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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-25-2015, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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New Member, New Tank, New Thread

Hello TPT,

As the title says I am a new member here and from what I have seen lurking around as just a visitor previously this forum seems very helpful and full of knowledge.

As for me, I am new-ish to the planted tank side of things but I am not new to other branches of the aquarium hobby. I have raised and bred many different species of south american cichlids as well I have also kept a few reef tanks.
I have always wanted to get into the planted side of things but usually had so many other things on the go related to aquariums that I just never did.

As it sits now I have slowly since 2010 (when my son was born) dialed back my number of tanks to only 3 (1 fresh, 1 salt, 1 hopefully planted)

My current wild Rio Xingu Discus:









I have other photos of the Discus when they were mixed with a group of home bred mutts in a bare bottom 75gal but I will leave those out.

I also have photos of my reef but it is nothing special since I downsized from a custom built 48"L x 24"W x 20"H 100 gal reef to a small 12 gal nano.

Now for the tank that I am currently setting up as a planted tank.

keep in mind this was a custom built tank that was designed and built to be used as a reef tank.

Tank: Custom rimless starphire 36"L x 24"W x 18"H ~65 gallons
External overflow on the side pane full width (coast 2 coast), clear silicone with polished and beveled edges.

Stand: Diy 2x4 frame skinned with plywood

Light: ATI 8x24W dimmable sunpower
I am not sure why so many people say you would have such a hard time using a 24" t5 setup on a 36" tank. With the light raised a little higher it will have no problem covering the 36" length. These lights are Par monsters and with the nature and spread of t5s I am not at all worried about dark spots on the ends or a significant loss in par. This same tank and light combo could grow the most demanding sps corals anywhere in the foot print. Is it over kill for a planted tank? Yes probably, but it is what I have and it is dimmable

Co2: Undecided/ yet to purchase.

Sump: Standard 20 Gallon tank
I had a custom built sump made when the tank was built. It is designed for reef tanks so it has a maze of weirs and 2x 7" filter sock tray with a skimmer chamber and a return chamber with a built in ATO reservoir. This sump takes up the entire footprint under the tank with only ~1" to spare on all sides. This wasn't going to work because it was a huge waste of space and I wouldn't even be able to fit my Co2 in the stand.
So I went out and bought a cheap standard 20 gal tank.










For the hardscape I am undecided if it will be a dutch style or a nature aquarium style or steal aspects from both. I have some random pieces of manzanita and various small to large pieces of limestone rock as well as different colours and sizes of rounded granite river rock. For substrate I plan on using ADA AS.

Dosing fertilizers will be done using the standard EI dosing routine using dry fertilizers (water changes don't scare me).

Let me know what you think so far.
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-25-2015, 10:41 PM
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I just set up a 75 gal a few weeks ago having fun setting it up I bet u can do it and those discus are beautiful I hope to have 2 when I get my tank done

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-25-2015, 10:42 PM
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Good luck with it

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-26-2015, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you!

Here are a couple quick pics of the hardscape material I am thinking of using.

The manzanita consists of 3 large branch-y pieces and a bunch of smaller pieces. Scape will more than likely be triangular coming from the left rear as the highest point and sloping towards the right front.

What would you do with these?







The rock I have is just a limestone rock. I have varying sizes and these have mostly just been in my yard. I have never used it in a tank due to not wanting it to alter the ph or hardness of my water for my discus or other south american fishes.

I also have a fair amount of varying size and coloured granite river rock. Same rock that can be seen in some of the discus photos from my earlier post.

Again what would you do with this? Any and all opinions are welcome and greatly appreciated.

This piece is obviously way too large but it shows the colour and texture of the rock.



This piece is slightlysmaller but has good personality, however still might be too big. There is also all the pieces I lines up in the manzanita pics.

