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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had an interesting idea today. I've seen tanks segmented horizontally into separate areas - but what about vertically?

I was thinking of getting a standard 30g, and separating it into two vertical levels.

This poses two problems

1. Lighting

2. How to keep everything from falling off the top level, while still only running one filter.

So here is my thinking.

I could partition it with vertical supports on the ends, and use wire fence/grate (whatever you want to call it) on the edges to allow water circulation.

On the bottom, I would use side lighting, using standard on the top. The top would have a few fish and some firebelly toads.

The bottom would have inverts and maybe a betta.

Your thoughts?
 

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Hmm...

Tanks are sectioned horizontally to allow inhabitants that need the same type of environment, but which cannot be housed together, to be kept in a single tank. Vertically stacked sections don't really make sense in the same way, as it would essentially create several very shallow sections, only one of which will have any substantial surface area for oxygen exchange. I think that the middle/lower sections would need considerable water flow (with water pulled from the surface) to make up for the lack of surface area.

As for your specific stocking idea, bettas and other labyrith fish really need and utilize surface area, so they'd have to be at the top. Actually, I'm pretty sure all fish need access to the surface, even "bottom dwellers." Otos, I know, dart to the surface to gulp air on occasion. I'm not sure anything would do well in forced confinement in one area of a tank.

Finally, how would you clean, plant/trim, or otherwise maintain the middle areas?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hmm...

Tanks are sectioned horizontally to allow inhabitants that need the same type of environment, but which cannot be housed together, to be kept in a single tank. Vertically stacked sections don't really make sense in the same way, as it would essentially create several very shallow sections, only one of which will have any substantial surface area for oxygen exchange. I think that the middle/lower sections would need considerable water flow (with water pulled from the surface) to make up for the lack of surface area.

As for your specific stocking idea, bettas and other labyrith fish really need and utilize surface area, so they'd have to be at the top. Actually, I'm pretty sure all fish need access to the surface, even "bottom dwellers." Otos, I know, dart to the surface to gulp air on occasion. I'm not sure anything would do well in forced confinement in one area of a tank.

Finally, how would you clean, plant/trim, or otherwise maintain the middle areas?
I could use a powerhead to send oxtgenated water to the lower levels

Cleaning and trimming would be a challenge. I could just use moss and slow growing plants, though.

And it would still be 15 gallon segments, so not too confined for small fish and inverts
 

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Assume the worst happens: a fish in the lower level dies. How do you handle that? Also, it is a good idea to do at least nominal cleaning of any aquarium about once a week. That lower level would never have that. Finally, you would have twice the normal amount of substrate in the tank, so the available water height for each level would be reduced. All in all, not a good idea at all.

But, it could be done, by having a water tight divider, with 2 inch diameter pipes at each end connecting the lower level to the atmosphere, and probably a tiny cooling fan in one of the pipes to circulate air down to the lower level. Then, you just hope nothing ever goes wrong in the lower level. (Still a very poor idea.)
 

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I think this could be feasibly done, just not quite in the way you're describing. I don't think it would be worth the trouble though.

But here's how I would do it:
You would need a pretty large tank, definitely a tall of whatever size you got. I don't think a standard 30 would be big enough. I would probably do it in something closer to a 60.
I would take two pieces of eggcrate to section off the top area. One that makes the floor and one to make a back wall, just far enough from the back of the tank to be able to reach in and perform maintenance. I'd silicone them together and to the edges of the tank to make, essentially, a giant built in breeder net. If you have fish small enough to fit through the eggcrate, you would need to add something with smaller holes that wouldn't restrict water flow much more. Maybe if you ran two separate filters, one per section, you could use the other popular plastic craft sheets that I don't remember the name of. ^^;;
Anyways, make your box and have the large open part facing outwards. You could have some mosses and anubias or ferns attached to the eggcrate to make it look better, but it probably wouldn't hold up the weight of other decorations.
For the lower level, you'd probably have to go hardscape only. You could try some low light plants, but I doubt you'd have much success with so much blocking light from getting to the bottom. It would be a good place to house nocturnal or light sensitive fish species, though.
And then do whatever you can to add water flow. Air stones, powerheads, extra filters, whatever. But definitely make sure you aren't creating any dead spots.

Either way, though, it'd end up more trouble than its worth. Reaching under the upper section to get to the lower one for cleaning would be a struggle every time, and making sure everyone on the bottom got fed would be tough too, because feeding them in your back maintence area would train them to hang out there, where you couldn't see them. Thia could be remedied by making a sort of food chute with fast sinking foods. I use a giant, auper wide drinking straw to get food down to my catfish.

Still though, not worth the trouble, but doable if for whatever reason it became a necessity. But personally, I'd just get another tank.
 

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I think you should try it. I can think of a number of ways it could be done and it could prove to be a very interesting tank, a kind of multi level vivarium aquarium with the lowest level acting as the sump for the higher levels. Access would be challenging though.
 

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Had a similar idea a while back and posted it on here but got no reply. Here is the quote:

So I am revisiting this idea. What if you could separate the land water portion with a false bottom. As to completely enclose the land portion. Have a catch basin with an overflow that kept the water level low on the land portion. Have that overflow into a completely enclosed cave with blind cave tetras. Obviously you would need to have an access lid on the land portion for feeding and maintenance and also a way to somehow light up the cave portion for visibility purposes (maybe blue LED's) Anyway there would be some definite hurdles to overcome but I think It would be an awesome setup if you could pull it off. Anyone ever seen or heard of anything like this.

I will be very interested to see if this works. But please go with blind cave tetras, that would be so cool!
 

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Personally I think you could pull it off. Use great stuff painted to look like rock for the cave segment use eggcrate to separate the top and bottom. Use 2 sections of eggcrate cut roughly down the middle so you can remove one section easily for maintenance or just cut a large hole in the eggcrate and cover it with a lid of some kind. Put stainless steel mesh on top of the eggcrate. Have gravel and moss on one side of the egg crate and just moss on the other to make it easy to remove the one side. Have a pump in the cave portion pump water into a filtration system that goes into a waterfall. From the waterfall the water would collect in a small basin with an overflow, you could custom make this from Plexiglas or something.

It would not be easy but I think the end result would be worth it.
 

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Oh and the false bottom with the egg crate would have to be supported by pvc pipe that would then be covered in great stuff to either look like the back rock wall or to look like a column (when stalactites and stalagmites meet together)
 

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Yeah, I think this will be more trouble then it's worth.

I usually thought people divided tanks so that they could effectively have smaller tanks.

Just as far as logistics, vertical dividers seem to make the most sense - you still have access (since we access our tanks from the top) to the entire tank without having to remove and install panels and such.
 

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Yeah now rereading your post sound like you want something different from my vision. My idea was more paludarium style not two separate fish tanks.
 

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Well, I was wanting a few fish in the top but it would be primarily land for either toads or news
Well what did you think of my idea? I may still try this one day but being realistic and welcoming my first child into the world in little over a month it probably will never happen. :)

Did my concept at least make sense?
 
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