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5’ “Shifting River” Tank

1187 Views 13 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Kingston
Hello everyone. Second post here, first thread created.

I’ve been keeping planted tanks for a while. This is my latest tank, after a 75g and 20 high.

I’m a big DIY person; I like to make things where no product that fits the purpose I have in mind. I have an FX4 on my 75 and wanted to use not one but two big canister filters on a 143g monster. I also hate the look of stock Fluval inlet/outlet pipes so I made 304 SS jet pipes out of 25mm tubing.

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Sorry for the abbreviated first post. Our 2 year old needed some help getting back to sleep.

Some more details about the tank. It's a standard WaterBox 6025. Right now, it's just low tech, with the single FX6 providing filtration. I'll be swapping the FX4 from my 75g soon, with my Cerges reactor and UV filter.

Set up:

WB 6025: 60.5"x25.3x21.7", 143.8 gallons
Filtration: 1x Fluval FX6
Heater: Helios PTC at 76 degrees (in-line heater unit made from 2" PVC and cable glands)
Soil: 18L of UNS ControSoiL + a mix of sand

Now the theme of the tank. My wife and I live near and got married close to a river here in CO. Even though it appears to maintain the same course, if you know it well enough you can see the changes from year to year; a bank is more eroded here, a boulder shifts there, a tree falls into the river in another location. It's constantly changing course. The basic idea for the design in this tank was that of a Brazilian highlands river that had shifted course and overtaken a dead tree stump and rocks that had accumulated around it after most of the soil had been stripped away during high water events. The UNS ControSoil is mixed in between the many rocks and held in place with HDPE paver grids that also serve to protect the glass from the rocks.

All of the plants are typical SA/Amazonian varieties; Echinodorus bleheri, Echinodorus cordifolius, Echinodorus quadricostatus, Hellanthium tenellum, Hydrocotyle leuocephala, etc. Some of them are having a tough time transitioning from emersed to submerged life and a good pruning session will be in order soon. All of the plants have submerged leaves growing in, so the plants will survive, but the tank will look a bit sparse in areas, for a bit. Also, we've had an unpredictable winter here and buying mail order plants at this time of year is a risky proposition. I have some pretty big E. cordifolius growing in my 75g that will get a short bath in an H2O2/Excel solution, then come over to the new 6025.
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The lighting is currently a set of Kessil A360 WEs. Nice lights but they'll be getting sold and replaced with two (maybe three, soon?) AI Prime 16HD Freshwater.

A couple of reasons behind that. More PAR with less wattage with the AI Prime vs the A360WEs. Also, the phone app makes controlling the lighting and spectrum a lot easier. And, I can bring the light down to 1% as opposed the 11% or whatever minimum the Kessil does. So, a much better transition into "daytime" as well as the ability to run one light in a moon function at night. The tank-mount bracket for the AI Prime is also a lot better than the Kessil goose neck, which, IMO, looks pretty bad.
Night time shot, just before lights out.

Plant Pet supply Organism Fish supply Grass

Black neon tetras going for a night time cruise.

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25mm jet pipe and empty holder in the foreground.

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Great discussion and great looking tank! Could you post a straight on full tank photo?

You are exactly right about natural streams. I've learned some stream morphology while working on restoration projects. Luckily one of the projects is only a block from my house, so I can easily watch the changes from season to season and year to year.
Straight on full tank photo. Definitely! A really interesting aquascape.
The tank-mount light arms for my AI Prime 16HD FW lights come tomorrow. Once I have those set up, I hope to get some good full tank shots. The Kessils do some weird things to my phone when trying to take pictures so I'm hoping the new lights help with that, too.

One thing I'm still trying to figure out is what to grow on the stump, which is usually 3" above water light, at the top. The stump has 4 decent sized crevices in it that would allow for plants to be grown in them. They all hold aquasoil, and are saturated, so the plants would need to be content with that. Likely looking for 2-3 plants. I was thinking something like Acorus gramineus, maybe a small Monstera, etc. I think my fish would actually like some nice shaded areas in there and it might inspire some additional growth from the many Echinodorus varieties. Any suggestions?
Five-foot tank... The stuff dreams are made of. I recently saw a tree-root nook in a riverbank, in which soil had collected and a lush, thick Eleocharis mat had grown. It was stunning. You could go with that!
Quick snap with my old iPad:

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Beautiful tank.
Could you tell me what your stock material was to make the stainless steel curved inlets and holders. Also, that is an elegant looking stand. Did you make it, and if so, could you expound on its construction? Nice stands are something I rarely see for commercial sale.
Beautiful tank.
Could you tell me what your stock material was to make the stainless steel curved inlets and holders. Also, that is an elegant looking stand. Did you make it, and if so, could you expound on its construction? Nice stands are something I rarely see for commercial sale.
The stand is the stock stand for the WaterBox 6025. My wife is a skilled carpenter (she made our bed, both chest of drawers, night stands, coffee table) and she was actually impressed with how well constructed it is. It's made of 3/4" marine grade plywood and they use a LOT of hardware to bolt it all together.

I made the jet pipes from 25mm 304 SS tubes that I purchased on AliExpress. The main sections are 25mm OD x 22mm ID x 300mm (some were 600mm, cut in half). They were joined together with 28mm OD x 25mm ID x 40mm long sections of pipe that were reamed out a bit to allow for easier fitting. The curved sections are 180 degree u-bend sections of the 25mm OD tubing, and there are some elbows and tees used as well for where the water exits the pipe on the outlet, and for joining the skimmer section to the main body, which is not shown above.

I actually made everything with acrylic tubing first, but, having used the acrylic pipes on the FX6 when it was cycling in my basement, I determined that it was not going to be an ideal long term solution. Simply not durable enough, with a 2.5 year old child and another on the way, and the tank being in the main living area of our house. They'd be fine if I had a gallery or similar room where no one would touch them, but my son can play near the tank without the worry of causing a flood in the house now.

The holders are made from a 300mm x 50mm diameter HDPE cylinder I bought on Amazon. Drilled a 1 1/8" hole through each 75mm piece, then used a table saw to cut a series of 25mm cuts in it until I had a ~17mm groove. Used nylon bolts on the glass side to fix it to the tank, and grade 12.9 steel M6 grub screws to set the jet pipe in place at the proper height/depth.

I've thought about making them and selling them on Etsy or similar but I'm not sure I have the patience for that. There's a good amount of time that goes into making them and I'm not sure it would be worth it unless I could get a good price for them.

Here are two threads I made on

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I'll be doing a couple of things to my 6025 soon.

1) Adding a UV filter. Plan to have it on for 12 hours a day. It's already configured, with plumbing and valves, such that it can be emptied of water and the bulb replaced while water is running through the system. Made a manifold that can redirect the water in a loop that precludes the filter, allowing for easy maintenance.

2) Getting a new, Manzanita stump with more surface area both above and below ground. I was displeased with how soft the Cypress was once waterlogged and don't think it was going to have a good, long lifespan in my tank.

3) I bought and installed a gas flow meter for my CO2 system. This will allow me to see the actual flow rate AND dial it up or down.
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