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Kiddy pool to fish...pool

7743 Views 43 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Embouck7
So, someone gave me this bright idea on here the other day, about turning a kiddy pool into a place to raise fish. Their's was a temporary outdoor type thing...mine will be indoor. Colorado's weather is too out there to do any outdoor tropicals. lol Plus we have kids, coyotes, foxes, raccoons and possums, occasional fox, along with many types of birds of prey and cats, snakes...I don't think outdoor ones would work, anyone with ponds here usually ends up with eaten critter left-overs next to their ponds eventually.

So here's what we're going to do, and I need some help on the set up because it's obviously a first for me, but is a cheaper alternative to an extremely large, and extremely expensive new tank. So advice is welcome!

I'm going to have it indoors, it'll be in the basement. Hoping for something that's 1-2 feet deep and large, something at least 300-400 gallons, biggest I can find that'll fit in the basement, I think.

I'm thinking sponge filter. I assume I'll need two or three. What kind would go well? I may just get to guessing.

The actually stays pretty warm down there all year round, so I don't know if I'll need more than one or any too powerful. I'll be testing that out. It stays 75 or so in the winter down there, maybe a bit warmer, and gets right hot in the summer though, however the A/C should keep it around 80 or lower. Basically it's always between 70 and 80 degrees down there, so the heater will just need to be the stability for that and keep it around 76-78. Because it doesn't get too cold or hot, that should be enough, or so I hope...

There will be floating plants like my crystalwort that grows like nothing else. No substrate, it needs to be easier to clean. Plants are always a plus. lol

Obviously I'll be testing and making sure it's cycled before putting any fish in there. =)

So this will be my project, I'm hoping against hope it'll be a quick and easy set up. Fat chance, eh? But since I have established media, it shouldn't take long, provided I get the right filters...I'm hoping to have it done quick though. I have some new babies in great need of more room. :3
Currently have like...I don't even know 50+ two week old swordtails. Bunch of mollies, always have mollies in, some guppies...see now why I need the space? My 55 gal with the adults is no longer ideal for the amount of kids I get in. Usually I give fry away for free because I haven't the space and want them to live and not stunt or die in over-full tanks, but I'm hoping to make this into a small business and one day have giant tanks instead. lol Seems like a good idea to me, a lot more space for a fraction of the cost a tank will be...should I find a proper pool that will last.

My 55 gal, and two ten gallons are past full capacity(the 20 gal is not usable for fry since it's housing a lovely blue crayfish...), and ma refuses to let me get a tank that's a few hundred gallons, especially since we don't have thousands of dollars to spend on one. LOL So this is my alternative.
Wish me luck, I shall update. Be nice if my...very wild idea I stole from someone else and modified a little actually goes well, eh? Otherwise it'll likely be years before I get enough tanks to get my business running. I knew someone who started out with a couple small tanks and storage tubs in their garage, a large pool in a basement sounds better to me...

So, am I nuts? Biting off more than I can chew? Very likely. In fact probable. =P Think I can pull it off? Guess we'll find out.
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Well, I got my heater, two sponge filters, two airstones, thermometer that sinks in not those silly stickers, some prime, extra sponges to get established with my already established ones and a good sized pool. Checked it all over before I got it. Got home, took off the sticker and it had a hole. My day went from WOO HOO to many curses. LOL

Well, got everything else for it, I'll be getting another tomorrow and removing the stickers first...they ask I'll tell them why. Haha. So, only put a bit of a setback in my plans, but there was another pool I liked, bit deeper, thicker and well made, but ma wanted the flimsy blue pool. o-o; I knew better, eh! I can't wait to get it set up, the mat of crystalwort alone should look good. :3
I run a couple 150 gallon tubs in my basement fishroom. First thing is depth; once you hit the 24" mark you'll need a snorkel to reach the bottom, I'm 6', and can just hit it without having to hold my breath. Another thing to consider is a bit of insulation between the pool & concrete floor. While the air temperature may be warmer the concrete may well be cooler, mine gets just plain cold. I've got a wood pallet top under each tub, throwaways from work.

