The Planted Tank Forum banner

Northern outdoor tropical tank

10341 91
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.
1 - 20 of 92 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
815 Posts
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.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,418 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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).
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,565 Posts
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.

 

· Registered
Joined
·
452 Posts
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.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,418 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,418 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
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.



 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,418 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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).

Bump:
Curious to see where this goes and your results, I live in the same area. Subscribed!
Welcome on the journey.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,418 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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:

 

· Registered
Joined
·
121 Posts
Looking good! I don’t know if it’s 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!

I’m sure your live bearers will work overtime in this set up. It’s a great way to breed egg scatterers like tetras/danios too!

Keep us posted!!!
 
  • Like
Reactions: AbbeysDad

· Registered
Joined
·
1,418 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Looking good! I don’t know if it’s 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!

I’m sure your live bearers will work overtime in this set up. It’s a great way to breed egg scatterers like tetras/danios too!

Keep us posted!!!
In addition to increased breeding, I've heard that they grow out larger.
It will be interesting (even though my wife says it's ridiculous [I dunno why I married the woman!]) ;-).
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,418 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Once the water temperature came up to about 73/74F I turned on the heater. I have it set at 77F to yield a temp of 75-76F. I want to make sure the temp does not go below 75F. Fish would prolly be okay down to 70 (maybe lower) but this is new ground and I don't want to kill fish because of low water temps.
Even with quite cool nights right now, the temp is maintained at 75/76F. So I've begun adding some plants. I added a couple of portions of Java Moss and some floating Water Sprite. I'm confident now that with this heater I'll be able to extend the season in both spring and fall.
(Note: I had previously dosed the water with 4 capfuls of Seachem Flourish Trace, then a day later with 2 capsfuls of Seachem Flourish Comprehensive to give plants some food [no fish/fish food yet])


I have never seen my swordtails jump, but I've heard others say they do. I also feel that some type of cover would be good for temperature control (especially at night) and to reduce evaporation (although I'm thinking I may only cover at night)...I went to Lowes and got a 2' x 8' sheet of clear polycarbonate roof panel and cut in half...
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,418 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Another snafu! Although on the east side of the garage so it would only get morning sun, the temperature today was in the mid 70's, but with the sun and the cover off, the water temperature in the tank got up to 86F!!!! Glad I don't have any fish in there yet!
Not sure what to do. I rigged a shade, but doubtful it would hold up to rain and not sure if it will work well enough to keep temps appropriate. DANG IT!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Another snafu! Although on the east side of the garage so it would only get morning sun, the temperature today was in the mid 70's, but with the sun and the cover off, the water temperature in the tank got up to 86F!!!! Glad I don't have any fish in there yet!
Not sure what to do. I rigged a shade, but doubtful it would hold up to rain and not sure if it will work well enough to keep temps appropriate. DANG IT!
Would adding more water movement help? Maybe some sort of little waterfall type feature or fountain or two? That's what I'm banking on to help regulate the temps in my own little pond this summer! Cool project, btw!
 
1 - 20 of 92 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top