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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i fell in love with the reticulated hillstream loaches. next week i will (FINALLY!) be setting up my 45g tank and moving my spotted climbing perch from his 10g into his new home. originally i was going to use his old 10g for hillstreams, but then i got to thinking...

i have an empty 20 tall sitting on my dresser that used to house my terrestrial hermit crabs. my 20g long would be PERFECT as a river tank for hillstreams, but its got guppies in it now, breeding as food for the climbing perch (Sid). so i'm going to tear down the 10g and 20 long, use the stuff in the 20 long to plant the 20 tall and put the guppies in there, then turn the 20 long into my hillstream river tank.

since this will be a river tank, i want the water flow to be in one direction. i have a powerhead, and a UGF plate, and a spare 100gph powerfilter. the UGF plate is a little long for the 20g long (36", tank is 30") but i don't see why i can't cut it down.

for gravel and hardscape (not plants!) i want my river tank to look like this



would a UGF plate work for this? i've also seen the idea of making a PVC structure under the tank, with an intake at one end covered with a sponge, and a powerhead at the other. that is more just for flow, and i'd assume a secondary filter would be necessary. i have a 100gph HOB, but i don't know if that would be enough for a 20g tank. i would probably only get one or two hillstream loaches, and a school of whiteclouds.
 

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That's a beautiful goldfish tank!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
not mine, its an ADG tank. i'm just taking inspiration from it.
 

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Check this thread and this one too. If you have any questions, pm and I can walk you through it or take pictures of my setup.

Cheers, whitepine
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
in the second thread, is that a UGF plate at the opposite end from the powerheads?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
i understand the high river flow problem, and will have a powerhead to create current, but i was not sure what kind of filtration to use? would a UGF plate work? with a spraybar attached to the powerhead?
 

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I don't see why a UGF wouldn't work, just make sure you have at least 2 REALLY powerful pumps on one end. That is the goal, after all -- lots of flow. It seems like the act of pulling the water through the substrate would slow it down quite a bit, so I would try and get really, really big pump. Also limit the amount of substrate to 1-1.5". I am not too sure that a second filter would be necessary. Is it gonna be planted?

Bob, that's the exact thread that I was gonna reference. What a cool tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
yes, it will be planted, but not heavily. a few low light plants like crypts, java fern, and anubias. the second filter is mostly for mech filtration, i've heard that UGFs arent so great at that, and are best for bio filtration.

the thing is, this is only a 20g tank, and my fish guru said that hillstreams don't actually need all the current, they just need the O2, which lower temps and movement help keep high. since the only inhabitance will be 1 or 2 hillstreams and some whiteclouds, i don't really see the need for super high speed ultra powerful pumps. i think one 175gph should be sufficient.
 

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yes, it will be planted, but not heavily. a few low light plants like crypts, java fern, and anubias. the second filter is mostly for mech filtration, i've heard that UGFs arent so great at that, and are best for bio filtration.

the thing is, this is only a 20g tank, and my fish guru said that hillstreams don't actually need all the current, they just need the O2, which lower temps and movement help keep high. since the only inhabitance will be 1 or 2 hillstreams and some whiteclouds, i don't really see the need for super high speed ultra powerful pumps. i think one 175gph should be sufficient.
I have three Hillstream Loaches (reticulated variety). Two for well over a year and they have been fine in a 24.5C tank with a fair amount of current. One Eheim 2128 with spraybar and one XP3 down low with no spraybar. You are right, they just need decent O2, more than current.

If it was me, I would just use a canister filter, possibly supplemented with a small powerhead. A Rena XP2 or the medium Eheim Ecco would be great. Don't really need the spraybar, but a spraybar would introduce more gas exchange/more O2. I like canister's because its easier to keep the tank clean.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
except that i don't have $75 to spend on a Rena xp2 or $150 for an eheim, but i do have $10 for a UGF plate, and $15 for a 125gph powerhead for my DIY canister filter in my 5.5g nano, which would replace the 175gph powerhead in there now, which i would then use the 175gph powerhead in the 20 long on the UGF. and i already have a small powerfilter that will soon have no tank that i may as well use on this one for additional mech filtration.
 