I filter them with 3 sponge & 3 box filters each. I run a 3rd outside once the weather breaks, summer platy tub. That one has a 5 gallon bucket of gravel & a pond pump for a filter, along with a 1000w bucket heater with a controller. I can keep that one at 90F when it's freezing out if I ignore the electric bill.

You know we'll need pics of this setup! :)
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Insulation: Well, my floor has old carpet with cement under it. Will I still need something? I'm not sure if we have wood sheets anymore. Since my grandpa got sick we've kinda...moved things out and he no longer has much of a workshop left down there. We used to have a bunch of wooden sheets among other things.

Oh, I'll get you guys photos. Just don't expect it to be pretty. LOL No matter how I try, I can't seem to make things nearly as pretty as some of you guys can. My planted tanks aren't bad, but they're certainly no designer job! Kinda hoping once my mat of crystalwort gets big enough, and hoping to order in some other floating plants like water lettuce maybe, that it'll cover up any...well, stuff not so pretty. lol If it doesn't work out for fish as I am hoping, I can put it outside and grow my plants in the summer. :3

I was thinking about putting the left-over sand substrate I have upstairs that I couldn't fit in my tank. It's not much, but there's some. I was going to put it on one side of the tank and add in some peaceful critters to help keep algae down. I don't use fish to do my job for me, but it's nice to have just a little help on the scrubbing. :3 I have some kuhli loaches, and I think they'd go alright in there, the pool is nice and smooth, thick plastic. Think that's alright? I like to keep cories or kuhli loaches in my nursery tanks because sometimes I drop in a bit of food too big for the babies and they get it right up. =) I think they'd like the space. lol
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Alright, it's up! Not as big as I had planned, but it's not small either.
It took forever to fill up, it's about five feet around and maybe a foot, give or take a few inches, deep(any guesses as to how many gallons that might be? Our best guess is 75 or so). Added plants and established media to the filters, which are cool, so it'll hopefully cycle a bit faster. No fishies until then though. I couldn't get the screen out of the window so I had to fill it by hand with a gallon pitcher. My back and hips are absolutely killing me and I'm not done yet(though I'll probably only add another inch of water, currently debating on it...I may need a screen JUST in case of jumpers...).

Got my airstones, plants, filters, heater(I may need another, but it stays pretty stable down there so I was hoping one would be enough to keep it there, we'll see), sinking thermometer and no stickers, and a broken back. LOL For just being put up, it's not bad, eh? It'll be perfect, and is indoor so easier to care for. I will turn down the fountains on the filters a bit later, for now it'll keep the water moving and even everything out, but later it'll be lower for the crystalwort I have in there(I also have a small anubias nana that sunk thanks to roots growing in gravel...and that stem plant was an accident lol), I hope it'll make a nice mat, I'd also like some water lettuce and maybe some water sprite too. Be my little pond in the basement. If it doesn't work out I could always get a pair of fancy goldfish. xD

The light I'm using is temporary, well..I may use those but more than one and I need to find some plant lights and find something else to hang them on. =)

So aside from my wanting more plants up top that'll look good, and the later addition of black sand in one area(probably not much, I wont do the whole tank, it'll be a real you know what to clean if I do!), what do you think? Any suggestions for further doings? It's to be handy, not pretty according to my grandma...but who says I can't have both?!

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250-300 gallons is my guess
i'd go to an aquarium size calculator to find exactly

150 gallons it is
Hey! That looks great! Might want to think about a dehumidifier! Just a thought...
i'm thinking about things now ...

get rid of the carpet, empty the pool, ... either move it or get the carpet out from under it, ... seal the floor to prevent water damage.

