klibs' 75 Gallon High Tech Dirt Setup - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-09-2014, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
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klibs' 75 Gallon High Tech Dirt Setup

NEW JOURNAL:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh....php?p=7946226

This setup lost to BBA so I took an opportunity to redo the entire thing.

***I will be updating this first post with my progress / all the pictures***

Most Recent Pic:
10/1/2014


This is my first attempt at a real planted tank. I have a low tech 29 gallon that is doing very well but I am looking to go all out with a high tech setup in a big ol 75 gallon and see if I can make something gorgeous. I am hoping that this is not too much for me to handle but I'm trying my best to be smart about it.

Learning from all of my research has made me GREATLY appreciate those of you who took time to keep detailed journals on how you accomplished great tanks so I will try to do the same. If this journal one day helps someone model a great looking tank I will be happy.

Hardware:
  • 75 Gallon tank
  • Apex Controller (with pH / temp probes)
  • 2 x Eheim 2217 canisters
  • 5 lb CO2 tank (controlled by Apex)
  • 24" Cerges reactor inline with one of the 2217 cans
  • Catalina 3 x 54w T5HO light fuxture
  • 2 x Build My LED Dutch XB
  • 1" MGOCPM / RedArt clay capped with old EcoComplete
Flora:
  • Hemianthus Callitrichoides Cuba (HC / Dwarf Baby Tears)
  • Dwarf Hair Grass Sp. Belem (DHG Belem)
  • Rotala Rotundifolia / Vietnam
  • Anubias Nana Petite
  • Crypt Wendtii Red
  • Ludwigia Red / Repens
  • Eichornia Diversifolia
  • Christmas Moss
  • Alternanthera Reineckii (Rosaefolia)
Fauna:
  • 17-ish rummynose tetras
  • 1 black skirt tetra that I'm too lazy to get out of there (he's fast)
Tank Prep / Dirt:
  • Bought like 4 bags of MGOCPM (MiracleGro Organic Choice Potting Mix)
  • Bought a few pounds of RedArt pottery clay (has like 7% iron) from some random pottery lady by where I work
  • Sifted out the larger chunks of stuff that comes in the mix
  • Soaked / dried it once (huge PITA if you ask me - NH is not a warm area and it rained for like 3 weeks in a row when I was trying to dry it out) and then said "screw that" because I was planning on dry start and have read that DSM will mineralize your soil throughout the process. Not planning on adding fish for a long time anyways...
  • Mixed my dry dirt with some of the clay and soaked it so it was a thick mud
  • Cut some strips of egg crate and laid it down along the borders of the tank
  • Filled the sides up with EcoComplete so that I would have a nice even border on the outside of the tank
  • Sprinkled some potassium chloride (same as that muriate of potash stuff) and some dolomite on the glass bottom
  • Laid out my dirt bottom - about an inch or so thick (slightly less)
  • Capped it with a generous amount of EcoComplete and sloped it so it was a good inch or two higher in the back. Probably 1" in the front to 2.5" in the back
Dry Start Technique:
  • Filled with water to be JUST under the lowest part of EcoComplete. No puddles anywhere
  • Bought some HC (Dwarf Baby Tears) and planted a bunch of plugs across the whole front half of the tank
  • I buried little chunks (kept the roots sticking down with a little of the foam padding) and buried it as deep as I could get it so they are under the water level

PROGRESS LOG

6/5/2014 - Plant HC for dry start method










6/8/2014
Right now I'm waiting for my HC to either grow or die (preferably grow). I think I screwed up when I planted it though. First I think I bought WAY more than I needed which kind of defeats the point of DSM but whatever. Second I think I should have planted more in the back of the tank but I left it open because I want to put down some legit driftwood and perhaps some nice midground plants. In time it should work out though... (hopefully)

6/21/2014
Finished the plumbing for my cerges reactor so I decided to hook up my CO2 regulator and give it a test in a spare 10 gallon tank. Definitely want to make sure everything works before I fill the 75 gal... It runs great (no leaks / is silent) but a few tiny bubbles come out the bottom and into the spray bar so I am going to put some pot scrubbers inside my cerges to trap anything that manages to get through. Here is where its at right now (the second picture that has all the bubbles is before I hooked up the CO2 and the bubbles are from the system puking out any air right after I started it):




7/4/2014
Some mold started to grow on some of my plants and I have been quite disappointed with the amount of growth that I've seen. So I decided to screw it and just fill the tank today. Some of my HC is looking great, other parts are browning and don't seem to be doing so hot. I will let the carpet form submersed from now on. Hoping for as little die-off as possible in the next few weeks...

I cranked up the CO2 injection right off the bat and am sitting here waiting for my drop checker to turn yellow. Also added a hefty initial dose of excel hoping that I can deter algae. Will also be doing a few major water changes in the next few days.

After fill:


Good HC:


Bad HC:


7/27/2014
Most of my plants are in now - some are doing great while others don't seem to be doing so hot. I have some white wispy looking stuff on quite a bit of plants which is NOT COOL. Not sure if it's algae or something related to the new tank?? I have posted about this later in the log. For now here is a current pic:


10/1/2014
Actually figured I would upload this thing. TOTALLY failed on posting progress for the past few months. I will only post pics of the current setup in this part from here on out. Descriptions of my journey if I feel like taking the time to type that crap out will be in later posts. My garbage camera does not do this tank justice. Whatever though




Last edited by klibs; 06-05-2015 at 04:35 AM. Reason: Update
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-11-2014, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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Updated log.
I will be starting to build / test my cerges reactor within the next week so I can make it work perfectly before I fill the tank in another month or so... I will be using a 20" house filter with a decent amount of plumbing work attached to the output of one of my Eheim 2217 canisters.
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-14-2014, 12:28 AM
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Great start klibs. I am excited to see where this tank goes. Keep up the log! I have always wanted to do a heavy planted tank with some freshwater puffers...
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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-14-2014, 03:01 AM
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Cool project. I'm looking forward to seeing it progress. Your choice of a 20" water filter for your cerges reactor on a 2217 is a good idea. I tried a 12" cerges with the 2217 and found it had too much flow, even closing the double taps didn't help much. What kind of regulator are you planning to use?

