low tech tank, looking for suggestions
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:00 AM   #1
thejerkk
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low tech tank, looking for suggestions


pretty sure my tank is low tech so i thought i would start a thread here. i've been doing reef tanks since '00, so i know all about testing and upkeeping of more complex fish tanks. my current setup is as follows:

35 gallon tank (36x12x18)
penguin 200 filter
AC 5-15 filter
150w heater (tank is at 80.1F right now, hovers between 80-82F)
24" bubble wand (thinking about removing it honestly)
30# black gravel (picked up 50# play sand, going to wash tomorrow).
4 x 18watt CFL bulbs (packaging says 55w equiv), underside of canopy painted white

im planning on ordering 30# of http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...uctId=11147295 and use it as my base, then cover it with the sand.

since my tap water is naturally hard and has a decent ph (8.0), i am going to do a cichlid tank but i wanted it planted this time. im looking for suggestions on what to do and what not to do.

your thoughts and comments are appreciated!
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:53 PM   #2
tiggity
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Instead of running 2 HOB's maybe go with a Sun Sun/Aquatop Canister? Maybe a CF-300, it has good reviews and you can customize your media to your liking (it only comes with foam) giving you better filtration overall.

As for the Floramax, make sure you rinse it well, I didn't do a good job on mine and it left residues all over my tank when I was setting it up.

Good Luck!
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Old 03-26-2012, 03:22 PM   #3
jsuereth
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I'm running miracle gro organic potting soil below sand in my 125G. I've done it in pots in my 55G, and it worked *really* well, saw some amazing growth on the plants. It's a bit cheaper than "for aquarium" soil (similarly to how hydroponic submersible pumps are cheaper than 'for aquarium' pumps).

I'd highly recommend the soil. Make sure you get *organic* since some of the chemicals they use in non-organic products can be harmful.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:37 PM   #4
thejerkk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsuereth View Post
I'm running miracle gro organic potting soil below sand in my 125G. I've done it in pots in my 55G, and it worked *really* well, saw some amazing growth on the plants. It's a bit cheaper than "for aquarium" soil (similarly to how hydroponic submersible pumps are cheaper than 'for aquarium' pumps).

I'd highly recommend the soil. Make sure you get *organic* since some of the chemicals they use in non-organic products can be harmful.
oh WOW are you frickin serious???? since you say you only did it in pots, did you cover it with anything (IE sand)? my idea is to make a 'plant bed' approx. 2" thick, then cover that with about 1" of pool filter sand.

do you have a link to your 125? did you have to do anything special with the soil before adding sand over it??

-edit-

going to try this in a 2.5gallon i have as well, put a beta in it and put it on my desk. will take pix tonight and start a journal of it as well.
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:08 PM   #5
jsuereth
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pool filter sand on top of dirt should be fine. Just watch out for "compacting". I'm using play sand, which is a bit finer IIRC. You'll want to poke the sand every now and then, and be careful not to poke to far.

In my 55G all the pots were topped with sand or old substrate. It's my "test" tank to figure out how plants grow/etc so I could come up with a good aquascape for the 125G.

What I'd recommend (from experience) is to put the soil in water. All the peat + woody items will float to the top. scoop that out and keep what sinks. I experimented with keeping this stuff in vs. sifting it out. I had a few pots where the sand cover "exploded" when submersed. Nothing worse than cleaning up the tank, but luckily the pots were removable. Can't imaging if this was my main tank! Oh, also remember that if the soil has peat, and the peat gets into the water column then it *will* stain the water (which can be attractive). The sand cap should help prevent this.

Also, you may want to put the sand in a pillowcase and spray it with a hose. This should get rid of any fine sand.

Here's my 55G with pots

For the 125G, it's really not ready for a journal. I'm still futzing with it, but I promise I have pictures for when it's matured in 6 months.


Finally, you should check out the "Fraternity of Dirt" group here. Everyone in that group is using dirt substrates capped with something. I'm sure one of them is using PFS rather than play sand, so they might know better if there are any gotchas with PFS.
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Old 03-26-2012, 09:45 PM   #6
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alright. went and picked up 2 bags of this miracle grow organic soil. it has no cow poopies in it but has 'pasteurized poultry waste', which is chicken poop im wagering.

am taking a video of everything (forgive the auction hunters in the background, i need some noise in the background and ive been meaning to catch up on it) and will report back once i have the soil and sand in the tank!
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:42 AM   #7
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dirt added. sand washed but not put in. water is still a bit cloudy, but has cleared up considerably since i put the dirt in. going to do a 50% water change here in a few, see if i can clear it up a bit more.

ended up with about a 2" layer of soil thats going to have some sand on it here in the next 6 hours.
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10 gallon - work in progress (6/7/2012)
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Old 03-28-2012, 01:16 AM   #8
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a little more than 24 hours later and the tank is mostly clear. the cichlids seem to be loving the plants i got (50% off at the LFS, paid 10 bux woo).

pretty sure i got some fox-something (leaf?) and a few other things. ill take more pix in the AM when the tank should be nice and clear.
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Just because its dirt doesn't make it low tech

5.5gallon betta tank - possibly getting torn down
10 gallon - work in progress (6/7/2012)

Last edited by thejerkk; 03-28-2012 at 12:33 PM..
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