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TankZen 03-02-2011 10:19 PM

New 180 Gallon Planted Tank
A little background: From the very beginning I wanted a planted dad had 100G planted. After college I got my first tank a 55G. The first 4 years I killed every plant I put in there except java fern. My dad kept saying he couldn't understand why I was having so much trouble....I gave up and just let the java fern go and maintained the fish. Four years later one light burnt out. It was the first time I looked at the actual bulbs because I used the ones that came with the USA current light fixture....well they were 460nm Dual Actinic! After some reading I realized why I could never grow plants!! After I got new lights my excitement the 55G is growing like crazy. I even got my Husband excited about the hobby and he said if we are going to have a planted tank at least we can have a "sweet one." Hence the 180 gallon purchase.... I'm seeing hours of researching coming my way....(thanks to this forum!)

Figure I should get this journal going so I can get some of your guys input/help along the way.
This is my first large planted tank....moving up from 55G low tech tank.

My plans for the tank:
Eco complete 18 20lb bags
4- 96watt CF 10,000K and 6,700k coralife
CO2: 20lb Pressurized diffused with Cerges Reactor
Fertilizers: EI 2x a week
Filtration: Eheim 2262 Canister, AC110 (HOB)
Current: Eheim 2260 pump (running Cerges Reactor, UV and heaters)
2- Hydor ETH 300 In-Line Heater
1- 18w turbo twist sterilizer

Star grass
Green Cabomba
Broad Ludwigia
Dwarf Lily Bulb
Red Tiger Lotus
Limnophila Aromatica
Rotala Rotundifolia
Polygonum sp. Kawagoeanum
Anubias nana var. 'Petite'
Needle Leaf Java Fern
Java Fern 'Trident'
Java Fern
Amazon Sword
Brazilian Pennywort
Red Wendtii
Micro sword

Fish plans for this tank:
5 Red Turquoise Discus (Born June 7 2011)
4 Aqua Green Scribbles Discus (Born June 7 2011)
Rummys 11

Clean up crew:
10 Ottos
10 Julii Cory Cats
Cherry Shrimp

Here is the tank. Picked it up from craigslist 3 years old with stand lights filter $700 gotta love craigslist!! It's all-glass aquarium and stand.

First things first. We repainted stand and canopy to get it like new again!
Next my husband "beefed up the supports in the crawl space." Here's how it turned out. Now when you walk across the living room the water doesn't move everywhere on the top of our 55G like it use too.

Next project... for my husband.... running hot and cold plumbing to the tank and piping water into the filter so we can drain the tank and refill using the canister filter for a semi automatic water change. Anyone with experience doing this your input would be appreciated. We still need to determine the proper filters to remove chlorine from the water before it enters the tank.

Right now pricing out eco complete...Found out today my LFS will match petco's online price of 16$ per 20lb bag. Anyone find a better deal out there let me know!! This stuff adds up!

Centromochlus 03-02-2011 10:22 PM

That's a beautiful tank!
Looking forward to seeing it filled. :proud:

ikuzo 03-03-2011 12:07 AM

a little bit greenish tinted glass though?

doubleott05 03-03-2011 12:09 AM

you dont need to totaly use eco complete just get some black gravel to mix in with it and you can save some big bucks.

use a 1:3 eco to inert ratio for substrate.
you dont need filters to remove chlorine just get some prime and add for capfuls of it every time you water change( or 40ml of prime) you will eventually have to replace your filter anyway so just use a liquid additive to neutralize your chlorine. hope that helps

nice tank
good luck


XMX 03-03-2011 01:01 AM

Nice job on the stand. It does look new. What plants are you planning to use?

WhiskeyD 03-03-2011 02:28 AM

Go with Safe instead of Prime for such a large tank. I use the large bottle (1 kilo maybe?) of Safe on my 180G and 29G and its lasted over 6 months already and its still over 3/4 full. I went through Prime like crazy changing water in the 180 so Safe is a lot cheaper.

TankZen 03-03-2011 11:49 AM

All the plants from my 55G will be going in...
Red Wendtii
Marble queen Radican Sword
Amazon Sword
Purple and Green Cabomba
Aponogeton Ulvaceus (my favorite plant)
Broad Ludwigia
Rotala Indica
Brazilian Pennywort
water sprite
baby tears

Still need to pick a foreground anyone have any suggestions for nice foreground plant that will do well without CO2


you don't need filters to remove chlorine just get some prime
I've always heard is best to remove chlorine (add prime) before it enters the tank.... so I've ever added untreated water directly to the tank and then added prime after. That is why we are looking into filters to run the water through before it enters the tank. I think we need a sediment filter and carbon filter... Not sure how often they need to be changed yet. My husband is starting the plumbing this weekend.

