An Interesting Idea (looking for input) - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 17 Old 04-05-2010, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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An Interesting Idea (looking for input)

I'm planning a 110gal for my living room. It's going to divide my living room from my dining room.

As is, when you walk into my house and pass through the entry way, it opens into my living room with the TV on the left wall. I have an L shaped sofa to the right. Behind the sofa is our dining room. I plan to place this beast directly behind the sofa so that you can't see the TV from the dinner table, and you can't see the dinner table from the living room.

The tank is almost six feet in width, so I'm planning to put a canister Fluval filter feed and return against the wall where it can't be seen.

Here's the interesting part:

I want to fill the tank about 85% of the way to the top, and use a platform from an under gravel filter to create a deck dry area for newts or small turtles. I would use the UGF platform under the gravel at the bottom as a weigh down, connect the risers to it, and use the other half of the UGF platform to make my deck. Think of a reversed C, where the bottom portion is covered with gravel to weigh it down and steady the top portion.

Has anyone here executed something like this before? The end goal is a large, planted freshwater aquarium with a dry platform for animals other than fish.

I'd appreciate some help in brainstorming. Pros/ cons and other things I've not thought of yet.
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post #2 of 17 Old 04-05-2010, 03:19 PM
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Sounds like a good idea to me.... What kind of turtle? I'd assume an aquatic one (one that wouldn't gobble up all your plants perhaps)? Whatever you choose, I'd just make sure that the 'dry' zone would be large enough for them. I'd think about it from their perspective...I can swim down there, I eat/drink/sunbathe/sleep up here.

Would it be tilted (at least on the edge) to allow the animals the ability to crawl up easily?

I imagine you've thought of this as well, but, how close from the top is 85%? My concern would be them finding a way out, being too close to the light, or something like that. I'd also recommend keeping the fluval inputs/outputs on the opposite end of the tank.

Just my .02
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post #3 of 17 Old 04-05-2010, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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Here's a quick image I threw together. One of the risers has a green stripe in it because I'm thinking of running the intake feed through it, so in effect, I would be using the UGF- except it will run through my Fluval.
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post #4 of 17 Old 04-05-2010, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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That's good input, thank you. I haven't considered the height from the light, or how I'm going to slant it.

I've not decided on the animals yet- it's going to be whatever gets along best with common tropical fish- but I've always wanted to keep newts.
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post #5 of 17 Old 04-05-2010, 05:13 PM
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I'd think it'll work well for newts, and you may not have to slant it all that much. Really like your idea to incorporate the intake with the UGF (I'm picturing the tube being connected to the UGF 'lift tube' and the water being pulled from the bottom). Remember to keep the intake about four inches below the surface of the water though.

You may want to put some thought into how easy it will be to vacuum the gravel in between the plates to keep the flow going. I know my UGF's need weekly vacuuming at this point because its been running for about 4 years. It has a lot of gunk built up in it. I'm actually planning on removing the UGF one half at a time later this summer.

Some others here with some Newt experience may be able to provide some feedback on your plan.
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post #6 of 17 Old 04-05-2010, 06:14 PM
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Hmmm. If you're getting a piscivore amphibian (fish-eater) you could throw some livebearers in the tank... Like a biosphere almost-

They'll reproduce enough to make up for the occasional snack.
Did you want to actually use a UGF or just use the equipment for the ramp?

Also, might be limited in what plants will thrive under the platform, since it will cast a shadow below it...

Also.. I'd stay away from largish cichlids... they're territorial and could probably do some damage to your newt.

Schools of Danios and Tetras of varius species with a few angelfish would make an awesome show though... I'd probably set up a small 10G to work out the experiment though... (with some cheap male guppies) to see how the newt interacts with fish. Sure, they're together in the wild... but one you buy will probably have never seen a fish before. Might be spooked, or might try to devour them.
Try it with cheap fish first, but I would not put livebearers in the tank unless they're the last thing you add... I used guppies to cycle my tank and by the time it was cycled, I had 35 guppies in a 10G. :/

edit- WOOHOO! 400th post! sorry got exited... lol. (I have no life)

Originally Posted by Christople View Post
^^ genius

Soil Substrates Guide:
Part 1
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Last edited by redchigh; 04-05-2010 at 06:17 PM.
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post #7 of 17 Old 04-05-2010, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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What could I do to make them slant? I still want to slant them a bit for comfort purposes. Slightly under water, to completely dry.

I am considering using the UGF- but JUST for that side. I don't know why, but any time I mention UGFs at my local pet shop, the general response is "eww." The only tangible response I've gotten is that they're old technology and dirty (gravel is always going to be dirty).

I had two UGFs in two tanks for about three years (my dad's tanks, I was too young), and I can only remember vacuuming out the gravel a few times. We had fish for years and _never_ had problems with diseases or fish death. We kept all sorts of fish except cichlids.

Live bearers are a good idea. I hadn't previously considered that.

I'm going to have the tank heavily planted and have a lot of hiding spots because I plan to keep two male Bettas. The keepers I've spoken with and outlined my plans with feel it's feasible. In fact, I'm keeping a few fantailed guppies with my betta now, and they're getting along great. When my fantails school, my betta often joins them. It's really neat to watch.
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post #8 of 17 Old 04-05-2010, 08:18 PM
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The idea is great, what about the smell from the turtles? Everytime i see an aquarium set up withturtles, it does emit quite the smell. Do you have something to remove the smell?
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post #9 of 17 Old 04-05-2010, 08:27 PM
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you could cut the lift tube at an angle to make it tilt? Not sure if your using multiple lift tubes on that half, there will probably come with two tubes and you could just cut one shorter than the other. The plastic for UGFS will probably be somewhat flexible so you could just weigh it down a little bit as well.

UGF's get a bad rap because of what happens (especially with planted tanks) to the gunk in the gravel. Vacuuming definitely helps to reduce the problem, but gunk builds up beneath the filter itself that is often difficult to remove by vacuuming.The gunk only gets to be a problem when it restricts flow. Reverse flow UGFs are easier to maintain.

That said, I don't think you'll have much problem with your setup.

Keep an eye on your bettas of course, even with a big tank they can get quite feisty. Have you looked to see what your options are at the LFS for your amphibians yet?
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post #10 of 17 Old 04-06-2010, 03:47 AM
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Hmm I'm not sure about this idea. Since turtles need special UV lights, you wouldn't want the deck that high as the turtles would be awfully close to the (hot) light. Also, many aquatic turtles will eat fish so that would rule out keeping fish in the tank. Finally, turtles will pretty much annihilate any sort of plants you put in the tank. In other words, I don't think you'd be able to mix together a tropical community and turtle tank successfully.

I know that fire bellied newts require lower water temperatures than tropical fish, so you'd have to take that into account.

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