you're not going to spill any water right ? (we all know you won't right :)
water will never creep over the edge to drip down right ? (we know that won't happen :)

don't mean to sound like a jerk, ... i just had a sudden realization, ... your back is going to hate you, ... but your floor will love you for it, ... get rid of the carpet so you don't have to worry about water damage rotting everything out :(, that would be very bad, every very bad :(
While the concrete under it will take an incredible amount of time to rot the carpeting will get a funky smell if it gets wet several times.
@Flear: According to a pool volume calculator, it's only 73 gallons. ^^; I WISH I had one as big as your guess, I had one a tad larger before but we took it back because it was flimsy like I thought(ma argues it), but thankfully a hole happened before we filled it up because it was so cruddy. I went back and got the one I wanted. Although I'd prefer there not be any designs on there, I'll be watching them very closely since I know they eventually melt. My original pool was almost 200 gallons. T_T I wish it had worked out.

A dehumidifier sounds interesting, keep the outside areas dry-er? Where would one get that?

Hahaha, Ah yeah, that carpet is so old, in fact it's years and years older than me and I'm 27(I believe it's closer to 35, not sure though, we've been wanting it out forever, but every time someone moved out, someone moved back in! LOL My little cousin had it a little while ago, it's not clear she fears the basement and sleeps up next to my room on the top floor). So the place is mine and I chose to keep the old stuff. There is cement under it. But I KNEW there may be issues with it should it get I have a green machine(It's kinda like a mini carpet cleaner...well actually it is a mini carpet cleaner), that will suck water out of the carpet, much as any of those things can anyways, small fans that I hope I wont need to use because it might mess with the temp, and bags to go around it when I change water.

We were going to remove it first, but then I had this thought...they want it to stay as the cement under it, and we argued insulation for the fish pool, so I said to forget it because I didn't want to use bags or plastic painter sheets over the I figure I'll do what I can to just take care of it and keep anything gross from happening. lol
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So, have a little confusion today...

I tested my fish pool, twice, a little bit ago to make sure I didn't mess something up and see how it was going. I have a low amount of ammonia, between the yellow and green coloring so I assume it's below the lowest amount(which is 0.25's hard to read the yellows but I don't think it's zero...which is yellow, it was more yellow than green, but lighter than the lowest amount), NO nitrite, but I have 10ppm nitrate(our tap water has 5ppm so it's grown...but where is the nitrite? Already converted and ammonia be new?). I use the API Master Freshwater Test Kit. I'm used to these readings around the "I'm almost done cycling!" point, but there is just no way, it's a huge pool I just set up(although I did use mature media from two other tanks in both filters...but even still, took four days or so for my ten gallon to complete with the same thing done). o-o

Having ammonia and nitrates but no nitrites has me confused since I haven't had it go like that before. o-o Is it going ok, or do I need to do something aside from changing a bit of water which I did(used Prime as my conditioner)?

I need a second heater, seems the one I got is good, but not quite powerful enough, I need one of those 300 watt ones I think, mine isn't that high. Or just a second one like this one, keep in mind I used water that was like 48 degrees to start... It's got it to 68 degrees or so, but it's staying there and the heater still going, I'm going to get it a friend to take a load off so I don't wear it out, though I'm sure it'd heat up to about 70-72 on it's'd probably take several days and I want a bit of extra insurance...I can always take it out later if it ends up being too much for the pool. lol :3 I'm also going to snag a third just in case filter. Well, actually I have two filters in my 55 gallon, and since I'm about to take a load off of it, I'm thinking I'll take that filter and set it up with its already mature media and give that one a slightly smaller new filter.
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I've been watching the thread and figured now is as good of a time as any to jump in. First, carpet could be an issue, I was not aware the concrete was covered. Carpet is a game changer in my opinion.

If you are for sure going to do this inside then I have a couple of suggestions. If you can't get off the carpet, you need to go up. Lines of cinder blocks with sturdy wood sheeting on top will work. On carpet, I guess you could build a 2x4 frame a with a wood sheet bottom and line it with industrial plastic sheeting. You could also add a thin layer of sand to keep things tidy. Keep in mind, you can save your back by going up and save the carpet by covering it with sheet plastic and putting the above frame on top of it.

