Ikea Kailax Aquarium How Do I Start?

Plants

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I have an Ikea Kallax shelf. I would like to put an aquarium in one of the square shelves. One square shelf space is 13" Wide x 13" High x 15" Deep.

If money is no object.... How would you build/set up an aquarium for this space?

I would ideally like to have;
-largest tank possible for the space (12x12x15?)
-all the maintenance/filter/heater equipment hidden behind a wall within the same space
-low maintenance (if possible)
-plants
-betta (if possible)

How should I go about this? Any ideas?
 

Hunter1

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I don’t think a 10 gallon would fit in that space so you’ll have to go with something smaller.

You’ll need substrate (sand or gravel for the bottom), a 50 watt submersible heater for that size, a light and a filter.

Also buy an API master test kit.

It will be tight in that space to access from the top IMO.

You need to cycle your tank BEFORE you add fish unless you want to do daily water changes for weeks to keep your fish safe.

Google “nitrogen cycle” for directions but basically you’ll need an ammonia source (pure ammonia, no additives works well).

Ammonia from the fish poop is toxic to fish. A bacteria grows, feeds on ammonia, converting it to nitrites.

Nitrites are also toxic to fish but a second bacteria grows and converts nitrites to nitrates, way less toxic to fish. You’ll have to remove nitrates by doing water changes, say removing 3.5 gallons and adding 3.5 gallons back in.

Very basic answers, just an overview.

This size tank would be fine for a betta and maybe a snail or 2, and possibly a few shrimp if thee betta doesn’t eat the shrimp.
 
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Plants

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Thanks Hunter1,

So, things I'll need; 50 watt heater, light, filter, water test kit. No Air pump? Or is that part of a filter?

I've been reading up on cycling and I'll probably try routine care with plants before anything else. Are there any other ways to test the water without drops? Is there a digital reader or anything similar?

If I did small water changes daily would that be better or worse than large changes weekly?

How much space would you recommend between the next shelf and the top of the aquarium? If you could create an aquarium with your preferred dimensions for that space what would they be?
 

helpmyfishplease

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If I'm readng it correctly, max weight the shelf can take is 29 pounds. A gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds...you're lookng at a pretty small tank.
 

Hunter1

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I didn’t see any weight specs?

I was looking at size.

If the lid slides back, 6” minimum.

If you go with an air pump and sponge filter, you won’t need another filter and in that size tank, might be better.

The API master test kit is the very best way since it tests PH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates for $25.00 on Amazon.

There are other ways but they usually only test ammonia.
 
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Plants

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helpmyfishplease said:
If I'm readng it correctly, max weight the shelf can take is 29 pounds. A gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds...you're lookng at a pretty small tank.
I'm pretty sure my school textbooks weigh more than that XD (Actually not but...) Long time back it held two 2.5gal tanks so it can take around 40 pounds without damage/signs of stress.

Hunter1 said:
I didn’t see any weight specs?

I was looking at size.

If the lid slides back, 6” minimum.

If you go with an air pump and sponge filter, you won’t need another filter and in that size tank, might be better.

The API master test kit is the very best way since it tests PH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates for $25.00 on Amazon.

There are other ways but they usually only test ammonia.
wow, 6" from shelf ceiling to tank top? it would be a 6x12x14/15 tank then...

Good to know about the air pump/sponge filter. I have to admit I'm wary of the power head type filter because of how forceful the water flow is.

I had also been looking at a mini internal sump originally? running along the back wall, maybe 2-3" deep?

FlipFlopFishFlake38 said:
Perhaps custom build a tank that fits the shelf space?
That's what I'm looking at. There's a place very close to where I live that custom build tanks.

I've put together a rough plan/idea...
 

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Plants

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Here are some pics of the front and back. This plan is 12"W x 14"L x 11"H.

At the back is the filter media and heater. Water wound go from right to left, going through sponges first from coarse to fine. Then is the bio filter media, What order should I put them in? I did ceramic first then the K1 plastic ones, would this be ok?

I didn't put any carbon as I read it removes nutrients, which I figure can't be good if I want to keep plants.

I figure a sheet of glass that could slide on top would work for a lid, maybe with a small hole to lift it with or for any cables or tubing that would need to run through.

Thoughts?
 

Hunter1

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Sounds good to me.

A cute lil tank.

A small tank will take time to cycle but IMO sponge filters cycle the fastest.

With just a betta, you may be able to go 10-14 days between water changes.

What would work great is if you had a shelf higher in the cabinet so you could put a 3-5 gallon bucket on and siphon water back into your tank during water changes.

With minimal room at the top, that will be a challenge.

I have something higher than all of my tanks so I just siphon water back in. If the water change is more than 5 gallons (usually is), I add water to the bucket being siphoned from with another bucket.

I can do 5 tanks, 55 gallons, in under 45 minutes without using the python.
 
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Plants

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Thanks Hunter1!

What if, instead of large bi-weekly water changes, I did small daily water changes? I have to admit I'm better at daily routines than Bi-weekly ones.

How do you know how much water you should change over a period? Is there an equation or ratio to find out how often and how much water needs to be changed in a tank of a certain size?
 

Hunter1

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If you got a test kit, it would be easy to tell.

I schedule my water changes based on tested nitrate levels.

For a long time (4 months) I changed 25% of the water 1X a week in 4 tanks and 33% 2Xs a week in my heavily stocked tank.

Initially if my nitrates got close to 40ppm, I did the water change and kept testing until they got near 40ppm again. If it took 7 days, that was my schedule. If it took less, I changed a higher % the next week.

Then my guppies had 150 fry over about 6 weeks so now I have 3 tanks that get 50%, 2Xs a week, the others 25-30, still 1X a week. I usually test the day after a water change to see where i’m at.
 
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Plants

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ok so if it's 25% weekly and I have an 8gal tank that's 2gal weekly convert to liters... about 7 liters weekly so 1 liter daily which is ~4 1/4cups.

weekly water test? bi-weekly? Monthly?
 

Hunter1

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I recommend a test kit.

25% should be fine if the inhabitant is a betta. But with a test kit, you know for sure.
 
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