180g (attempted low/easy maintenance) peninsula dirt bottom planted tank build


MFK Member
Apr 9, 2011
Redmond, OR
I am to the point that I need to pin down the filter design for my 180g so I can finish the stand.

The tank is going to be displayed in a peninsula orientation (Narrow side against the wall with the long side jetting out from the wall). The tank is 5ft long. I am planning on making the stand between 6ft and 6ft 6in long. I plan on using the extra foot to foot and a half of stand to run all the tubing, wiring etc. This area will be enclosed... think 2ft by 18in box behind the tank the height of the tank. When I build the hood the hood will cover this enclosed box behind the tank.


Please pardon the lousy hand drawing... apparently when you have a teen age daughter you forfeit all rights to own a pencil to draw with.

My thought is I will put a 1ft by 1ft acrylic column behind the tank. There will be a lid on this column to contain the water noise. I plan to put 4 fine filter socks suspended in a plate ~6in below the top of the column. Underneath the filter socks will be a drip plate to disperse the water over the bio balls. The bottom of the column will be below the bottom of the 180g tank and terminate inside the 55g sump. Like I said above this whole area will be enclosed to suppress the noise.

My plan is to have a hinged panel in the hood over this compartment that will allow me to quickly pull and change the filter socks. There will also be a door in the side of the stand over this upper compartment to make maintenance / sock changes easy.

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Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Dec 16, 2018
I think if you can build that properly with good media it should work pretty well fr a 180 gallon.


Bronze Tier VIP
MFK Member
Apr 5, 2017
Flint town!
I think its pretty great. Id say you will need to have the drain drop at least 6" better 12" or more to get proper flow out of the tank. Not sure if you knew that or not the drawing dosent allow for that. Over all wet/drys like this work great they are really efficient. It's kinda how mine is set up. I'm pretty overstocked and I dont have any issues with ammonia or nitrite. I feed heavy too.
I did have mine under the tank at first its pretty loud. It now lives in the basement. I'd also make sure the water exits the tower under the sump water level.
I have mine in a 4 pull out drawer storage thing. I have mechanical filter media in the top bioballs in the second lava rock in the third and a mix of biorings and other medias in the fourth. The fourth is submerged for two reasons first it cuts noise second it allows me to have both wet dry and submerged media's if you loose power your bacteria on the wet dry will die quickly in a submerged media the bacteria will stay wet and you can use a battery powered air pump to keep flow and oxygen going to it. The big thing was it cut noise in half, probably more. I could easily run this under the tank now.


Silver Tier VIP
MFK Member
Aug 6, 2011
It will work but agree with twentyleagues twentyleagues and monkeybike monkeybike .


Silver Tier VIP
MFK Member
Aug 6, 2011
Also like to add I personally toss in bio wheels and sponge filter"s in my sump. The sponge filters will be seeded for fry aquarium or too jump start aquarium cycle. Got this valuable idea from duanes duanes .


MFK Moderators
Staff member
MFK Member
Jun 7, 2007
Isla Taboga Panama via Milwaukee
I agree with the emergency overflow Monkeybike suggested, it doesn't take much to overflow filter socks if frequent cleaning isn't done (24 hours can sometimes be critical).
I also use a biotower.

I use a simple Scrubbie to catch debris before hitting the lava rock biomedia, which I fill the tower with.
The water cascading over lava rock helps to oxygenate.

The long cascade also fractionates (the tower has about 4 ft of biomedia) which is caught in a bucket.
I use the same system on a ponds, and the video below shows the fractionation aspect more clearly.
koi pond fractionation