125G Planted Freshwater build
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Old 03-29-2013, 03:10 AM   #1
dabliggah
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125G Planted Freshwater build


Hello all -

I'm quite new to the aquatic hobby (c. September 2012), lured in by my wife who has kept fish on and off for most of her life (I just now realized the pun here). When we met in college, she had 5 tanks, including one 120G discus, in her 10x15 ft dorm room. Anyway, I picked up the hobby last year with a 55G planted that I did not do a journal for. After being captivated by reading two journals on TPT (UDGags and Rush3737) I've been inspired to create a journal for a 125G freshwater tank build. My wife and I have had this 125G tank since 2011 and it originally held Lake Malawi cichlids (Yellow Lab, Demasoni, Rustys, and ... something blue with dark blue stripes that I can't remember). At the time I was not into the hobby and the tank was too much work to keep so we put the fish up for adoption and the tank has been empty since. Now that I'm hooked (again with the completely unintentional puns) we're going to give the 125G another shot.

So first, since I know everyone likes pictures, I'll here's a pic of my low-tech 55G planted that I started in September 2012.

I've never asked for feedback on this tank so please reply with comments if you want more info.


Back to the 125. Here is the current equipment list:
125G tank: 72" x 18" x 21"
Custom stand: Purchased on Craigslist in 2011
Heaters: 2x Jager 300W (I think)
Filtration:
Sump: Aqueon ProFlex Model 4
Pump: Quiet One 5000 (or 3000, big difference I know)
Overflows: 2x Eshopps PF-800
Lighting: Aquaticlife 72" '4 bulb' (8x 39W T5 HO) (purchased 4/7/2013)
CO2: Will do CO2 injection, however since this is our first time, we're still bogged down in determining all the hardware we're going to get. Reading all the forum posts on recommended regulators, needle valves, drop checkers, reactors, etc.

Flora, Fauna, and scape design TBD! Udgags' build is a major inspiration considering we have the same tank size. My wife and I, however, have a smaller budget :-).

Finally, a pic of the 125 tank (there's a canopy not pictured here):

Yes - the tank takes up about a quarter of our living room. This shot was taken while leak testing the PVC plumbing for the sump (there were no leaks).

Last edited by dabliggah; 04-09-2013 at 03:54 AM.. Reason: Updated equipment list.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:34 AM   #2
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Looks like you got a good start so far. Glad I could inspire.

I like the finish on the stand and that its tall from a viewing perspective.. It might make trimming/scaping difficult though without a mini-ladder.

I see you did a leak check. I would make sure you do a power failure test as well to make sure your siphon breaks. I can't see how its plumbed is why I'm suggesting it if you haven't done it.
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:08 AM   #3
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can't wait to see it, I too have a 125, awesome awesome tank, can't wait to see what you come up with.

Do you have any ideas for your fish list?? Just btw, I tried smaller fish and ended up going with congos, something a little bigger for a bigger tank.

we need to start a 125 thread on here, to snoop 'em all
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:01 AM   #4
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I also have a 125g and love the larger tanks, one thing I have learned is that with a sump co2 is not worth it IMO.
I was going through 10-15lbs a month with a reactor and everything sealed. The plants looked great but I couldn't afford to keep going to the refill every couple weeks. Not trying to discourage you, just putting in my 0.02.

keep us updated.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:15 AM   #5
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Great start! I love to see journals of this size of tank, our larger one is a 135. I am fortunate enough to share this hobby with my hubby, and he loves being the "tech" half. I get to put my energy into the flora and fauna!
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlammedDC2 View Post
I also have a 125g and love the larger tanks, one thing I have learned is that with a sump co2 is not worth it IMO.
I was going through 10-15lbs a month with a reactor and everything sealed. The plants looked great but I couldn't afford to keep going to the refill every couple weeks. Not trying to discourage you, just putting in my 0.02.

keep us updated.
I'm on pace for 20lbs to last 2-3 months in my 125g. It's only $25 to refill, which is only $8-$12/month. I don't think it's that bad. It all comes down to how you get the CO2 dissolved into the water.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UDGags View Post
I'm on pace for 20lbs to last 2-3 months in my 125g. It's only $25 to refill, which is only $8-$12/month. I don't think it's that bad. It all comes down to how you get the CO2 dissolved into the water.
I tried many things over a 5-6 month period and could not get it right. I finally just got tired of it and put the co2 on my 15g shrimp tank. In the future I would like to try again but I would need the input from someone who could inform me of how to slow the consumption down. I know other people who have had great success, however the guy in my mirror is not one of them.
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:21 AM   #8
dabliggah
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Purchased the AquaticLife 8 Lamp T5 HO & LED Light Fixture - 72 in. from that pet place this past weekend. It's on sale about 10% off and qualifies for free shipping. It comes with reef bulbs, so they will be replaced with more plant-friendly bulbs.

