I'm finally getting a fish room/she-shed! But I have questions...

Katie993

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We've had a rough year and a half between medical problems, my fiance not being able to work (he was an OTR Truck driver and we found out about his illness when he was lifelined while we were almost 400 miles from home), constant doctor's appointments, and just nothing going right basically but, we finally got a break! We got his medical problems under control enough that he could go back to his career and now he wants to build me a fish room! Yay! I've done quite a bit of research but I'm having trouble deciding how I want to filter my tanks. I'm leaning towards running a central air line with a linear piston air pump and running sponge filters on everything. It would be the cheapest and easiest option. I could also set up a central filtration system with a sump. I wouldn't have to acclimate between my tanks but, I have very little knowledge on sumps so I would have to do way more research and I don't know if I want to lose that much space setting up a sump large enough for that many tanks. There's also the risk of spreading an illness or parasite to all of the tanks. I also thought about running a bunch of huge canister filters. This is my least favorite option. It would be bulky, messy, and I'm not sure if it'd work but, basically, I would run a huge canister filter to a couple tanks and bypass having a sump. Which do you recommend?
 

Flyfisha

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Hi Katie993,
I have an central air pump outside in the garage running a room of tanks 50 feet away in the house.
As 95% of my fish tanks get the same change water and the tanks are 95% all heated from one 2000 watt heater in the room I jump fish from tank to tank without acclimation often. Seriously no matter how hard we try and match change water on water change day the difference in nitrates is more of a shock than jumping from one tank to another. Having done a few cold water changes deliberately to encourage spawning a few degrees between top row and bottom row is not so much of an issue.
IMO.

I use sponge filters in conjunction with box filters full of ceramic media.
I would suggest you need a spare air pump just in case.
I have walked a few local club members rooms. Only one gentlemen had two giant sumps and he has since changed to an independent system for each tank.
 
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Katie993

Katie993

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Flyfisha said:
Hi Katie993,
I have an central air pump outside in the garage running a room of tanks 50 feet away in the house.
As 95% of my fish tanks get the same change water and the tanks are 95% all heated from one 2000 watt heater in the room I jump fish from tank to tank without acclimation often. Seriously no matter how hard we try and match change water on water change day the difference in nitrates is more of a shock than jumping from one tank to another. Having done a few cold water changes deliberately to encourage spawning a few degrees between top row and bottom row is not so much of an issue.
IMO.

I use sponge filters in conjunction with box filters full of ceramic media.
I would suggest you need a spare air pump just in case.
I have walked a few local club members rooms. Only one gentlemen had two giant sumps and he has since changed to an independent system for each tank.
I'm actually thinking about maybe running 3 separate smaller piston pumps instead of buying a huge one. That way if something happens to one, I still have two going to keep at least some flow until I can either get a repair kit or a new pump. We have a lot of power outages and surges here during tornado season. Once a year at least, someone hits a power pole on the highway and knocks it out too. I'll probably get a generator eventually that's big enough to run to run the pumps in case its out for a few days. I don't acclimate much between tanks right now either unless I know there's a big temp difference. I am thinking about eventually keeping discus though and I'll probably acclimate them between tanks.
 

qldmick

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I had a single air pump running all my tanks, about 3000L, it was great but when it broke I had to take the day off work to make a 4hr round trip to replace it.
 
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Katie993

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qldmick said:
I had a single air pump running all my tanks, about 3000L, it was great but when it broke I had to take the day off work to make a 4hr round trip to replace it.
That's what worries me about running only one. I also found smaller pumps meant for hydroponics that would run cheaper than the big Jehmco pumps. I'm going to have to do some research and read reviews on it though.
 

John58ford

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If you were going to do a specific species breeding project that required multiple smaller grow out, breeding, birthing etc tanks of a smaller size; I would consider individual rack sumps to keep the parameters the same and more stable between the tanks so you can scoop and drop from tank to tank as you please. This would also solve the surge load problems you occasionally get if you were to line breed and take a break between lines to complete a grow out and start fresh. It's also easy to set up individually sumped racks of tanks for semi-automated group water changes, you just add a tee valve and divert the water going into the sump to a drain while pumping fresh water into the sump to replace it. This can be especially handy if you are doing fish that like simulated rain fall/pH changes to get them in the mood occasionally.

If you are building show stopping display tanks into the wall or something where you would be bringing many fish from many places to the same place; I would individually filter each and every one of them due to bio security. A low pressure air pump or two with a halo of PVC around the fish room is a very easy way to run sponges. If your tanks are going to be all show though you may want to consider individual sumps or canisters to keep the tanks less cluttered, it's sometimes a better blank slate. I personally don't like the look of any of the tanks I've done with air powered sponges.

