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My 180 gallon bass aquarium

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by GMR_Guy, Apr 22, 2005.

  1. I spent a lot of the winter and spring learning about aquariums and aquarium plants. The result is my 180 gallon (6'x2'x2') bass aquarium. The current residents are a approx 6" largemouth bass and 4" bluegill. I got these fish from a hatchery in mid-March and they were eating from my hands within 2 weeks.

    Let it be known that all members of the sunfish family make great pets that tame quickly. Be forewarned that they eat like total pigs. These two guys will down over a dozen earthworms in a single day if you let them. I could write volumes about what I have observed, but I'll just mention a few for now:

    * These fish are very aware of their surroundings and have great vision. When you enter the room they get very excited (even more so when hungry). They'll swim back and forth like two dogs behind a fence.

    * The bass will jump out of the water to grab a worm or minnow dangled up to 3" above it. The bluegill will bust anything onced it touches the water. Today, for the first time, the bluegill leapt a tiny bit out of the water to grab a worm. I guess he is getting tired of the bass getting everything first.

    * Though they get along most of the time, the bass will take spells of chasing the bluegill away. The bass just seems moody.

    * The most fun is when either one grabs a worm or nightcrawler and leaves a substantial portion of it dangling from it's mouth. A very high speed chase ensues. The speed and manueverbility of the fish is impressive and much more than what you would expect.

    * The bluegill will try to eat anything once. It can be a piece of weed that is raising toward the surface or an air bubble rising. A piece of algae undulating in the current is worth a try. My trimming scissors are fair game at the moment they enter the water.

    I've attached a few pics. I'm having trouble getting a picture that does the aquarium justice. It is difficult to photograph thefish since they alwas are looking toward you when you are in the room.

    Attached Files:

  2. Thanks for sharing your interesting experience's and great pictures. :) I once had a bass in a small pond in the back yard. Fed him minnows one day and went fishing. Came home to find him dried out and on the grass. Must have jumped out while chasing the minnows. :(
  3. Fishman

    Fishman Catch bait???

    That is really really nice!

    I keep cichlids now, but my true love as an aquarium enthusiast is keeping native species, much more interesting.
  4. Chuck P.

    Chuck P. Here We Go Steelers

    Very nice setup..

    I always thought a Bass would eat a Bluegill, esp in a closed environment like that....Guess not... :)
  5. Great setup! I'm envious. I'm thinking about getting a 130 gallon tank to do the exact same thing. I may need some help with questions if you don't mind!?
  6. Great set up. I loe the plant set up too, whats your lighting system. Are you using fractured clay as a substrate? I had alot of great plant success with probably a lil less complicated lighting but adding about 5 inches of sand underneat the clay and natural gravel subsrate to provide alot of the aerobic and anaerobic nutrients to the plants. Have you, or anyone, Fishman especially with what oyu stated as your true love, ever though of giving North American Native Fish Association a look , great organization of aquarium hobbyists, naturalists, and academics, with alot of great knowledge in fish care, and very active in Ohio and the region. I'm in the process of another new aquarium for myself since ive moved and looking in the direction of greenfin darters, snubnose darters, various madtoms and shiners.

    If you like bluegills I suggest trying to get yourself longear sunfish, two species in Ohio a northern and central, or orange spotted sunfish. Not as aggresive ALOT better color and dont get as big. Bass might give them problems eventually though.
  7. Here are a few of my former fish.

    First is a streamline chub I got in the Scioto at a canoe livery, good find for that area now.

    Second is a spotfin shiner from Deer Creek at one of teh many canoe put ins along I think its called Yankee something Rd.

    Third is a large central longear sunfish from the same place

    Fourth is a smaller central longear.

    Fifth is where I got the fish at in Deer Creek. Gorgeous habitat, great diversity, a great place for darters in Ohio too.

    Attached Files:

  8. rockbass

    rockbass Banned

    Awesome looking tank! I want one of those now! :p
  9. I've still got that tank in my pictures (55gal) with the substrate still, stand and lighting for 50 bucks in cleveland, check the marketplace section :D

    :T :T :T

    Another note for NE ohio and ohio people, the Cleveland aquarium society is doing a combined outing with NANFA sometime soon.

    Last year the big ohio trip took place in paint creek, deer creek, the darby's, and alot of other great spots in central/se Ohio.

    Two years ago we started up on the Grand River around Rock Creek and worked our way up to the covered bridge/dam, and then made a sundown stop at the lake. Off the top of my head I think we saw 40+ species including several Ohio threatened's
  10. crankus_maximus

    crankus_maximus Crankus Baitus Maximus

    I've had a bunch of natives as well. My tank was not that big though. Nice setup and great pics. My fish knew when I was coming downstairs to do anything (vibrations from the steps possibly?). They would come to the front/top and pounce on anything that hit the water.

    Have you tried crickets yet?It's interesting watching the fish react to them. I could watch fish all day.
  11. I have heard of NANFA and plan on joining that organization.

    ashtonmj, nice pics of the fish.

    The details of my setup are:

    Substrate - 1" layer of potting soil with a 2 to 3" layer of flourite on top.
    Lighting - power compact lighting providing a little over 2 watts per gallon
    CO2 injection using a Milwaukee PH controller
    Filtration - mechanical filtration provided by Aquahead 70 powerhead prefilter (the powerhead is used for the CO2 injection). Though considered a no-no by some for planted aquariums, I also use a Penguin Bio-Wheel filter.

    I have had some problems with various types of algae. Algae problems are supposed to be less of a problem with planted tanks, I simply don't think I have enough plant mass to compete with the algae. But I don't want a tank that is full with weeds because the fish like to roam in the open water. About 30% plant coverage is all I want. Recently I was out of town for almost 4 days and did not feed my fish, it was amazing how much algae went away. The algae that was clinging onto some of my plants was greatly reduced. So I need to feed the fish less or replace my current fish with a smaller fish. Again, I'm new to this and have a lot to learn.

    Someone PM'd me wanting to know how much work was involved. Once a week I spend two hours changing 50 to 70% of the water, vacuuming the bottom, cleaning the filters, cleaning the glass, and trimming the plants. At other times of the week I may trim a plant here or there and do some additional glass cleaning. It takes about 3 hours a week to maintain the aquarium.

    After I get good pics and movies of the fish, I plan on releasing them and keeping other members of the sunfish family. Next on the list are probably a warmouth, green sunfish, and rock bass. Hopefully It won't be very hard to catch some very small 2 to 3" specimens.

    I had two redears in my initial stocking but they were not very agressive and they did not want to seem to eat. I'm thinking this might have been because they were hatchery-raised fish.

    I haven't had fed them crickets yet, but will do so in the future. I need to do some creek seining and try other foods such as crawdads and helgramites.
  12. ashtonmj, it looks like you got some vals in the background. Have you tried corkscrew val? The corkscrewval really looks good mixed in with my other val species.
  13. Chuck P.

    Chuck P. Here We Go Steelers

    Anyone have any or ever tried Flathead cats in an aquarium?

    I'd like to see a Flathead gobble up some goldfish.
  14. Yes there were val. species in my tank, the corkscrew should have been in the foreground, and the "regular" or "giant" val. was in the mid to back. I always got great propagation of the corkscrew val in that tank too until I had to treat a fish parasite. I started out with I think 6 plants and within a month or two I couldnt give the stuff away fast enough. I've also used italian val, kind of an intermediate of the two in the past. Val's java fern, anubias, and java moss are by far my staples of a fish tank, they are all hardy, literally impossible to kill and grow and propagate easily. My favorite is getting a big branch making it look like its fallen in and tying java ferns to it...looks exactly like a live fallen tree with leaves.

    I only had about an inch of flourite on top of my 5-6" of sand, I found that the plants roots get down into the anaerobic area alot easier that way. But your system is definately one of the better ways to go, especially creating a natural and local substrate. Some of the other Ohio guys were experimenting with packed sands and mucks from streams to bring in alot of natural organisms into their system for natural filtration, basically an adaptation of "live rock" from saltwater systems.

    Your algae is most likely coming from your CO2 injection combined with an awesome lighting system. I had about the same amount of plants in a 55 as you have in somethign 3 times that, with no CO2 and only a double tube flo. shop light. I never had to clean the glass until again my plants and system crashed from a chemical treatment. The algae sprung up because there were now plants to lock up the nutrients. If there are no nutrients available, because they are locked up by the plants, algae will not grow. I think you will find your algae problems go away as your plants grow or if you increase the amount or eliminate the CO2. With a good hood system that nearly seals off your gas exchange CO2 systems really are not needed, minimally at best. If your gas exchange is sealed off in your tank system all the CO2 your plants will need will be recycled back in. That's alot of tank too for your power filter! whats the rating on it...if you increase your fish (bioload) I would think of going to a canister alogn with the power filter. I think you even hint at it by reducing the amount of fish or the food. Thats all your biomass accumulating, and definately would be cured by a heftier filtration. Doing that you could also move your weekly waterchange to a monthly at that amount, dont wanna take out too much of the nutrients and detritus in your system and big water changes can do that, and do a weekly 20%.

