55 Gallon Filter-feeder Tank Build

  • #1
I am going to use this thread to document my build and (more importantly) bounce ideas off the community.

About me:
I used to be a huge freshwater guy a few years ago, building planted tanks for local businesses and then I thought I would take a risk and build this tank and it went horrible due to rushing. Afterwards, I moved to saltwater, took my time and became knowledgeable in saltwater care with filter-feeding and hard-to-keep inverts. After things went wrong with my local maw-and-paw saltwater business, I shut down my tank as they were my biggest supplier for special equipment. So know I am back building my dream tank slowly and with much better planning.

The idea:
This tank will be a filter feeder tank for bamboo shrimp, freshwater clams and fast-water fish that happen to live with them. Also if you know more filter-feeders, please comment them below.

The substrate:
For the substrate, I am going to go with my old tried-and-true dirted deep sand bed. It will be ~6 inches, in the order of 2 inches of dirt, one inch of light- dirt and heavy sand, then 3 inches of pool filter sand. Inhabiting the dirt, I will add three bags of black-worms, then wait a couple weeks to add some trumpet snails.

similar to live-rock in saltwater aquariums, I plan to use lava rock as a place for bacteria to inhabit with the rock-structure touching glass (rock goes in before substrate.)

I am going to try and use some deep-root plants to stretch down into the dirted area. That aside, I plan to go with amazon swords, bananas (I know not deep roots,) wisteria, probably a couple moss balls, and java moss on my rocks.

water flow:
for this I'm not sure if I should go linear, or random. Either way: it is probably going to go around 1,000 gph. Is this too high?

here is a straight saltwater method. I am going to do a SUMP, filled with java rock, an diy algae scrubber, and a diy activated carbon reactor. I might be doing vodka dosing as filter tanks tend to run high-nitrate. The carbon reactor is because filter tanks start to get cloudy from the foods.

I need to talk about feeding before cycling because my cycling depends on the feeding method. I plan to go heavy with vampires because I had them in the past and LOVED them. The clams are because I had scallops in my saltwater and loved them--I am aware that clams tend to hide though. For the food, I am going to be doing twice-daily dosing of golden pearls which is a special made filter-feeder food.; this food can skyrocket your nitrate levels though, which is why I'm going to be vodka dosing. For the fish, I will probably be doing all frozen, with them having free range of the blackworms and those little bugs that always hide in java moss.

my cycle is going to be dependent on my heavy feeding method, so I am thinking of dosing liquid ammonia daily, until ammonia drops and nitrate spikes. Then I am going to add my cleanup crew, and start bi-daily dry dosing of golden-pearls. Once I see how my tank holds up to feeding that, I will add a couple vampires, and watching their feeding response coupled with reading levels, adapt accordingly.

Cleanup crew:
trumpets, black worms added as needed, critters in java moss, ghost shrimp, and nerites

Definite stocking:
Cleanup crew, bamboo shrimp, freshwater clams

Tentative stocking depending on further re-research:
hatchet fish, cory school, and neons (I need to find out if they can do heavy flow and hard water.)

water quality:
my water is hard at 122 mg/l

I have a reef light left-over with a programmable blue and white led timer

Thoughts and feedback? Like I said, I don't want to rush this like I did my previous
  • Thread Starter
  • #2
I don't see an edit, so here is a part I forgot
one side will be heavily planted and rocked for a break from the flow, and the other half will be low-plants and open for them to play
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  • #3
Please ignore those links, they were auto-added and I don't control them.

Another thought, should I control my pumps to lower the flow at night or day?
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  • #4
Changes to plans already:
The tank will defiantly be a river themed tank, so linear flow utilizing pvc. Replacing lava rock with smooth rocks, then going lava heavy in the sump. Neon tetras are defiantly out, and I am now looking into other fish to replace them. I will probably do some hillstream loaches
  • #5
It sounds like you got everything planned out, I recently was told neon tetras are a hit or miss with disease because of mass breeding so be careful! I can't wait to see this tank when it is done, going to look great!
  • #6
Wow, very interesting, I'll definitely be following along!
Are you doing just bamboo shrimp, or are you adding some vampire shrimp as well?
I know white clouds mountain minnows can handle high flow, and if you wanted to increase the flow, you could go with some hillstream loaches. They eat a lot of teeny tiny crustacians in algae and what not, so almost goes with the filter feeder theme. But they need an insanely high flow.
I'd never heard of vodka dosing before, only on euthanization, I just looked it up, and that's pretty interesting.
Personally, I keep my nitrates very low (zero in a goldfish tank) with anacharis floating at the top. Very low light requirement, but it absorbs not only nitrates, but nitrites and ammonia as well, so having a lot has come in handy.

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