The pool. Don't know the demensions, but if you look it up on the manufacturer website they will tell you capacity. You could go with an Intex pool that is 500 plus gallons in a 10' x 10' area. I would suggest you look at the local, or not so local, farm store seeking a 300gal round stock tank. They are heavey duty and don't cost too much. They give you more floor space and enough depth. The stock tank will out last the pool and will not leak unless you drill a hole in it. I have 125gal and 175gal stock tanks and they are very durable. I've used them inside and out and outside they over winter just fine.

Just to address the issue of inside or outside, I live in the sticks. We have raccons, deer, turkeys and everything else you listed and have not lost a fish to the critters. If you want security, use some metal garden stakes, fishing line and tightline fishing bells. When what ever comes calling the bells ring. You can also get a portable motion activated light for the pool area. These lights can be obtained at the hardware store and are not too expensive unless you're going for looks. I don't use any of those things on the pools, I do on the garden. My pools are less than 100ft from the woods line and the woods are deep. The tree frogs visit and breed in the pools, that is how I know cichlids love to eat tadpoles. People locally who have goldfish or koi ponds have a lot of issues I don't have. I have no clue why, but the influx of mosquito larva and the impact on the livebearers reproduction is worth the risk. Try it with a kiddie pool full of Endlers and you will find out. Heck, P.M. me and I'll send you the Endlers for shipping if you do it.

Keep the thread going and good luck.
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I'm going to see about a wood sheet platform under it. Easier than a whole move. I initially figured it'd be better insulation. lol I WAS going to do it on a wooden sheet in the area without carpet, but I was kicked at the last minute and told I could have the room. I figured there'd be issues somewhere. Hopefully we can get the carpet up eventually and slide it out and around and put something under it over the cement next year or later this year.

As for now: Got another filter and heater this morning, the temp is now staying stable, thus far, at 76 degrees. I like the filter, the others are smaller, this one evens it to about 80 gallons. With it the plants stay more stable in the middle areas and one side has a calmer part with an airstone(I have filters on three sides) so the fish wont be jammed around, tested that out.

The tank is 70-75 gallons, used a pool volume thing to figure it out(this one: ), and it said 73 gallons but I had to round it off. It's not as big as I had hoped and choices were few, but I want it cycled, and perhaps at a later date I will set up a different one to make up for that. lol I'm tempted to steal the pool we'll have this year, depends on it's make(I'm gonna see if I can trick ma into one of the pools you suggested LOL Once the kids are done with it, if it's still in good shape, I'll need to know how to properly clean and sanitize it though! Wont have chlorine added, but it'll obviously have kid in it).

Though it's not nearly as large as I wanted(I wanted one like 150-200 gallons), it is more than enough to help with what I have now for a time. I have a couple dozen swordtails I want to put in there to raise until they're an inch or so long. Wont put all of mine in there since I have like 50+ babies, but some will go in and I wont be cramped in my big tank! :3 The babies are currently split between my planted ten gallon, large homemade nets in my 55 gallon, and a net in my twenty gallon, see why I kinda rushed to get it going? :3 They wont be in until it's cycled and stable, but it's at least on the way!
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So, I made a post to see if I'm having a cycling issue or not. I did use mature media in all three filters(have two fifteen gallon filters and a fifty gallon filter), and about twenty gallons of pre-cycled water.
Making sure things actually went well or nitrates are gone, as is my ammonia, and nitrites are also zero. It's stayed that way for several days now. .-. I have my plants, the accidental ramshorn snails(I've been feeding them, but if the tank isn't cycled it's not showing up because it's probably too little...), and see nothing I normally would. I did previously have ammonia and nitrates though. I'm hoping my plants just ate it all up and it's nice and stable. lol I still find it kinda odd since it took three or four days for my ten gallon to cycle, but I filled it up more than half way with pre-cycled water and used mature media for the filter too. This is so big though, it's got me stumped, I figured it'd take a couple weeks or maybe even a month or more. x.x

Get a bit more info and see how this goes, I may pop kids in there soon if I get enough ok's...

