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Fire Belly Habitat Research

Discussion in 'HH General Discussion' started by Rich, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I have a 45 gallon tank that will become a new home for several fire belly toads and some neon tetras. At this time i am doing some research and acquiring the necessary items to turn this tank into something nice.

    An issue I am currently working on resolving needs some input and suggestions from everyone.

    The tank has the following dimensions: 3' long x 2' tall x 1' wide. In order to sustain the fish I intend on adding I will be filling the tank with 9" of water. This will give me roughly 17 gallons of water.

    Since the water is certain to get dirty and the fish need oxygen, I need to filtrate this setup somehow. If this were a typical fishtank I would run a conventional filter. This isn't conventional. I will have 27" of space from the water to the top of the tank. I don't believe water spilling down that far would sound pleasant, look pleasant, or be pleasant for the inhabitants. That method would only work with some modifications.

    I am currently considering an under-gravel system, though I hear those do not filter very well. I was also considering a filtration system that physicals sits in the water, but I am ignorant on those units and need some feedback. The other idea is to modify a side mount filter (conventional filter) and add a longer intake tube and create a long "slide" for the water to run down before it hits the water.

    If I run with the "slide" idea I will have to figure out a way to create a removable "waterfall" look for it. This take is in my living room, so it will be a visual piece that needs to be attractive.

    I am open to hearing/reading all of your ideas. If you have input of any kind, please post it.

    I will be documenting the construction of this thing as I go, regardless as to how this all plays out. I have a brand new Canon EOS Rebel XS 1000D Camera for the photos. (I just need to figure out how to take good pics with it. lol)

    Post your ideas. I am open to all of them. Help me get the creative juices flowing.
     
  2. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    I think I would create a custom waterfall with a filter for at least twice the amount of water. You can create a nice looking base out of great stuff and set the filter in it. This allows you to cut the tube to your desired length.

    Another option, but it may be overkill, may not be, is a canister filter. The filter unit would sit on the ground, and just have 2 tubes going into the tank, one in and one out. It's more money, but definitely easier than making a custom waterfall. time = money.

    Under gravel filter systems suck, I would say no, since the toads are messy little buggers.
     
  3. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I am looking more into the canister filters. I like how they function. I realize they cost a lot more, but they seem to be easier for me to work with. (At least for the ideas I have in my head.)

    I want the tank to house 18 Neons and a few Chinese Algae Eaters in addition to the frogs. I think a 30-40 gallon canister filter would work great, especially if the outtake hose runs through the "waterfall".

    I am still researching so other opinions and ideas are welcome.
     
  4. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I went with the Hagen Fluval 205 Canister Filter. It is rated for a 40 gallon tank, so it will be more than sufficient for what I will be using it for.

    I am now working on the concept and design for how I will create the land portion of the tank. I do not intend on having it permanently placed in the tank so it will be free standing and removable. I am open to ideas for this though I do have a pretty good idea about how I will be approaching this.

    Has anyone come across any really nice "islnads" that can be purchased? I am interested in prefabbed material too. ;)
     
  5. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I learned today that the Fluval I bought will not work for this application. The water pressure required for proper use will be far less than the unit requires. I am now looking into submersible filters, which is the most practical for this application. I am saddened as this Fluval was suppose to be pretty good. At least I now have a filter for my Saltwater Tank I will be putting together! lol
     
  6. Frognut

    Frognut Subscribed User Premium Member

    I've got a water area of 6" deep, 23"long at the front and 14" at the back. The land area is separated by a diagonal piece of plexiglass keeping the water and land areas separate. (yes Liz I removed all the dirt and the tub, it looks so much prettier this way! ;))

    I have a store bought waterfall filter (from Liz) that takes two carbon filters. It looks great and keeps the water clean, but it doesn't get the heavier stuff that lands on the floor of the water area.

    How are you keeping the fish in with the toads? When I would occasionally use feeder guppies for the toads, the few that outgrew the proper feeding size eventually died. (I was feeding the fish) I was under the impression it was from toxins of the toads. Would a better filtration set-up allow me to add fish to the water area?

    Let us know what you work out Rich. Thanks! (sorry I'm only asking more questions and not helping much!) :)
     
  7. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I don't mind discussion in my threads Steph. ;)

    The set-up I am working on is an experiment. I am designing the tank to properly house the fire-bellied toad's but am experimenting with keeping fish as well.

    I have already decided that I will be using 20 gallons of water for the design opposed to the 17 I was initially planning. The filter I purchase will be rated for 30+ gallons. This will give me the peace of mind that the water is being completely cycled numerous times an hour.

    I am figuring that a biological and mechanical filtration, being cycled numerous times per hour, will allow the fish to survive with the amount of water I am offering. That is the experiment anyways. lol

    I am going to be hitting some of the local petshops today to see what they have for filters and to pick up supplies at Home Depot for creating the "island".

    I will post back with info on what I find. Feel free to post advice and ask questions. It makes me think and gives the thread a boost for others to see.
     
  8. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I ended up buying a Tetra Whisper 40i. It is rated for a 40 gallon tank, so it should do a decent job on the 20 gallons of water I am using.

