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rocksmom 02-07-2013 09:58 PM

135 gallon community
Haven't posted anything here in awhile, but we're getting ready to work on our 135 gallon tank and I need some major help. I'm so used to working on nanos that I'm feeling overwhelmed. I had this set up once before and didn't like how it looked, so it was emptied and used to winter my goldfish. The weather's getting warmer here and our pond is up and running again, so it's almost time to set the tank up again. Here it is in it's current state with the piece of wood I just bought for it:

Some things I have planned for it:

  • Low light (leds), no co2, root tabs and/or light dosing
  • Black diamond or pool filter sand. I have enough eco complete for it, but didn't like the look the first time around.
  • FX5 with spray bar
  • Large school of rasboras (probably harlequin or similar) and panda cories. Otos. Probably some shrimp as well.

Beyond that I'm drawing a blank. I need suggestions for the scape and plants. I already have the wood and don't want to spend a fortune on rocks. I have a bunch of (very) small yamaya stones and a couple pa hai stones available. Suggestions are greatly appreciated! I'd like to get plants bought in the next week or two so I can start as soon as the goldfish are moved outside.


Current FTS (May 22):

rustbucket 02-08-2013 02:17 AM

Set the wood down as it, close to the right side of the tank, tie some java fern, or anubias or both on the wood.

Giant vals, across the back wall and the right side wall, behind the wood.

Then cover the rest of the tank in a giant lawn of dwarf sag.

Just an idea :)

GMYukonon24s 02-08-2013 02:50 PM


Originally Posted by rustbucket (Post 2476530)
Set the wood down as it, close to the right side of the tank, tie some java fern, or anubias or both on the wood.

Giant vals, across the back wall and the right side wall, behind the wood.

Then cover the rest of the tank in a giant lawn of dwarf sag.

Just an idea :)

I was thinking of somewhat the same. Also I was kind of thinking fissidens or moss on the wood as well.

rocksmom 02-13-2013 07:26 AM

Thanks for the ideas! I think I'm going to do something like that, minus the carpet. I have regular, narrow leaf, and trident java fern (the last one I'm getting now from the SnS). I'll use at least one of those on the "stump" part of the wood and the lower branches. I already have fissidens and peacock moss to attach to the longer/higher branches. My husband has an a. ulvaceous that I might put in the corner behind the stump. I think the long leaves will kind of blow around and mimic the branches. And then some crypts and possibly a few lower-light friendly stems in and around the branches. Might get some of those extra large river rocks as well and go for the river bank look. Still haven't decided on black sand or PFS. Maybe I'll see what color the river rocks are and if they're gray/black I'll go with the black and if they're more tan I'll go with the PFS.

Unfortunately my poor goldfish aren't going to be real happy if I kick them out anytime soon. The lows have still been in the 30's. That's quite a change from the 68 our thermostat stays on at night.

Sorry, not really much of an update. Just wanted to get some ideas down.

rocksmom 02-15-2013 08:07 PM

The weather's been nicer the last couple days, so hopefully we'll get to move forward on this tank soon. I decided to go to the landscaping place yesterday and get the rocks for the tank. They had some really nice dark gray ones called "black pineapple." Not sure who comes up with these names. :hihi:

210 pounds worth total. 170 pounds of the big ones and each bag has 20 pounds of smaller ones. Two different sizes. It was less than $60 for all of it, so definitely cheap compared to what seiryu or similar would have been.

Here's one of the big ones with a USB drive for size reference because, why not. I don't own a BIC which seems to be the standard for size reference around the interwebs.

The hardware store a couple miles from us carries the black blasting media, so that will be the next purchase.

rocksmom 02-26-2013 11:33 PM

Finally got started on this tank over the weekend. We got the sand rinsed and added. Ended up going with Tahitian Moon Sand because our hardware store here was out of their version of Black Diamond and we don't have a TSC or anything near us. Cleaned the rocks and got them in place. Added the wood and some plants. You can see a couple clumps of java fern floating on the left side of the tank. I just got those in the mail yesterday from h4n, so they're floating temporarily. What you can't see in the picture is that there is fissidens on the ends of the branches and riccia tied to some of the smaller rocks with mesh.

Next steps:

  • Tie the loose ferns to the lower branches.
  • Smooth out the sand. Not sure how that big dip got right in the center of the tank.
  • Crypt lutea (I think, it's a small green one, but too big to be parva) planted around the smaller rocks. I have quite a few of these growing in a couple other tanks that I'm going to steal for this.
  • Crypt wendtii green planted along the back with the florida sunset/bronze/whatever is back there. Got some tiny ones in "meh" condition from Petsmart for 50% off. Hopefully they bounce back okay.

Other things I want to do, not sure when:

  • Order clear tubing to replace the PVC for the spray bar.
  • Figure out a way to route the light cords so you don't see them hanging down the back of the tank.
  • Possibly add vals or other background plant behind the crypts. Not sure yet.

I think that's really it. The plan is to keep this tank pretty simple and low maintenance. It's in the bedroom and on carpet, so it's kind of pain to work on. The more hands off, the better. The tank was obviously cycled since the goldfish were in there, and I've kept a bag of shrimp floating in there since, so it's ready to stock pretty much whenever. I'm thinking once I get the plants in there we'll go ahead and get the fish, maybe in the next week or so. I'm pretty sure we're going to go with panda cories (definitely) and danio roseus (maybe). We also have a gourami that we'll probably add in too. He was sold as a honey gourami, but he might be a dwarf gourami.

