60" 120 high tech community planted tank journal - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 111 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 04:27 AM Thread Starter
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60" 120 high tech community planted tank journal

For years I've kept fish. Had a standard 20g as a youngster. College, marriage... went to Hawaii and fell in love with saltwater. Had an incredible 180 for a year, and then 2008 happened and we lost our home--and my tank. Ended up moving to a mountain farm where power outages and distance from any fish clubs make saltwater out of range. But, I can't give up my fish! Mounted a 36g bowfront low-tech Walsted tank three years ago. Gotta say I was disappointed. So, recently, my BEST friend and husband said "yes" to a 120 in our bedroom. (We call it the Wetter Chanel).

I got a huge deal on Craig's List... but sometimes you get what you pay for... so, I got a stand and canopy that the seller built and wired for himself. It looked pretty nice: stand, tank, lights--all for $100! We drove 3 hours each way to get it, and were so excited!

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When we got it home, there were some not-so-nice surprises. First, I had not checked for scratches. I had checked for leaks, but the light was dim and the guy had done us a favor to meet us near the end of the only day that Hubs could come. So, the tank was scratched. I tried to live with it, but couldn't. The next week, I went and bought a new one at a LFS for $400. It's a Marineland, and I love it. SO CLEAR!

Then, the lights. They are VHOs... which, in case you don't know is old technology. They are BRIGHT! There are 4 4' bulbs that the seller wired himself on a nice ballast, so they don't use much energy. BUT: finding bulbs for them has been impossible except for 3 types, all in the 10K - 12K range. I am thinking that someday I'll replace them with a hydroponics T-5 (or maybe T-8) fixture. I'm not a fan of LEDs; had them on the 36 bowfront and they had no spread: they were like a lot of laser lights boring down circles on my plants... especially my mini water lily. (But I digress.)

(The forum is making me split up this initial post about the tank into smaller chunks... read on!)

Here's the light array:

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The challenge in having these lights to start with has been battling algae. The lights are super bright and only one spectrum, so I have sudden on/offs. For now, I'm using them and have four replacement bulbs to carry me into the new year while I decide if I want to augment with one red T-5 bulb, or replace the whole array. Meanwhile...

I brought the new tank home on 10/27/16, painted its backside the next day, and set it up. I filled it with water and decided to use Black Diamond substrate, lightly salted with Osmocote+ granules. I bought two Eheim 2217s. One is attached to the two spray bars that came with the two filters (linked with a bit of hose) and the other is plumbed into a manifold under the substrate (6 under gravel jets) for movement. As I understand it, for planted tanks we want gentle flow (unlike with saltwater, where we blast the heck out of every corner). This is an area where I still have questions.

Here's a picture of the manifold as we were painting it: it's 1/2" CPVC.

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Into this manifold I plumbed one of our Eheim 2217's returns. Water goes into the siphon on the right of the tank, into the canister, out of the canister, through an inline CO2 atomic diffuser (from GLA) and then into the manifold, and out into the tank, laden with CO2.

Seemed like a good idea at the time, but we've had problems getting our drop checker to register enough CO2 in the tank. I think initially, the problem was with the CO2 setup. But now we've definitely got CO2 going into the manifold. We just need to run it for enough hours that we register 30 ppm yet, via drop checker or pH readings. One question I had raised in this process of bringing CO2 online what how much ripple one ideally has at the top of the tank...

Got some great plants from Burr740 to start off right. After adding water and planting them, this is my first FTS.
So, here was the first night, when we had the spray bar for just one Eheim at one end of the 60" run (left to right).

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The flow blew over the Mayaca fluviatilis (at the bottom right corner) on the opposite side! It was then that we conceived of a double spray bar gently rippling the surface from back to front of the tank. (Later still, we added Eheim 350 skimmers to both sides to aid with taking film off the top and adding water movement to the two sides.)

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And here was last week's shot.

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My camera work isn't very good, but here's something to note in the shots that follow:

First, I added yet more plants from two other great hobbiests here on this site, Bartohog and Junglefowl. All plants were excellent!