    I tossed the filter, rocks, some plants, a heater, and the thermometer in to get a visual of what it is I will be working with.

    I also purchased the plexiglass and aquarium silicone I will be using for the construction.

    Unlike a typical paludarium where a divider is used to create land and water, I will be creating a removable, freestanding unit which will act like an island. That is the plan anyways. lol

    This is the current tank:

    startertank.gif

    Don't mind the blue rocks. lol I would have preferred a "natural" stone, but it is for my daughters frogs. lol
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Frognut

    Frognut Subscribed User Premium Member

    I was using a Tetra Whisper 10i - which I'm guessing is rated for 10 gallons. But I had that in a plastic tote, which had to be way under 5 gallons because the water area now is 6.25 gallons. (6"h x 20"l x 12"w)

    But the water temperatures were definitely lower than the current 75ºf that they are now -- would that have made a difference?? What temperature are you keeping your water at?

    The rock waterfall filter I have now is significantly larger and takes two charcoal filters - Its a Tetra Decorative Reptofilter that says it is for up to 55 gals. Supposedly filtering 90gph.

    Would tetra's be considered a hardier fish than feeder guppy's? (I think that is what I had in the tank). I may give it a try myself after the next full tank cleaning. I really want fish in my FBT tank!

    Keep us updated, this is exciting! :D

    BTW: I like the blue rocks! ;)
     
  10. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    The Tetra Decorative Reptofilter is very much like the whisper series. It is just decorative. lol (I actually looked at those.)

    Neons are a fairly hardy little fish. They have a high tolerance to water temperature fluctuations, though I will be maintaining the water temperature around 75 degrees. (It is currently holding at 74, which I am ok with too. lol)

    I will likely start with a few zebra danios to cycle the tank, and then I will add an algae eater and a school of neons.

    This is going to be a process for me and will take some time. I am currently working 53 hours a week, so I only have Sundays for these side projects.

    My next course of action is to draw out my land patterns on the plexi and cut them out. That will be this upcoming weekend hopefully.
     
  11. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    This is the land that Amber and I created. This is how it appears before we placed it in the tank.

    withlandnowater.jpg

    This is how it appears in the tank with everything running and the fish swimming around.

    We haven't added any frogs yet as we are now monitoring the temps and water to see how the fish do. One step at a time.

    withland.jpg

    The picture OUT of the water is more in resemblance with the stones used. There is a glaring brightness on the second image.

    I did take 100+ pictures as I built this thing, so I will toss something together at a later time to help people with ideas.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Ace

    Ace Elite Member

    That is going to look so Awesome once the frogs are in there!

    How did you make the land?
     
  13. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

  14. Frognut

    Frognut Subscribed User Premium Member

    Couple of questions...

    Did you use hot glue for just attaching the logs to the base? Or did you use it for any other areas of the design?

    Would hot glue hold up under water?

    Can you lift the filter out of the 'cave' area, or do you need to remove that land section to take out the filter?

    Rich -- it looks AWESOME!! Since it looks like I'm re-designing my FBT tank (need to take out the plexiglass partition anyway to fix the leak) I'm going to be utilizing some of your ideas!

    You did an amazing job - congratulations!!!!
     
  15. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I used aquarium silicone for everything that would be in contact directly with the water. The hot glue was used for everything on the land itself, though it didn't do a great job once the warmth of the water warmed the plexi. lol It softened the glue enough that I could lift rocks out. The frogs can't move anything though.

    The "cave" over the filter is removable by itself. That gives me complete access to the filter.

    I am actually in the process of making a second one. I didn't like the rocks moving like that, so it will all be done with aquarium solicone. I also purchased 1/4" plexi opposed to the 1/8" I used the first time.

    I am documenting this build as well. lol

    Glad you liked it!
     
  16. Frognut

    Frognut Subscribed User Premium Member

    What type of algae eater are you planning to get?

    The issue I have is that the waterfall filter doesn't pick up the larger stuff in the bottom of the tank (the waste). I'm planning on adding another filter in the other corner -- can't have to much filtration (in my opinion).

    Does the algae eater clean up the waste? How do you keep the bottom clean with the aquarium rocks in the tank?

    And is the rule of thumb still 1" of fish for every gallon? I have a 29 gallon tank and if I use two of the rock waterfall filters that will take some of the usable space away. So I'd be limited on the number and size of the fish I could add.

    I'm so glad you started this -- it's very exciting! I hope it works out, all that water in the FBT tank just screamed for fish swimming in it!
     
  17. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Algae eaters will scarf up algae and bits of uneaten food, but not the wastes themselves. And some types of algae eater will try to feed on the body slime of the other fishes and can cause sores.
    1 inch of fish per gallon is a guideline but can be tweaked if you choose to pay close attention to water quality.
     
  18. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    I really like the land and that its totally removable. Makes for easy cleaning! And no husk to drag into the water.
     
  19. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    Nice setup. Makes me think of making one with my daughter.
     
  20. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I will be grabbing chinese algae eaters. They stay small (2"). To clean the rocks I will be using a python vacuum. It runs from your sink to your tank. Turn on the sinks water and the suction created will vaccuum the rocks out. It will take 5 minutes a wek to keep them clean.
     

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