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-26-2015, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
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I am also curious as to what to do with the 20 gal sump.
I was think of just using some different sized poret foam with some bags of submerged media so that I can reuse the tank in the future without having to cut out baffles.
But a wet/dry style trickle filter is also an idea I was thinking of.
What would you do with a 20 gal tank as a sump? Only things it will house are heater, media, and return pump.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-26-2015, 05:03 AM
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You'll have to plant heavy from day 1 if you plan on running 8 tubes over an 18'' depth tank.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-26-2015, 05:29 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dantrasy View Post
You'll have to plant heavy from day 1 if you plan on running 8 tubes over an 18'' depth tank.
Thanks for the input!

With the ati i can choose to run only a couple sets of bulbs or all 8. Thought if I run all 8 bulbs I could pick a wider variety of bulbs and just run it at a lower %. I plan on having it around 12" from the water. I definately have alot more reading to do before selecting plants.
Is this theory incorrect?

With planting heavy from the start I assume that it allows for more light to be used by a higher density of plants so that any algae issues are out competed with the larger plant #s.

If I do run the light at a lower % at the start and when things fill in I increase the light % would that be a good idea? I do plan on planting as heavily as I can but all depends on where I source the plants I guess.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-26-2015, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevor W View Post
I am also curious as to what to do with the 20 gal sump.
I was think of just using some different sized poret foam with some bags of submerged media so that I can reuse the tank in the future without having to cut out baffles.
But a wet/dry style trickle filter is also an idea I was thinking of.
What would you do with a 20 gal tank as a sump? Only things it will house are heater, media, and return pump.
Hello Trevor and welcome to the forum. To answer this question, I guess I would direct you to my 75g build tread (below). With your stand being 36" long and mine being 48" long I can see where you would have some issues doing the same thing as I did.

Depending on your DIY skills, I could see putting a smaller 5 or 10 gallon tank inside the 20 gallon tank. Run your overflow into the 10 gallon and then create some plexiglass baffles around the 10 gallon as needed for the rest of the sump.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-26-2015, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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Very interesting idea thanks for sharing. The idea of nesting a smaller tank inside is the 20 is quite unique but with the footprint being so small on the 20 not too sure if it will work for me. I always like to have a large buffer for the overflow and power off/check valve failure scenerios. I may end up building something as a wet/dry tower but not too sure yet. I may even just use some poret foam as dividers and toss a bunch of submerged bio media in there. You have me thinking though and I could maybe even build something similar out of egg crate covered in plexi
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-26-2015, 11:47 PM
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:-) thats the fun with DIY. Somebody offers one idea and it gets you thinking in a completely new way. Best of luck and keep us posted on the progress.
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-27-2015, 12:17 PM
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My sump was pretty basic if you want to check it out. Is there bypass? Probably. But it keeps the parameters in check and I haven't had any issues thus far.

I would say go with a nature style or jungle set up. Manzanita like that looks great when you go with a jungle theme. I know it isn't really the most common thing in terms of 'high tech' or 'prestigious' looking tanks, but I love the jungle look and it can be a lot of fun. I wouldn't suggest mixing large stones and large wood. The wood looks amazing, so I would prioritize it over the rocks. Small rocks work better in my opinion because it is more subtle. Or, and this is what I suggest, just go with wood only and no rocks to keep it more uniform.

What kind of plants to you plan on picking up? Have you given that any thought? Fish is an important thing to start thinking about too. Some fish like caves and such, which is important in the hardscaping stage. I knew I had corys and I wanted Blue Rams, so I put caves in my tank for them. I also left bare sand and didn't plant the whole tank because I knew corys enjoyed skirting around the sand. Just things to think about in the planning stage.

The tank is beautiful by the way, your progress thus far is nice. Definitely read up on the CO2 and start spit balling ideas here for feed back.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-27-2015, 06:14 PM
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That is a legit setup!

