My 90 Gallon Dream Tank Build
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:05 AM   #1
Texan78
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My 90 Gallon Dream Tank Build


Since I am going to be starting a new build soon I will use this thread to document it's progress as it develops and share the experience and open it up for suggestions and comments. The tank will be 90G planted tank with custom built stand and canopy. Most of the stuff I have is going to be used from my 55G and a lot of it is new on that tank or being ordered for the new build as we speak. At the moment not sure what I will do with the 55G as I already have a 100G reef tank as well. So any ideas for what to do with the spare tank I am open for suggestions. Some ideas I have had was do a Cichlid tank as I have always wanted one of those or use it has a plants only tank to grow and sell plants that come from the 90G.


Background - I have always had a love for aquatic life even at a young age. When I was just a small spud all my family have always had fish tanks. When I was about 5-6 we had a goldfish tank. One night I snuck into the living room where the tank was and pulled a chair up to it and put purple rite dye in the tank. I know what you're thinking too, OMG!!!. When my grandfather came into the room and saw what I had done he asked why I did that. I said I didn't like their color and they are called goldfish and they are orange which is a lie and I don't like orange so I wanted to change their color. Wait, it gets better. My family owns a farm and has several large stock tanks on it. Me and my grandfather would go fishing every weekend. Well this one weekend we didn't go and I was mad. So in addition to putting purple rite dye in the goldfish tank to turn them purple, I was also chasing them with a steak knife because I was "fishing". Poor goldfish were at the top sucking for air. My grandfather got them out and cleaned the tank and they went on to live a long time before they ended up as fish sticks one night. J/K, we didn't eat them. One of my greatest memories was going to a local 5 & dime store at the end of our street that sold fish to get new fish for my tank as I got older I had one in my room. Painted Glass and Neons were always my favorite as a kid. I have kept some pretty nice tanks even at a young age but, I will admit I didn't know what I was doing beyond the basics but, they lived. I have also kept some nasty tanks where I can't even believe the fish lived as I let the tanks go as I didn't have time to keep them up. So through a lot of trial and error in 30+ years I have learned a lot about how to keep thriving beautiful tanks and how not to do it and the limits and still learning.

I have done both saltwater and freshwater all through the years. I have built my dream reef tank I have always wanted but now I want to build my dream freshwater planted tank I have always wanted and recreate the underwater life. The last time I did a planted tank was 10 years ago and I didn't do it right as far as what needed to be done to keep plants but, they lived and grew like weeds. I also didn't really know where to get good plants as my LFS (PetSmart) only sold cheap ones. So needless to say it was a very simple tank, and I wouldn't even call it a planted tank. Also at that time I was blessed with my beautiful daughter who is 10 now so I really didn't have the money to sink into a nice tank like I wanted. So I did what I could with what I had and could afford at the time. My daughter shares the same love for aquatic life as I do to the point that she wants to be a marine biologist and is currently building a marine website. She decided this 2 yrs ago at age 8 and is still sticking by it and making college plans at 10 yrs old. (I think she's really serious) I also have a 3 month old son whose room is decorated as a underground reef. So as you can see the love for underwater aquatics runs through our house and even with my wife. Unlike when my daughter was born I have money this time around to make a great tank. I just lost my mom to cancer in September. She always loved watching the fish. So in her and my grandfathers memory I am building this dream freshwater tank with my 10 year old daughter who I put this tank off for 10 years ago so she could be provided for. So it is kind of ironic how this has all worked out and going to be a really fun experience and pass on that torch to her and share the same memories as I did when I was a kid and honor this tank to the ones who taught me while teaching her. Not to mention, the wife gave the OK!

Equipment - So now that the background is out of the way here is what the 90G will be equipped with. Most of this was bought just recently for my 55G build when I realized after I built it I wanted something bigger. So a lot of it is new, or things I have already had which is coming over to the new tank or just new all together.

Filter: Fluval 406 canister filter. I also have two 306 Fluvals from old tanks and builds in storage not being used but I doubt I will use those unless I need to hook one up for extra filtration on a temp basis for emergencies. My LFS has a Eheim Professionel 3 XL 2080 Filter on sale which I am thinking about getting as my back-up or even use as a primary. I am also building thanks to a thread I found on here that I was looking for a DIY clear spray bar for this filter. All this will be plumbed with 1/2" sch 40 PVC up to the connections in which case will be attached with clear nylon tubing.

