56 Gallon Progression

  1. Gilly Member Member

    Hey guys, I already started a thread but wanted to suggest that I supply pictures as I build the tank. I'm not sure of this forum's etiquette so would anyone appreciate a step by step? I only have Eco-complete substrate in the tank and a light so far, and will LOVE suggestions along the way. It is a 56 gallon column. If you want I can start taking pictures as I piece this together... I really cant wait, its been many years since I have had a tank, and I've decided to start one up again. Just need to wait for my budget to echo my excitement :)

  2. Planted Aquatics Member Member

    For live plants, I recommend planting some Anubias, very green and hardy, some Amazon Swords, Aponogeton, perhaps a plant bulb, some green or red cryptocoryne, and the best plant I've had, Temple Compacta. One of the hardiest in my opinion, no brown leaves, green and tall, and grows fast. What fish would you want to have? And yes, please show pictures.

  3. Gilly Member Member

    Im likely going to have some of the prettier catfish, some rams, rainbowfish, and odessas/denisons
  4. Planted Aquatics Member Member

    Have you thought about doing cichlids or dwarf puffers?

  5. Gilly Member Member

    I will post pictures of whats going on so far when I get home tonight. It's currently just substrate and water and a light. I, for the life of me, cannot decide what filter to use. I refuse to use a HOB filter, and am tempted to use sponges only. There are some cool Chinese units that allow for chemical cups for carbon should I ever need to medicate. I don't use carbon for anything else however. If GPH would be an issue for an air-driven sponge unit I would adapt a power-head to create current and suck more through. Thoughts?

    dwarf puffers are hard to assimilate with other species aren't they?
  6. Planted Aquatics Member Member

    I use a sponge filter in my 20 gallon planted tank, it works pretty well, and is really cheap.

    Yep they are. You would have to be careful with them
  7. Gilly Member Member

    Amazon.com : Powkoo Double Super Biochemical Sponge Filter, Max Aquarium fish Tank 60 Gallons (Filter) : Pet Supplies

    this is what I am thinking of pursuing. I dream of a good canister, but definitely do not currently have the coin. I had a Penn Plax 1500 years and years ago that ALWAYS gave me clear water. I also had a sponge in a 36 gallon bowfront that ran solo for a few weeks while my AC was down, and it seemed to keep up. I have at least a hundred bucks in stock to purchase in the next couple weeks.

    Would a 56 gallon column give dwarf puffers enough territory to share with pictus and rafael cats?

  8. Gilly Member Member


    Here are a few pictures of the tank as it sits. This weekend, I will be buying a filter and stirring up as much dust as possible. I JUST added all the water as of these pictures, so that is why the water is a bit cloudy. I know it's boring, but I am excited and cant wait to piece this together. The light is a 30 inch Aquasky by Fluval. I have NO idea what the functions are yet, but I can fully customize color, and even make it simulate a thunder and lightning storm.


    and evening light I guess....?


    Sorry, pics are large. I am really hoping that over time, the algae embedded in the sealant in the corners softens enough for me to scrub it out of there.
  9. vikingkirken Well Known Member Member

    Many people on here have SunSun canister filters and love them. They are quite affordable, too.
  10. Gilly Member Member

    I guess I should probably just bite the bullet and try the sunsun, huh!

  11. vikingkirken Well Known Member Member

    Oh, I didn't mean to suggest a sponge was a bad idea. I love sponge filters. You just mentioned you were wishing for a canister, so I wanted to suggest a cheaper one I'd heard lots of good things about.
  12. Gilly Member Member

    No worries! I didn't take it that way. I want to do a sponge filter since they have ALWAYS given me the best water. The only time I have had better water was with a Penn Plax Cascade 1200 canister, but it was such a PITA to seal the baskets to the motor lid (older model maybe?) so there was often a lot of blow-by if I didn't get it just right.
  13. vikingkirken Well Known Member Member

    I haven't tried canisters myself. I like sponges and sumps, they are so easy to maintain.
  14. Gilly Member Member

