custom 90 gallon, self-sustaining tank - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #11 of 17 Old 01-31-2014, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
better (stronger) tank stand idea ?

for 90 gallons, based on 4x4s (i'm sure i'd want center supports as well), but a great place to start
Nat Tarbox / Projects / Turtle Vivarium / Stand Construction
Flear is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #12 of 17 Old 01-31-2014, 06:14 PM
Tolak's Avatar
The 2x4 design is plenty strong for a 90 gallon. The 4x4 design is way overkill. I've got a 10'x3' stand of sorts, holds five 40's & three 20's, above a couple 150 gallon tubs. That one has six 4x4 legs, 2x6 perimeter, 2x4 cross members every 18". Four 4x4's will easily hold up a jacked up truck that weighs 5k pounds. I went with six due to the 10' span, a 2x6 will only span so much. Look at how commercially made stands are constructed, you'll see a 2x4 design is built way more sturdily than what they offer.
Tolak is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Tolak For This Useful Post:
Chesh (02-01-2014)
post #13 of 17 Old 02-11-2014, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
ironing out details

one of the reasons for water changes is an accumulation of fish hormones in the water.
(once people get past the nitrogen cycle nitrate issue)

appearntly (and i'm going to side with this) this is easiest noticed for those breading fish with heavy requirements for "clean water" (and no more clarification on this is given), ... i am told those who are familiar with breeding discus show improved growth and colors with "massive daily water changes"

k, for me that's good enough to say there's something really serious going on there, or at least significant to pay attention to, things that cannot be ignored

on another thread (thank you Mikaila31) the concern for anyone who claims 'self-sustaining' is any indicator of increased TDS (total dissolved solids) is a tank that will never be self-sustaining as these will continue to climb till one problem or another shows up.

from the question i asked about hormones in the water, recent studies (December 16, 2009) - if you call that recent, find that plants can do significant work in reducing hormone levels in water (testing done in a hydroponics test - rather similar to our aquariums if you think about it)

so, in theory, sufficient plants may be able to compensate for hormones given off by our fish in our closed eco-systems (aquariums)


other things i have done in my current tank was to let the plants grow to very heavily overgrown. a rather literal floating body of plant mass had grown 3-6" below the surface that supported the plants growing emerged (flowers on Bocapa are rather beautiful, if small, and hygrophilia Difformis assumes a more typical leaf shape). otherwise the mass of plants was insufficient to support the weight of the emerged stems.

i noticed during this time i could not get pH above 6.5 (at the time, inexperienced compared to now - i still may be inexperienced by many standards) ... one day i did a massive pruning (the plants had been growing for about a year without a pruning at all) ... this was a disaster with a very drastic consequence.

the pH shifted to ... i dono, something very high
ammonium that was readily available for the plants was no longer being consumed
a low pH that may have hindered the bacteria for the nitrogen cycle to get started left my tank without means to process ammonia.

so ...

ammonium turned into ammonia and i lost half my fish by the time i realized what was going on while adding daily pH stabilizers and ammonia neutralizers to bring things into balance while the nitrogen cycle built itself up again. ... a truly disastrous event :(


now i have started a different direction for plant growth, ... i have previously (after the massive plant pruning) started pruning to keep things with about 4" of growth (when trimming) and letting the plants grow till about touching the surface ... i learned from before, don't trim it all at once, so i trimmed in sections over the course of a couple weeks

now i'm trimming only half the tank, leaving the other half to grow wild.

now my tank has a heavily planted side, and a not so heavily planted side, ... a light side and dark side (for StarWars fans), a dense side and a very open side.

i am hoping to see this old tank erach a point where TDS starts to go backwards (lower)
i have no idea what the numbers are at now, ... but it's time to find out.

for now i've got a start of what i can look at to see at least if this part of "self-sustaining" is possible.

can things reach a point to ensure TDS isn't going to climb through the roof till the fish end up with calcified armor and shields in the tank, ... hmmm, roman infantry fish :)

--- there is worse than surprisingly little details on what to consider when setting up "self-sustaining" aquariums, ... there really is, there is no place to start, and those that do either fail (and say little, or give up and say little, or get ridiculed and nothing is said, ... but what is going on, what are some of the places to start, ...

or at least what are some of the things to start considering.

so far, ... well can't measure hormone levels, ... but can measure TDS, and if that's lowering (after i test it) then i've got a chance.

weekly tests for a month? (because daily is subject to daily fluctuations)

well maybe hormones may not be directly testable, ... but i'm sure there are going to be some insanely sensitive fish out there that may help show a sign of how things are in the water we cannot test for

when it comes to hormones in the tank, ... even for the samples of sensitive discus breeders, ... massive daily water changes to see improved growth, color, health, ... that's hard to test when trying the idea of a self-sustaining tank, ... i'm either changing water, or i'm not, ... and checking to see how fish are doing gets hard to do without a sensitive species of fish and a control tank, ... using a species that will have the greatest easily recognized visual on how it's doing.

and i thought finding a tiny primarily herbivore was difficult, ... now for a test i'm looking for a tiny sensitive fish with recognized visual clues about it's health & stress ? ... :/

damn, ... unless someone has some ideas, (and i may only be able to keep it in mind now), i wouldn't know where to start looking for that test, i'd have to keep it in mind as something to consider for years down the road

wow my posts can be big and messy at times :(
Flear is offline  
post #14 of 17 Old 02-11-2014, 04:59 PM
jaysee's Avatar
Flear, you may be difficult to follow at times, but trust me we all THRILLED that you break up your posts. A wall of text would just be too much to handle Truthfully, I wonder if it might be easier to follow if it were less broken up - thoughts grouped together a little more.

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
jaysee is offline  
post #15 of 17 Old 03-01-2014, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
Water softening

are there plants that soften water ?

it's easy to make water harder (just ignore it)

i have heard there are leaves that can be added that will make water softer (and i hear tanis can do the same thing)

but between those few types of leaves and wood,... these would not grow (and drop) on a rate to have any constant stable effect on a tank, ... or for wood, ... would eventually loose all it's tanis

are there any plants (growing submerged or floating) that have water softening capabilities ??

-... more than just soaking up whatever nutrients they absorb, but to actually have a measurable effect on the water ???

time to look :)
and as always, open to others knowledge :)
Flear is offline  
post #16 of 17 Old 04-20-2014, 08:29 AM Thread Starter
the tank itself (size/shape) has taken a backseat.

some aspects are still in limbo (substrate) even if mostly figured out - it's not complete yet in my mind

things i have settled on
no burrowing snails (other aquatic snails are fine)
Montmorillonite clay mixed into the substrate
moina (if i can find a dealer)
greenwater (still needs more research)

non-floating, rooted plants i'm so uncertain about :(
additional nutrients and stuff mixed with the substrate, i'm also uncertain

filters and such are suddenly seeming problematic for interfering with plants and critters in the tank :(
more research & study to do.
Flear is offline  
post #17 of 17 Old 05-17-2014, 02:12 PM Thread Starter

using a DSB

using some floating plants
-wolffia (watermeal) for sure - to be decided for others

not using plants
lets be clearer, ... not rooting plants that would interact with the DSB
so resorting to algae to fill this niche.
freshwater macro-algae, ... out of everything out there, 3 types i have heard of (one only rumor of)
there's gotta be more, am looking into this :)
Flear is offline  

self sustaining aquarium

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
self sustaining tank? Crocer Freshwater and Tropical Fish 4 06-05-2011 01:35 AM

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome