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Hey guys, I have a river tank with a lot of hillstream loach. I thinking about my setup. any of y’all tried a river tank with power heads and pvc? Or any other setup that’s effective? How is the maintenance? I have a 75 with a circular flow. I don’t know if that’s bad or not. Just wanna hear about other people’s experiences. 

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Rachel O'Leary had a nice setup for a big millstream tank that I remember watching...


We don't have a proper river tank set up, but we do have a nice 29 gal featuring U.S. Natives with flow, river-like rocks, etc. No millstream loaches, but we do have a pair of Rainbow Darters...



For powerhead, we were using a Hydor . . . but some of the shiners got jammed in and decapitated 😬 

So, I'd like to recommend something without an accessible fan underwater. Lots of powerheads to choose from. 



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You might find it to be more effective in your tank.  I have a 20 wide with a stream flow manifold, and the actual side to side flow is....  not what I was wanting.  There is some amount of side to side flow, but I haven't been able to have it do anything besides circular flow or a super kind of high flow on one end with very chill slow flow on the other end. 

I have a single powerhead on one end, and two sponge-covered intakes on the other end.  The fish seem pretty happy about it with how I have it now, so I probably won't mess too much with what works.  And by happy I mean my minnows will spend some time hanging around in the high flow area 'playing' in the flow, and my hillstream loaches don't spend all day hiding, they have grazing and basking spots spread around the tank they spend time that I can actually see them.20210412_171845.jpg.c091c1789175f0aadf03e472172d5cbc.jpg

You can see the overall structure in this picture.

Streamflow manifolds I think work best if you have a relatively shallow, but long tank.  Something with the same width and height as a 20 long, but significantly longer would probably be able to get a decent side to side flow, but finding the sweet spot of enough flow to be noticable, but not so much flow the non-benthic (non-bottom dwellers) just get thrown around like a tornado, is not super easy.

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I saw a YouTube video quite a while ago where a guy made a hillstream loach tank in a 40 breeder by siliconing in a piece of glass a few inches up from the bottom of the tank, creating a false bottom that was open on either end. He then used one of the gyre pumps at one end under the false bottom to create  a circular flow in the tank. The water would come into the bottom section at the left, get shoved across under the false bottom to the far right where it would then emerge and flow back towards the left. He used sponges, eggcrate, and netting to prevent the loaches from getting pulled under the false bottom. He added caves with openings parallel to and perpendicular to the current flow for the loaches to hide out and also used some large rocks in places to lessen the flow in those areas. It was a pretty impressive setup. He even had some plants in the tank, but they were mostly growing horizontally due to the current flow. His substrate was mostly river rock and broad flat stones.  It was a very neat looking setup. The sponges were his filter. It was essentially a mountain stream in an aquarium. To give you some idea of flow, the small gyre pumps typically pump around 2,000 gallons per hour. The bigger ones can do up to 6,000 GPH. There was a lot of flow in a 40 breeder. The loaches seemed very happy though.

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