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Tank planning

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Tank planning

Post by cephalotus on Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:39 pm

Just curious how much time people spend planning their tanks before actually setting them up. There must be a wide range, from people with big fish rooms whose tanks are all plain/bare bottom to those with large show tanks with lots of plants and hardscaping. Does the size of the tank make a difference in how long it takes to plan? What other factors affect your planning process?

I think I fall more toward the long-term planning end of the spectrum. I aim for my tanks to have lots of plant growth and like to landscape natural-looking hiding places out of rocks and driftwood. It takes me a while to find the right pieces and accumulate plants.

Just asking because I got a new (to me) 33 gallon that is so far lying empty. My bf got me a gift card to the fish store for xmas to stock the new tank. He is already asking when the tank will be ready to put fish in!
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Re: Tank planning

Post by goldfishbetalover on Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:13 pm

Our 75 gallon was a couple of weeks setting up.....we went on a trip to Ottawa for a few days in the process as well which allowed the water to simply sit.....even once we returned I left it still sitting for a short time before putting the 3 fancy goldfish in that were patiently waiting in a 10 gallon....

I plan to transfer our mystery fish (small baby fish who have yet to be identified) from a 5 gallon tomorrow into a 10 gallon....at least this is my plan at the moment...this set up will be somewhat quick

I hope to set up a 220 gallon in a years time for all of our comets...I have a felling this will take longer than 2 weeks!
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Re: Tank planning

Post by Shell on Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:36 pm

Our first tank was an impulse buy...so no thought put into it! Once we upgraded the first 10g to a 55g, I'd say we spent about 1 week picking things out and setting it up. With the 220g, we spent a few months planning: bought the driftwood, the rocks, had the stand made, etc. Then we bought the jungle vals, planted them, placed the driftwood, rocks, etc. and let the tank run for a few days before adding inhabitants! I have to admit, all of the other tanks were "rushed" in that we kind of threw things in and hoped it would look good!

We plan on taking lots of time to prepare for our next tank, which will be fully planted...hoping to get lots of 'tips and tricks' from you!

_________________
-220g home to 9 gold barbs, 10 denison barbs, & 3 weather loaches
-55g home to 12 black skirt tetras
-55g home to 1 angelfish, 5 kuhli loaches, & 4 zebra loaches
-36g home to 15 zoogoneticus tequila
-10g home to 2 zoogoneticus tequila
-10g home to 1 panda cory
-10g home to 1 zebra nerite, 1 onion nerite, 1 leopard ramshorn, & 2 mosquitofish
-5g home to 1 female betta fish
-3.5g home to several leopard ramshorn snails
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Re: Tank planning

Post by Sbenson11 on Sat Jan 04, 2014 5:03 am

I tend to have more projects on the horizon then i will ever get to. So a new tank tends to be in the planning stages for quite some time. Occasionally I will come across some new fish that are in need of a home and I will hastily set something up until I can get a more permanent home for them.

My reef tank has been in the planning for over two years and is still not complete. I have the tank mostly built and a collection of fish hanging out in other tanks waiting for it's completion.

Steve
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Re: Tank planning

Post by ownedbycats on Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:46 am

I spent an entire year planning my first tank (Learning how to keep fish properly, how to cycle, finding somewhere to put it, saving money to buy it, etc.) and then several months slowly building up the plants and stock.
My second tank was bought and setup in one weekend due to urgent necessity, but I'm constantly thinking about what I would do with another tank if I had one, and what I would plant and stock. (I have no more room so all I can do is plan Sad )
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Re: Tank planning

Post by GaryE on Sat Jan 04, 2014 7:16 am

I like the planning of tanks. A lot of my tanks have had a few renos over the years.
The starting point for me is the substrate - I don't do bare tanks. I finished redoing 2 tanks yesterday, as I had some time off work. I moved a bunch of fish around and took 2 sand bottomed 50 gallons down to the substrate. I arranged the rocks to create three cichlid territories in each and the plants to give cover up high. The filtration stayed the same.
I know the sand is neutral, and I want this to be a soft water tank.

