HELP! starting 1st 240 gallon aquarium
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HELP! starting 1st 240 gallon aquarium

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HELP! starting 1st 240 gallon aquarium
Old 06-12-2013, 12:40 PM   #1
 
Question HELP! starting 1st 240 gallon aquarium

I am getting my first ever 240gallon fish tank, for fathers day. I have set up other fishtanks before but at the present moment do not have any. It's been a good while since I have had any fish(10 years),with work,kids and all, it's been busy. I have been blessed this year to be able to receive my lifelong dream of owning a 240 gallon fish tank. I just want to give a special thanks to my wonderful wife that lets me, and encourages me to follow my dreams. Thank you babe
I plan to have a freshwater community tank. Something where angelfish would be the alpha species in the aquarium. I will keep this set up for about six years and then when the kids get bored of it I will get my dream fish,
Arowana & Discus tank!
I plan to have a UG filter with two powerheads on both ends of the tank. For the center of the UG filter I will have multiple air stones and the appropriate size air pump. I would also like to have one canister filter preferably an Eheim. Then finally I will have one wet dry filter with bio balls. I am not sure of the cubic feet but I can estimate it is the size of a 25 gallon tank. (I got it five years ago at a yard sale for 25 bucks!) Question (1)what is the appropriate size air pump? Question (2)what are the appropriate size powerheads?
Question (3)what size canister filter should I get(model number please)?
I do not plan to have many live plants. Maybe a couple, I prefer to have synthetic plants. I would like to cycle in my tank with live plants, maybe some low light type plants. Question (4)what type of plants require low levels of UV light?
I plan to have two heaters one on each side of the tank next to the powerheads.
Question (4) do I really need two heaters?If so what would be the best type of heater as far as durability and consistency? Or are they all generally the same? Is there a certain brand I should stay away from?
It's been a real long time guys since I've had any fish. I know I have more questions that haven't popped up yet. If there is any advice I would be so very grateful for it. Thank you and have a blessed day.
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:48 PM   #2
 
WELCOME to TFK!

I don't have such a large tank. If I was setting one up, I would not use a UGF. Setting aside the raging debate of many years, I just think they can become awful nitrate factories as uneaten food and detritus gets pulled below the surface. I much prefer sand for the substrate instead of gravel.

I think you want a canister filter (or two) rated for the tank. Eheim, API Rena Filstar and Fluval are the top contenders. For a tank this size, you may need two, however that also gives you some redundancy.
On the other hand, (and again some would disagree), I would likely have a canister as a dedicated bio-filter and use say a Fluval Aquaclear 110 HOB as a mechanical filter.
This allows the canister bio-filter (filled completely with bio-media) to run undisturbed (slow flow) for extended periods and the HOB can be serviced easily and frequently to remove detritus.

Living rooted (as well as floating) plants would be of benefit, but are not essential. Many feel plants purify the water, but then typically must routinely dose with fertilizers to keep the plants healthy (aqua hydroponics). Adding impurities to the water so plants can purify it just seems counter productive to me - besides, there are many things used to purify drinking water and plants are not among them. Although admittedly in a minority, I currently use activated carbon, Seachem Purigen and on occasion API Nitra-Zorb. (It's a long story, but due to very high nitrates in my well water, I do reduced volume weekly water changes of about 10g for my 60g tank).
I also leverage somewhat advanced bio-filtration.

I have two heaters in my 60g so would strongly recommend at least two in a 240g. Each of my heaters could support the tank if one was to fail. I'm using the Aqueon Pro heaters. They are plastic coated aluminum rather than glass and have a red light/green light to indicate operation at a glance.

I hope this offers some food for thought.

Keep us posted.

AD

Last edited by AbbeysDad; 06-12-2013 at 08:55 PM..
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IzzysDaddy (06-13-2013)
Old 06-13-2013, 03:31 AM   #3
 
I am going to have to echo the sentiments to not bother with an Under Gravel Filter. They are not necessary so save your money. If plant and put your filter system together right there is nothing an Under Gravel Filter will do for you that will warrant spending the money.

Moving on it sounds like are you going to stocking fish that prefer a more gentle current both now and in the later future. Your best idea right now is to at least run two canisters and I cannot stress this enough. Don't bother with an HOB, there is nothing it can do for you that a secondary Canister won't do better. Now if you lean towards the idea of fish that require a gentle current I can see how some of the Ehiems can be good for this. They tend to have narrow tubes (and I personally find them a pain in the rear) but the benefit is that those narrow tubes combined with your media will effectively throttle the current a bit.

My largest tank is a 150 gallon and I manage to keep fish that like a stronger current (loaches and rainbow fish) with fish that prefer a more sedate current (gouramis, skirt tetra) because one side of the tank has a stronger current courtesy of my API Filistar), and the other has a weaker current (courtesy of an Ehiem stuffed to bring with biomedia). The gourami tend to prefer the side with the Ehiem and thrive happily. This isn't something everyone might do but it gives an idea of the potential of the Ehiem filters.

