Northern outdoor tropical tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 92 (permalink) Old 04-16-2018, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Northern outdoor tropical tank

scheming and dreaming...

I'm thinking of setting up a 110g Tuff Stuff stock tank to breed / grow out some livebearers (Swordtails, guppies, and /or mollies) outside this summer (Central New York, Finger Lakes region).

I think I'll use a couple of large air driven sponge filters and have a 500w Odessa heater in case of cooler night temps. I have a spot on the east side of my garage for morning - mid day sun, but afternoon shade. I think I'll use floating plants (like water sprite, frogbit, or hornwort) to help purify water and provide cover for fry. I may have some plants down under (unsure). Also unsure if I'll have sand on the bottom or leave bare. I may also setup a green water tub to culture some daphnia.

In the fall, I think I might tear it down and just maybe set it up in the basement for the winter.

Tank On, Mike-
60g Marineland Community, Finnex Planted+ 24/7, Silica (pool filter) sand.
10g, 29g, & 37g fry grow out tanks, 110g stock tank.


What came first, the chicken or the egg. It was the egg, but not the egg of a chicken.

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post #2 of 92 (permalink) Old 04-16-2018, 05:42 PM
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Sounds like a fun project. I have a 65 gallon stock tank outside for aquatic plants (no fish), and seeded it with daphnia. The daphnia exploded with no special attention or care from me. I've found that daphnia is incredibly easy to raise outside in tubs, buckets, etc. with no special care.

One of my accidental daphnia tubs doesn't even have any live plants in there -- just old leaves that have fallen inside and created a pile at the bottom. If I were breeding fish in a tub, I'd have an extra fish-free daphnia culture or two or three running on the side, though.

Good luck.
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post #3 of 92 (permalink) Old 04-16-2018, 05:50 PM
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I did this with large flower pots last summer hope it goes well.
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post #4 of 92 (permalink) Old 04-17-2018, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Well I dunno how it will pan out although I've seen several Youtuber's that do it in areas with similar climates and some do it without heaters or filters. Lucas Bretz does it year round in Indiana. But they all seem to do it with species not like the ones I'm thinking of (like white clouds, endlers...). I think it's worth a go if I time it right and use a heater for if/when it gets too cool (and to extend a bit further into fall).

Tank On, Mike-
60g Marineland Community, Finnex Planted+ 24/7, Silica (pool filter) sand.
10g, 29g, & 37g fry grow out tanks, 110g stock tank.


What came first, the chicken or the egg. It was the egg, but not the egg of a chicken.

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post #5 of 92 (permalink) Old 04-20-2018, 12:19 AM
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For a late Spring-Summer tub of about 250 gallons I'm managing quite well with an old, green EboJager 200 watt heater with White Clouds, Chopra Danios and Rosy Barbs.

The Rosys and the Danios are breeding slowly.

I keep the fish out all year, and although it was a fairly wet and cold winter for maritime Oregon, the water temps never dropped below 50~55 degrees.

I do use a sandwiched sheet of Visqueen and bubble wrap as a top insulator supported above the tub during the coldest months.

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Starting small, keeping it simple..(?)
250 gallon stock tank, "pond"
20 gallon H CBS Shrimp tank

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post #6 of 92 (permalink) Old 05-03-2018, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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Phase 1:

Cleared the east side of the garage, put down a double layer of landscape fabric and a good layer of wood chips (free from the town chip/leaf dump pile).

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Tank On, Mike-
60g Marineland Community, Finnex Planted+ 24/7, Silica (pool filter) sand.
10g, 29g, & 37g fry grow out tanks, 110g stock tank.


What came first, the chicken or the egg. It was the egg, but not the egg of a chicken.

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post #7 of 92 (permalink) Old 05-03-2018, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Well I dunno how it will pan out although I've seen several Youtuber's that do it in areas with similar climates and some do it without heaters or filters. Lucas Bretz does it year round in Indiana. But they all seem to do it with species not like the ones I'm thinking of (like white clouds, endlers...). I think it's worth a go if I time it right and use a heater for if/when it gets too cool (and to extend a bit further into fall).

I think that's going to be a challenge in NY. I have a +1,000 gallon in-ground pond in VA well south of you. Even with one of the 1,500 watt pond heaters when I ran it, it doesn't do much. In the depth of winter all that it did was keep a small circle around it unfrozen. The rest has 4" or 5" of solid ice and the water is absolutely frigid. Without the ground to insulate things some, an above-ground tub is going to lose heat even more easily. I don't bother with the heater anymore, I just run a bubbler which keeps the same hole open (most of the time at least) at a trivial fraction of the power cost. I have goldfish, koi, and some native species which do fine over-wintered but doubt that much of anything else would make it very far. Long ago I put some feeder guppies and mosquito fish (i.e., similar to endlers) in to try to have a self-sustaining population for some native sunfish that I had. Once it got to ~mid- to low-50s I started seeing them floating and in the skimmer.
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post #8 of 92 (permalink) Old 05-03-2018, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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Hey @Mike A. - You misunderstood. I don't plan on running the tank outside through the winter. I only plan on running it through the summer and into fall. Then I'll empty and turn it over OR set it up in my [unheated ~55F] basement over winter. I do plan on installing my Finnex external controller with 800w titanium heater to ensure a consistent temperature as needed for cool nights and into fall. I'll monitor closely but think (with the heater) I just might get into September or October before I need to take it down.