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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-15-2014, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exv152 View Post
Cool project. I'm looking forward to seeing it progress. Your choice of a 20" water filter for your cerges reactor on a 2217 is a good idea. I tried a 12" cerges with the 2217 and found it had too much flow, even closing the double taps didn't help much. What kind of regulator are you planning to use?
That's good news! I have the following regulator (I think it's a Choice regulator - not sure because I bought on craigslist with a lot of my other gear):



Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevets9333 View Post
Great start klibs. I am excited to see where this tank goes. Keep up the log! I have always wanted to do a heavy planted tank with some freshwater puffers...
Of course you would Steve... Probably going with a large school of something though. Maybe you'll eventually convince me otherwise - got plenty of time before I make that decision.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-15-2014, 05:37 PM
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I've got a GLA choice regulator too, that unit is solid, works flawlessly, I set the bubble count once and it never budges, ever.

I would even suggest adding another T5HO bulb to the three you already have.

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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-15-2014, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exv152 View Post
I've got a GLA choice regulator too, that unit is solid, works flawlessly, I set the bubble count once and it never budges, ever.

I would even suggest adding another T5HO bulb to the three you already have.
Also good to know... I've been on the fence on whether I need more lighting or not. Might have to pick up another fixture... The one I have now has 2 bulbs on one switch and the third bulb on a separate switch so I can play around with how many bulbs I'm running.

How many T5HO bulbs would you say are needed for a good high-tech setup? Also don't want to go overboard and get wrecked by algae...
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-15-2014, 07:06 PM
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Sorry for the newb question but what delineates a high v low tech setup?

Is it just the substrate?
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-15-2014, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuddhaBoy View Post
Sorry for the newb question but what delineates a high v low tech setup?

Is it just the substrate?
No it's not about the substrate.

high tech uses CO2 injection / high amounts of lighting.
low tech does not use CO2 / lower amounts of lighting.

High tech will grow out faster / can support almost any plants while low tech might be limited to plants that are not so demanding.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-15-2014, 08:22 PM
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Thanks
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-16-2014, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klibs View Post
How many T5HO bulbs would you say are needed for a good high-tech setup? Also don't want to go overboard and get wrecked by algae...
Four T5HOs on a 21" tall tank is not a problem. For me the best lighting I ever had on a tank was using 4x 64watts compact fluorescents over my 75g and the growth was amazing. But four T5HOs is a bit less in intesity, and puts you at the lower end of high lighting. As long as your ontime for water changes, and your ferts & CO2 keep up with the lighting, you're good.

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25g 60-P iwagumi , 33g iwagumi cube, 125g high tech, 7g cube, 12g long
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-22-2014, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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I finished my cerges reactor / plumbing. Not getting 100% dissolved into water, there are still some tiny bubbles that make it out through the bottom of the reactor. I'm going to put some pot scrubbers in the reactor so hopefully they will get trapped and not be able to make it through anymore.
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-22-2014, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exv152 View Post
Four T5HOs on a 21" tall tank is not a problem. For me the best lighting I ever had on a tank was using 4x 64watts compact fluorescents over my 75g and the growth was amazing. But four T5HOs is a bit less in intesity, and puts you at the lower end of high lighting. As long as your ontime for water changes, and your ferts & CO2 keep up with the lighting, you're good.
yah, 4 is fine, I run 4...although sometimes I look at my tank and wish I ran like 6 or 8. As long as you can keep up the ferts and the co2, you're fine.

I would start with running maybe 2 or 3 bulbs full time, and then 1-2 bulbs for 4 hours in the middle of the day, and eventually ramp it up so that all bulbs are on full day.

My 75 gallon High Tech Tank:http://tinyurl.com/n7zp47m
My 10 gallon High Tech Tank:http://tinyurl.com/qyf7s5o
My 5.5 gallon nano College Dorm Tank:http://tinyurl.com/p54uupj
Mom's Spec V:http://tinyurl.com/qjt3rw2
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 06-22-2014, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HybridHerp View Post
yah, 4 is fine, I run 4...although sometimes I look at my tank and wish I ran like 6 or 8. As long as you can keep up the ferts and the co2, you're fine.

I would start with running maybe 2 or 3 bulbs full time, and then 1-2 bulbs for 4 hours in the middle of the day, and eventually ramp it up so that all bulbs are on full day.
I am planning on running 2 bulbs full time when I fill the tank. Then I'll slowly ramp up the lighting to 3 bulbs once I know I can handle it / won't grow out algae. If those work out then I might consider getting a second fixture.

Right now I'm running the 3 bulbs for dry start method
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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 07-05-2014, 12:43 AM Thread Starter
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Filled the tank! Got sick of DSM / was starting to get mold and seeing some of my HC turn yellow Lesson learned: DSM kind of sucks. Only my large chunks that I planted ended up doing very well. Updated first post with progress.
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75 gallon, dirt tank, dwarf baby tears, high tech, miracle gro

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