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the thing is, this is only a 20g tank, and my fish guru said that hillstreams don't actually need all the current, they just need the O2, which lower temps and movement help keep high.
I dont know the knowledge level of your fish guru, and I might not be the most familiar with them myself as I dont know much about em - other than the article I linked and listening to folks talk about them at loaches.com. I would like to point out (perhaps the obvious) however that your friend is at least mostly right, hillstreams do need good levels of O2, without such they die, but if you dont provide them with fast current, they may not die like in the case of O2 but they might not be all that happy either. So its basically up to you if you want to provide them with conditions that they aren’t threatened with death, or ones that actually mimic the streams they are from and hopefully make them as happy as can be:icon_smil . The folks at loaches.com are probably one of the best sources there are, and they often have success breeding these loaches, I'd definitely take a look at their setups there. The good thing is a simple powerhead with a manifold and sponge filters on the opposite end is rather cheap and easy to do, and can blast the current than an XP3 (or actually a lot more) for a fraction the cost, of course then your limited to just the sponges, but they have proven to be quite effective. You can get a 295gph powerheads for $17 ea. You have the right idea in that first photo though, nice big round river looking rocks seem to be what they love. However they prefer algae and micro organisms on the rock they feed off so you cant clean them and have em look so nice. Its also recommended to not introduce these guys until the tank is mature, with micro organisms and algae for them. Just my $0.02
 

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I agree with every thing you said crazy loaches, completely. I will say I read in a forum of British folks who kept some Hillstream loaches in a Discus tank in 82F water for a good while and they were "fine".. I'm not sure I believe that, but I do believe in a mature, heavily planted tank with decent current, they do OK at higher temps. I have had CO2 mini overdoses on a couple of occasions, and other times in the summer temps near 79 degrees and they seemed fine. As I said before, I keep my tank around 24.5C (76.1F).
 

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I similarly have broken my own advice and keep Dojo's at 78* though they are coolwater. They do seem quite OK, but I cant really be sure. I do feel a little bit sad they arent in ideal conditions... and I do have plans to be setting up a coolwater tank this spring and I am really tempted to put hillstreams in there, but the current will be low and will be goldfish and dojo's and the folks over on loaches.com frowned on the idea. I have thought of other ways to combine them, like having a sump tank that would have a lot more current and set it to be veiwable to a certain extent, but that would complicate things a whole lot (I posted my ideas here)
 

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I don't think a UGF would work. A UGF functions best if you have a thin layer of substrate, in order to allow water to flow through the substrate, through the UGF plates, then out through powerhead. With the setup you want, you will create allot of deadspots, which is the one thing you don't want with UGF's.

Those DIY ideas for river current setups using PVC piping underneath the substrate, with the powerhead on one end of the tank and the intake on the other end, connected with the PVC. The problem I can see is overtime, the PVC will eventually buildup gunk. If your canister filter hoses build up allot of gunk, then you can imagine that the PVC piping will as well. How about using canister filter spray bars and extensions lower the spray bar output way below the water line. Then connect the canister filter intake on the other end. You will get the same result and it will be easier to maintain.
 

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A river tank shouldnt have any deadspots or you have too little flow. There could be some lower current areas depending on your rockwork, etc. but most rivertanks are running with huge amounts of flow. As far as the gunk in pvc tubes I have never heard of this being a problem, but they do sell brushes you could clean them out if you really needed to. probably wouldnt be hard at all doing intank either, just have a gravel vac near the opening and pull the brush out slow, any gunk that comes out just gets sucked away. The only problem I have is that I am lazy when it comes to cleaning media and youd probably have to rinse those foam filters in tank water since they will probably also contain you beneficial bacteria. Of course if you had like 3 of them you could just do 1 per interval and not worry about the bacteria and rinse it under pressure in the sink, the other should suffice. Canisters would do just fine as well, just that the DIY powerhead setup is effective and cheap. With poweheads you can get the rotating nozzle kind to give a nice varried current effect in the tank, something you really cant do with canisters. Just another random thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
my fish guru is a member for Aquariacentral and Aquariumboard and is one of the oldest members on AC, she's owned fish since she was 18 and is a leading member of our local fish club, and owns the best local fish store in the state. when she gets a sick fish, instead of guessing and treating everything, she brought in a friend to do scrapings on sick fish and ID parasites and diseases under a microscope so she could treat EXACTLY what the problem was. she has over 1500 gallons in her house. some of you may know her as Barbie.
 
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