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Idea for New World dwarf cichlid rack

Discussion in 'Equipment & DIY Ideas' started by chris_todd, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. chris_todd

    chris_todd Members

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    I have become enamored with Apistos and Rams, and I've been thinking about building a rack of display/show tanks that would let me keep numerous species, but without mixing species in a given tank (I had a bad experience trying to keep Apistogramma cacatuoides, A. macmasteri, and A. agasizzi together in my 90g). Because my primary purpose is to admire these beautiful fish in beautiful surroundings (and because I'm a plant guy, too), the tanks would be planted/aquascaped, though for ease of maintenance, I would probably go with crypts, anubias, and moss that don't require high light and CO2. Driftwood would be copious (both for the look and the tannins), and I would probably use sand with leaf litter for a natural look and feel. Tank mates might include cories, otocinclus, ancistrus, and/or red cherry shrimp.

    I have a space in my basement that is 6' 5" wide, 24" deep, and 6' 7" high. I don't think these fish need tanks taller than 16" (in fact, 12" tall tanks would probably be fine, but 16" gives more room for plants and aquascaping), and I'm thinking a pair of 40 breeders side by side should just barely fit. I'm also thinking it would be cool to divide each breeder using either plastic mesh (perhaps with java moss woven into it) or the Poret foam that so many are using for bio filtration. That would, in effect, give me four 20 gallon tanks. I could probably do a lower row with either another pair of 40 breeders, or if height is an issue, 30 breeders.

    For filtration and water changes, I need something that is easy to maintain. I like what Pat and others have done with the Poret foam and air hoses - looks highly efficient and low-maintenance, and I think the black foam as a tank divider, while not necessarily attractive, wouldn't be too ugly (these will be display/show tanks, after all). An alternative would be to drill the tanks with overflows that run into a sump on the floor, where I could use the Poret foam in a wet/dry configuration like what Hans uses. Then, I could do water changes on the whole rack simply by draining and refilling the sump. Seems easy (which probably means I'm missing something :lol: ). Having a sump configured like that also means I could get heaters out of the individual tanks and just heat the sump, thus enhancing the aesthetics.

    What do you think? Is this doable? Is it practical? Will it be low-maintenance? What am I missing? Where are the potential gotchas (keep in mind, I've never done something like this)? How hard is it to drill tanks? I realize plumbing all of them into a sump means all the fish will get the same water parameters, but I'm fine with that. It's generally easier to keep water parameters stable with larger volumes of water, and in this case, we're talking about 160 gallons in the tanks, plus whatever I have in the sump.

    Any and all feedback, thoughts, and suggestions are appreciated. If I'm crazy, please tell me, and save me the pain of trying something that's doomed to failure! :D
     
  2. NYfan78

    NYfan78 Members

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    Wow sounds awesome! Good luck with it. Post some pics when ur done!.
     
  3. msjinkzd

    msjinkzd invert junkie
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    sure is! Thatis what I am doing with the rack and tanks I bought from Francine. Its 6 15g. Here is a pic. They all have black colorquartz and are planted as well. Still 3 left to do yet. I am just using sponge filtration but the tanks are low tech so it should be fine.
    fishroom update 016.jpg

    fishroom update 016.jpg
     
  4. Andrewtfw

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    I think that soon after starting, you will realize that there are far more varieties of apistos that you want than you could have in your divided 40 breeders. I would consider something like Rachel's config with 15s or 20H tanks next to each other with the shorter end facing out. You could have many more tanks this way, or at least have room to expand in the future. Plus, with more room, you won't have to panic about where to house fry, should your fish breed. You could use 48" strips to light the system, saving money, electricity and occupting fewer outlets. Whatever you end up doing, post pics!
     
  5. dogofwar

    dogofwar Global Moderators
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    Yes - 15g's (2x1x1) are a great size for little pairs.

    I think Mike Barber (Mike B) keeps a lot of Apistos in planted tanks and recently re-did his room.

    Matt
     
  6. mrkillie

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    If you do not go with the central filtration, and you don't mind getting too close to the floor, you could get six 40 breeders in that space. Dividing them gives you 12 tanks for your little ones (and their little ones!).
     
  7. lonlangione

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    IMO the only way to keep apistos is in species only tanks. I agree with matt that 15 gallons would be the best choice. If you put the end to end you could get 18 - 15 gallons in this space.

    Lonny
     

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