubled up the ends as well as the center studs for strength. The bottom is 16" on center to hold the weight. I designed it so it later down the road if I want to make the tank deeper I can drop the bottom to the floor making it about 24" deep.

The structure has been covered with 3/4 in Marine grade plywood on the inside. I then covered the plywood with some 1/4 underpayment padding. I then dropped in a pond liner. It's essentially a shallow horse trough. Once the liner was in and checked for leaks I covered the structure with aged fencing.

Best part was I had all these materials laying around from past projects so cost up to this point was $0.00.

Bump: Kind of sounds like I should keep duckweed in mind as a last resort.
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Last edited by DeGrave4256; 08-21-2014 at 01:39 AM. Reason: Clarification
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 01:44 AM
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If that old fencing is PT I'd be leery where you've used it.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
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