Eco complete is already ordered :)

Now just need to find the perfect pieces of Manzanita wood

Gatekeeper 03-03-2011 11:57 AM

Carbon filter for sure is what you need, but I don't think you should run hot water to the tank. I believe hot water breaks down the carbon very fast and is also difficult to regulate.

On my water changer, I only use cold water and do smaller water changes daily. When I had it running in its glory, I had it doing two 10% water changes daily on a 72 gallon. Shifter the temp by maybe a degree or two, but nothing that would cause stress on fish. You could probably do something similar.

If you use a sump for filtration, you can integrate the water changer in a lot easier and not have to deal with water level issues in the tank.

TankZen 03-03-2011 12:05 PM

Thanks for the ideas.... i wasn't going to do sump (closed loop) because I can't drill into my tank. I was planing to have some knobs to adjust hot cold and get them close to tank temp before the water passes through the you think 80 degree water passing through the carbon will be a problem?

Also If we did cold only I'm not sure how slow it would have to enter the tank so there wouldn't be large temp. changes. We plan to use the canister filter to pump the water so we wouldn't be able to slow it down.

Was your W/C semi or fully automatic?

I'll get some pics of our plumbing plans up here soon to get some input.....

Gatekeeper 03-03-2011 12:13 PM

My water changer was fully automatic. I ran it with an aquacontroller with water solenoids for both drain and fill.

If you want to figure out the tank temp swing, fill up the 180 after you get it planted (and before you add fish). Do a 10% or 20% water change (of course try and do the math for what water level to drain too) and refill with cold water. Voila.

I am still not a big fan of the hot water, but do as you may. Too many things that could be a potential problem. Cold water is a lot easier to correct than scolding water. I try and take all precautions before hand and think of the worst (ie, what if the knob for the hot and cold water are accidentally adjusted, or the ball valve for the cold is closed, or there is a significant pressure drop in one not the other, etc. etc.)

If you have a temp controller, obviously, you could have programming that would terminate the water change if temps got to a certain point (I had my water changer set up to do a water change if the temp hit 80 degrees for any reason, say heater broke or stuck on, or metal halides ran hot that day, whatever).

You don't need to be drilled to run a sump, but this was just something I threw out there. Some people get paranoid about water levels dropping, etc.

Water changers are no joke. They are an incredible resource, but don't get too comfortable with the convenience. You still need to check it periodically and make sure things are working status quo.

I still larger water changes manually from time to time.

Jim Miller 03-03-2011 01:23 PM

Gate: I've always wondered how you avoid overflow in a automatic w/c system. How do you ensure the "full" detector (float?) doesn't stick? Any redundancy? Is there a non-mechanical sensor available?


Jim (my toilet tank float always seems to need smacking)

Gatekeeper 03-03-2011 01:27 PM

Hi Jim,

There are a few ways to do it. Obviously redundant float valves are the one option, but this could be unsightly in a nice tank. I use these floats from It simply a relay that cuts off power to the water fill solenoid.

I also use a normally closed solenoid, meaning that it needs to be energized to open. Lost power, solenoid (valve) closes down.

In addition, I also put this entire thing on a timer and set the timer to just about the amount of time it take to fill. I had this down pretty tight. This way, if the float for some reason stuck (which it never has) the timer will cut the power to the solenoid.

aquavert 03-03-2011 01:30 PM

WOW...Sweet purchase...base really cleaned up nice...

TankZen 03-03-2011 01:38 PM

aquavert Thanks!!!

Yeah we thought it was a sick deal. Now it looks brand new! Can't wait to start the hard scape and get it filled up:D .

Gatekeeper...thanks for the ideas. Your set up sounds amazing... higher tech then I think we are going though. I want to keep it semi automatic and plan to have a T in the plumbing where I can test water temp before directing it into the tank.

Gatekeeper 03-03-2011 02:36 PM


Originally Posted by TankZen (Post 1313012)
I want to keep it semi automatic and plan to have a T in the plumbing where I can test water temp before directing it into the tank.

That will resolve my concerns for sure. Keeping some user intervention always makes for the best results over time.

can't wait to see this evolve.

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