Progress has been slow the past few weeks for a few reasons:
- SimCity release has been eating up a lot of free time
- Studying for statistics class
- The fact that I need to paint the wall behind the tank before anything else happens

My logic was that if a nice new toy (the light fixture) shows up that I'll be more inclined to focus on it.

Still working out other details like hardscaping and substrate, but at this point the substrate might be a combination of Petco black sand (only because we have 4 bags already) and maybe EcoComplete. My 55G uses the Black Diamond sand blasting material and is great, but we're going to try something different here.

Yes - I said it - another testimony for using the $8 per 50lb bag of Black Diamond sand blasting material in a planted tank. It works great, looks pretty good, and isn't sharp to the point of injuring fish like SAE/loaches that like to dig. It did take some time to clean though, but I think that's pretty standard.
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:22 AM   #9
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Hmm. I just noticed that there are replies here! Apparently the email notification isn't working. I haven't been ignoring you nice folks, just ignorant as I am a total noob to the forum!

Thanks for your feedback (as I read it all)!
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UDGags View Post
I see you did a leak check. I would make sure you do a power failure test as well to make sure your siphon breaks. I can't see how its plumbed is why I'm suggesting it if you haven't done it.
Yes! My wife and I are working on the power failure test. We have two float valves at the moment. The idea is that one will be in the tank and will detect when the water level in the tank is too high. The other will be in case we forget to turn the pump off during a water change; it will turn off the pump and heaters and other things that the water line will go below during changes. I think we're also going to get a water detection switch that will power off everything if it detects water on the floor. We have a basement and this is on the main floor so it would really suck if there was a large overflow!

There are two overflow boxes each with a ball valve that drain into the sump. The return pump has a flow valve and a ball valve before a T-junction that splits the return into two return points. The ball valves on the overflows will be set to minimize noise, and at this point the return is full open. We're playing with slight modifications to the overflow boxes to increase siphon volume/rate and decrease noise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rustbucket View Post
Do you have any ideas for your fish list??
At the moment we have an evolving list that includes groups of Torpedo/Denison's barbs, SAE, Orange Von Rio Tetra, Harlequin Rasbora, Neons, Dwarf Guarami, Amano shrimp, and Otocinclus. I would prefer to drop the Guarami due to their susceptibility to disease and have larger schools of tetra. We may drop the SAE due to size as well. There are two in my 55G that we're evaluating the usefulness of.

The plant list is a massive list of doom that has no narrowing-down in sight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SlammedDC2 View Post
I also have a 125g and love the larger tanks, one thing I have learned is that with a sump co2 is not worth it IMO.
Your .02 is heard loud and clear.

At first this was going to be an un-planted discus tank before we realized that we probably couldn't put that much work into it. We had already bought the sump, unpackaged it, tested it, etc. Then we read that canister is preferred for CO2 injection. I know you're reading "couldn't put that much work" and "C02-injected planted tank" in the same sentence. I guess we'll see what happens. Worst case is those of you in MD get cheap gear in a few months/year and I get half of my living room back.
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dabliggah View Post





Your .02 is heard loud and clear.

At first this was going to be an un-planted discus tank before we realized that we probably couldn't put that much work into it. We had already bought the sump, unpackaged it, tested it, etc. Then we read that canister is preferred for CO2 injection. I know you're reading "couldn't put that much work" and "C02-injected planted tank" in the same sentence. I guess we'll see what happens. Worst case is those of you in MD get cheap gear in a few months/year and I get half of my living room back.
Nah don't give the hobby up, just figure out what works best for you and enjoy it.
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Old 04-11-2013, 02:32 AM   #12
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So somewhat bad news on the Aquaticlife fixture front ... to the good efforts of the folks at ThatPetPlace, I received the 72" fixture that was ordered Sunday today. My wife and I unpackaged the fixture, removed the bulb packaging and tested each of the light settings (blue/white/LED). All was good except one LED was not working. I removed the LED housing (which is very easy to do) to find that it was not connected. The problem was that whatever cable went to this LED was buried far beneath the reflector and could not be extracted without taking the fixture apart.

You might say - "Hey, go on Aquaticlife's website, they have a whole bunch of useful videos that lead you to believe that their fixtures are very serviceable!" So I did this and watched aforementioned videos and Aquaticlife must have redesigned the fixture or has product line variations that cause the videos to be more or less invalid. The center panel on the top (in the videos) is held in by 10 screws on the 72" model. Mine had 4. In the video, this panel simply lifts out. Mine required removal of the end caps (each of which had one stripped screw head). I was finally able to get one of the end-caps off, making it very clear that there was no way the top panel could lift off as displayed in the video. The panel was made to slide out much like the acrylic lens cover. However, something on the panel must be catching a cable on the inside of the fixture because it slides about 4 inches and then gets stuck.

The only way left inside the thing looks to be complete disassembly of the fixture from the reflector side, which isn't something I was willing to tackle a) tonight and b) before writing a note to Aquaticlife.

We'll see how this goes ...
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