Starting A 90 Gallon Custom Hillstream Aquarium

Discussion in 'Freshwater Aquarium Builds' started by JakeGrammer, Jul 9, 2019.


Orange Fin Leopard Danio or Gold White Cloud Minnow or both?

  1. Orange Fin Leopard Danio

  2. Gold White Cloud Minnow

  3. Both

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. JakeGrammer

    JakeGrammerNew MemberMember

    I'm starting my first Hillstream aquarium within the next couple of months and would like some input on my thoughts and ideas. This 100 percent custom built by myself with some help from my dad. The plywood enclosure will 48" long by 24" deep by 36" tall with the actual water line being 18" tall. This will put the total water volume at 90 gallons before the addition of decor and plants. This enclosure will be on the ground level with two similar sized enclosures on top. These will be Vivariums though. I have collected my own river stone and driftwood from local creeks and rivers. I understand the risk of using these and have taken several steps to minimize any problems. For the past few months I have boiled, soaked in bleach and even have baked certain pieces. Keeping the aquarium cool will not be a problem for me. On large tanks like this I've always prefered sumps but for this build, it's simply not an option. I have never used canister filters before and to be honest the forums I've searched can be pretty toxic on what canister filter is the best. I'd like input on what you would personally use for this set-up knowing that it'll require considerable turnover. The fish that are absolutely a requirement for me are as follows
    Akysis vespa×8
    Gastromyzon punctulatus×12
    Stiphodon atropurpureus×3
    Amano Shrimp×2
    Nerite Snail×2
    ×? being number of species that will be kept.
    Now this is where I'm having trouble to deciding the last bit of stock. I'm a huge fan of Gold white cloud minnows and have mept them a few times in small shoals consisting 6-12 and large shoals of 20 and more. The second potential shoaling fish is the Orange fin Leopard Danio. Personally, I have yet to keep them but for this set-up they could be perfect. Research has shown me that these are extremely easy to care for. From what I've seen and read the Leopard Danio is considerably more active than the white cloud and about an inch bigger. This is where I'm having the trouble deciding. I've never kept more than one shoaling fish together( not counting Cory catfish with some sort of tetra or rasbora). Do you think I should do one large shoal of Orange fin Leopard Danio, one larger shoal of Gold white Cloud Minnow or smaller shoals of both? Personally I'm partial to one large shoaling fish, but like I said this is about me trying something new. I'm thinking with the other species of fish that two shoals of these will be more activity than I'd prefer. I'd like to hear feedback still. Moving on to the plants. This will be a planted Riparium. I will be keeping several varieties of Anubias, Bucephalandra, sword plants, along with some species of moss, Jungle Val, water sprite, African water fern and moss balls. Riparium plants chosen Cyperus Dwarf Umbrella Sedge, Colocasia Dwarf Taro, pothos attached to the background, and of course sweet flag. Any suggestion on other plants would be very appreciated, particularly what sort of moss would look and do best. I will NOT be injecting Co2 into this set-up. Lighting will consist of one 48" Finnex 24/7 Planted+ v2. These lights are relatively powerful, and offer a natural daylight and moon cycle, which is why I've chosen this particular light. I'm not sure if one will be enough light. The light will be hidden in a compartment above blocked by metal screen, this idea I borrowed from serpa design with his plywood Vivarium builds. I use RO water and plan on using ADA light soil for the few rooted plants only. I plan on using play sand but would really prefer a darker natural looking sand to really make the colors of the stock pop. Any suggestions would be appreciated. This tank will not be stocked with most of these fish for a minimum of six months. I'm in no rush. I want this tank to be very mature before adding the loaches and the rare catfish and goby species I want. All of my fish go through a two week quarantine for ich, general cure, and fungal. I also raise most of my own food. White worms, grindal worms, daphinia, scuds, Ramshorn snails along with pond snails. I plan on adding one more tank to my "fish food" tanks. This will be a brightly lit tank so I can constantly supply the loaches and gobies with their prefered food. Any advice or changes would be great to hear. I only want advice from people who have first-hand experience of my questions and this type of setup. Thank you.

  2. watermelon46

    watermelon46Valued MemberMember

    This sounds like such an awesome project! I hope you keep us posted on how it goes!
    73-74 F would be a good temp for all your fish I think. As far as the shoaling top-dwelling fish I vote for the orange fin danios but either would work! As for plant suggestions I think a carpet plant would look really nice, as well as a floating one maybe. Frogbit is a great floating plant. To tie onto driftwood, java moss is a very popular and hardy but would grow super fast if you have a powerful light. But I also personally think the colors are more dull and other brighter plnts like pygmy chain swords, or dwarf baby tears would look better.
    I also think bolbitis/african water fern and cryptocoryne wendtii would look great as big background plants.
    I think you said at one point you were using RO water? While this is pure and of course always free of any potentially harmful things, it lacks the minerals that things like tap water have, so using RO water will make the water super soft, and with the driftwood in there too, it could get too soft. The city you get your water from, and the plummage and source and all that, will make it have a different hardness than water from other places, so some research will tell you how hard the water will be and what additives can be added to get it to the right hardness. Just fill up a bucket/buckets with cold tap water, and treat them with conditioner and any other needed additives, then cool/heat it to the right temp. This will make sure your critters' water is more suitable.
  3. OP

    JakeGrammerNew MemberMember

    Floating plants aren't an option for this tank sadly. The amount of turbulence would destroy any floating plant. Dwarf baby tears might do okay because of the cooler temps but with the water being so oxygenated it won't grow much or at all. I have to use Ro water. My city's tapwater is disgusting to say the least. I've tested it many times. I'll add some mineral rocks into the aquarium for my snails and fish. I'll also had some calcium sand hidden the back to help boost ph and hardness. It'll take time to get it just right. I'll definitely look more into crypts. I've seen them in stream aquariums before. Crypts seem very hardy besides the initial change of aquarium. They can be used in blackwater tanks and stream tanks. Pretty versatile. Thank you. I'll definitely keep this updated. It'll be a couple of months. Just paid for school and it starts in a month. Plus my significant other is moving in. Hence the no rush. I just want all my ducks in a row first.
  4. watermelon46

    watermelon46Valued MemberMember

    Okay, hope the ro with added minerals works! And sorry the strong current hadn't occured to me (how it wouldn't be suitable for the frogbit).
  5. OP

    JakeGrammerNew MemberMember

    All is good. I love floating plants in my aquariums, especially Frogbit. I even included it with my intial checklist of plants. Duckweed would be the only floating plant that has a chance.