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Fish Junkie

System or single tanks ?

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I have a small set of tanks (seriously my total water volume is less than one of some guys tanks.... I am set up as separate tanks filtered by sponge filters.

The pros of this is that I do have low risk of disease wiping me out. If I get new fish they go straight into there tank (I tend towards species tanks).

The cons are that I do have to be careful to ensure my water is consistent in quality in each tank when moving fry to a grow out. And the work to do water changes.

If I was to set up a bigger fish room, I would go with a system. I would like to automate water changes, but would never automate feeding as it is the chance to check health and happiness. To get around the disease risk I could consider UV, but would probably just make sure I can turn a tank of the syste,m and have a number of sponges running so I can either adjust the conditions of the isolated tank, or use it as a quarantine (again still being able to set up my fish direct in there tank, quarantine for a month and then introduce to the system by just turning a tap.

Yes I have though a lot of going bigger, problem of teenage girls.....

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What's best and why ?

whats the ups and downs on both ?


I guess the short answer is that neither is 'best'. It depends on what type of fish you have, quantity, what you are aiming to achieve and how many new fish you will be introducing.

I'm not running systems. I see the one huge benefit of systems being the ability to automate water changes.

Negative is the risk of disease, and the risk of the sump pump dieing and the entire system crashing (although of course by running sponge filters in all tanks as well this removes that risk to a large degree.

I would never have heavily stocked individually filtered tanks without doing major water changes. Doing large weekly water changes I have found the growth rate of fish is comparable to, and in some instances better than friends running large systems. Of course there are many variables there though..

It would be interesting to run a controlled experiment with fish from the same batch, fed the same foods to study growth rates in indiv vs. systems..

Edited by none
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The one good thing about teenage girls [MENTION=231]gingerbeer[/MENTION] is that they do eventually grow up, and then maybe your wife will let you build a shed and set up a fishroom with a large system, like mine did :)

I'm a big fan of systems, but make sure you set it up so you can turn off a tap and isolate tanks at any time to use for quarantine purposes. And run some sponge filters so you can use them when this happens.

The biggest pitfall in my experience with big systems is that the fishkeeper can become complacent on water quality and just assume that the sheer water volume will avoid any issues. I have yet to see a big system that isn't very heavily stocked, which means you need to monitor water quality just as closely if not more closely than individual tanks. I have been guilty of this myself in the past and have learnt some harsh lessons.

Cheers, Doug

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I have mostly species specific single tanks, with no system. I have a pvc drainage system in place to remove water and a pvc top up system for both american and african tanks.

This allows me to set multiple temps, multiple water parameters (american,african) no movement from quarantine tanks, cheap running via sponges, and cheaper treatment if necessary.

I do large water changes frequently so I don't worry testing parameters often, I just make sure to test my ageing tanks.

So yeah, a vote for single.

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i run both, my africans are on 2 systems, they are easier to maintain, i have auto top up on one, set up with filters so i don't need to use any neutralisers, to do water changes i gravel vac the tanks and as its where i sell from its getting daily small water changes, i also try to run a sponge in all the breeding tanks, just like to add extra air, my selling tanks have no spongers as they get in the way, but am looking into setting up air stones to add more air,

up side also is i don't need to run 40+ heaters in winter, i put a few large heaters in my sumps,

down side for me is a find certain tanks seem to build up crap more then others, not sure why, but i need to watch those tanks and vacuum them more then normal,

i have quarantine tanks, so thats covered,

i run a stand alone tanks for my peps and endlers, plus shrimp, also have 4 tanks upstairs that are stand alone,

i find i have more water issues for my display tanks then i do my systems, but i think both ways are ok, depending on what you have and how many you have,

i'm always looking at ways to improve things,

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