Is there a secret to keeping multiple tanks?

lanlesnee

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I have 5 fw tanks. 3 55g, a 40g, and a 125g. Plus a 150g reef tank. I also have 5 betta tanks.
I try to do 10 to 20 percent water change on all my tanks once a week with a good vacuiming once a month.
I clean the glass once week also. I also like to sit in front of each tank and check to make sure things are going well and that everything is working right, fish are health, etc.
There's a lot of other stuff that I'm leaving out, but you can imagine that keep several tanks is really a job, if you do it right. IMO.

I was wondering if there are others out there who have several tanks and are not working themselves to dealth? Is there someone who has figured out a better way of doing things.

I'm starting to feel like it's not a hobby any more and quickly becoming a job.

I though about putting all my fish in fewer tanks and running sumps to help with the load. That way I have less tanks to deal with. I think I rather have more work on each tank with fewer tanks than less work on each tank but have more tanks. Or at least that's my logic on putting the fish in few tanks.

I like to hear from the multiple tank crowd on this one. Is there a better way of doing things?
 

brokenwing

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Wait till bolivian baby comes along, I think she has over 20 tanks, and loves every minute of it. She may be able to give you some advise.
 

Annadvn

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I have 1 reef tank and 18 FW tanks up and running right now.

I do 50% water changes on all the FW tanks once a week. I keep most of my non show tanks bare bottom so it is easier to vaccum up the poo. Only the show tanks have substrate and then i use sand so the poo doesn't sink in and be more work to get out like gravel.

All the fry tanks get 50% water changes every other day.

The reef tank generally takes care of its self, all i do is top the water off twice a week and add calcium then and alkalinity every day during feeding of the fish.

Having sumps is nice but not necessarily easier to look after, yes you will have less filters to clean, more water volume = more dilution of nitrates, a place to house all the heaters, filters etc out of sight. But if the electric goes out you, you get a blocked pipe you run into the risk of the tank/sump over flowing. (Having said that i still like them) Depending on your set up you could attach all your tans together via one huge sump??

My tip for you:

Go bare bottom (like i said above), it will be so much easier to clean the tanks. Or if you really like having a substrate change over to sand so the poo sits on top of the substrate making it easier to clean. With the sand all you need to do is every other water change run your fingers through the sand to remove any air pockets that have been building up.

Once we have the fish room up and running we will have about 50 tanks back up and running. Most will be plumbed to a huge sump except for fry tanks and quarantine tanks.

Hmm i was going to do a short post, oops.

Anna
 

Nutter

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Why do people always claim sand is easier to clean than gravel? I find it to be the exact opposite. You should only vac the surface of gravel, just like sand & you don't have to worry about holding the gravel vac at just the right height to avoid sucking the sand out. IMO gravel is way easier & faster to look after than sand. I wouldn't run any tank without substrate except for fry tanks.

Aside from all that, the two things that helped me the most when I was running over 30 tanks was 1: to have a poster sized shedule on the wall where I would see it every day so that I knew what had to be done to what tank on what day. 2: To have a couple of large water preparation tanks with heaters & pond pumps. Plumb the pond pumps to several of the display tanks with two way valves controling the where the water gets pumped to. Fill the prep tank straight from the hose, heat the water & set the parameters. Siphon water out of the tanks I wanted to do changes on & then just use the two way valves to fill one tank at a time. I could do 30% water changes on 10 tanks in well under 1hr. There's not much I could do about filters as I don't like the idea of having one central filter for several tanks. You get one sick fish & you end up with 6 or so tanks all with that illness. That's too risky for my liking.
 

Aquarist

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Good morning,

I follow a routine similar to Nutter. I have a 29g prep tank that I use to preheat, treat and filter my water for changes prior to it going to my main tanks. I pump the water from the prep tank with a mag drive 750 pump to the other tanks. I have well water with pH issues so prefiltering the water for 5 days ahead of time helps me to have a pH that is needed for my tanks.

I also keep a log of every tank, what I do to the tank and when I do it. Each tank I have has its own paraphernalia so that I don't cross contaminate should health issues come up. Each tank has it's own filtration system and not one central system.

