Logistics Of A New 420L Tank - Lots Of Questions!

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214jay

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Hello. 
 
We have decided to take a big leap and buy a 420L tank, measuring 180cm x 50cm x 151cm (inc stand), with an oak frame (see picture below).  The tank will be with us in around 1.5-2 months once I have re-enforced the floor.  This also gives me plenty of time to prepare, decide on stocking and work out the logistics. I plan to have sand substrate with possibly some areas of gravel and have it quite heavily planted.
 
I will be getting rid of my existing 125L which currently houses  1 dwarf Gourami, a small shoal of Rummynose & black phantom tetras, 6 x Peppered Cory.
 
I am hoping to relocate all of the above fish to the new tank and dramatically increase the numbers of rummynose, probably up to 20-30.  I am hoping to get some bigger fish in there to but not sure what options I have as yet.  Will I have many options with the above species? Also, once the tank is mature (6+ months) I hope to get an African Giant Filter Shrimp.
 
I have a number of questions really on the logistics of the whole thing…
 
I know I am going to have to undertake substantial water changes and hear that a ‘python’ system would be the best, what would you recommend?
 
Should I go for two external filters (in case one fails) or a sump?
 
With heaters, what should I go for?  Do I get quite a few?
 
If I go for external filters I plan to cycle them in a large bin of water a month (or more) before I get the tank (adding ammonia etc) - Will this be an okay way to get the bio-filter setup?
 
Whats the best way of cleaning the gravel? Any recommended systems?
 
What else should I be considering? Am I missing anything?
 
 
Thanks in advance for any advice!
 
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MBOU

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Should I go for two external filters (in case one fails) or a sump?
 
You can't easily adapt that tank to have a sump because the cupboard is sectioned off and the sections are helping to support the weight of the tank and you cant remove them.
 
I would always advise going with sump over externals where you can because the maintenance is so much easier but the only way I can see that happening on that style tank is for you to go for the VXA066 which is £500 more expensive + price of the pump (eheim compacts range around the £100-£150 mark)... plus that tank is shorter, wider and deeper. (5x2x2 or about 568L + sump). Depends on a lot!
 
That aside, I would definitely opt for two decent canister filters (EFX 1500 x 2 or EFX1500 and EFX400 would be perfect...) plus you might be able to negotiate on multiple filters lol.
 
With heaters, what should I go for?  Do I get quite a few?
 
Two glass 300W heaters will be just fine! Don't go fancy and get suckered into all the LED display ones etc, the more complicated they are, the more likely they are to be expensive and go horribly wrong! Two heaters is better because if one goes, the other will hold the tank very close to temperature until you can buy a new one!
 
If I go for external filters I plan to cycle them in a large bin of water a month (or more) before I get the tank (adding ammonia etc) - Will this be an okay way to get the bio-filter setup?
 
Not sure on that one! I assume it would work fine... its logical... that said... I would still be running them on the tank for a week before adding fish... to be safe.
 
Whats the best way of cleaning the gravel? Any recommended systems?
 
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Marina-Clean-Aquarium-Gravel-Cleaner/dp/B0002AQI8G
 
Tall gravel cleaner ;) just buy a tap (12mm or 20mm one found with pond connectors in the shop) and some extra hose! Easy peasy! Then you just close the tap, fill pipe with water, put cleaner in the tank and open the tap and it will start siphoning. If on ground floor, you could get enough hose to go outside a door or window :)
 
What else should I be considering? Am I missing anything?
 
Love the tanks! Do your self a favour, when doing maintenance.. lift the whole hood off and don't leave cover sliders open! The tanks are well treated but for such an expensive tank and peace of mind, I would be using silicone along the edges on the inside of the hood and varnishing the inside of the hood again to make it utterly water tight!
 

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Thats a nice tank! 
 
Not jealous at all......
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Whew, that is a large logistical task in hand to set up but exciting though! 
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External filters, well always think these are a personal preference, personally think 2 would be good but maybe a bit overkill but better too much than too little.
For me, I would probably have either, 2 Fluval 306 externals or just 1 Eheim 2075 which is good for up to 600 litres.
No ideas about sumps though. Sorry!
 
Even though 1 300w heater is ok for 450 litres, I would want 2 300w heaters as water temp would be more even if you put 1 on each side/half of tank, maybe thats just me.......
 
Cleaning gravel, well................ good luck! Am sure theres something out there that would help that task.
 
For a tank of that size in terms of water changes maybe a pump like an Eheim Universal 1048 at 600 lph or a higher model Eheim Universal 1250 which would do 1200 lph would be better as would probably be a bit quicker than a Python. Not too sure as never have used either, but either is definitely better than buckets..........
 
Keep us updated on what you do, I would really like to follow this exciting project to learn a thing or two for my own in, probably distant, future...
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I would definitly go for sand in the tank, there are a lot more fish that need sand than need gravel.
 
Water changes are quite easy I have a pond pump and a long hose that runs out the window then fill it up from big 40 liter builders buckets on wheeled bases.
 
Heaters I have a 512 liter tank and I run 2x 300 watt heaters I use the Ehiem ones as they have the best reputation and IMO look the best - by which the simplist and easiest to blend in with a black background. Having 2 is a good idea as well as if one fails the other will keep going.
 
With the floor be very very careful - is there no way you can put it on a concrete floor?
 
Then for filters - I run 2x FX5s in my 512 and would totally advise them to anyone else :)
 
Then onto the stocking, you will struggle to find large fish to go with the small schooling tetras? Did you have any ideas already?
 
Wills
 
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214jay

214jay

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Thanks to everyone, some brilliant advice.  Once I start the work I will open a new thread and post pictures on progress, theres a lot to plan first!
 
 
With the floor be very very careful - is there no way you can put it on a concrete floor?
Basically around 1/4 of the area the tank will be going is already concrete from an old fireplace, the rest is floorboards suspended a couple of foot above the ground.  I plan to pull the floorboards up and lay a deep bed of concrete then build up with concrete blocks.  I will potentially block the who area but the tank sits on 6 legs so may be able to find an easier solution.
 
 
Then onto the stocking, you will struggle to find large fish to go with the small schooling tetras? Did you have any ideas already?
I'm not sure to be honest, I love my schooling fish but my other half likes the bigger fish.  I have never had really big tanks and I know more about small fish so I have quite a lot of research to do.  I would be happy to go for larger schooling fish but I am a bit stuck with what to do with the small ones I have already.  I quite like fairly colourful fish that are interesting, thats all I can say for now!
 

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