Is a large 'overstocked' Co2 community planted tank possible?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by rezryk, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. rezryk

    rezryk

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2019
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Cape Town
    At the moment, I'm working outside SA and planning on going full steam into the hobby once I return. I've got a 60cm tank ATM to gain experience in the hobby.

    I love aquascapes, a large variety of fish and planted aquariums. I've discovered that most fishkeepers tend to focus their aquariums on 1 or 2 of the above i.e. an incredibly detailed aquascape with demanding plants and just a modest shoal of tetras, OR, a beautiful variety of fish, with modest plants and not much attention devoted to the scape. I understand the logic that a large variety of fish steals the attention away from a meticulously designed aquascape (and that large fish might spoil the Iwagumi illusion of a miniature landscape) and vice-versa, but I'm looking to go the opposite route.

    I want to create a large aquarium with demanding plants, an intricate scape and a large variety of fish.

    - Approximately 140cm long (450lit), thick and clear glass
    - Aquascaped (Iwagumi styled with plenty of hills and hardscape)
    - Plenty of carpet plants (Co2 injection)
    - Large variety of fish, from kuhli loaches to Neon Cardinals to Angelfish/a Betta and possibly a spiny eel.

    At the moment, the issues I'm anticipating are:

    Flowrate and turnover

    - A large aquarium that is "overstocked" with fish is going to require a high turnover rate. I'm looking at 10X per hour or more (so around 4500lit p/h, probably 2X Fluval FX6's). The high turnover rate should take care of the ammonia and nitrite, but high turnover also means high flow rate, which might have issues with some of the smaller fish, like cardinal tetras, constantly battling the flow.

    Bottom dwellers and plants/substrate

    - I love the weirdness of bottom dwelling fish contrasted with the beauty of cardinal tetras in the same tank, I just love variety. The problem I'm anticipating is that some of the bottom dwellers might uproot some of the carpeting plants or disturb the layout of the substrate. I'm hoping that not carpeting the whole aquarium and leaving a decent amount of substrate bare for them to burrow through might keep them from messing things up too much.

    Any other problems I should anticipate, thoughts or suggestions?

    Many thanks, folks.
     
  2. Guest




  3. Adrian Gatter

    Adrian Gatter

    Joined:
    May 14, 2018
    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    121
    Location:
    Johannesburg
    Howzit
    This sounds like a fun project, please post pics.
    Ja, any "catfish" like plecos, or rainbow sharks will prevent you from growing a carpet, not sure about loaches. Don't get a tank that's too deep or your light won't penetrate and you'll struggle to grow plants.
     
  4. pierreschoonraad

    pierreschoonraad

    Joined:
    May 6, 2016
    Messages:
    780
    Likes Received:
    517
    It is possible to do what you want by balancing the 2 sides of aquarium keeping. The loaches and the eel will need hiding spaces which your hardscape will provide. Just don't expect to see them much as they are nocturnal. I would personally replace them with one of the nice colorfull corries, at least 20 of them in that size tank.

    Turnover at 10x shouldn't be an issue as there are various ways in reducing the flow in the aquarium by using things like spray bars, pointing the outlet to the front of the tank or a spin lily pipe.

    Sent from my SM-A720F using Tapatalk
     
  5. Adrian Gatter

    Adrian Gatter

    Joined:
    May 14, 2018
    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    121
    Location:
    Johannesburg
    Personally I wouldn't try 10X turnover, that's a river. I'd rather stick to 5X and use a sump with a massive amount of quality bio-media.
     
  6. A new day

    A new day

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2019
    Messages:
    186
    Likes Received:
    109
    Location:
    Cape Town
    Hi @rezryk !

    I'm an newbie myself so please don't take my word for gospel, but I've recently went through a similar research process in setting up a planted tank and also aiming for a community tank on the heavily stocked side. So a couple of things:

    - In Cape Town we have very soft water (although some suburbs have hard water). The fish you listed should all do well in soft water so that's great. You'll need to add crushed coral to buffer the pH if you have tap water as soft as mine, but that's easy to do.

    - The one potential issue I foresee with a heavily stocked Iwagumi style tank is that there might not be enough fast growing plants to absorb the nitrates at a meaningful rate (to offset the fish poop). I think this is why Iwagumi tanks tend to be understocked with fish. Is there any way in which you can incorporate really fast growing plants (e.g. stem plants, floating plants) into your design? I think it is entirely possible to do, but probably easier in a jungle style. These fast growers will of course require fairly regular trimming, but this aspect of tank maintenance should be ok (and even enjoyable) if you are the type who doesn't mind pottering around with pruning scissors and planting tweezers.

    - Like George Farmer says, put in lots of plants from the get go otherwise they (and you) might not win the battle against algae.

    - If you incorporate a large patch of sand in your design, the corys (and khulies) ought to be happy and shouldn't damage your carpet plants like some other bottom dwellers might.

    - The khulies are very delicate creatures and won't uproot your plants. They like sifting through sand and even burying into it completely at times. What they like best, though, is crevices and grottos to hide in (mostly during the day). They have a low bioload for their mature length. Try to get at least 7, but many more if you can - especially for your tank size - they'll feel more confident and you'll see them out more, even playing. They are generally reclusive but I think they add a lot to my tank experience - it's almost like going on a night drive. Try to design your hardscape so that you can peep into some of the crevices.