Between sumps and canisters, I currently prefer sumps and nano sumps due to ease of maintenance. If I was paying for water I would probably switch to canisters. Canisters can force water through the finer levels of filtration, where my sumps are limited by gravity, extending service intervals. Canisters evaporate less (lower surface area, less humidity in the fish room).

A very good low cost option that may work as well is built in box filters.


Whichever filter set up you pick, congrats on getting to build a fish room!
 
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Katie993

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John58ford said:
If you were going to do a specific species breeding project that required multiple smaller grow out, breeding, birthing etc tanks of a smaller size; I would consider individual rack sumps to keep the parameters the same and more stable between the tanks so you can scoop and drop from tank to tank as you please. This would also solve the surge load problems you occasionally get if you were to line breed and take a break between lines to complete a grow out and start fresh. It's also easy to set up individually sumped racks of tanks for semi-automated group water changes, you just add a tee valve and divert the water going into the sump to a drain while pumping fresh water into the sump to replace it. This can be especially handy if you are doing fish that like simulated rain fall/pH changes to get them in the mood occasionally.

If you are building show stopping display tanks into the wall or something where you would be bringing many fish from many places to the same place; I would individually filter each and every one of them due to bio security. A low pressure air pump or two with a halo of PVC around the fish room is a very easy way to run sponges. If your tanks are going to be all show though you may want to consider individual sumps or canisters to keep the tanks less cluttered, it's sometimes a better blank slate. I personally don't like the look of any of the tanks I've done with air powered sponges.

Between sumps and canisters, I currently prefer sumps and nano sumps due to ease of maintenance. If I was paying for water I would probably switch to canisters. Canisters can force water through the finer levels of filtration, where my sumps are limited by gravity, extending service intervals. Canisters evaporate less (lower surface area, less humidity in the fish room).

A very good low cost option that may work as well is built in box filters.


Whichever filter set up you pick, congrats on getting to build a fish room!
Thanks so much for the info! We've been talking about it and I think its turned into more of a fish building than a fish room lol I think I may do a combination of the two methods. A central air line to run sponge filters for betta tanks and betta grow outs, mostly for the low flow, and any airlines I would have to run for brine shrimp or whatever. Canisters or a sump for the discus once I get into them so I can minimize shock when moving them to grow out tanks. It may be overcautious but I've heard so much about how susceptible discus are and it really makes me nervous. What is a good rule of thumb for how big of a sump I would need for however many gallons of water? I'm thinking the most I would set up on it is maybe two tanks for two different breeding pairs and a couple grow out tanks but, depending on how much space I'd need for the sump, I may just have one pair and a grow out tank.
 

John58ford

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Katie993 said:
What is a good rule of thumb for how big of a sump I would need for however many gallons of water?
This is one they love to argue about on reef forums. In fresh water however our needs are much simpler but can get fancy by choice. If you are bare bottom breeding discus and planning daily water changes as I've read some folks do you won't need much. If you are going even a week or so you still wouldn't need much more. If you wanted a bare bottom tank, that had some time between water changes and some room to hide plants to absorb nitrates (refugium etc) you would need a much larger area.

I think if you stick to only sponge block filters with a basic polyfill pre-filter in the first downward chamber, heaters in the next upward chamber and then a spill into the pump chamber you could do a ratio as small as 10:1 (100 gallons display 10 gallon sump) pretty easily using weirs in your display. Most conventional reef sumps are about 4:1 but they typically house skimmers and other things you really won't need for freshwater. If you plan on just hiding it under a rack with the doors shut I would probably use a "long" form factor tank like a 20 long for up to 160-200 gallons of freshwater display. The design of your weirs and the extra space above the pump section will ensure you do not overflow if you have a pump/power failure.

My ultimate dream sump is a tank of the same size, cut in half the long way mounted overhead. Internally cut in half again with the "sump" part in the back, and a planted area in front of it hiding the inner workings. This would make both tanks appear to be a display, and it would eat nitrate as well as keep your display or breeding tanks bare bottom if required/desired. Being full width but half as far from the wall would make it easy to service the actual display while still easy to "frame" with your rack and lighting. I have a 120 project I'm still looking for some donor parts for that is exactly that but you are welcome to use the idea :).
 

angelcraze

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SouthAmericanCichlids said:
I wouldn't do a central sump, then if there is a disease in one of the tanks it goes to all of the tanks.
Good point! I absolutely never would hook up a QT tank to a central filter, but pumping air to multiple tanks from one pump should be ok?