Best wishes!
Ken
 

bolivianbaby

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Excellent advice above!

I'm currently running 31 tanks. To keep it where I can still enjoy my fish, I break it down to a few tanks a night. Each night, I have certain tanks I run the tests on and base my water changes on them. All but one of my tanks has substrate/sand.

I also keep a log of everything that has happened to each tank since I started it up. I enjoy working with my tanks as much as I do watching my fish, though. The only thing I don't enjoy is setting up new tanks, but since I'm pretty sure I'm out of room, I don't see that happening with anything larger than a 29g anytime soon.

I hope this helps!
 

Meenu

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But wait, there's more. We also have two dogs, 5 bird cages containing total of around 20 birds, 2 guinea pigs, and a rabbit

Honestly though, I love my life and I wouldn't have it any other way;D
and a Shelby in a pear tree...
 

Jaysee

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I also change 50% every week. the secret is to use a python and have a routine. i spend about 2 hours a week doing maintainance.

i only recently made the change from gravel to sand, and over the last year have systematicly switched all (but 1) of my tanks from gravel to sand. it is FAR easier to clean. usually the waste collects in one area, which makes vaccuuming easy. after that, all it is is moving water.
 

Meenu

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When I was in college, I remember being detoured off the interstate through a little town. I was looking at the houses as we drove by, and told the people in the car with me, "Look at those weird-looking dogs!"

My sister's response was, "Those are goats, stupid."

Unfortunately, this is a true story. I blame my parents for never taking me out of the city.
 

sirdarksol

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I only have seven tanks. I deep clean half of the gravel in each every week. With sand, I only clean the surface, and expect the trumpet snails to do the rest ;D. I am trying to get to the point where I do a 50% water change every week.

To answer the big question of how best (or at least easiest) to deal with tons of tanks, the way to go is to plumb each of them to have a set water level, with the output going directly to the drain (or to a holding tank, so you can use it to water your garden), and set each one up with an autofill. Use a timer (a sprinkler system timer works well) to automatically put x amount of water in each tank, thus doing a certain percentage of water change each day. Dan Woodland, the speaker at the MAS show, does something like 13% a day, which means that the water is pretty much all changed out by the end of the week. Now, he's lucky in that he doesn't have to worry about dechlorination (he's at the end of line before they re-chlorinate the supply, so his water comes out with almost no chlorine. Since the system does a number of small changes over the day, it evaporates before it can do any damage).
You can, of course, customize the system, like with an overflow box (or equivalent PVC setup), automatic dechlor feed, etc... but this is a basic setup.
 

catsma_97504

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In my experience, any animal should be a joy to keep, raise, care for, play with, watch, etc. I don't have as many tanks as BB, but I currently have 2 fish tanks, 2 betta tanks, 2 dogs, 2 parakeets, a rabbit...not to mention the teenage daughter and 2 full time jobs just to pay the bills that my ex left me in the divorce. Once upon a time I had more tanks, more variety of critters like gerbals that became a chore due to a population explosion. And, everything became overwhelming. So, I found someone to adopt some of them because when its a chore I would slack on their care and sometimes feel that I may cause their eventual death.

If your fish are a chore to care for, the water quality may go down because you've decided that today you're not going to mess with them....you'll do it tomorrow. Don't let that happen.

Good luck finding the balance that works for both you and your fish.
 

Gamer

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I like some people just keep a log for my tanks. I like to write it all down from the water readings to their feeding schedule to overall tank maitenance. I am sure I can remember it on my own but part of the joy of this hobby comes to me in doing it all this way. I look forward to lights on, feeding them in the AM then once more in the PM and to doing weekly maitenance. Guess there is no official rule or secret trick to keeping and taking care of them, it's just whatever works for you but I've found my "grove" in keeping and taking care of multiple tanks, multiple dogs and multiple cats.
 

brokenwing

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woops bolivian I said 20 tanks, boy i was off lol. You are the fish lady lol. This has been some great advise.
 
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