Otherwise the pool looks pretty good. I can't wait to add babies. =) I moved a big net down there to put the larger filter in so it wont eat any kids, it has netting around the holes so the water still gets through, I'll be pulling that out to wash when I do my cleanings.

Today was cleaning day. I did about 20 gallons or so in the pool tank this morning, tested it maybe an hour ago to find it's still the same. I am BUSHED! Aside from the pool tank I have two ten gallons, a twenty, a fifty five gallon and a five gallon betta tank. I'm gonna have to move some days around here for cleaning. lol It feels good though, but it was just so hot today! I almost melted. It feels better because I have a molly, my favorite, about to pop again, and possible a few others about to pop(my white swordtail looks about ready too, and possibly my dalmatian lyretail who rarely does so), they're huge. My little orange molly who is a gold dust mix(she's all orange with a big black spot on her tail and belly) goes about every 28-32 days and I now have less space worries, provided this pool cycles properly and stays there. :3 I haven't seen her this big before and she usually gives me 20-30 babies a month and has for the last year and a half-two years or so. Her mama was a gold dust, daddy is unknown(I had no male gold dusts, had a dalmtation sailfin, black sailfin with a gold stripe on his sail and a silver sailfin at the time).

Yay for space! Send me some luck.

Oh yeah, ma said you guys are nuts if you think we have to worry about humidity in Colorado, ours is in the single digits...rarely gets high anyways. I told her she's wrong, but eh. I have a window-well down there so no wind gets in but air can come in and out gently, and a fan, I'm hoping that'll be enough to keep humidity down. I rather think I'll have a problem if she doesn't let go there and let me get something to help, like a dehumidifier like someone suggested, perhaps some fans? I worry fans may mess with the water temp...which will probably be fine in the summer but not the winter.
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Keep the post running as I'll be interested to see how it turns out over the next several months.

I'm going to update my kiddie pool project thread. Things in the great outdoors are moving fast here in Missouri home to weather that is crazy unpredictable.
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Colorado is just as wacky. We went from snow to eighty degrees. x.x And it's been HOT lately, I'm hoping for some rain soon, which is in the forecast. Our humidity levels are typically pretty low here, but we hit single digits earlier. We've had some nasty fire seasons, and it looks like we may get another. I think we made national news a few times in the last couple years, let's hope we break the cycle. All that smoke and haze, plus fires nearby, just absolutely sucks! We're not in a big fire area, really, but we get all the smoke from the areas that are. I have some nice photos of the sun looking red with yucky fire clouds. I admit it looks cool, but I can live without ever getting that again. So many homes and lives lost. =(

I tested my waters testing I mean I added some kids in the tank since it's been stable for several days. It's earlier than I'd like, but I just got in a batch of newborns today, I suppose I'm testing my luck but I'll be watching the water in the pool tank and testing at least twice a day, maybe three. I don't want any slips. But it's been all zeros since my ammonia and nitrates went down, and because of mature media in all three filters and 20 gallons of pre-cycled water I'm hoping it stays that way. Though the Nitrates being gone do have me a little puzzled...Hopefully it wont bite me in the butt. Got my newborns in the nursery until they're a bit bigger so the older babies don't kill them. It happens. lol Cute kids I got too, little calicos, some black, black and gold, black and white...likely get several like I have on my livebearer photo thread. :3 I always do. Got more than usual though, this mom just gets bigger every brood. For a molly she has pretty small broods, usually 10-20 babies, I am pretty sure I got upwards of thirty this time(still small for a molly, but she is a gold dust and not huge either).

Debating on getting a new male soon, I have no adults, and don't want them all to be from the same father, so I'll be needing that room if I do. :3 Just need to figure out which kind would go with my lyretails and short-fins without making a mess of them...Perhaps a sailfin of sorts, been years since I bred sailfin mollies, but I'm not sure how mixing them with short-fins will work out...
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Water parameters are still staying the same. The kids I added in are very happy so far. Active, bright, checking out everything and eating. I take that as a good sign, but it's only day one.