    I would say more filtration, no CO2 (or very little), and your algae would drop, you could keep your 30% plant cover, and be fine adding more fish into your system. But when ya thinking about it the algae growth is normal for these fish :D just not overly attractive

    I liked warmouth's and rockbass alot, although the rockbass were VERY aggressive towards each other, although I never kept them in anything larger than a 55.
  15. I've never tried flatheads, but have had success with yellow bullheads and cachannel cat/blue cat hybrids. The catfish grow vey fast but don't make the greatest of pets since they like to stay hidden and don't tame down like other fish do. Catfish sure do have a great sense of smell. Once a worm is dropped in a tank, even though they don't see it being put in, they sense it and usually are out looking for it within 30 seconds of it being put in the tank.
    I would love to see a flathead eat a goldfish.

    ashtonmj, thanks for your thoughts. I got the co2 injection because many people said they had problems with algae until they got co2. I didn't think I would need that much filtration since plants are supposed to provide some filtration in and of themselves. I think you are right about my aquarium having inadequate filtration. So rather than reduce the amount of fish, I'll take your advice and supplement my current filtration with a canister filter. What type of filter media would you reccomend for use with a canister filter?

    I'm very happy with the plant growth. Everything is growing and reproducing. In fact, I could probably supply somebody with a lot of free plants if they lived close-by.

    Again, I'll take your advice and add the largest canister filter I can find. I'll wait and see how that works before altering anything else with my system.
  16. Go for a canister that emphasizes biological filtration over something such as a magnum 350 that emphasizes carbon/chemical filtration. Something that uses pourous media such as cermaic cylanders, gravel, or lava rock as a colonizing media will give you the best results, and most of those also have some kind of mechanical filtration from floss. Thats really where the filtration takes place is your bacteria colonizing that media and breaking down detritus. Along with that power filter which is taking up more detritus, thats providing alot of good mechanical and chemical filtration for you. The plants dont act so much as a filtration mechanism as something that works with your substrate to filter, because the substrate is really where its at. The plants are part of the N and P cycles that happen from water to substrate so really tie in with what is happening more than acting on their own.

    Depending on what your power filter is rated at, capacity wise, I would use that in picking out a canister filter because they get pricey fast especially the Ehiem. A fluval 304 or 404 would be something to look at, or something in that range of capacity and GPH.

    I think CO2's were part of a fad when the planted aquariums from Europe and Japan were becoming the big thing. They have their purpose and its a great suppliment but plant growth can definately be accomplished without them. Those types of tanks are choked with plants though, and what it boils down to is the algae is only going to grow if its given a chance to, so if its happening its because there is more going into the system than what the plants are taking care of. I think your lighting is more than sufficient for your plants, along with liquid suppliments, which are alot cheaper than CO2 to use, but since ya have it ya might as well use it. Check out in the native section, I basically use his system on a smaller scale and it explains alot of it in a great way. I know he has done the same thing in a 110 now and its working just as well. You can basically apply alot of the filtration methods the same way just increasing appropriately.
  17. Fishman

    Fishman Catch bait???

    I kept a 7" flathead for a while. Talk about an eatting machine, only problem was the house had to be pitch black for him to even move, let alone eat. Cool to see, boring to watch.

    I honestly saw (well not really cause the lights were out) him eat 10 decent sized feeder gold fish in one night. I always knew it was bad to have flatheads in a farm pond, after keeping one for a short while I know for a fact now they are devastating gluttons.

    He's back in the big O now, who knows one of us might catch him someday. His name was Ralph, tell him I said "hi" if you see him :D
  18. I always laugh when I hear about people putting flatheads in their farm ponds. This is a great idea if they hate the other fish in the pond. Flatheads can consume a fish that is up to 1/3 their bodyweight. That means a 30 lb flathead can probably kill any trophy bass that swims in a pond. Down south, introduced flatheads have destroyed trophy sunfish (I'm thinking redears) in some waters.

    Flatheads don't belong in ponds. They belong in the rivers that they are native to. Fishman, you put him in the right place.