Katie993 said:
That's what worries me about running only one. I also found smaller pumps meant for hydroponics that would run cheaper than the big Jehmco pumps. I'm going to have to do some research and read reviews on it though.
A spare pump? I keep spare heaters, snapped a few used good name brands up in case.
 
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Katie993

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John58ford said:
This is one they love to argue about on reef forums. In fresh water however our needs are much simpler but can get fancy by choice. If you are bare bottom breeding discus and planning daily water changes as I've read some folks do you won't need much. If you are going even a week or so you still wouldn't need much more. If you wanted a bare bottom tank, that had some time between water changes and some room to hide plants to absorb nitrates (refugium etc) you would need a much larger area.

I think if you stick to only sponge block filters with a basic polyfill pre-filter in the first downward chamber, heaters in the next upward chamber and then a spill into the pump chamber you could do a ratio as small as 10:1 (100 gallons display 10 gallon sump) pretty easily using weirs in your display. Most conventional reef sumps are about 4:1 but they typically house skimmers and other things you really won't need for freshwater. If you plan on just hiding it under a rack with the doors shut I would probably use a "long" form factor tank like a 20 long for up to 160-200 gallons of freshwater display. The design of your weirs and the extra space above the pump section will ensure you do not overflow if you have a pump/power failure.

My ultimate dream sump is a tank of the same size, cut in half the long way mounted overhead. Internally cut in half again with the "sump" part in the back, and a planted area in front of it hiding the inner workings. This would make both tanks appear to be a display, and it would eat nitrate as well as keep your display or breeding tanks bare bottom if required/desired. Being full width but half as far from the wall would make it easy to service the actual display while still easy to "frame" with your rack and lighting. I have a 120 project I'm still looking for some donor parts for that is exactly that but you are welcome to use the idea :).
That is a great idea! I may use that! I was planning barebottom tanks with maybe a couple potted plants or plants tied to driftwood or lava rock (its my best friend with this water lol) but nothing too crazy. Presentable and nice to look at but simple. If I kept my ratio low like 160 gallons of display with a 20 long or maybe even a bit bigger sump and lots of plants, I could probably use that display area as a tank for like a single betta that I'm using for breeding, right? I was just thinking that may help maximize a bit of space also. Thank you so much for the information! You have been extremely helpful!
 
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Katie993

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angelcraze said:
Good point! I absolutely never would hook up a QT tank to a central filter, but pumping air to multiple tanks from one pump should be ok?


A spare pump? I keep spare heaters, snapped a few used good name brands up in case.
The QT tanks will definitely be on their own systems. Probably sponges off the main airline.

Ugh... Heaters... I hate them and try to avoid them as much as I can but I'm going to have to get over that if I'm going to keep discus lol
 

John58ford

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Katie993 said:
I could probably use that display area as a tank for like a single betta that I'm using for breeding, right?
If you had the flow set up just right you may be able to do a betta in one like that but I think the velocity might be too high for one. If you are turning over 160 gallons 5 times per hour it would be turning over the 20 gallon long 40 times per hour (talk about a serious river tank lol). If you set up the refuge in front of a hidden operational sump like I described you could adjust the flow rate in the visible refuge by allowing it to run in parallel with an adjustable gate valve and it would make it very nice for a betta. If you do this with betta in mind just make sure the water out of the refuge back into the sump portion has a ton of surface area so if something goes wrong the betta doesn't get stuck to the outlet. (Think Hamburg matten corner filter spaced about a 1/2" away from a corner weir and you should be safe)
 
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Katie993

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John58ford said:
If you had the flow set up just right you may be able to do a betta in one like that but I think the velocity might be too high for one. If you are turning over 160 gallons 5 times per hour it would be turning over the 20 gallon long 40 times per hour (talk about a serious river tank lol). If you set up the refuge in front of a hidden operational sump like I described you could adjust the flow rate in the visible refuge by allowing it to run in parallel with an adjustable gate valve and it would make it very nice for a betta. If you do this with betta in mind just make sure the water out of the refuge back into the sump portion has a ton of surface area so if something goes wrong the betta doesn't get stuck to the outlet. (Think Hamburg matten corner filter spaced about a 1/2" away from a corner weir and you should be safe)
Darn. I wasn't thinking about flow. Maybe something small that can handle the current a bit better with mesh over the outlet to make it simpler on me.
 

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