I'm excited again. That means a lot because about a month ago I was ready to simply give up for a while and be content with the current 40 gallon planted tank and the 30 gallon salt water tank, which now housed the sparse survivors of the great Ozark reef crash of 2016. I'd had the reef tank up and running for four years. I'd read so many posts about reef systems crashing. Now I'm a believer. I'm starting to think the culprit was the 18 inch long giant bristle worm I extracted while tearing it down. I had started to notice coral damage, then they started to die and the next thing I knew I had a cascade of horror, one that wasn't contained until I had done about 400 gallons of water changes. Long story short, everything but four small fish and a handful of corals died. To say I was bummed out would be an understatement.
That being said, I have always loved planted tanks. As mentioned, I have a 40 gallon tank going that I let our home school group put together under supervision. I purchased the 200 gallon display tank for the corals but always wondered how it would look as a freshwater setup. Well, here's my chance. The tank was cleaned as best I could manage (coraline algae is the devil to get off....vinegar was the key) and soon I'll start adding the basics. It's a rather unique setup. Let me elaborate.
The display tank is approx 200 gallons and sits in the wall of my den. It flows into a 110 gallon sump that used to house my DIY algae scrubber which I had for three years after my skimmer kicked the bucket. Water then flows back into the dt but also into an elevated 45 gallon refugium that gravity feeds into the display tank. My plan for both is plants, plants and more plants. I will, however, use pots in both of those tanks just for ease of changing things out whenever I need and to reduce the amount of suspended particulate matter when I mess with it.
There are certain inherent advantages to the system at present. I had a decent amount of equipment for the reef system and will just transition everything over to the new project. I have an Apex system which is wonderful for managing temperature, pumps,lighting, pH, water top off, etc. Lighting is an eclectic mixture of four Kessil A160w, one Kessil A150, three various reef strip lights and a handful of LED lights previously used to run the algae scrubber. There are also various pumps for water movement, the best being the two Ecotech MP40s (going to have to dial them back a bit for this project). Top off is a 30 gallon tank but I will probably switch that over to one of the 2, 65 gallon water tanks that currently houses my RO for salt mixing. The other will remain salt for the 30 gallon survivor's tank (a little overkill now that I think about it....a 65 gallon salt water storage tank for a 30 gallon tank). Luckily, water changes are a snap, only requiring one valve and a switch for removal and the same for tossing water back in.
I will make this disclaimer.....I'm not that good at aquascaping. I have seen some amazing scapes not only on this site and others. At this point, I'm just out to make myself happy (and the boss....the wife), grow some nice plants and make my fish as comfortable as possible. That being said, as I post photos going forward, any suggestions will be appreciated. I'm going to take this low and slow, so bear with me. I'll include photos along the way to hopefully make it more interesting.