Need Diy Advice On Caves/tunnels For Larger Fish....

3Clowns

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I have 3 clown loaches in a 55 gal tank. They now have a couple of coconut caves to sleep in, but they only use one together (all 3 at one time) and spill out of it since they are about 6 inches long each. Previously, they had a small ceramic pipe with a hole in the side that they have long since outgrown and I had to remove it. They are pretty rough with things. They uproot plants, move the caves around to suit themselves... that sort of thing.
I'm looking for something like a pipe (PVC) to doctor up. I'd like a hole in the side, like the old ceramic pipe. But I don't know how to go about making it look nice. I'm hoping that some of you have done something similar and can offer some suggestions and hints and tips!
Here's a picture from years ago. They are much bigger now and make that flower pot look much smaller now! Thanks for any advice! Me (Cathy) (youwish)
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MrBryan723

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Acrylic spray paint can change the color and is safe after it dries. A hole saw can cut the side hole cleanly if you have one. Silicon can add decor to it or you can roll it in gravel and silicon or sand etc.
 

Salem

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My go-to is always the pots like you had previously. I break mine apart and sand down the sharp edges. You could get a length of pvc pipe, cut a hole into it, then silicone rocks to it as well. Alternatively you could cover the whole outside of the pipe in silicone and cover it in fine gravel/ sand- sprits it so its damp then press it gently down to make sure most of it sticks.
 
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3Clowns

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Thanks for all of your suggestions!
I think a 4" pipe would work best. I have some extra 6" around (used for an entirely unrelated use) and it would be just a tad bit large for them and perhaps the tank itself. The coconut cave they use is about 4" wide and the opening is only approx. 2" to 2 1/2". They seem to love piling up in there, but their little tails stick out and sometimes lately one gets left out completely. I'm thinking if the pipe is long enough, perhaps 10", they will be happy. I've re thunk the hole in the side.... It would have to be large enough for them to fit through and then perhaps not look so great or easy to cut.

Would one 3 oz. tube of the silicone be enough to cover a 10" long by 4" diameter pipe you think? How about 8" long? 8" might fit at the right angle better to see them in it.

Any other suggestions on what to cover it in? Gravel or sand? I use pool filter sand for the bottom, so wondering if there would be a good color to contrast with that? I guess a clay colored gravel would work or a dark brown, huh? I forgot they make colored sand too! Which would be easiest to clean?
I do like the look of the clay pot I have in the tank, but they don't use it at all. The pleco's I had used it a lot though (They laid their eggs in it!).

With gravel or sand attached, do you think it will be too heavy for them to move around? For years now, when I clean the tank, I move that cave so that the opening is towards the front, but the next day it's facing the rear of the tank. I have to crane my neck to see their tails sticking out of it and sometimes I wonder if they are even still in the tank!

I thought about a broken flower pot too, but I'm afraid to get the length I'm looking for, it too will be too large. And it seems a gamble since they don't use the two in there now.
Thanks for letting me ramble on with my thought process here...

All help is greatly appreciated! Thanks!
Here's a pic from years ago of the 3 of them. I think I need new pics! Me (Cathy) (youwish)
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Skavatar

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i've seen some on CO-OP video that were giant. i think even the 6" diameter might not be big enough in a year's time. you might need the industrial sized 12" diameter pipes lol

 
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3Clowns

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Thanks for sharing that video! I'd love to have a tank big enough for all those loaches!!!
My clowns are pretty big. I think they are almost as large as the ones in the video (though one is noticeably smaller than the other two).
I think I'll stick to the smaller 4" pipe for now. They really seem to like piling on top of each other, but think they are ready for a bit more room than the coconut cave can give them. I'll see how it goes with decorating it and all. At this stage, they are slow at growing. They are 14 or 15 years old now and I wish I could say for sure that it's just their slow growth, but in the back of my mind, I worry that I'm not providing them with all they need in order to grow to their full potential. They could be all the same sex for all I know and I don't know what their optimal breeding age is, but I keep hoping to wake up to surprise eggs one day! LOL My pygmy coradoras did that to me! I had one guy come to the house to purchase some pleco babies and he took a look at my coradoras tank and noticed the eggs on the glass! LOL I thought they were air bubbles! LOL
I got a few NEW pics of the clowns. None of the pics are all that great, but this one is the best.
Thanks again for all the help! Me (Cathy) (youwish)
20190915_173449_01.jpg

(The flower pot on the far left is 4" diameter)
 
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