Beautiful discus as well

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dantrasy View Post
You'll have to plant heavy from day 1 if you plan on running 8 tubes over an 18'' depth tank.
+1 to this comment

Start slow with that light... You will be in algae city before you know it. Definitely need CO2 and a TON of plants to take full advantage of that fixture.
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-27-2015, 06:23 PM
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Just a note on the 24" T5s raised up: Light overspill may be a deterrent for raising the light that high. Also, it drastically increased the distance from source to substrate, which is something a lot of lights struggle with when trying to maintain high par values. I think your set up will be fine, but the general idea is that it probably weakens the light too much in an attempt to get a more even spread.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-28-2015, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
My sump was pretty basic if you want to check it out. Is there bypass? Probably. But it keeps the parameters in check and I haven't had any issues thus far.

I would say go with a nature style or jungle set up. Manzanita like that looks great when you go with a jungle theme. I know it isn't really the most common thing in terms of 'high tech' or 'prestigious' looking tanks, but I love the jungle look and it can be a lot of fun. I wouldn't suggest mixing large stones and large wood. The wood looks amazing, so I would prioritize it over the rocks. Small rocks work better in my opinion because it is more subtle. Or, and this is what I suggest, just go with wood only and no rocks to keep it more uniform.

What kind of plants to you plan on picking up? Have you given that any thought? Fish is an important thing to start thinking about too. Some fish like caves and such, which is important in the hardscaping stage. I knew I had corys and I wanted Blue Rams, so I put caves in my tank for them. I also left bare sand and didn't plant the whole tank because I knew corys enjoyed skirting around the sand. Just things to think about in the planning stage.

The tank is beautiful by the way, your progress thus far is nice. Definitely read up on the CO2 and start spit balling ideas here for feed back.
Are you using a submerged style sump or is it a wet/dry?

For Co2 I was thinking about purchasing a carbon doser unit and attaching it to a 5 - 10lb cylinder depending on what I can fit under the tank.

Thanks for all the input its appreciated!

As for plants I have been researching but not concrete plant list set.
For fish I am not too concerned about making a list. I have a few species in mind but mostly just tetras, rasboras, some otto cats, hillstream loach, your basics really.

I will definately take the hardscaping advice into consideration. Still not sure which of the manzanita to use. Wish some of it was less branch-y and thicker, but I'm sure I can come up with something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
Just a note on the 24" T5s raised up: Light overspill may be a deterrent for raising the light that high. Also, it drastically increased the distance from source to substrate, which is something a lot of lights struggle with when trying to maintain high par values. I think your set up will be fine, but the general idea is that it probably weakens the light too much in an attempt to get a more even spread.
I have an apogee par meter coming in and plan to dial the lights for % as well as height later as I get closer to planting. The light spill is not of too much concern because the tank is in my "man cave" area if you want to call it that, my wife calls it the fish room and my son calls it my bedroom hahaha. I previously had an 8x54w t5ho light roughly 9-10" @ 100% above a 48"x24"x20" reef tank and the entire room had an errie blue glow from the street.

Here is a pic from when I first set it up



Quote:
Originally Posted by klibs View Post
That is a legit setup!

Beautiful discus as well


+1 to this comment

Start slow with that light... You will be in algae city before you know it. Definitely need CO2 and a TON of plants to take full advantage of that fixture.

Thank You!
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-28-2015, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
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While at the hardware store today I stumbled across 4'x8' sheets of coroplast in white, black, red, yellow, blue, and green for only $15.00.

After researching I know that I want to bank the substrate high in the rear left corner and have a triangular styled scape. I know that I need to support the substrate with something like miniature sheet piling to stabalize and prevent the slope from collapsing when flooded and over time.

I'm sure most of you have seen the videos by tgm on youtube inwhich they utilize "substrate supports" which is just black coroplast. I tested the coroplast before this by cutting a piece off of a forsale sign and banked the silica sand up in my discus tank and it held it very well. I even tried just barely putting it into the sand to see how well it held before floating and I was very surprised how little it needed to be in the substrate to hold and not float.

So I guess the point is just check your local hardware stores cause I know the big box stores usually just have white, and if you want something black they might have it.
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