Just got a big cave to put in there. Yeah...I can't just have plain things, I gotta dress up my tanks, even if one tank is a pool supposed to be just for raising fish. lol May as well look good and have hiding and interesting things in it while they grow. I'm about to put a little sand in there left over from my ten gallon when I set it up. It's not much though, but it'll be a little something. I want to put my kuhli loaches in there to help clean up extra food. Plenty of space for them to zoom around, everything is smooth, and they can get the extra scraps the kids don't eat. I've never had any sail out of my tanks before, so hopefully they wont. Water is about two inches below the top. Let's hope that doesn't bite me, can't think of anything tp put in there with a low bioload and lower chance of eating babies the size I add in. I debated on my pleco, but I think that's a bit much. LOL Plus, the kuhli's will be happy out of the ten gallon I'm sure. But first, sand. And I need to get you guys new photos. Made a few tweaks here and there to everything. Got some light bulbs that are better for my plants now too, they were looking a bit stressed. I also gave a small dose of liquid fertilizer. I don't like using them anymore since i have shrimp, but there are no shrimp in the pool. lol Just wanted to perk them up a bit during their time of stress with improper lighting.

Anywho, that's the update for the day. I know it's just the first night, but no spikes in several days, about two dozen kids in the pool, they all look very active and happy. Let's see if I can keep it that way. I'll be adding the other kids at another time, maybe in a week or so if things continue to go well. I don't want to push my luck, the tank seems cycled and stable, but is not established. Though large, I'm not gonna go there. :3
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Here's my update, got a video. Sorry, one of the lights went out so the lighting is off and on. Right now I'm having youtube fix it a bit, which may take a bit. =)

And yes, sorry, I talk a lot. lol

And a couple photos. I want more sand than I have, but only enough for almost half, I don't want it all with sand. =)

That tan-ish log looking thing is a cave. lol Why not? The moment I popped it in -everyone- went to check it out and hang around. They can sleep in there if they want, that's in the calm end of the pool, though I do have an airstone's relatively calm except on top.
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Well, everything has stayed stable. Still all zeros on ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, really not used to that. I've had a few dozen kids in there for bit more than a week isn't it now? I think I have maybe 30 in there...They're all doing well. No deaths, nobody acting off, they all bounce over to eat and are nice and active little fishies.

I'm considering adding in my molly babies, they're smaller than I'd like, but two of my swordtails(initially thought one) gave birth to...oh geez, I don't know, more babies than I can count. A lot. I need the nursery for them, they're currently mushed into a very large homemade net(like that yellow one I have the pool filter in in a photo), and it's just not gonna cut it, I'll split them up there and probably keep a few up stairs since the pool tank wont even be able to house that many. xD I swear, I make room and I get in more babies in the last two weeks than I ever have before...and once I had around two hundred mollies and swordtails after five moms gave birth. I had 96 mollies from one female, the rest were red calico swordtails. Thankfully someone came and bought something like 85 of them from me. ^^; Expecting from one of my silver lyretails, a real silver, and a short-fin-creamsicle mix, they look pretty big. :3 looking forward to some third generations. I gotta get another pool, or a larger one instead. xD Wonder if I can talk ma into a difficult transfer since there isn't THAT much room in there and it'd be off kilter since I wont be able to move it after. >>; Maybe I can store the water in tubs and just move that out. I'm trying to get ma to let me snag that bigger snap pool henningc suggested.
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Looks like the project is coming along. Liked the video, but yep you need more sand. Keep the thread going as I want to see just how sucessful your project is. It sounds like you are seeing a change in the fish's behavior now that they have a true habitat. Mine always react completely different after 2-3 weeks in the pool. Just a suggestion, use something to establish a feeding area. That way the fish will sworm come dinner time.

My pools are up and running and this should be the last clod snap of the year. I have a lot of brooders and can't wait to turn them loose in the pool. We had so much tree pollen the water looks yellow / green. It shouldn't hurt anything, just looks a fright.
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