I hear ya on drilling the tank and I can argue both sides. Some food for thought on your design:
- I like my equipment out of the tank. Splitting the tank into 3 areas might take away from the tank's 'looooong' factor.
- Hiding or camo the pump and buffers will be a challange
- How much the internal pump will heat the water?
- How do you clean the buffers?
- It's a 10g dry. EVERYTHING inside the tank replaces the water. Even a 1g cannister filter would increase the water volume by 10+%. Not to mention the media capacity
- the waterfall on the right is cool but is there enough drop to get anything practical out of it? At which point the buffers get clogged up, pushing the water over, and not through, the buffers? Might as well position the outflow above the right buffer. Evaporation is not your friend.
- Yep, only 5", but if you keep the foliage above the tank, the branches themselves would be maybe 1/4" in diameter. If you go with emerged rotalas, AR, ludwidgias, ricca, crypts and such, the stems would be even thiner. I would worry about the roots more.
- Pulling roots out of the filter is no fun either
- The riparium plants are your natural filter, replacing the need for buffers and media. An alternative idea is just plumb an external pump outside the tank, with inflow / outflow pipes over the edge in the rear corners, just for the flow only. Easy to hide.
What about using some slate to create 1 - 3 downwards 'rapids'? Good place to grow algae for loaches.
I get the most kick out of setting a new tank. I envy you the agony of choices.
Last edited by OVT; 04-05-2016 at 11:22 PM.