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Second: please note that I've done no landscaping yet. I'm just seeing what plants grow, waiting for algae problems to be resolved, and learning how to work with these plants. For instance, I've got anubias nana petite growing on the driftwood, but I'm expecting more driftwood soon, and plan to put some pieces of the nana and also the buce that's lying on the sand to the right of the driftwood.

Third: look at the evidence of using EI dosing:

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That is not a shadow. The bottom, brighter parts of the plant show how they came from Joe. Then, how they grew without CO2 or dosing for about 10-12 days. Then, how they've been growing with EI dosing and increasing levels of CO2 as our equipment comes online.

The next big steps for this tank:

1. Grow out existing plants, making new cuttings.
2. Defeat algae (I've got brown and green so far) by stocking Otos and managing CO2/lights better.
3. Explore whether I need more filtration/flow (opinions courted)
4. Insert more driftwood (on order) and then landscape
5. Stock with more fish. Currently, I have 5 Sterbi Cories and 3 Denison Barbs

Thanks for looking!

Tanks a bunch!

My current 120 tank journal: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12...k-journal.html

Marcia

Last edited by Tanks!; 11-15-2016 at 09:48 PM. Reason: pictures disappeared
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post #2 of 111 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 05:11 AM Thread Starter
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On Sunday last, the grandkids were over. They loved the Wetter Chanel!
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Milkman, Cornelar, Econde and 4 others like this.

Tanks a bunch!

My current 120 tank journal: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12...k-journal.html

Marcia
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post #3 of 111 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 06:28 AM
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Pics in OP are broken
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post #4 of 111 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I can't figure out how to embed them... is there a sticky on that?

Tanks a bunch!

My current 120 tank journal: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12...k-journal.html

Marcia
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post #5 of 111 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 12:57 PM
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Lol, the kids are staring at it like
"I cant stop looking"
"Yea me neither"
"hey grandma can u make dinner, we are to busy watching the fish tank"

whole scenario went down in my head lmao beautiful tank
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ďI live for the nights that I canít remember, with the people that I wonít forget.ĒĖ Drake Ė Show Me a Good Time
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post #6 of 111 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 01:45 PM
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I like it, the cool thing about it is that a planted tank changes and evolves constantly so every time they come visit it will look a little bit different than the time before.
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post #7 of 111 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 01:55 PM
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Beautiful tank setup. I've been trying to figure out the embedding of photos too. Here is a page on how to upload photos Planted Tank Hosting - No Permissions

Brian Rodgers
Aquarium Size: 50 gallon, Aquarium Type: Glass, Fluval 306 canister filter. Beamswork LED 48 inch.
Fish: Dwarf Gourami, Black Skirt Tetras, Otos, lonely Silver Dollar, Plants Jungle Vallisneria, Ludwigia Repens, LUFFY Philippines Java Fern. Ludwigia Peruensis and Cryptocoryne Wendtii added 1-10-2017
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post #8 of 111 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 04:13 PM
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You've got the makings of a really beautiful tank there. I have the same 5' 120G tank as you.

I also run two filters with spray bars aimed at the surface. It creates a nice constant ripple. Good for the tank, and the fish will really appreciate the extra oxygen. At some point you may want to add some circulation pumps as well.

With a tank that size, you will need a good flow of co2. I started out with a inline diffuser, but recently built a Cerges reactor. It wasn't really that hard and I wish I would have done it long ago.

I see you have a large canopy there. Just curious, does it open for daily access? I built mine and it is a beast to get on and off the tank (which I very rarely have to do).

Once again, really nice start on the tank, and I look forward to following the progress.
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post #9 of 111 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
You've got the makings of a really beautiful tank there. I have the same 5' 120G tank as you.
Yeah, I really searched for this exact footprint. 4' is too short, and 1' isn't deep enough, but we only had so much room a the foot of our bed, so 18" it was. Loving the size and depth, for sure!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
I also run two filters with spray bars aimed at the surface. It creates a nice constant ripple. Good for the tank, and the fish will really appreciate the extra oxygen. At some point you may want to add some circulation pumps as well.
I have read so much back and forth about the filtration power of two Eheim 2217s on one tank. My feeling in the end is that it's enough filtration, but I might need more motion down the road, as you suggest. That's fine with me; coming from the world of saltwater I've a good store of circulation pumps in house already.