Korzak 02-28-2013 02:54 PM

Cool! Excited to see where this goes.

umdterps96 02-28-2013 06:56 PM

good the rocks...

rocksmom 03-04-2013 11:33 PM

We did some more work on the tank this weekend. Got (most) of the ferns attached to the wood. One piece came loose after we'd already refilled the tank so it's going to have to wait until next time. Rearranged the crypts some and added the new ones around the smaller rocks. Also stocked the tank as you can see if the photos. There are cardinals, black neon tetras, purple passion/rose danios, and panda cories.


Left side:

Right side:

You can see the riccia starting to grow on the rocks. It's poking up through the mesh. The new crypts from Petsmart are looking pretty sad. Very pale and lots of dead/slimy leaves I had to pull off, but the roots looked good for the most part. Hopefully they do okay.

Just bought a plant package off of the SnS today that included some c. retrospiralis so those will be going in the back when they get here. I'll probably leave it like that for awhile, but I would like to find a good deal on a bunch of anubias and add it to the wood and rocks. Also thinking about taking the fissidens off the wood and attaching it the rocks instead. Not loving it on the end of the wood like that.

Probably going to have to upgrade the lights soon. The two I have on there don't span the entire tank so there is a dark area in the center. The best option would probably be to get two more fixtures and have two on each side. The tank is pretty wide (is that the right dimension? from front to back... ) for just one. When the fish swim near the front glass it's pretty dark.


Originally Posted by Korzak (Post 2677370)
Cool! Excited to see where this goes.


Originally Posted by umdterps96 (Post 2679690)
good the rocks...

Thanks! I'm so used to the "instant gratification" of nano tanks that I have to remember this is a work in progress. Thanks for the reassurance!

apfunk 03-04-2013 11:58 PM

Nice rocks! Maybe add some more medium sized ones though.

rustbucket 03-05-2013 01:19 AM

that looks really nice. It has a very calm, soothing effect, must really be an asset to your room :)

rocksmom 03-05-2013 06:22 AM


Originally Posted by apfunk (Post 2725786)
Nice rocks! Maybe add some more medium sized ones though.

Thanks! Unfortunately the small ones you see in there are the "medium" ones. They should have been called extra small, small, and huge. Haha. I even called up the landscaping place and the three sizes I got were the only ones they have.


Originally Posted by rustbucket (Post 2726658)
that looks really nice. It has a very calm, soothing effect, must really be an asset to your room :)

Thank you, and yes, it is a nice fit for the bedroom. It's not a super exciting scape like you see a lot on here, but it's nice at nice with the moonlights on.

cah925 03-05-2013 10:22 AM

Give it time and have patience, it has potential to be exciting. Several years ago I had a 125 gal scape. I played with it for weeks just before I left for my internship out of state. I was gone 3 months and was blown away by the growth I saw when I got back.

rocksmom 04-08-2013 07:49 PM

It's been over a month since I did an update on this tank, so I figured it was time. Quite a bit has changed since then, including it no longer being low tech. I wouldn't exactly call it high tech either. I changed the two 30" FugeRays out for two single 36" T5HO fixtures. The bulbs they came with are a little yellow for my taste when compared with the leds, but I can't justify buying new bulbs yet when these are brand new. There are also some tannins from the wood so that contributes to the yellow appearance. I plan on getting some purigen for the filter the next time it's cleaned.

I also added co2. I found a good deal on a used Aquatek regulator with a 20 lb tank so I figured why not. I don't have it on very high, only 2-3 bps. Last time I checked the kh/ph chart had it around 20 ppm. The only thing I don't like is that the bps doesn't stay consistent. It seems to gradually speed up over a few days time so I have to keep checking on it. My GLA one on the other hand is like clockwork. I definitely wouldn't mind upgrading in the future if the price was right.

Because of the addition of co2 I also started dosing dry fertilizers. I've been dosing roughly half of what regular EI dosing would be for a tank this size. I use the 60-80 gallon measurements. After about a week of this the plants seem happy. The pennywort is the easiest to tell the difference with since it's such a fast grower. Before the leaves were coming in very pale with dark veins which I know is a deficiency, but I can't think which one offhand. They're now coming in a nice solid green.

I added quite a few plants since the last photos. There is a red tiger lotus, the pennywort, more crypts, and a bunch of sag (not sure what kind, it was about 10-12" or so when I got it, but I trimmed back most of the original leaves since the tips turned brown after planting). Also took out the riccia rocks. Just didn't like how they looked.


Left side:


Right side:

  • Add some vals and/or stems in the open areas along the back.
  • Possibly add a carpet in the front. Maybe glosso?
  • Still need to change out that white spray bar.
  • Try to get the pennywort to climb on the wood.

rocksmom 04-29-2013 08:20 PM

This tank has undergone quite the change. After experiencing high TDS, rust marks, and some weird stuff growing on the rocks I decided to pull them out. I replanted the tank yesterday with some stuff that was already in there, some I bought a while ago from OVT, and some I got from a LFS. Not sure how everything will do, so I'm anticipating some tweaking over the next few weeks. I also have some s. repens coming for the foreground.

Here it is as of this morning:

It's not as dark as it looks in the picture, but I'm still not sure if I have enough light for some of the plants (I'm looking at you cabomba). Right now the lighting consists of two 36" T5HOs and two 30" Fugerays.

The only thing I don't really like right now is the pennywort. It looks a little... messy I guess. Plus it's kind of shading the stems below it. I'll probably pull it out and keep it in my lower light tanks.

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