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Old 01-11-2017, 02:49 AM
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Default Acquired a 220 gallon aquarium, need advice!

Hello all. I have recently acquired a 220 gallon acrylic aquarium. It is roughly 52.5 inches long, 24.5 inches wide and 40 inches high. Wife wants a show piece of tropical forest and dart frogs. The frogs are not the important part of the show piece, the actual piece of tropical forest inside is as the frogs will come several months later. This tank will be a peninsula build type tank as it will separate two rooms. I have NEVER built a tank of this size. I have only ever built small tanks and never with frogs in mind just tropical plants. I need some advice on this thing. She wants a small waterfall with a water feature that goes into a small pond that she wants a Betta to be able to be in along with a few cherry shrimp and possibly a few snails and just a couple other small fishes, water plants and the whole Shabang and it has to be precise as it's a show piece. I have never made a waterfall or a stream into a water feature. I have been searching the forums and there's sooo much out there and it all says something different. Can anyone give me the most efficient way to do a project this size? I'm assuming eggcrate would be the most cost effective false bottom with ABG mix. I don't have any idea how much ABG mix I even would need. I guess I'm just kind of overwhelmed a little on this. Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks all!
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Old 01-11-2017, 01:13 PM
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Default Re: Acquired a 220 gallon aquarium, need advice!

Congrats and I'm sorry Good news is that's a huge tank to work with. Bad news is that's a huge tank to work with!

You're asking the right questions. I would suggest you do some research here on the forum for different techniques for construction and well as the pros and cons of a mixed species habitat.

I would also suggest picking up a cheap 20 gallon from petco to practice with. My first attempt was a 120 and I wished I'd started smaller.

Another thing that you'll want to consider is that with the height of your tank, maintenance of the lower reaches will be difficult/inconvenient. You might consider installing the tank so that the top is one of the sides. Although your layout may not allow for that...

Just my two cents

Chris
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Old 01-11-2017, 02:08 PM
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Default Re: Acquired a 220 gallon aquarium, need advice!

Welcome to the board!

Chris is spot on with his advice. You should be researching this forum non-stop, with the stickies in some of the sub-forums being your first stop.

A couple of things stood out to me right away. First, water features are a huge pain to get right. You will want to read every thread about that subject. I am thinking about building an Ameerega tank and the water feature part is what scares me the most.

The second thing, as Chris noted, is the depth of that tank. 40 inches will make maintenance of that tank nearly impossible if you can only access it from the top. It's too tall to get your arm into, even standing on a stool. I have a controversial idea that could work but would require a lot of effort on your part. You could cut the plexiglass out of one of the long sides of the tank (starting about 6-12 inches high so that it will still hold water on the bottom) and setup sliding doors for access. The cutting part would not be for the faint of heart, but I guarantee that you will value being able to access the tank from the front rather than the top.

Finally, the height of that tank, and it's footprint will require a special lighting solution. Maybe a series of LED spotlights would work. Most of the linear fixtures that I have tried wouldn't have the power to reach the bottom of a tank that deep.

I wish you the best of luck and can't wait to see it when it's complete (and while you are working on it)!

Mark
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Old 01-11-2017, 05:03 PM
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Default Re: Acquired a 220 gallon aquarium, need advice!

Greetings,

I'm gonna chime to also reiterate what Phyllo and Encyclia said: The tank, at 40", is too deep for easy maintenance and you will be doing alot of maintenance in your first large-scale viv - especially one with a waterfall and fish pond... Encyclia's suggestion to cut an opening may seem like too much but you will be glad you did.
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: Acquired a 220 gallon aquarium, need advice!

Thanks for the posts guys!!! I am sitting here staring at this beast of a tank thinking wow that could look great! then I realize, wow there's a lot that can go wrong lol. I have spent most of the day yesterday and today thinking about what to do with this thing. For the fish area I was thinking of a 15 inch long by 8 inch high area. In doing that I was thinking of making my false bottom 10 inches high, keeping the whole water table the same with my pond area and just blocking off the pond with screening or something to keep the fishes from swimming under the substrate. I don't mind tanning a little, I have a fluval 206 I am gonna use and the natural plants in the water with shrimps and snails, I hope will help keep it kind of clear. At 10 inches where my eggcrate will be, then 2-4 inches of ABG mix, spagham and leaf litter, that puts my floor to lights at about 26inches. I was looking at lighting and the Current USA satellite Plus Pro 48-60, do you think that would be good enough to reach the bottom and be enough light for the aqua plants?
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Old 01-12-2017, 01:11 AM
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Default Re: Acquired a 220 gallon aquarium, need advice!

Hi,
Something I would suggest is to build a stand for the tank and put it where you think you want it. Leave it there for a week or two while you are doing your research. If you do this you will see what it will be like to live in that space and have to walk around that tank without having to put all the effort into making it and then to realize it won't work where it where you want it. Then you can also get a stool out, climb up on it and reach down into the tank and see what that will be like.

