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Discussion Starter #1
I'm buying used 90 gallons hex tank.

I've never had column tanks before. I want it to be low tech planted. What kind of lighting do I need? Filter? Substrate? Is it better to have two smaller filters or one bigger? I know that water circulation can be a problem for column tanks. How do I deal with it?

Stocking suggestions?

Thanks!
 

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I like to use a canister filter with a spray bar from top to bottom for tall narrow tanks. Also love angels in them. Low tech I'd shoot for any 7,000k 120w-160w equivalent light.
 

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Substrate wise I would get any substrate good for plants. Nothing inert. This is far from a tank you want to try to stick root tabs into. So that comes down to what you can afford really. I'd imagine it being anywhere from $40 to $200 depending on what you use and how deep. I would plan for 3-4 inches substrate.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Angels for a tank like this.
Or, even better- discus. :)

What are the dimensions?
It's 3 feet deep, 14" each side of hex.

I thought about discus, I'm not ready, they are too demanding and too pricy. I'm thinking about a pair of adult angels (probably with grow them from young), school of some tetras, rumminoses maybe, one exotic big pleco. Will tetras be OK in such tank? What about corys? Will they be OK? Kuhli loaches?

Thanks!
 

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All of those are really able to be in the tank. You need to decide if you would rather layer your fish (bottom, mid, top dwellers) or have the fish use the hole thing.

If it were my tank, id do 4 angels, 2 rubbernose or bristlenose pleco, 10 corydoras, 4 nerite snails, and maybe 2 kuhli loaches. But I'd do a sand cap over the substrate for the corydoras and have a lot of caves and plants.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
All of those are really able to be in the tank. You need to decide if you would rather layer your fish (bottom, mid, top dwellers) or have the fish use the hole thing.

If it were my tank, id do 4 angels, 2 rubbernose or bristlenose pleco, 10 corydoras, 4 nerite snails, and maybe 2 kuhli loaches. But I'd do a sand cap over the substrate for the corydoras and have a lot of caves and plants.
Do you think 2 pairs of angles can be OK in such tank? I once raised 5 angels in 55 gallons tank. Once 2 of them paired up I had to get rid of rest of them. Tank was quite heavily planted with driftwood and so on. Even though this tank is larger, its footprint is smaller.

Is there fish that truly would use the hole thing?
 

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Do you think 2 pairs of angles can be OK in such tank? I once raised 5 angels in 55 gallons tank. Once 2 of them paired up I had to get rid of rest of them. Tank was quite heavily planted with driftwood and so on. Even though this tank is larger, its footprint is smaller.



Is there fish that truly would use the hole thing?


What is the surface measurement across the top? Width?


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It's a hexagon with 14" side. Which, I forgot my school math ages ago, but thanks to internet we have hex calculators, makes it width x length: 24"x28".

I have a 60 gallon cube aquarium that is 24 x 24 x 24 and I have 2 pair of discus in it and it is perfect for them. You could also do 2 pairs of Angels as well. Your tank has more volume than mine but the same surface area for oxygen exchange, which is very important considering when stocking a tank. Because of the small surface area relative to water volume, you will not be able to use an aquarium stocking calculator to determine how many fish you can stock. But, I get that you already realize that.


For Angels, it is necessary in a tank like this to have tall plants and/or wood so they can mark off territories-- these are cichlids and while not as aggressive as many other cichlids, they will squabble so need to have markers in tank for them where each has an area to retreat to when there is aggression.


You could also do deeper bodied tetras like: Bleeding Hearts, Lemons, Diamonds or even smaller ( but above an inch in length) Cardinals, Rummy-nose, or Emperors You could do a dozen of the larger size tetras and up to 24 or the smaller size.


I have a Hemiancistrus, Blue Phantom Pleco in my tank atm, I also have had ancistrus ( Bushy nose) and many L numbered Plecos through the years with my discus. 1 would work in your tank.


You could also do either a group of corydoras 6-8 or two pair of Ram's for bottom.
 

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Hexagon with 14" sides is 509.2"^2 vs 24x24 is 576"^2 or 88% of the surface area... Though more agitation produces a much higher surface area...


Thanks for doing that math demonstration for me. I mean I cant do math if my life depends on it. Lol

I agree, agitation at surface helps. Have a canister filter and an HOB on my tank. The HOB is really just for surface agitation- good point @Wobblebonk.


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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks, guys!

Will airstone help? Wavemaker? I obviously do want to get max from it.

I would go for "normal" shape 90 gallons tank, but I don't have enough room for it at the moment, and I found this deal on craigslist, want to go for it. Sure, tank itself is not going to be the highest expense here, but still, cheap tank helps.
 

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At 36" deep, you're going to want some low mid and upper level fish. I'd recommend a school of corys for the bottom with a pair of angels if that's what you want and then plenty of tetras to round it out.

I'd recommend an airstone or two in the middle. The amount of extra waterflow you need depends on the filter that you go with and the fish you have.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
At 36" deep, you're going to want some low mid and upper level fish. I'd recommend a school of corys for the bottom with a pair of angels if that's what you want and then plenty of tetras to round it out.

I'd recommend an airstone or two in the middle. The amount of extra waterflow you need depends on the filter that you go with and the fish you have.
Thanks!

I still cannot fully part with the idea of discus, but I also know that discus are demanding and I'm not that savvy, and the idea to kill perfect and pricy fish for nothing is not that appealing, so I'll talk myself out of it.

I know that angels do well in vertical tanks, I had angels before and they did well, so why not?

I like tetras, I like barbs, I like corys, I like kuhli loaches, I like botias, so I'll have to decide whether I go with corys or botias, I don't think there will be enough room on the bottom for both. I might want a pair or two of apistos or rams.

