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hamdogg08 03-24-2007 04:07 PM

Zebra danio river tank
I'd like to set up a 20g long tank with some vallisneria, river rocks, and sand substrate. I'd like a current, so I'm thinking about using a canister filter with the in flow tube on the opposite end as the out flow tube. I'm also going to take two power heads with an under gravel filter. One with normal flow, and the other with reverse flow on the opposite end of the tank. The idea behind this is to create a cycle effect with water flowing one way above the gravel, and the other direction under the gravel, simulating a river. Since zebra danios love current so much, they will be the centerpiece of the tank. What else could go in there?

leifthebunny 03-24-2007 11:23 PM

Well, if it's meant to be a fast paced river, you might want to try lobsters(crawdads/crayfish). I'd be interested to see some pics after you get this set up.

hamdogg08 03-25-2007 01:19 AM

That's a good idea. Are there any guramis that like a lot of current, or maybe other danios or tetras? The tank is just a thought right now though. I have a 10 gallon that I want to plant like crazy, and a 75 that's eventually destined to be a discus tank. This one won't be on the table until a year or two from now. Once I start it up though, I'll make a journal for it on here, and I'll be open to a lot of everyone's input...That's the beauty of this forum. There are a lot of smart hobbyests putting their heads together to make some pretty awesome tanks!

Lupin 03-25-2007 02:30 AM

Hamdogg08, you'll be surprised how much I'll love this thread.:checkedout: :wink2:

No gouramis will tolerate the currents. You saw how much they really like to stay under the surface where they make bubblenest. How are their bubblenests going to stay aloft with the currents swinging around.

If I might make a suggestion, try getting a 55 gallons instead of a 20 gallons tank.:) You will see how much you'll like a 55 gallons river tank. Keep the heaters away from your river tank. It is not needed here. There is no need for you to have a reverse flow on the opposite end. I would suggest sticking to a one-way direction only. It is just enough to make the fish happy. They will not like being thrown into circles.

Oh, here goes something I dread to blab because I want it quiet at the moment.:sob: :lol: Familiar with fish that look a lot like stingrays or flounders? If so, were they called butterfly plecos?:roll: If so, they are neither plecos nor are they catfish as many people believe. They are hillstream loaches though they are not true loaches. I am glad you placed your thread in this section.:lol:

Here are some information you needed to know if you want the hillstream loaches.
1. They prefer algae the most as part of their diet so I recommend increasing your lighting intensity to allow rampant growth of algae. Also, they relish the organisms harbored in the algae called aufwuchs. At this rate, I would not recommend getting them until your tank has experience some algal growth even if they will accept a diet of spirulina flakes, etc.

2. Contrary to other people's belief, hillstream loaches are not delicate. They have been placed in several community tanks without realizing how much these loaches actually prefer the extra oxygenation compared to most other fish which I believe you will easily accomplish seeing as how you stated you'll get two powerheads.

3. You will be surprised why I want heaters away. Hillstream loaches are quite tolerant of high temperatures however note that high temperature often calls for depletion of oxygen so the temperature must be kept at 25 degrees Celsius maximum to ensure adequate supply of oxygen along with the surface agitation done by powerheads and bubblers.

4. Sponge filters stuck to powerheads are sufficient enough for the loaches. I prefer them than those undergravel filters which will not bear the weight of the rocks that these loaches prefer to cling on.

5. With sand, undergravel filters will clogged easily and then the powerheads will easily be malfunctioned as grains of sand are trapped. Stick with gravel as your substrate. The loaches will rarely ever forage the bottom preferring to stick mostly on the glass and rocks.

6. Smooth rocks are a must. As I stated previously, you will see why I despise undergravel filters as the options for river tanks. Weight is the problem as rocks are often very heavy along with sand. Once coated with algae, they give a pleasing appearance to the tank and also allowing the loaches to have adequate food supply.

7. Peat. You will need peat to maintain the pH below 7-preferably 6.7 as high oxygen content often will shot the pH to about 7.8 and even above it. The habitat of the hillstream loaches is often low in pH and I am sure they will be happier if the pH is lower.:) I had to resort to peat as my other fish are less than happy from the high pH.:shake:

8. Catching the loaches can be a pain as they are rather elusive. Note that the moment the net is in sight, pandemonium will easily be unleashed. I would suggest the use of credit card and one net only. Position the net forward like a basket and then persuade the loach using a credit card until it goes forward straight to the net. Grappling on it is not advisable. It is rather damaging and stressing to the fish.

9. These loaches are small. 3 inches is often the maximum size but note that there are more than just a single hillstream loach available in the aquarium trade so sizes will often vary. What you see most commonly in your pet shops are Beaufortia and Gastromyzons species. Currently, I have been requesting my friend to order Homaloptera species often called lizard loaches.:lol:

10. Tankmates. Zebra danios will be fine but most of the time, the hillstream loaches may not get their share for the flakes.:) Note that our experiences will vary.:) As the currents in my tank were blocked by several rocks, my tetras and other South American fish still find their pleasure to live among the areas free from currents.:) No tetras in a 20 gallons. It will not allow them room big enough for them to resume their normal activities.

I think that will do.:) I have provided you enough information that you might like.:) I must admit this thread has triggered me to blab what I've been doing to my tank lately.:shake: I find it hard to resist the fact that river tank threads will make me drool.:checkedout: ;)

Good luck and hope everything goes well.:)

tophat665 03-25-2007 09:05 AM

Blue is spot on. This was something I have been considering for a long time too. If you have the 48" of linear space, a 55 is excellent, a 33 is good too. If you google "river tank" there's a great article from loaches online about how to set one up. It would be easy to modify his apparatus to include the ends of a cannister filter. Frankly, in a 55, it may be just as easy to use an Eheim 2217 and fiddle with the intake to spread the current out across the width of the tank.

In addition to Danios and Hillstream sucker loaches, many other types of loaches enjoy fast moving cool water (do your research, but I believe Botia kubotai prefers it when older), also cetrain Corydoras species and bulldog plecos are from fast moving cool waters.

Were I to do this tank, I would use a 55 with about 3" of open air, a small group of pearl danios, a school of white clouds, 5 or so Hillstream loaches, a bulldog pleco, and a shoal of cories (maybe Scleromystax barbatus is I could find and afford them.)

musho3210 03-25-2007 12:53 PM

im pretty sure otos like a fast moving current.

hamdogg08 03-25-2007 04:11 PM

yeah, i read that too. So far I'm planning on putting the danios and ottos in the tank. Are there any tetras or rasboras that would thrive in a tank like this? I don't want to throw a fish in there that can't handle it.

Also, I've done some more researching, and instead of the underground filter, I'm going to use pvc pipes and place a powerhead or two on one end of the tank, and intake sponges on the other. This way I won't have to worry about the weight of the river stones crushing the UG setup. The sponges would also provide enough mechanical filtration to save the powerheads from the sand too, right?

Lupin 03-25-2007 06:30 PM


Originally Posted by hamdogg08
Also, I've done some more researching, and instead of the underground filter, I'm going to use pvc pipes and place a powerhead or two on one end of the tank, and intake sponges on the other. This way I won't have to worry about the weight of the river stones crushing the UG setup. The sponges would also provide enough mechanical filtration to save the powerheads from the sand too, right?

A river manifold setup.:tongue: I know that but didn't have the time to do that so I resorted to something simpler yet the loaches appreciate them all the same.:)

That setup will help prevent sand from getting in the way. The strainers of the powerheads have been locked inside the PVC pipe and in my case, on the sponge filters' tube so the sand is actually prevented.

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