What you should do is visit each of the respective websites that are dedicated to the Canisters listed by the other user. The rule of thumb with canisters is that they are not magical things.

If it says 100 gallons per hour that is not what you will get when you plug in with media. The media will throttle that. I'd split the work up into two canisters rated at least 150 gallons per hour each. Together that's 300 gph, which can make up for the loss of power once all the media goes in. That's my min suggestion. You don't really need to go and over filter with two canisters running like 200 or 300 each ;/

The faster the flow doesn't equal the better the filtration after all because too fast is actually not that good. That's another thing. It only filters as good as you set it up. Of course I'm sure you know that.

Moving on, I'm not sure it's completely necessary to run too many air stones? Do you want to deal with that machine noise around your tank? Air machines can be quiet loud. There is a secondary option, and that is to get power heads that come equipped with a line. I don't know the right term for it. It leads out of the water via an air tube and if you untwist the end piece, it lets air into the unit. That unit then when spitting water out through it's output also puts out bubbles much like a bubbler. The nice thing is that you end up with a much more quiet option for bubbles.

The other nice perk is that you can always hook up the power heads that are equipped for this to sponge filters which adds a further element of filtration (and slows the flow down). Lastly there is a huge benefit if you do this. If ever you face a power outage, you can hook a battery powered air machine into those sponge filters by pulling them off the power head and run at least some form of filtration. If you are clever with your scape you can always hide those sponges.

Moving on you ask about plants that don't require a whole lot of light...water sprite, java fern, hornwort, water wisteria, java moss...these are a few off the top of my head that do well. The Water Wisteria can actually be left floating, as can the Horn wort and the Water Sprite. In order for these plants to work for the cycle they have to be fast growing plants.

Finally, you really should be running two heaters for the same reason you want to run two canisters. You want to balance out your load and not have to worry so much if one fails. Now there is an option if you don't want big heaters in your tank to try to set up inline heating that connects via the tubing on your canister. I don't know much about it only that I've seen it set up in some of the really good pet stores where they run each tank on it's own canister. They have this thing on the tube that actually acts as a heater heating the water that goes through it.
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:36 AM   #4
 
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For me,,Two filter's(would be mandatory) each rated for at least 350 GPH. I Love my Eheim's and also my Rena XP3.
Two heater's 300 watt's each.
I too would forego Undergravel filtration unless set up with reverse flow.
If power head 's are desired then for this sixe tank,I would go with Aquaclear 70 (old 804) powerhead with quick filter attachment.
Sand would be my choice for substrate. (cheap)
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Old 06-13-2013, 11:43 AM   #5
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1077 View Post
For me,,Two filter's(would be mandatory) each rated for at least 350 GPH. I Love my Eheim's and also my Rena XP3.
Two heater's 300 watt's each.
I too would forego Undergravel filtration unless set up with reverse flow.
If power head 's are desired then for this sixe tank,I would go with Aquaclear 70 (old 804) powerhead with quick filter attachment.
Sand would be my choice for substrate. (cheap)
Two 300 watt heaters is insufficient for a tank that size. Remember 300 watts for many models equals about 75 gallons only, at least reliably. So that's 150 gallons of heating, only half what the tank size is.

He would want to bump it to 450 watts and up per heaters to reliably heat the thing.
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Old 06-13-2013, 12:07 PM   #6
 
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Two 300 watt theo heater's keep's my 300 gallon bait tank at 78 degrees F .
Tank sit's outside from spring through october.
Good circulation help's to disperse heat.
Yes,,400 watt heater's would prolly be better.

Last edited by 1077; 06-13-2013 at 12:10 PM..
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IzzysDaddy (06-13-2013)
Old 06-13-2013, 01:05 PM   #7
 
With respect to heaters, I think it depends on whether were talking load balance or system redundancy. For load balance two 300w may work okay, but not for redundancy if one was to fail.

Since Sanq objected to my HOB idea, let me further explain. Conventional filtration fails us without our even realizing. Mechanical media traps detritus and with decay and water erosion, it quickly becomes dissolved organic compounds that pass on through, polluting the water. The bio-media may be enough to handle ammonia and nitrites, but little more... One of the best large tank setups I've seen used a canister as a dedicated bio-filter and two cartridge HOBs for mechanical filtration. The canister, with intake higher in the tank, was completely filled with bio-media, rarely touched, and set to a slow flow. Bio-filtration (far more than just N2 processing) works best when the media is undisturbed and the flow rate is slow. This is not unlike the principal of the bio sand filters used in 3rd world countries where foul, polluted water is poured in and crystal clear drinking water comes out.
The HOB's for mechanical filtration only simply allowed for easy and frequent maintenance to remove the detritus crud before it decayed and eroded into dissolved organics that pollute the water.

Now all of this is water purification stuff is somewhat moot if you will do large weekly partial water changes, in which case, filtration/purification can be minimized... We all need to find the proper balance between tank maintenance, stock level, filtration/purification, and frequency/volume of weekly water changes.

Thanks for reading,
AD
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Last edited by AbbeysDad; 06-13-2013 at 01:24 PM..
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IzzysDaddy (06-13-2013)
Old 06-13-2013, 02:31 PM   #8
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
With respect to heaters, I think it depends on whether were talking load balance or system redundancy. For load balance two 300w may work okay, but not for redundancy if one was to fail.

Since Sanq objected to my HOB idea, let me further explain. Conventional filtration fails us without our even realizing. Mechanical media traps detritus and with decay and water erosion, it quickly becomes dissolved organic compounds that pass on through, polluting the water. The bio-media may be enough to handle ammonia and nitrites, but little more... One of the best large tank setups I've seen used a canister as a dedicated bio-filter and two cartridge HOBs for mechanical filtration. The canister, with intake higher in the tank, was completely filled with bio-media, rarely touched, and set to a slow flow. Bio-filtration (far more than just N2 processing) works best when the media is undisturbed and the flow rate is slow. This is not unlike the principal of the bio sand filters used in 3rd world countries where foul, polluted water is poured in and crystal clear drinking water comes out.
The HOB's for mechanical filtration only simply allowed for easy and frequent maintenance to remove the detritus crud before it decayed and eroded into dissolved organics that pollute the water.

Now all of this is water purification stuff is somewhat moot if you will do large weekly partial water changes, in which case, filtration/purification can be minimized... We all need to find the proper balance between tank maintenance, stock level, filtration/purification, and frequency/volume of weekly water changes.

Thanks for reading,
AD
Ditto on the heater thing. That said proper canister maintenance (or filter maintenance in general) prevents the trapped detritus from becoming a problem to begin with as does stocking the canister with proper media to match the tank's needs. However if a person is over feeding, or isn't trimming live plants properly, that can lead to Canisters becoming overfilled with gunk. It would do it to any filter though at that point.

Last edited by Sanguinefox; 06-13-2013 at 02:33 PM..
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IzzysDaddy (06-13-2013)
Old 06-13-2013, 06:34 PM   #9
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanguinefox View Post
Ditto on the heater thing. That said proper canister maintenance (or filter maintenance in general) prevents the trapped detritus from becoming a problem to begin with as does stocking the canister with proper media to match the tank's needs. However if a person is over feeding, or isn't trimming live plants properly, that can lead to Canisters becoming overfilled with gunk. It would do it to any filter though at that point.
Yes but I often hear canister users somewhat bragging that they don't feel they need to service their filters only once or twice a year. I'm sure you're not in that camp, but many that are just don't realize what's really happening in the filter. In addition, the water flow is most often too great and the bio-media volume too small to typically allow advanced bio-filtration (beyond N2)... so I point these out.
The advantage of the HOB over the canister for mechanical filtration only is that the media can be swapped in under a minute without even turning the unit off. The same can't be said for a canister which perhaps is why in part why so many let them run so long between servicing.
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IzzysDaddy (06-13-2013)
Old 06-13-2013, 07:11 PM   #10
 
Wow! Thanks for all the information guys. It sure has been a long time since I have had fish, and I truly appreciate all the information that has been shared.
I don't remember any time that I have set up an aquarium that had gravel and did not put a UGF. Well of course just on bare bottom tanks, in which case I used a sponge filter. I was under the impression that not having a UGF would promote anaerobic bacteria to grow in the gravel. I am assuming that this information is incorrect. Does anybody out there still use UGFs?
The HOB is a good idea, I always remember having these filters in our tanks accompanied by a UGF. This was our most common set up in our home and shop. The location of the tank steers me away from using a HOB, we have somewhat of a condensed area for our tank. So I wanted to get as close to the wall as possible.
I was planning on using the canister filter as a form of mechanical and chemical filtration. My wet dry filter was going to be my biggest source of biological filtration. It is a filter which in my past experience has been mostly used for saltwater aquariums(mind you I have been in remission for over ten years). The filter type is one that uses gravity to pull water down to the top of filter media(mesh?), then over a plate that has many holes, which then drips down onto the bio balls. A submersible pump would then be used to push the water back in to the tank. Would this setup be feasible for the tank I have?
Now my game plan is changing a bit. I am double thinking about spending any money on UGF. Now I still like the look of fine gravel maybe 1/4 inch size. Is there any functional reason for using sand besides cost and aesthetics? I would prefer gravel but if there is a functional reason for sand then I would reconsider. Contingent on the pros and cons. I do not intend to grow many live plants so I'm not sure if sand is for me.
So to sum it up would a nice size canister filter, plus a wet dry filter, and two powerheads with sponge filters, suffice my filtration needs?
(Skipping out on the UG filter, I think ......,change is hard.....,but good,will see....)
Thanks again and have a blessed day!
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