Tank On, Mike-
60g Marineland Community, Finnex Planted+ 24/7, Silica (pool filter) sand.
10g, 29g, & 37g fry grow out tanks, 110g stock tank.


What came first, the chicken or the egg. It was the egg, but not the egg of a chicken.

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post #9 of 92 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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Phase 2:

I took the Finnex titanium heater out of the basement turtle pond (they won't need it for summer!). This will be great temperature insurance for the outdoor tank.

I plan to make some custom sponge filters, but the really good deal on large sponges come from china and take a long travel time.
So I then proceeded to make a Frankenstein 'box' filter. I had some left over/unused Seachem Matrix/DeNitrate and the container one came in. I found another plastic lid that fit inside the container. I drilled 1" center holes in the lids and used a soldering iron to make holes. I scavenged lift tubes from an old under gravel filter that's just been gathering dust for 15 years or so.
I cut sponge and filter pad to fit inside the container. A snag - the container bottom was convex so the lift tube was right on the bottom. I used my heat gun to reshape the bottom of the container so it was flat.
I'll use a plastic 'never clog' air stone to ensure continued air/water flow.

Here are the parts (assembled filter shot to follow):




Phase 3:

Purchased 110g Tuff Stuff stock tank, leveled, and began filling with filtered water. Then installed the Finnex heater/controller.




Last edited by AbbeysDad; 05-04-2018 at 07:29 PM. Reason: update
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post #10 of 92 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Assembled 'FrankenFilter':

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Tank On, Mike-
60g Marineland Community, Finnex Planted+ 24/7, Silica (pool filter) sand.
10g, 29g, & 37g fry grow out tanks, 110g stock tank.


What came first, the chicken or the egg. It was the egg, but not the egg of a chicken.

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Last edited by AbbeysDad; 05-05-2018 at 12:25 PM. Reason: update
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post #11 of 92 (permalink) Old 05-04-2018, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Dupe (Mod pls remove - thanks)

Tank On, Mike-
60g Marineland Community, Finnex Planted+ 24/7, Silica (pool filter) sand.
10g, 29g, & 37g fry grow out tanks, 110g stock tank.


What came first, the chicken or the egg. It was the egg, but not the egg of a chicken.

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Last edited by AbbeysDad; 05-05-2018 at 02:18 PM. Reason: error
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post #12 of 92 (permalink) Old 05-05-2018, 09:05 AM
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Curious to see where this goes and your results, I live in the same area. Subscribed!

Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk
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post #13 of 92 (permalink) Old 05-05-2018, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Tank filled and Frankenfilter in operation:



View from the left showing the [future] Daphnia bin (will order a culture when temps are more stable - in the meantime encouraging algae/green water):



View from the right showing [potential] skeeter larva trap(s):



The [well] water was very cold so I'll leave the heater controller off and let the water get to ambient (as I also wait for [more] stable warm temps).
Planning some java moss down under and floating water sprite on top.
I thought about sand for substrate but think I'll leave it bare. If I decide on some rooted plants, I'll use pots or a small container(s).

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grobbins48 View Post
Curious to see where this goes and your results, I live in the same area. Subscribed!
Welcome on the journey.

Tank On, Mike-
60g Marineland Community, Finnex Planted+ 24/7, Silica (pool filter) sand.
10g, 29g, & 37g fry grow out tanks, 110g stock tank.


What came first, the chicken or the egg. It was the egg, but not the egg of a chicken.

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post #14 of 92 (permalink) Old 05-05-2018, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
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I took my time and leveled the tank but as it filled it settled such that it is low in the front. Now I had thought that I would need an overflow in the event of a heavy rain or if I was to add a drip system. And looking ahead, the drain would need to have a 'fry saver'. Now an overflow in the front is not such a bad thing...
I turned this bit of a snafu around and added some foam to the front edge as a fry saver:


Tank On, Mike-
60g Marineland Community, Finnex Planted+ 24/7, Silica (pool filter) sand.
10g, 29g, & 37g fry grow out tanks, 110g stock tank.


What came first, the chicken or the egg. It was the egg, but not the egg of a chicken.

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post #15 of 92 (permalink) Old 05-06-2018, 11:47 AM
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Looking good! I donít know if itís the sunlight, the natural food sources that work their way in to the tanks, or even possibly the lunar cycle, but outdoor tanks like this are fry factories!

Iím sure your live bearers will work overtime in this set up. Itís a great way to breed egg scatterers like tetras/danios too!

Keep us posted!!!
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