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Hi - I've got a tower fish tank, that's 60" tall, by 9"x9" - or about 20 gallons (similar to this tank at the top - can't post the link, but if you google tower aquarium, and you see something like customaquarium dot com, you'll see it under towers). Originally, we cut a piece of plexi-glass, and drilled it full of dozens or hundreds of small holes. Under that was a series of PVC pipes, also with holes in them. Attached to that was a solid piece of PVC, going up the back of the tank. Attached to the top of that PVC, was a power head. So we were sort of going for an UGF method. But, I didn't have much luck with that approach, and neither did a friend with a similar tank. Does anyone here have any advice? Water changes were difficult, as was cleaning the gravel with a siphon filter.

So one idea was to drill a hole in the bottom with a valve that could be used to drain some water, and hopefully any poo floating around beneath the gravel.

Any help would be appreciated. I'm hoping to get it going again soon, but would like to keep all of my fish alive this time. I would post pics, but for some reason, my flash reader isn't working ... will have to reboot the PC to see if that helps.

Thanks! Tom
 

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The first two thoughts that come to mind, is to put it in a room with vaulted ceilings, and not in an earthquake zone.

If you put the plumbing under the tank, wouldn't you need to build it into the floor for stability?

Its a very kewl idea and stunning centerpiece. I think a clear acryllic tube running down the height of your aquarium, inside, a few inches above the gravel would work. You would first backflush the water to loosen the debris, and then suction it out for water changes and cleanup, all in the same tube. The tube would be virtually invisible in your tank. You would attach your siphon to a pvc elbow at the top of the tank at cleanup time.

I'm not an engineer or plumber. But I think it would work.
 

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Hey, Thanks for the reply fishfinder. Here is a pic of the old setup I had.


I thought the black plastic cord wrap looked better than just white PVC, but that was the method to pull the water back up from underneath the gravel. Unfortunately, the reflection of the power cord wrap on the left side of the tank in the pic always looked bad at certain angles.

A friend was able to get 3 of these tanks, and gave one to me. We built the base out of 2x4s and heavy duty casters, then built plywood boxes around that. Luckily, we both have vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors, and rarely have earthquakes. By building the base larger than the tank, it's pretty sturdy (I think the base is 15"x15"). The idea of adding some plumbing / waste valve to the bottom of the tank would be to get the (I don't know the right word), fish poo, decaying food, etc, really sucked through the gravel. I'm not sure what kind of valve I would look for, but I was thinking something small that I could hook a hose up to and drain out the front door. If I remember, the tank stands about 8" off the floor, and there is some room under the base, as that's where my air pump hides.

I do like your idea about a clear tube, and was wondering if that was an improvement I could make over our previous attempt. I'm not sure how I could best secure a clear tube towards the bottom ... is this a rigid tube? I'll hopefully clean out the garage a bit and get some better pics of my current plumbing set up. Hopefully some of the other forum people will have some good ideas as well.

One think I had considered, was instead of having a base, and a top separate, building sort of a "]" shaped 1 piece unit, where I could run any plumbing / electric / filter outside of the tank itself. I'm pretty new at fish tanks, so not sure if that's a good idea or not.

I would also love some advice on how to best decorate the tank. In the pic, I basically just bought the longest piece of decoration I could find at the LFS, and put it on it's side.
Thanks! Tom
 

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Tom,
Thank you for the pics. It really does help. Yes, I was thinking about the rigid acryllic tube. The more thought I gave the idea, I realized there would need to be a hinge at the top of the tube which could lock into place, hanging on the top edge which would keep it stationary, and allow you to swing it back and forth when cleaning the gravel like a giant siphon. But it would look pretty bad when dirty. I have seen some tower tanks used only for effect with LED's in the bottom and bubbles at our local Bon Marche (now Macy's) a few years ago which used the acryllic tube for air and water movement. A sort of giant Lava Lamp.

If you like the planted tank look, there are some plastic vines you could get at a LFS used as floating plants or jungle vines for a terrarium which are several feet long. If you weight down one end they would float towards the surface as single strands making a tall plant.

There are other posts about how to drill bottom holes and plumb for draining. Check under the forums 'Saltwater and Reef Tank Builds', and 'Freshwater Tank Builds'. It should be very helpful. Also, check 'Reef And Saltwater Lighting, Filtration, Reactors, Refugiums, Skimmers, Pumps, And All Other Devices' as well as 'Freshwater Do It Yourself' for other ideas about filtration. 9" x 9" isn't a very large surface area for a U/G filter in a tank that size.

BTW, glad you're not in an earthquake prone area. I spent one earthquake holding back a 39 gal tank to prevent it from toppling, with a foot stretched out to prevent the floor lamp from toppling in between running around to save my sculptures. What a ride ... lol.

Okay, its time for the experts to chime in.
 

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try a customized UGF with some clear airline tubing and a taller outlet. IMO for the look of the tank you need some tall plants (live or fake) as it looks a bit off kilter. I know a UGF would allow aeration and would pull water from the top down and push oxygen throughout the water column. You could also try a series of conveniently placed airstones or one of those bubble wands or even an air stone disk. What fish do you keep in this? how many gallons is it?

-Brandon
 

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A couple quick thoughts.

You will be needing one heck of an airpump to push much air with 5 foot of depth to get a sustantial amount of water movement. I personally think the biggest bubble disk a ugf with a thick layer of substrate and alot of airflow would be the way to go. the clear airline tubing wont show and youd have ample circulation. Good luck, keep us posted.
 

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Your best bet is to go with an external canister, and do a little diy plumbing on the intake and spraybar. I'd suggest something either by eheim or hagen, personally.
The canister will keep the tank clean and easier to maintain. You will also want a long python for vaccuming the tank during WC.

If you decide to go with a canister. I will be happy to help you with the plumbing.
 
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