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emilmiot 10-04-2012 12:57 AM

36 Gallon Bowfront In It's Genesis
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So after going back to college for 3 1/2 years to finish my bachelors degree I bought myself a graduation gift. I've tinkered with plants in tanks with some success but I'm finally on my way to setting up a nice planted tank.
Plans so far:
Fluval C3 Filter
DIY CO2 (Sort of DIY)
Two dual lamp Aquatic Life T-5 Fixtures (96 watts total)
Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix
Gravel top
Rocks and Wood - not sure here yet.
Fish - To be determined
Plants - To be determined, thinking of doing a type of biotope.
I've always had a love for the southeast asia fish such as gouramis, so maybe something based on that. My water is fairly hard though.
Read lots of books on plants.
Build a stand. (Woodworking is the other hobby)
Tear down existing 20 gallon tank to make room for this.
Set 20 gallon tank back up somewhere else.

Got a few things to get done but I hope to be back with more pictures down the road when plans become more solid.

Talkyn 10-04-2012 01:48 AM

96W of T5 light over a 36G :O!! Wow that is light.

I suggest you make sure you have reliable co2 and use it from the start or risk the mother of all algae blooms.

Light? - Check
Dirt? - Check
CO2 - Check

With a good fert regimen those plants will be rocking! Will follow with interest!

Brian_Cali77 10-04-2012 07:21 AM

I'm thinking of getting a 36g bow front too, so I'm going to follow this journal with some interest.

I would suggest, however, switching out that yeast co2 reactor and go pressurized. DIY co2 is more suitable for nano tanks <20g's. You'll probably run into algae issues with that t5. You an get an Aquatek regulator, diffuser, and paintball 20oz cylinder all got around $120 (check out my journal in my sig).

BTW, i love the c-series of Fluval filters. I have the C2 on my 10g dwarf puffer tank. That C3 should do you pretty well.

emilmiot 10-04-2012 12:31 PM

Yeah, I kind of wondered if that wattage wouldn't be a bit excessive. I was thinking one dual lamp might not be enough - 48 watts. I just watched my 20 gallon go through 2 months of green water algae because of the summer sun. Even though it was in a remote corner of the living room it still picked up enough residual light to tip it over the edge.
I looked long and hard at pressurized CO2. I suspect I'll be there at some point, maybe sooner rather than later. Struggling with the price. Christmas is coming in a few months?
I have a C2 on my 20 gallon and really like it as well - very quiet and easy to maintain.
Thanks for the thoughts.

emilmiot 10-09-2012 01:49 PM

I have a question as far as planting the plants I'm hoping more experience members can offer some thoughts on. When I've done small planted bowls I added the miracle grow, added enough water to make it moist then planted my plants. Then I carefully spooned a layer of small gravel around the plants. This worked really well. But I've also read others who have put down all layers and then planted. Do people find one way better than the other? Or does it depend on the plant type and how far down into the substrate it needs to be planted? If you have your final cap on top do you tuck the plant deep enough to penetrate the bottom layer or just enough to hold it in place and then let the roots work their way down?

emilmiot 10-09-2012 05:32 PM

CO2 Options?
So I'm rethinking this whole CO2 thing. I could use this DIY one on my smaller 20 gallon tank and purchase a pressurized CO2 system for what will be my heavily planted 36 gallon. I'm a little vague on some of the terminology so some input would be appreciated. As I understand it you can go with kits that use the standard paint ball cylinders, or the Fluval 20g kit but those I'm guessing are costly over the long haul to replace the cylinders and would get eaten up pretty quick in a 36 gallon? So I need to look for something that works with a "standard" CO2 cylinder? I was looking at the system below. Seems like it has pretty much everything I need to get started, including a solenoid, except the actual tank? Sound like I'm on the right track?

Brian_Cali77 10-09-2012 06:02 PM

For the interest of saving money, but still getting a quality rig.. I would piece the stuff together. The Aquatek regulators are relatively new to the market but they've been getting good reviews and are competitively priced.