    With a freshwater sump, which I do not have the space for in my stand unfortunately, can you filter directly from the sump? Or are you still required to have filters in the tank? If I could pump water from my 56 into a sump (idk what size, maybe 20 gallon?) I could jam as many sponges and internals in there as I want, and medicate that way as well correct?
  15. vikingkirken Well Known Member Member

    I don't know how much you like DIY, but I have overhead sumps inspired by this on both my large tanks:

    I used lava rock as my biological media, and planted it with pothos and Chinese evergreen. It does a great job keeping nitrates down, and only about $40 spent :) The floss is easy to remove and clean or replace, and the lava rock rarely needs washing; I waited six months to clean out the sump on my 55, and the lava rock wasn't all that dirty. The larger one on my 125 has the heaters in it as well. I don't have any other filtration.
  16. Gilly Member Member

    that's really a good idea. I actually decided on a filter. As random as this sounds, I went for an internal. Penn Plax's 1000 canister filter is rated for 110 gallons, pushing only 295 gph, which I believe is realistic. With the amount of filter media available in a canister, the surface area allows for less flow with stronger biological filtration. HOB filters don't circulate as well, which can probably explain their need for a higher turnover. I went with a Magnum Polishing (its only polishing if you choose, it is normally a 3 stage) internal canister. It pushes 290 gph, and has an adjustable spout for direction.

    Here is the filter:


    Since the media is readily available in store, it makes me more comfortable. The only thing that I do not like as much is the limited selection of floss options, but the magnum JH inserts seem to be top notch. The plus is that if I upgrade to a sump and/or external canister, I can put the polishing micron insert in this one and have crystal clear water.

    I will post some un-boxing and installation pictures later tonight!
  17. Gilly Member Member

    So update:

    I forgot to take un-boxing photos, I'm sorry! If it is any consolation, it was incredibly simple and already assembled.

    Here is a picture or two of the filter at seven pm today about 5 minutes after installation. It's a bit big, but has a really neat non-bypass design with room in the canister for a thicker floss sleeve over the center media housing.

    I do not have the micron filter insert installed. I would rather have the cloudy water while establishing a cycle than try to have crystal clear water right away. The center media chamber has 2 compartments, with enough space for bio sponge or carbon or both, and even fluval-style bio rocks or whatever they are LOL



    And this is the tank at 9 pm. Already clearer!!! It's been steadily cloudy for 2 days.

    bebed9402e3dd9fe326335d683e78600.jpg 78483e3119758923fe0a64afbe48aea0.jpg

    So what are some suggestions? I figured I would kinda incorporate some of your ideas for plants and wood and stock. Next will be plants and decor or wood. I would love to get some input!
  18. vikingkirken Well Known Member Member

    I like the fish you're considering. However, denison barbs would really do best in a longer tank. In this tank, I'd probably do two schools of fish. Odessa, gold, checkered, or tiger barbs; or maccullochi or Australian rainbowfish are all great options. A group of swordtails for bright color. And for centerpiece, an electric blue acara, firemouth, or small group of Bolivian rams. Some kind of pleco that stays around 6", and does well in low 70s temps--there are plenty to choose from. Some large, smooth stones, a big chunky piece of malaysian driftwood planted with java ferns, some jungle val and anubias... take it or leave it of course :D But I think it'd be gorgeous!
  19. Gilly Member Member

    Okay. Sorry it's been a couple days! Progress!

    Here was the first layout with a nice piece of wood and a few plants. I don't know specifically what the plants are but there's dwarf hair grass, amazon sword, small anubias, micro sword, and some other Petco sale special. I just grabbed some of what looked good. About 50 bucks in plants in there and 34 for the wood



    But then, I couldn't help myself. It looked empty, so I went out of budget and got a monster anubias plant. And reorganized and moved everything.

    Despite the slate screwed to the bottom of the wood, it still tries to float so I have to bury it in deeper substrate. Eventually I think it will water log.


  20. vikingkirken Well Known Member Member

    Neat piece of wood! I like the sword behind it. Lift the rhizome for the anubias out of your substrate, it'll rot if it's buried.

    Edit: Nevermind about the sword, holy anubias Batman! That is a monster!