I want to make sure that the tank has enough oxygen on the bottom, I know it's a problem with vertical tanks. How do I achieve it? What filter would you recommend?
 

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Thanks!

I still cannot fully part with the idea of discus, but I also know that discus are demanding and I'm not that savvy, and the idea to kill perfect and pricy fish for nothing is not that appealing, so I'll talk myself out of it.

I know that angels do well in vertical tanks, I had angels before and they did well, so why not?

I like tetras, I like barbs, I like corys, I like kuhli loaches, I like botias, so I'll have to decide whether I go with corys or botias, I don't think there will be enough room on the bottom for both. I might want a pair or two of apistos or rams.

I want to make sure that the tank has enough oxygen on the bottom, I know it's a problem with vertical tanks. How do I achieve it? What filter would you recommend?
Discus are a hard fish to take the leap and get. They're expensive (especially because they're schooling fish) and compared to a lot of beginner aquarium fish they can be very easy to kill. It's hard.

However, don't let that disuade you. If Discus are something that you're interested in they're very feasible to care for.

I actually wrote an article today on this (https://freshwatercentral.com/2018/07/28/build-your-dream-discus-aquarium-an-expert-guide/)

But basically if you truly want to keep Discus it's feasible. Just have some things figured out before you get them.

1) Try and stay away from wild caught Discus. I've found them to be more demanding of quality water conditions than home bred Discus. Personally I'm a fan of Kenny's Discus but off the top of my head I'm not sure where they come from. I believe they're imported from fish farms in south-east Asia.
2) Come up with a water change schedule before you get them. They're a lot of ways to cut down how long a water change takes w/ pumps etc.. If you have a sink near your aquarium it shouldn't be hard to build a system where you can do a 45 gallon water change in 15 minutes. Once you get it down to that w/ no bucket lifting etc. it makes Discus seem much less daunting.
3) Copy the breeder. That means ask them what water parameters they use and match them. Ask for a sample of food they use and copy it. Not changing stuff in the Discus' environment makes it much less stressful to have them.
4) Fully setup and cycle the aquarium and practice your water change system etc. Once you fully cycle your aquarium w/ ammonia for example try doing 40% water changes every day for 2 weeks (and keep putting in some ammonia to maintain your cycle). If it's too much then you can know that Discus aren't for you but if you're handling it fine and you have those 15 minutes then you know you can handle Discus.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Discus are a hard fish to take the leap and get. They're expensive (especially because they're schooling fish) and compared to a lot of beginner aquarium fish they can be very easy to kill. It's hard.

However, don't let that disuade you. If Discus are something that you're interested in they're very feasible to care for.

I actually wrote an article today on this (https://freshwatercentral.com/2018/07/28/build-your-dream-discus-aquarium-an-expert-guide/)

But basically if you truly want to keep Discus it's feasible. Just have some things figured out before you get them.

1) Try and stay away from wild caught Discus. I've found them to be more demanding of quality water conditions than home bred Discus. Personally I'm a fan of Kenny's Discus but off the top of my head I'm not sure where they come from. I believe they're imported from fish farms in south-east Asia.
2) Come up with a water change schedule before you get them. They're a lot of ways to cut down how long a water change takes w/ pumps etc.. If you have a sink near your aquarium it shouldn't be hard to build a system where you can do a 45 gallon water change in 15 minutes. Once you get it down to that w/ no bucket lifting etc. it makes Discus seem much less daunting.
3) Copy the breeder. That means ask them what water parameters they use and match them. Ask for a sample of food they use and copy it. Not changing stuff in the Discus' environment makes it much less stressful to have them.
4) Fully setup and cycle the aquarium and practice your water change system etc. Once you fully cycle your aquarium w/ ammonia for example try doing 40% water changes every day for 2 weeks (and keep putting in some ammonia to maintain your cycle). If it's too much then you can know that Discus aren't for you but if you're handling it fine and you have those 15 minutes then you know you can handle Discus.
Thanks!

But in case that I don't go for discus, what would you suggest? What filter, what substrate? How do I get enough oxygen to the Botton of the tank? Will I have enough room on the bottom for both corys and a pair of apistos or rams? Or maybe two pairs, or is it too much?

How do I lower pH without chemicals?

I'm reading your articles, they are really helpful, thanks!
 

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Thanks!

But in case that I don't go for discus, what would you suggest? What filter, what substrate? How do I get enough oxygen to the Botton of the tank? Will I have enough room on the bottom for both corys and a pair of apistos or rams? Or maybe two pairs, or is it too much?

How do I lower pH without chemicals?

I'm reading your articles, they are really helpful, thanks!

It depends on what you want to keep. I'm a big fan of aqua clear filters but in a hex it might look better to setup a canister filter it depends on where you put the tank and if it's in the middle of the room or against the wall.

For substrate, I've always been a fan of sand. To get oxygen to the bottom of the tank make sure you have some long tall live plants throughout your aquarium and get a few air bubbles at the bottom. Also I'd recommend looking at pumps to get consistent water flow and surface agitation. If you have a aquaclear filter that'll cause some flow and you can put a pump near the bottom of the tank.

You should have room for a school of cories and some rams, I've found rams to be more mid-level fish. Could probably do 2 pairs two.

I'm glad you liked the article :)

To lower the pH naturally without chemicals try adding driftwood and peat moss.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I didn't get the tank after all. :( But good news is that my wife and I agreed to give a bit more space for a future tank, so 4' long tank is not out of the question any more. I'm looking for a good deal on 90 gallon or large tank.
 
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