About surface ripples: in troubleshooting my CO2 system, one thing that the GLA responder said was that rippling was the reason I couldn't get CO2 up to where I want it. He said that spray bars were passe, and that most planted tank enthusiasts don't use them. But I've read so much about the need to oxygenate as well as gas the plants. Thoughts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
With a tank that size, you will need a good flow of co2. I started out with a inline diffuser, but recently built a Cerges reactor. It wasn't really that hard and I wish I would have done it long ago.
So, yeah. I'm a bit confused on reactors. I had hoped that my manifold would work as a reactor, since most reactors (at least the DIY ones) seem to simply be a large channel of water that gives CO2 time to more fully dissolve. Is that not the case? Do reactors do more than that?

At first, we were getting NOTHING through our diffuser. After running it at 50 psi, we "cracked" it (according to GLA advisors) and now there are good bubbles going through. I know that the bubbles need to be diffused in order to spread through the tank well... right? CO2 is totally new to me! Today will be the first time that we can confidently run the CO2 for the full 8-hour photo period to see if we can gain a green drop checker. How fast is your CO2 stream?

We ARE having trouble getting enough CO2 to register on the drop checker the tank. Did you remove your inline diffuser altogether and just run the CO2 straight through the reactor? IF so, do you think it would be worth a try to run it straight through my manifold?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
I see you have a large canopy there. Just curious, does it open for daily access? I built mine and it is a beast to get on and off the tank (which I very rarely have to do).
It does open, and also it has slits in the top (near the front) so one can drop in food/ferts. Handy. But I end up opening it a lot. It rests well against the back wall, and/or it has two supports (like on a car hood)--one on each end--that prop it mostly open. It is a BEAST to lift: I can't do it even with Hubs. We had to have a 3rd person when assembling the tank.

The stand is really cool: I have a sweet 18" rimless cube in that lower, open space, with a nice LED on it. We have options: it can be quarantine, it can be species, and it can be grow out for plants. Not sure what we'll end with: probably a mix of all three. Right now, it's cycling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Once again, really nice start on the tank, and I look forward to following the progress.
Thanks! And thanks for your comments! I love talking with people who have similar setups and can compare notes!

Tanks a bunch!

My current 120 tank journal: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12...k-journal.html

Marcia

Last edited by Tanks!; 11-15-2016 at 05:25 PM. Reason: *
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post #10 of 111 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanks! View Post
I have read so much back and forth about the filtration power of two Eheim 2217s on one tank. My feeling in the end is that it's enough filtration, but I might need more motion down the road, as you suggest. That's fine with me; coming from the world of saltwater I've a good store of circulation pumps in house already.
I canít comment on the Eheim 2217, as Iíve never had one. I see itís rated at 264gph, and I would think two of them would be good. For comparison, I run two Rena Filstar XP3ís (350gph and one XP4 (450gph). The XP4 output goes to the Cerges. I also keep a well stocked tank of Rainbows, so I go a little overboard on filtration. I also run two Koralia 600 pumps, and two Jebao RW-4's, again a little overboard on flow. The trick is getting it to where the plants are gently swaying rather than being uprooted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanks! View Post
About surface ripples: in troubleshooting my CO2 system, one thing that the GLA responder said was that rippling was the reason I couldn't get CO2 up to where I want it. He said that spray bars were passe, and that most planted tank enthusiasts don't use them. But I've read so much about the need to oxygenate as well as gas the plants. Thoughts?
My surface has a constant ripple, and I have no trouble with co2 concentration. And like I said, the fish will certainly appreciate the oxygen. Notwithstanding what GLA told you, I think you will find many here who believe in good surface agitation. I believe it's one of the main components of a healthy tank. But it's a topic that I am sure is open to debate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanks! View Post
So, yeah. I'm a bit confused on reactors. I had hoped that my manifold would work as a reactor, since most reactors (at least the DIY ones) seem to simply be a large channel of water that gives CO2 time to more fully dissolve. Is that not the case? Do reactors do more than that?
Yes, thatís exactly what they do. I have no visible bubbles coming from the reactor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanks! View Post
At first, we were getting NOTHING through our diffuser. After running it at 50 psi, we "cracked" it (according to GLA advisors) and now there are good bubbles going through. I know that the bubbles need to be diffused in order to spread through the tank well... right? CO2 is totally new to me! Today will be the first time that we can confidently run the CO2 for the full 8-hour photo period to see if we can gain a green drop checker. How fast is your CO2 stream?
Thatís a great question. As you are going to find out, counting bubbles is virtually impossible with a larger tank. You are going to basically have a steady stream of co2. I use a flow meter rather than a bubble counter (see my journal for more information). I also use a ph controller and drop checker, but that is personal preference, and once again those subjects are always open to debate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanks! View Post
We ARE having trouble getting enough CO2 to register on the drop checker the tank. Did you remove your inline diffuser altogether and just run the CO2 straight through the reactor? IF so, do you think it would be worth a try to run it straight through my manifold?
Yes, no diffuser, just running co2 directly into Cerges. I switched when I had an inline diffuser fail (crack open). The panic and water everywhere was enough for me to switch to a reactor. Iím not sure what you mean by running it right into the manifold?