    - Corys are messy eaters but not blundering beasts and your carpet should be fine (especially if it has had time to grow in a bit before you add the corys). Again, aim for decent school sizes of say 7 of the same cory species. They are very social creatures and I think they are super entertaining.

    - You are already thinking about very good filtration.

    - Re diversity of species - great as long as you can keep decent numbers of each (for social / shoaling fish), which is entirely possible for the size tank you're planning. The mix of bottom dwellers, midlevel and upper level fish is cool. I also love bottom dwellers and all the other little critters. Nerite snails are super cool, come in different colours/designs, won't breed in a freshwater tank, and are excellent cleaners. Some consider ramshorn snails as pests, but they are pretty and excellent at cleaning smaller leaves. Shrimp are very cool too.

    Enjoy!!
     
  7. TankMaster

    TankMaster Apistogramma

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Messages:
    1,765
    Likes Received:
    46
    Location:
    Durban
    Just remember that filter turnover isn't as important as filter volume. Consider a sump with a refugium.
     
  8. Hawk

    Hawk Clown Fish :-)

    Joined:
    May 25, 2012
    Messages:
    5,119
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    Cape Town
    You can do both depending on your scape. I had heavily planted jungle tanks with cardinals, neons, dwarf gourami, gbr, rasbora, corydoras, angelfish, guppies...
    They were fine in my tank as they had their spots in amongst the plants but would have been strange in an Iwagumi.

    If aquascaping is your thing then choose your scape and add fish to suite.

    I liked both hence the jungle style :thumbup:
     
    A new day and Chandz like this.
  9. Adrian Gatter

    Adrian Gatter

    Joined:
    May 14, 2018
    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    121
    Location:
    Johannesburg
    @A new day
    Very nice well thought out answer there :thumbup:
    Good point on the Ph of local water; remember a lot of planting substrates lower Ph.
    I like the point of trying to have visibility into hiding places, it sux when you can't find your fish
     
    A new day likes this.
  10. Hendre

    Hendre Polypterus freak

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2016
    Messages:
    2,894
    Likes Received:
    848
    Location:
    Cape town
    Spiny eels are a bit needier than standard community fish, and like digging so they may not fare too well in the bright planted tanks that are typical of Iwagumi.
     
  11. OP
    rezryk

    rezryk

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2019
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Cape Town
    Thanks, folks.

    Addressing what "A New Day" said, yes, I don't mind stocking faster growing plants. It won't all be carpet plants. What I'm really trying to steer clear of are plants with large leaves as they don't really tie in with the aesthetic. I'm open to anything which can grow bushy, dense and without large leaves. I actually enjoy trimming, it's therapeutic.

    With such a large tank to be aquascaped, I'm definitely going to take my time with the hardscape. The method I thought of employing was to divide the tank into 3 sections (using cardboard sheets), pour the substrate in and focus on designing one section at a time. Using this divider method, I'll definitely consider using a finer substrate, or sand, in certain areas for the bottom dwellers to borrow in.

    Long ago, I had a single kuhli in a 100cm tank and he/she didn't mind moving around during the day. Still, it'll be fun designing caves, crevices and hiding spots into my scape for these fish. Even if they might spend most of their time hidden, it just makes the occasion that you do see them in the day that much more special. I've kept a few corrys and while I've no complaints, they're not a fish I'm terribly fond of. Kuhli's and siamese algae eaters are probably my favourite bottom dwellers and I might look into adding a 3rd variety.
     
  12. Adrian Gatter

    Adrian Gatter

    Joined:
    May 14, 2018
    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    121
    Location:
    Johannesburg
    If you want a bushy plant that grows fast look for water sprite, this is in my planted tank last year:
    Growth1.jpg Growth2.jpg
     
  13. OP
    rezryk

    rezryk

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2019
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Cape Town
    @Adrian Gatter

    I have those in my current 75lit tank and I'm pretty happy with them. They're certainly a candidate for my dream tank.
    Your angelfish is stunning!
     
  14. A new day

    A new day

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2019
    Messages:
    186
    Likes Received:
    109
    Location:
    Cape Town
    @rezryk this will be an interesting project to follow!

    - The great thing is that you can take your time to research the fish you'd like to keep and create a suitable habitat for them. Or the other way around, starting with your dream aquascape and then making sure that you stock it with fish that will be happy in there (sounds like you're leaning towards the latter).

    - Water is still a precious resource in Cape Town, so do whatever you can to try and avoid the situation in which you'll have to do crazy water changes (frequency and %) to support high stocking levels. Especially on the tank size you're considering. Some fish (e.g. neon tetra) also really dislike the shifts in parameters caused by drastic water changes.
     

Recent Posts

Loading...
Similar Threads - large 'overstocked' community Forum Date
Large tank learning curve General Discussions Aug 12, 2019
Freebie: Large goldfish Wanted/Swop/Freebies Jun 4, 2019
Wanted: Large driftwood pieces Wanted/Swop/Freebies May 2, 2019
Freebie: Large Pleco Needs a Home Urgently Wanted/Swop/Freebies Apr 5, 2019
Wanted: Medium of large male parrot cichlid Wanted/Swop/Freebies Jan 8, 2019
Freebie: Large Iridescent Shark/Lowfin Pangasius Wanted/Swop/Freebies Dec 27, 2018
Wanted: Looking for a large tank 1.8m/6ft+ Wanted/Swop/Freebies Dec 5, 2018

Share This Page