Hope that makes sense.

Rob
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Old 01-12-2017, 02:26 AM
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Default Re: Acquired a 220 gallon aquarium, need advice!

Thats a great idea! Thanks! Its not going to be in the way at all, there is a "nook" of sorts that the tank will fit in when its on the stand. It wont be in the way, what it will do is create a feature kind of between the office and the hall. I hope that was even close to explainable... lol. I do really like the idea of setting it up and leaving it there while I do all necessary research. Another thing I wanted to ask that I really cant find anywhere is how many bags of ABG mix do you guys think it would take? I cant really find anything for the dimensions (52.5" x 24.5" x 40" tall), any ideas? Also how do I estimate the amount of Great Stuff and silicone to get?

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Old 01-12-2017, 02:45 AM
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Default Re: Acquired a 220 gallon aquarium, need advice!

It seem from your last post you made a decision, here's my point of view.
The cons
Cherry shrimp won't last with a betta, they're carnivores and will terrorize the shrimp.
Like everyone above me has mentioned it, 40" is too deep for maintenance.
A water feature in your first vivarium is more likely going to give you a headache or three.
The water will be stain, unless you do water changes frequently.
The bigger the tank the more expensive it becomes

The pros
Big tank

Now, if your set on a water feature I'd recommend you to drill your tank, much easier/cleaner to route hoses and what not. Skip the shrimp and betta and find a small species that likes tannins in the water.
As said by Encyclia, cut the acrylic making it a front open tank, I did this to mine (pics at bottom) and believe me and everyone else this is way easier to access than an open top tank.

Most important research the frogs your wanting to get for it and build for them, don't make the mistake I made, my tank still frog less after a year because of it.
P. S. I just noticed frogs are not the most important so I say go ahead with the build and just don't house pdf's in it.
[IMG][/IMG]
[IMG][/IMG]
This tank is only 20" tall, I'm short and didn't want too much truble trying to reach in from the top.
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Old 01-12-2017, 03:02 AM
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Default Re: Acquired a 220 gallon aquarium, need advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by katanafreak View Post
Thats a great idea! Thanks! Its not going to be in the way at all, there is a "nook" of sorts that the tank will fit in when its on the stand. It wont be in the way, what it will do is create a feature kind of between the office and the hall. I hope that was even close to explainable... lol. I do really like the idea of setting it up and leaving it there while I do all necessary research. Another thing I wanted to ask that I really cant find anywhere is how many bags of ABG mix do you guys think it would take? I cant really find anything for the dimensions (52.5" x 24.5" x 40" tall), any ideas? Also how do I estimate the amount of Great Stuff and silicone to get?

josh's frogs recommends 4 qts( 1 bag) for a 1"-3" 12x12 area.
On my build I didn't stimate the GS I just went with it, I used 3 or 4 cans, can't remember, what I remembes is I had to make a second trip to get more. 1 or 2 silicone tubes, I didn't use any on the acrylic before the GS.
My tank is 36lx15wx20tall.
HIH
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Old 01-12-2017, 04:04 AM
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Default Re: Acquired a 220 gallon aquarium, need advice!

Kfreak,

If the pond portion of the tank is at the bottom, you're still going to have a hard time doing pond maintenance - but I do think the 26" you calculated for the "ground" of the viv seems much more do-able. Just remember you're not going to be able to get to the bottom of the pond area easily when you build things.

A agree with Rasec that both the betta and the shrimp will not work together. The water in your pond + waterfall will become saturated with tannins quickly. Tea-colored water does not show-off fish like bettas very well (I'm not sure how tolerant of tannins bettas are either...)

Estimating materials is going to hard until you have some idea of the new lanscape. After you have that, estimate everything as rectangular blocks (l x w x h) and add 20% for a margin of error.

I still think you would be glad you did if you were to cut access ports in the front - but that is a complicated procedure in its own right so I can understand your reluctance.
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Old 01-12-2017, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: Acquired a 220 gallon aquarium, need advice!

Keep a pad and pencil handy and take notes. When you are looking at a build, write down how much great stuff he used or how much ABG was used and what kind of results they got. Also, set up a folder in your bookmarks labelled vivarium, build process, background, things like that. Put each post you find that you really like and it's specific folder that way you can get back to that particular thread that fits the question you have.

If you do decide to cut the tank and install sliding doors, see if there is anyone in your area that knows how to do these things. Maybe ask for some help by having somebody come over and show you what to do or even take it to a local glass shop that works with acrylic and have them do it.
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Old 01-12-2017, 09:44 PM
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Default Re: Acquired a 220 gallon aquarium, need advice!

It is a big but fun project. I had a 150g tall 10 years ago before I moved. I sent you a PM with some info. If I can find a pic, I'll post, hopefully it will show the water feature, just to give you ideas.
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