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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello there!


I'm a recent adoptee of the hobby and new to the planted tank forums. I started with a 5g betta tank, upgraded to a 15g planted pea puffer jungle tank, and before long that itch to 'go big' - and I couldn't stop myself. And that's where I f*cked up.... so I need help from more seasoned aquarists to help me fix my hubris.


I bought a weird acrylic tank of Craigslist for ~150 bucks. Its made out of acrylic and has two tall ~25 gal tanks connected in the middle with two tubes, so fish can swim back and forth. "Sweet!" I thought, "I'll set it up with two biomes, and the fish can swim back and forth between them! One of them will be all Lovecraftian with floating islands, and the other one will be like Yggdrassil with crystals and runes! This is gonna be AWESOME!" Wrong. It has not been awesome. It has been quite the opposite of awesome.

I spent hours sanding / buffing / polishing the tank to get it ready, weeks waiting on expensive hardscape materials, weeks building the hardscape, $$$ on tools to cut the top of the tank so the hardscape could actually fit, weeks waiting on plants to arrive, way too much $$$ spent trying out different lighting options most of which have been trash, and after way too much $$$ invested I've now got this White Whale / Sunk Cost Fallacy to a point where it's fully cycled and there's some livestock in it. Obligatory stats: 0ppm ammonia, nitrates, etc, PH 6.5, 6 dKH. In fact, here it is:



Sorry about the algae and diatoms. Did I mention I'm struggling w/ lighting / flow?


So to try to make this as succinct as possible, here's where I'm at:

  • The top of the tank has holes in it specifically set up for plumbing (more on that in a sec)
  • I set it up for 1 Fluval 306 (303 gph) for the whole ~55g tank, with the outflow on the left side of the left tank and the intake on the right side of the right tank.
    • I also bought a Fluval 406 (383 gph), but this doesn't fit in the cabinet below.
  • A canister filter alone is apparently not enough flow to provide for water circulation / surface agitation.
    • Surface agitation is important because these tall tanks have limited surface area exposed to the air.
  • I bought several powerheads to try different configurations. (2x 550gph, 1x 425 gph, 1x 240gph).


This is currently how I have it set up:


*303 gph is what the filter is rated for, but it doesn't feel like that coming out of the nozzle.

The problems with this setup:

  • Due to the 'floating island' hardscape's delicate design and the tank's depth, it is difficult to clean the right tank manually so I was planning on relying on shrimp to control algae.
  • Unfortunately, the flow rate at the top of the right tank is too much for shrimp to eat algae in the area.
  • While the glass catfish and the gourami seem to love this amount of flow, neon tetras & shrimp certainly don't, and I've had some problems with fish/shrimp getting stuck to the outside of the powerheads.

An alternate setup I had:

Problems with this setup:

  • Less than ideal for the filter setup.
  • Food tends to settle on the ground, and low circulation at the substrate is problematic.

And as a final caveat, here's the "rim"of the tank:




It's mirrored on both sides, and yes that PVC elbow is in a hole that was already drilled into the top of the tank. It appears to have 2 holes for air / co2 / lighting rails on each side, as well.




SO HERE'S WHERE I ASK FOR HELP:
If you were setting up this tank, how would you do it? Ditch the canister/powerheads and go for 2x HOB filters? Just us 2x 240 gph and not worry about getting stuff from one side to the other?



Helllllp!
 

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Hi

I would treat them as 2 separate tanks each with its own filter, then if you want get a small power head and place it near the bottom of the left tank or the right one with the outlet gently blowing water directly into the connecting tube and the other tank.

Place the power head where the Red dot is.
 

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In my opinion, HairyNoseWombat is 100% correct. These should be treated as 2 tanks. The tunnels are a gimmick, not well thought out filtration.

You could certainly do hobs. Or you could do canister filters or any combination. If the flow is too much with the canister filter(s) you have, then add a pvc ball valve and some barb fittings to attach it and turn the flow down a bit.

I'm sure your algae situation is not being helped by the fact that all the plants I see are very slow growing with the exception of the monte carlo???or hydrocotyle japan??? on the lower left. Adding a bunch of stems to the background would help. Either that or adjust fertilizer and light to appropriate levels for very low light, slow growing plants.

And welcome to the forum. Its a fun place with a lot of really good information. For what its worth I love the idea you had with the duality of tanks.
 

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Only way to get good flow between the two would be having those little powerheads in the two tubes. Say the top one pointed one direction and the bottom pointed opposite direction. This will actually cause flow between the two in a big circle pattern. Not the intent of this setup I am sure but impinging flow on those connector tubes from opposite end of tank will more then likely not get the intended effect.

It may work ok as wombat suggested having one pointed at the top and one pointed at bottom tube.
 

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To add to the fun in helping solve the issues:

- Agreed: treat as two separate tanks (ignore the tunnel).
- Keep the canister, but split the the intake and output, with "Y" connectors, so that each tank has an input and output from the one filter and add a ball valve to each output.
- Put a spray bar at the top back, pointing flow across the top and down the front, making sure that you get good surface rippling for gas exchange.
- If that isn't enough flow, place the wands at the bottom and back, pointing flow up the back. If needed to get good gas exchange, add a cheap skimmer to each tank.

Psssst: nitrates shouldn't be zero. This brings up the whole plant and algae approach that will involve light, CO2, and fertilizer. However, this is almost a separate topic once you get your setup where you want it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
To add to the fun in helping solve the issues:
- Keep the canister, but split the the intake and output, with "Y" connectors, so that each tank has an input and output from the one filter and add a ball valve to each output.
- Put a spray bar at the top back, pointing flow across the top and down the front, making sure that you get good surface rippling for gas exchange.

That's... that's actually brilliant. I might need to downsize the tubing then, the pressure already seem anemic as-is.



I did just order 2x Aquaclear 30's to filter each tank separately. I'll price out this Y-splitter option and see how it goes - HOBs are noisy and I'd prefer to avoid 'em.
 

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I agree with others here, just treat them as two seperate aquariums. Essentially only sharing the same water supply. I'm a HOB advocate, cheap, simple and they're not nosiy at all... well, so long as they're very close to the water line.

I did enjoy your post though, well writen and laid out. I look forward to seeing more from you! Sometimes in the hobby we make impulse decisions that don't always work out, heck even when it's been planned for months it can still go wrong. It's all a learning experience really, the most important thing is to not lose your passion through frustration. I think it looks really nice btw, just needs alittle tlc and it'll be a beautiful and unique setup.
 
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