120 Gallon - First tank in years. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-24-2017, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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120 Gallon - First tank in years.

A very productive weekend.

We managed to pull all my old reef tank gear out and then sort, clean, and test all the relevant pieces. The controller, pH probe, temp probe, dosing pumps, 2 150 watt heaters, circulation pump, air pump, auto top off, digital backup thermometer, and mag floats algae scrapers are all ready to go. Cant quite believe that the pH probe is still good, but I'll take it. I even got everything cleaned up and put away again before picking my wife up at the airport.

Checked pH and looked up other water parameters late last week ...
- pH was about 8 and stayed about the same after sitting overnight
- hardness is a huge range of 11-230 average 76 mg/L as CaCO3 (~4.3 dKH average)
- chlorine is about 1.05 ppm via sodium hypochlorite not chloramine
- nitrate averages about 2.3 mg/L as nitrogen
- no phosphate, iron, copper, or others at important levels, potassium is not reported

Got the green light from my wife on a 120 gallon tank and a spot in the kitchen (a folding table, stools, and bedsheet to test size). It isn't my favorite spot, but it lets me get the 24" deep tank instead of just 12 or 18. Now I need to get to work on a stand that will match the kitchen cabinets or the table my wife got a few years ago, order the tank, and figure out what I want to do for hardscape...
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post #2 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 12:41 AM
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What do you plan to grow?

Welcome! Keep this this going please.
I enjoy the fact that people return to the hobby.
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Swimming is not that difficult.
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post #3 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 12:51 AM
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120G great size for planted tank. Good to see someone get back into the hobby.

Looking forward to seeing where this goes. Be sure to start a journal so we can follow along.
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post #4 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
What do you plan to grow?
Not really sure yet I figure I am starting with substrate and lighting and then will look for beginner plants from there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggz View Post
Looking forward to seeing where this goes. Be sure to start a journal so we can follow along.
Thank you. I will be looking for a lot of feedback over the next two months.

I have ordered a 120 gal Visio tank with black silicone from my LFS. I have decided I will run Kessil LED pendants on goosenecks to make access really easy and provide dimmable control through my Apex. The next two big decisions are substrate and filtration. I'd appreciate your input.

Substrate - I am looking for a varried color that is easy to replant and move around as I learn aquascaping. That cuts out the layered substrate I did last time along with several of the fancier products (uniform color) and almost anything black. I am on the fence between a nice sand blend by the LFS and Ecocomplete red. My concern with the ecocomplete is algae if I start with sparce planting to learn trimming and propagating plants. Can I leave an ecocomplete tank unplanted or sparcely planted and add things slowly?

Filtration - This tank must be silent to keep my wife happy, so I will go with a canister over the wet-dry I used to run. I am looking at the Eheim Pro3e 2078 (pricy, easy to access course filtration pad, variable speed pump to increase flow at night, doesnt seem to come with a spray bar and nice intake), Fluval FX4 (vacuum attachment is nice, corregated hoses will limit flexibility in plumbing), or Aquatop CF500UV (budget, but the quality just looks soft and I have a better option for UV). Do I have the pros and cons about right? Anything else I should consider?

Thank you for your time.
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post #5 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-29-2017, 06:34 AM Thread Starter
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Stand Build - Day 1

After two days of cleaning the garage and collecting parts my son and I finally got building today.

The stand will be a standard lumber construction with plywood sheathing and a little trim. It will be 36" high to match other furniture in the room. Those are 2x6 on top to allow me to skip the center brace. The opening is 27" high and 36.5" wide. I should have worlds of easily accessible space in this stand, especially without a sump this time.

We got all of the table saw cuts done today and glued and screwed the bottom frame and the top 2x6 frame. The legs are just cut and put in place for the photo. The top sheet of plywood will go on after the sheathing. Tomorrow we finish attaching the legs, sanding, cutout openings on the front and back sheathing, ... With any luck we can have it ready to start painting on monday.

I want a white, easily washable, hard, waterproof finish inside but am not sure what product to use. If I dont get any advice it will probably be an oil based primer with some polyurethane on top. The outside will be minwax with a few coats of polyurethane on top.
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post #6 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 03:14 AM Thread Starter
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Stand Build - Day 2

After three trips the the hardware store, two boxes of screws, a bottle of waterproof wood glue, about 2 gallons of sawdust, ... Plywood skin is on, now it needs hours and hours of sanding and the trim on the corners. Unfortunately I have to work tomorrow and wont make much progress.
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post #7 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 04:55 PM
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For inside the stand, I'd probably use Kilz. I believe it has a mildewcide in it - it's intended for bathrooms and similar applications.
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post #8 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 06:59 PM
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Nice looking stand!