I hope some of that helps. I just went higher tech about a year ago, and have been right where you are now. I'm still no expert by any means, and can only speak from personal experience, and the observations of how things have developed in my tank.
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post #11 of 111 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Yes, thatís exactly what they do. I have no visible bubbles coming from the reactor.
Right; so... does your reactor atomize the bubbles? I mean... the bubbles come into the reactor pretty good sized, right? Do they then dissolve enough to be invisible to our eyes merely by spending time in the water column of the reactor?

IF SO...

Quote:
Yes, no diffuser, just running co2 directly into Cerges. I switched when I had an inline diffuser fail (crack open). The panic and water everywhere was enough for me to switch to a reactor. Iím not sure what you mean by running it right into the manifold?
Okay... so, on my tank, the diffuser allows me to put CO2 bubbles into the return of my canister filter "safely" (I devoutly hope and pray!). Then, it travels in the output water of the canister filter, up over the edge of my tank, and into a CPVC manifold: so, a straight shot down 26" to the bottom of the tank where it T's to six jets. The idea is to distribute water/CO2 to the tank, starting at substrate level.

There's a picture of the jets attached, as I was painting them. (Still haven't figured out how to embed pics. Sigh.) And then a picture of the tank. The manifold pipe is that center one you see against the background.

Quote:
I hope some of that helps. I just went higher tech about a year ago, and have been right where you are now. I'm still no expert by any means, and can only speak from personal experience, and the observations of how things have developed in my tank.
Well, first, THANKS FOR SHARING!!! And, secondly, your tanks looks GREAT! I hope I can approximate yours someday... (and figure out how to embed pics!)
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Tanks a bunch!

My current 120 tank journal: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12...k-journal.html

Marcia

Last edited by Tanks!; 11-15-2016 at 08:34 PM. Reason: add pic
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post #12 of 111 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 08:39 PM
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You have to wrap the URL in [img] [/img]

Example


[Img] www.picture.com.jpg [/img]
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post #13 of 111 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean W. View Post
You have to wrap the URL in [img] [/img]

Example


[Img] www.picture.com.jpg [/img]
GREAT start! Where do I get the URL if the picture starts on my hard drive? I've learned to drag and drop pics to that section of the "advanced" post field, but then I can't move them at all. If I choose the URL from those (under Manage Attachments) and put it with [img] they STILL stay as thumbnail attachments... So...????!!!!

Tanks a bunch!

My current 120 tank journal: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12...k-journal.html

Marcia

Last edited by Tanks!; 11-15-2016 at 09:15 PM. Reason: *
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post #14 of 111 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 09:16 PM
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GREAT start! Where do I get the URL if the picture starts on my hard drive?
you have to upload them to a image hosting site, I like imgur.com

when you upload them, be sure to select a resize option before you do, I prefer the "19 inch" resize option

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post #15 of 111 (permalink) Old 11-15-2016, 09:50 PM Thread Starter
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I got it! Pics are in to my OP. Thanks, Greggz (on different thread).

Tanks a bunch!

My current 120 tank journal: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12...k-journal.html

Marcia
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