View Full Version : Outdoor Tubs

06-11-2015, 12:09 PM
I am about to try for the first time outdoor tubs. I am planning the following:

2 55 Gal plastic drums with 3" gravels at the bottom, large floating plants with long roots at the top in semi shaded area in the yard. One drum will have 8 Celestial Pearl Danios and the other drum some Danio roseus.

Question #1: do I need an air stone? I saw a past member of the club keeping tiger endlers (hundreds) in a similar setting without any aeration.
Question #2: What else shall I be concerned aside from Dragon Flies (I have not seen any).
Question #3: What is there is a major storm and it overflow? What can I do to prevent the fry that I believe will be on top to overflow?

I am also considering setting up 2 regular 55G but I'm concerned about the sun and also aeration for a pair or trio of A. Borelli. Any suggestions you may have? I'll be gone for 3 weeks to France and want to ensure they are doing fine without supervision.



06-11-2015, 01:47 PM
No air stones. You'll want the water still. That way the top will be hotter and the bottom cooler. The fish can find a comfortable place in between. You could probably use a bungee cord and some window screen on top of the drums. That keeps fry in but it also keeps yummy bugs out. I'm not sure what the Dragon fly concern is. I know it was brought up at the meeting too. I've never noticed them around my outdoor tubs or aquariums. The 55g in shade would be fine. I have a 90g in full shade and it stays pretty cool. It could probably benefit from more sun. Many apistos are in still black water though so they may appreciate the more "stagnant" environment. My only concern with a three week absence would be too much evaporation and not enough rain. Hope some of this helps. I think you'll probably have even more outdoor tubs next year. I really enjoy them

06-11-2015, 02:58 PM
Agreed. No air stones needed. You want the water to stratify. Will someone be available to check on the barrels while you're gone? If so they can refill evaporated water. I do stil feed every other day and do water changes; specifically removing mulm and detritus. I like the critters getting into the tubs. Tadpoles and eggs make great conditioning foods. I agree I may be losing some fry/fish here and there due to predation.

Uptown Ruler
06-11-2015, 07:15 PM
Last year I would find my fish gasping for air at the top of my tub when I had no water movement ....I use a pump and 5 gallon gravity filter on my 100 gallon tub and it has worked very well for me....mine was in partial shade and didn't lose any fish except to predation

I had water lettuce that grew crazy fast and my nitrates were 0 for the entire summer

I had goldfish and a pair of cichlids in the tub last year

06-11-2015, 08:00 PM
i see both sides, but i would have to disagree on the stratification of the water being ok, or even desirable... My fisheries education told me that stratified water has colder water (that is heavier) on the bottom, but after a few weeks, months, it has little oxygen in it...now this was a lake such as lake lanier, or a farm pond...so a small tub may not be the same. if it gets rained on it may change the stratification. So i cant say. i do know that i have some tubs with aquatic plants in them, and they get wicked hot on the top, and still comfortable on the bottom....but if the water isnt mixing, or oxygen isnt moving through the water column, then the lower levels of water wont get any oxygen replenishment....eventually it will have to have less oxygen, and bottom dwelling fishes like apistos and dwarf cichlids probably wouldnt like that.....this is just me using some of my education and making informed guesses on this topic....others apparently have different results.

as for Dragonflies - the nymph aquatic larvae eat small fishes once they get some size on them. so by mid summer they are aquatic nymphs more correctly, and will be eating small fish less than an inch, but mostly closer to half an inch.
Fish farmers often use some chemicals to kill the nymphs and aquatic insects before they stock a pond. much better results. because if you have adult fishes, they will eat the nymphs before they get too big to eat the fish...thus preventing them from eating the fry.

water letuce or hyacinth is an awesome denitrifier, and the roots are great for egg scatterers...id bet 8 CPD would be 50 in a few months with those plants

michael wolfe
06-11-2015, 09:26 PM
I'll throw my native experience in here.

I don't use any circulation other than wind, rain and fish movement. I tried it once to try to create more of a stream like environment. But what it really did was mix the water so well that it was all the same temperature... and that temperature was too hot for my fish and they all died.
I also feed my outside fish about once a month if I remember. There is so much stuff that gets in the water and the fish take care of them. I would never want to try to cover an outdoor tub/tank.
Agree with the whole dragonfly nymph conversation... they can be a problem, but are usually not too bad... you dont really want 100s of fry in a 55 gallon drum anyway.
I use a hardy water lily in my 100 gallon stock tanks and they create plenty of shade, structure, and biofiltration.

08-11-2015, 06:09 PM
Here's one I wasn't expecting........ I have 3 50 gal rubbermaids on front porch. In the past 3 days I've had 2 chipmunks in a tub.....1 survived.....

08-11-2015, 07:35 PM
thats actually one of the ways to get rid of chipmunks...but deeper bucket and a ramp to lead them in.

08-12-2015, 09:11 AM
Years ago I had a 300 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank out back, was home to a Florida snapper and some nice potted water lilies. Came home one day to find the water brown and chicken feathers floating in it. Emptied the tank to find a very fat snapper and one chicken foot ;)

08-12-2015, 04:05 PM
SEE I'm learning so much from you guys!

08-12-2015, 06:29 PM
I always put a branch or stick in tanks, tubs, troughs to allow critters to crawl out

08-29-2015, 04:09 PM
Keep my angels in 35 gallon black pond tubs, like the ones at Home Depot, during the summer. Keep them under my raised deck, no direct sun light. No aeration or filtration. Change 50% off the water daily by just pouring aged water directly into the tubs and letting the water just pour out over the rims. The angels are growing very fast.