On my 120 I have an Aquatop CF500 and a Hydor Pro 600.

I really really like the Aquatop, used to have a SunSun 304B which is the cheaper version of the same filter.

The UV is adequate for a FW planted tank. The SunSun knocked out a wicked green water bloom in just a few days. I usually only run it for 24 hours or so after a big trim/water change.

The real gem imo, is the built in skimmer. It works great.
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post #9 of 62 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the feedback. I am looking at the Kilz, oil based enamel, and a single component epoxy (didnt know they existed) that a neighbor who owns a paint store suggested. I've been able to get out in little spurts over the last two days to do a little wood putty and more sanding. I'm getting close to painting.

Thanks for the tip on the filters burr. I love your 120 thread. I'll look at the aquatop again. I found a good deal on an Eheim Pro 4+ 600, but am not sure it will have enough flow once I put my inline stuff in the loop. I sort of like the idea of a second filter on the tank anyway. How do you have your returns and spray bars setup in the tank? I am thinking of having the spraybar on the upper right pointed across the tank and it seems most people think the intake should be on the opposite side of the tank.

The plumbing and hardware is starting to show up and I'm starting to think about how and when I am going to get fish and plants into this thing. I had been thinking of getting a package from a store, but am looking more closely at the buy/sell forum.
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post #10 of 62 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 10:06 PM
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I dont use spray bars, but if I was going to have one on the end of the tank, I'd have the intake on the same end.

Flow would travel across the top, hit the far wall, go down to the bottom, and meander back across to the other side where the intake is.

I know some folks put them on opposite ends but having them on the same end makes more sense to me.

With two filters you could put the spray bars on the back, using two half lengths, one for each filter, with the intakes in each corner. I'd do mine this way if my regulator was dual so both filters could run a co2 reactor. But I only have it going in one.

Mine goes like this



1 is the Aquatop. using a 1' outflow to cut down velocity
2 is the Hydor, co2 comes out here
3 is a Koralia nano 425


The height of our tanks makes it easy to blast a lot of flow across the top without disturbing things too much
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post #11 of 62 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 10:24 PM
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I used Kilz in my stand followed by a few coats of Behr paint, as that's what I used in my canopy and so far it's working well. Granted I've only had it up and running for about 3 months now, but seems to be doing good.

I know you've decided on a canister setup, but doing a bean animal overflow I've got a very near silent system. Only a tiny trickle of water can be heard but I'm sure I could drop the flow a touch more to make it even more quite.

Can't wait to see what you build!
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post #12 of 62 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Stand Build - Days 3-8

I managed to get a few hours of sanding, putty, and molding in during the week. Until we put the molding on last night it really didn't feel very productive (looked the same). I have 200+ exams to grade this weekend, but I will try to work in the first few coats of primer and stain. The tank shows up on tuesday and it looks like the stand wont quite be ready.

Still trying to work out plumbing and decide just how I will cycle the tank. I am leaning toward just planting the tank from the start and then adding fish slowly.

I also want to take my wife to the rock landscaping yard to pick out some hardscape, but dont know if that will get done this weekend.
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post #13 of 62 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 04:22 PM
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For the cycle have you come across dosing ammonia to start the cycle? I've found the ammonia from Ace Hardware to be one without surfactants (key ingredient to avoid).

It's looking good! Glad to see this isn't taking years like my stand project!!

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post #14 of 62 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Rocks!

My wife and I slipped out to the local rock yard and grabbed some rocks to try out from the 6-8" river rock bin (toothbrush for scale). At .35 per pound, I grabbed a few extra. Just did the first round of washing and haven't done the acid test yet, but the colors are much more intense than I was expecting. Purple?

Might be able to make something out of the blue/gray with brown/orange group on the left or possibly the purple& reds in the middle (the purples looked red at the rock yard). I love the stratification on the green one, but not sure it will offer enough contrast. None are really big enough to make it to 2/3 of the 24" tall tank, though the top left rock stands up on its end ok.

I want lots of plants with the rocks to break it up and give contrast, so the rocks don't have to be huge.

I have thought of ammonia for the tank cycle. It would be nice to help teach my son the nitrogen cycle, but I sort of want something in there and I am a bit concerned about algae getting going. I suppose I could cycle it before adding the fluorite?
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post #15 of 62 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 11:26 PM
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Yeah you could just cycle the filter using a 5g bucket and then add it to the tank when you are ready.

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