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Discussion Starter #1
I am just starting to think about it and would like some opinions.

I have several tanks now. I would like to get more, however, instead of having many tanks, each having a different filter, why not build a long aquarium that would allow me to mix and match, isolate or open, and maximize the space and viewing options?

I am wondering what would be the difficulty of building a "U" shaped aquarium. Let's say we start at a corner, start an aquarium that is say 10-12" wide, may be 18" tall, run it north for like 60", then run east for 60", then run south for 60", then stop. The entire aquarium would be fifteen feet long, and wrapped around like a "U". I can custom build a wood stand with same shape to support it.

The benefit would be I can view it from the inside or the outside, I can create partitions between them as needed and break it up for different types of fish/plants, if I want to isolate specific ones. I could create different regions with different substrates in it instead of doing it by "tank", by volume I guess it would be around 225 gallons so I could use a single canister filter to filter the entire tank instead of a bunch of individual filters hanging on the back of each tank.

The downside would be that it's impossible to move this tank once it's setup, even if u drain all the water in it. Another downside would be in the event I need to isolate some fish due to some contagious parasites or diseases it probably will be spread to all areas of the tank. Another one is that this tank will be hard to lit, it will need some custom "hoods" and lighting.

Is this a good idea or a bad idea?

Also would you do this with glass or acrylic?
 

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I think it would be cool, but it would be a HUGE undertaking, both in the areas of manual labor and cold hard cash.

I think in the end three separate tanks is more cost effective and versatile.
 

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The first thing I thought of (after I thought of how cool it would be) is how will you avoid dead spots? Even in a basic rectangle it can be hard to get the water flow to every part of the tank. I don't think one filter would be able to do an adequate job. Maybe two canister filters with possibly a power head or two to avoid the dead spots. If you created partitions as you mentioned, wouldn't they necessitate adding filtration of some sort into the partitioned off area? Maybe I'm not thinking of the same thing you are.

Hmmm, 10" isn't very wide for trying to scape and I think it would be hard to make it look good from both sides. 12" is a little better but still not easy. Let's see, 12" would mean the inside of the U would be 4'x3'x4'? It might be better to have the bottom of the U wider so the inside of the U doesn't feel cramped. If at all possible I'd like it wider (14-16"), that would give a much greater feel of depth when looking through the tank. Of course, that would mess up the inside measurements more.

For lighting I'd consider hanging fixtures of some sort (CF, T5, metal halide, or a combination) rather than a hood. Of course, I like open top tanks so I'm partial to lighting that would permit that. The tank would be a permanent fixture anyway so why not have the lighting fixed in place? It would make maintenance a lot easier than fussing with a hood.

The idea is appealing, but the logistics sound like a nightmare. At least I've talked myself out of ever considering it. ;) Okay, I'm done rambling now. Sorry for the stream of consciousness.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
cs_gardener very good point. I think you are right, the circulation would be insufficient and may not reach all spots.

I was thinking of partitioning in two ways:

(1) Every 20 inches or so create a groove on both sides so a glass partition may be slid in to break up the tank, the glass or acrylic partition would be slotted or holed to allow water to flow through, or I can use a wire mesh of some sort but that would be ugly.

(2) I also wanted to try building a few "humps" on the landscape, may be a styrofoam hill like 15" tall, then put substrate on top of it and plant something, which will effectively break up the tank but still allow occasionally swim through, or I might make a cave/tunnel in it. Just that normal tank I have to do that sort of stuff against a vertical glass wall and I think this allows some interesting possibilities that a normal size tank does not.

May be I need several inlets and outlets going to one canister filter?
 

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I think one canister isn't going to work. I don't think any canister I know of will have the power to get adequate flow. A better solution would be the Lifegard inline filter systems. That would allow you to use multiple inputs and outputs and specify a more powerful pump to make up for them.
 

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I think its an awesome idea, but the cost of getting custom glass in that shape and thickness and a cabinet/full set up would probably be 5,000-10,000$.

If you have that kind of cash go for it!!! I think it would kick ass (I'd do it if I was rich lol)!
 

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I think in the long run you would be much happier with multiple tanks sitting end to end on the same stand. And, each with its own filter or filters. You could use long light fixtures to avoid having one fixture per tank, without serious problems that I can see. Some advantages of that are that the tank glass can be much thinner, you can move the whole setup if necessary, you can use different water parameters in each tank, no disease spreading through the tanks, and maintenance could be staggered - one tank per week. If you used ADA tanks it would look almost the same as your single tank idea, and probably at about the same cost, but with very high quality.
 

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My first thought was leaks. If one end of the u dropped say 1/8", it would put serious pressure on the base of the u. Three tanks would definitely work better, and if done right, would look just as good.
Brian
 

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My first thought was leaks. If one end of the u dropped say 1/8", it would put serious pressure on the base of the u. Three tanks would definitely work better, and if done right, would look just as good.
Brian
Good point! The twisting stress that would be caused by any warping of the stand, or any deflection of the floor under the stand, would almost surely separate the sides from the base of the tank. If the room had a concrete slab floor, with a good sized drain in the middle, with the floor sloped towards the drain, you would only lose money, fish, plants, substrate, and probable a wife.

Now that I think about it some more, maybe we should encourage this project. It would definitely be a great thread to read!
 
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