I sketched out how the rocks would go, to break up sightlines along the bottom. The fish I want like to dig out caves, so I arranged flat rocks so that if they were undermined, they would settle on buried rocks and not crush anything. Each cave has to have a view of a rock. The pair will own what they can see from their door, so you have to think ahead and control the view so that multiple pairs can flourish.
Yesterday, once the temps were under control (one tank is heated, a rarity here), I added some of the fish.
Tank one got a shoal of Procatopus nototaenia lampeyes, and a trio of Epiplatys ansorgi for the midwater and surface. They already look really good, even if the lampeyes are half their adult size.
Part of the planning revolved around the Epiplatys. I had them in a 10 gallon and wasn't seeing young. They are beautiful and really easy to breed, but I figured one of the trio (at least) was a rare cannibal. They don't usually chase fry, but the adults are young and sometimes that affects behavior to fry. So I left tham in a tank ful of mops. As soon as I shifted them to their permanent home, babies covered the surface of the old tank. So without the parents, they'll grow up nicely. Then I can have more beautiful fish to share!
On the complex bottom, I put in two pairs of Nanochromis teugelsi, a rare Congo cichlid. They are about half adult size, but should be able to coexist. I used a lot of wood in that tank, and have two filters for maximum current. The wood was planned to give eddies for the shoaling fish to take breaks in, and that is working. There is a strong current up the centre of the tank from 2 filters on the narrow end of the tank, and a series of sheltered quiet spots created by wood with plants attached along the front and back glass. There are no rooted plants in there - all attach.
So far, so good. The slightly aggressive cichlids are getting along, and the surface fish are busy.
Tank two has the same basic layout with less wood and only one HOB filter. I planned it as a quiet tank, with blackwater. The bottom is sand, and the rocks are all chemically neutral, and arranged to offer multiple territories. Here, I added a lot of alder cones (a trick Radaswompe taught me) to darken and acidify the water. I am moving my Congochromis sp "green comma", an undescribed dwarf cichlid in to it. I had them in 15 and 20 gallon tanks and they were doing well, but a couple of spawns had not hatched. I decided to take a risk and plan a colony - 3 pairs in soft, acid water so maybe I can get young to hatch. If I don't breed this fish, I will never see it again. I like it, so it is a project to keep it around.
Right now, the tank is moving slowly. I added a bunch of odds and ends tetras and pencil fish to start. I have to add all the Cichlids at once so no one gets an advantage to start, and that will be a job for tonight after I finish running around all day.
I am having fun. The planning has been percolating in my head for a couple of weeks, but the time to do it (it all took about 2 hours) has not been there. I had a long drive to and from New Brunswick at Christmas to idly consider possibilities.
My aquascaping is always functional for the fish I want to keep, as are all the materials that go in. I try to plan a habitat for a set of species. I look at where they come from in nature, and try to build as good a replica of that as I can.
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Re: Tank planning

Post by Biulu on Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:08 pm

Most of my tanks are a work in progress for a long time, sometimes involuntarily, and so is the planning. My main impediment is plant availability. I like to make ecosystem based tanks and it can take months before I get the plants I am looking for. Or, I have to look for alternative plants but then I need to research first which ones would be suitable etc.

i have a rimless 6 gallon tank that has been sitting idle for over a year now. I am missing 1 stone for the hardscape.... I thought I had it in August, but it was taken out of my luggage in the airport, so back to square 1! I now have an alternative stone and I hope my carpeting plants will have survived sitting on the window sill when I come back.
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Re: Tank planning

Post by Starfish on Sat Jan 04, 2014 9:04 pm

I enjoy planning and researching and just wish I had more time to do it. Took me a few weeks to plan my 75g. The plan often changes and grows as I see new cool things in the LFS. I wish I had more time, patience and know-how to plan some really cool things like others I see on the forum.
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Re: Tank planning

Post by goldfishbetalover on Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:09 pm

I completely understand Starfish re your comments...more, time patience and know how
I look at some of the photos on this forum and I am in complete awe
well I look at all of the photos and feel his way!
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Re: Tank planning

Post by cephalotus on Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:03 pm

Thanks all for your participation in this discussion so far! It's interesting to hear the different thought processes and ideas of different people planning their tanks!
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Re: Tank planning

Post by Sbenson11 on Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:39 pm

Gary you need help,

A. I can't believe I read all that and

B. You need help, no really Smile

Steve
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Re: Tank planning

Post by alexmtl on Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:41 pm

Well I don't really plan my tanks, rather I think about what fish I want to keep given my limited room and time availability. So I choose my fish and then plan around the fish to choose the tank and the additions. I am not that imaginative, so it is usually live plants, whatever I can get in good quantity, both low light bottom and floating. Substrate is the natural coloured gravel that I have had since I began many years ago and they are stored in large sealed buckets.

I am not much of an aquascaper so planning does not factor in, but I am amazed by the creativity of those who do such beautiful creations when they plan. I guess if I had the room and could set up large gallonage, I would love to plan an Angelfish habitat. Starting from their build in the biotope plants etc. What a dream...
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Re: Tank planning

Post by CAAIndie on Wed Jan 08, 2014 10:02 pm

In the past my tanks were under planned. I have learned some much (and am learning more every day thanks to all of you), and if I went back to the beginning I would have spent a lot more time planning things in a more cohesive way. Not to say I haven't researched what I have put in (although certainly more than when I started), but the next tank I do will be different. I will be really working out a lot of details right from the get go. I'd really like to plan the aquascape much more, and focus on more on the aesthetics and correlations between everything. Not to say I want to have everything set, and keep it all that way, I think I need to always have a bit of a project going on with the tank to keep myself thinking.
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