Here's a shopping list:
-Aquatek Regulator (Look it up on Ebay) - $79.99
-comes with tubing and bubble counter w/ integrated check valve
-Fluval Diffuser (here) - $7.56
-U.P. Aqua Co2 Drop Checker (here) - $8.94
-4 dKH Reference Solution For Co2 Drop Checker pH (Look it up on Ebay) - $7.50

Total Cost = $103.99

Now you can use the money I just saved you and buy a 5 LB CO2 Cylinder, Aluminum tank. Found one on Amazon with good reviews for $66.98 (here)

Grand total w/ 5lb co2 tank - $170.97

Looks like it comes out less than that kit + you get tubing, co2 tank, and 4 dKH solution :)

KGsPFT 10-09-2012 11:07 PM

I've tried the RedSea DIY CO2 on a 36 bow, and I'll warn you know you will get zero benefit out of it. After migrating it to a 20L, I realized it was wasted there too. The change in results going to pressurized was off the charts.

I currently use the little pump it came with to drain my tanks. I have non-CO2 plans for the bottle as well, but I still consider the whole thing a waste of $30.

Based on reading here, I've decided to stay away from paintball setups. I'd also recommend an extra check valve before the rig. I've learned not to trust those cheap builtin check valves.

Also be warned that those 6' sections of CO2 tubing on ebay aren't really CO2 quality. They're just cheap standard tubes and will break down in a month.

Brian_Cali77, don't you mean a Milwaukee rig? They're the only cheap (new) ones I've seen on ebay that have bubble counters. Aren't those $80 Aquateks paintball?

Brian_Cali77 10-09-2012 11:19 PM

@KGsPFT - Aquatek makes a newer "mini" regulator that's for paintball tanks (no adapter needed). Their older full sized regulator has been out for sometime now. It has a great track record and cost less than the Milwaukee. Milwaukee is good too, but you get more for your money and plus all the extras included (co2 tubing and bubble counter w/ check valve) by getting the Aquatek. I'd link it, but TPT removes the ebay links.. Just go to ebay and search Aquatek. When it was on Amazon (which it usually is), you can read the reviews there as well. Seems like a well constructed regulator IMO.

Full Sized Regulator:

Mini Regulator for Paintball:

KGsPFT 10-09-2012 11:42 PM

Gotcha. Just saw the paintball only versions, which confused me with the recommendation of a 5lb cylinder!

emilmiot 10-10-2012 01:54 PM

All right, you've convinced me. I ordered the "Premium AQUATEK CO2 Regulator with Integrated cool touch Solenoid" from eBay - $79. Working on a CO2 cylinder from Amazon and a few extra parts. It will be a couple of months before this is all set up but I'm excited to see how it all works and the results.

Thanks again for the input, I'm starting to get my head around all this CO2 stuff.

MyMonkey 10-23-2012 11:31 AM

Great info here! Thanks. Any update on the tank?

GMYukonon24s 10-23-2012 04:06 PM


Originally Posted by MyMonkey (Post 2053465)
Great info here! Thanks. Any update on the tank?


Nice start

FORREST3320 10-23-2012 04:50 PM

very Nice start excited to see how this build gose

emilmiot 10-24-2012 07:33 PM

The latest news:
Purchased my CO2 system, (the one Brian_Cali77 references above). I purchased a 5lb tank from amazon as well as a few other odds and ends.
Stopped by the tractor supply company and picked up a bag of black diamond blasting sand. That is really cool looking stuff! I've tested rinsing it and working with it a little bit.
I was up on the north shore of lake superior and picked up some driftwood and a few rocks along the shore.
So little by little I'm amassing the components. Been researching plants and reading some books. I recently purchased a book called "Freshwater Aquarium Models" by John Tullock. Interesting book with lots of different suggestions for designs. So I'm narrowing in on what I want to do.
Need to design the stand and pick up the wood yet.
Now my biggest challenge is finding the time to begin putting all of this together. I'm hoping to get going before the holidays but we'll see.

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