UV Sterilizer: Tank will be equipped with a Coralife Turbo-Twist 6X inline UV Sterilizer which is new and currently on my 55G but is not used and will only be used for emergency purposes in case I need it. Better to have it now and set up while I can instead of later.

Heater: The heater being used will be a Finnex HPS 300. It is on order and on its way. I like this heater because it has a LED read out of the current temp. Currently I just have a regular Aqueon heater that I picked up as I needed one in a hurry for my 55G as my old one kicked it. It's a good heater and has worked great. Just like the feature of the Finnex and I will explain why later. EDIT: 11-28-2013, So I got my Finnex heater in and it works great. I love it so far on first impression. I decided to go another route though and use a Hydor Inline heater. I really like the fact of not having so much stuff in the tank. I want it to be low profile as it can be. I will use the Finnex as a back up or in another tank as it does works great. Only down fall is it is white so it stands out a lot in the tank, especially with a black background. Which is another reason for going inline and getting it out of the tank.

Pumps: Pumps I will be using which are new and in the 55G at the moment are 2 Hydor Evolution 600 - 600GPH. So far I am loving them and the are really quiet which is really nice. I have them only to create circulation in the tank and keep it stirred up so nothing settles so the filter can get it. Also the fish like swimming in the current it creates. They don't run 24/7 though, mainly only when the C02 is running. I may bump these up to 850GPH as they seem to be a little light but will just have to see. Hard to tell right now with my driftwood floating blocking a lot of its flow. EDIT: 12-21-2013 I am actually going to go another route with this since I have an Apex and use a MP10 wireless. This will give me better movement in the tank and make things more automated. I also have 2 Hydor Evolution 1150 GPH but they create to much flow where the 600 I think were just not enough for my liking as they are on the 55G now it would be less on the 90G.

C02 Injections: I have a brand new 5lb C02 bottle which is using an Aquatek regulator with solenoid. These are connected to GLA bubble checker and 44mm atomic defuser. So far I am loving this defuser. It creates a nice mist. I am going to look into a Milwaukee regulator though as this regulator doesn't seem to want to play nice with my controller and come on or off when it suppose to. It maybe just needs some more love. It is a great regulator and as long as it's not on the controller it's fine. I also like the built in bubble counter on the Milwaukee regulator. So I will be doing some research on that. EDIT: 11-28-2013, Another change I have made, I have gotten tired of the micro-bubbles from the atomic diffuser so I pulled the trigger on a Aqua Medic External Co2 Reactor 1000 during the Black Friday sales. So I will be replacing the intank diffuser and plumbing it in. The GLA atomic diffuser works great but, I just got tired of the micro-bubbles. I am sure I will leave it and the Finnex heater and the Finnex Planted + Fixture on this 55G and use it to grow plants that come from the 90G in case I need to.

Lighting: Lighting will be provided by 2 Current USA Satellite Plus+ LED fixtures which are 2000 lumens 30W 96 6500K white LEDs and 48 RGB full spectrum LEDs. I also have a Finnex Planted+ which hopefully should be here tomorrow. Not sure exactly which or how I will use these. So in the meantime I will be experimenting with them on the 55G. So far I am liking the Current USA fixtures and will be building the DIY controller for them that is posted on here. This configuration could change between now and then and other fixtures added depending on if I can set these lights up how I like and if they provide good results. The Current USA also has the dimming controllers too, not sure if I will use them since I am building the DIY controller. EDIT: 11-28-2013, I have also decided to go with a different lighting option so I purchased 2 48" 10K fixtures from BML. I like the fact I can control them with my Apex so that is a major plus for me. I will use the Current USA fixtures to do my moon lights and weather just for the fun and wow factor since the kids like them and sync with the BML since both fixtures are capable of dimming to create dusk/dawn sequences.

Aquarium Controller I will be using a Neptune Apex controller which is on the 55G at the moment. It has a lab grade Ph & ORP probe as well as temp probe. Yes this is overkill but I have one on my reef tank and I love it so much I just had to have one for the freshwater. I use it to control the temp which is why I like the Finnex LED read out on that heater so I can match the two readings. The controller also gives me Ph and ORP readings which I use the Ph to control the C02 if it gets to dangerous levels it will shut off the C02. In addition, the Apex also turns off and on my C02 on a schedule. Down the road once I figure out the ORP readings for the tank it will be used as a failsafe to turn on the UV sterilizer but that is long way down the road once I determine what the ORP will be during nasty water conditions. It will also be used to controller the Finnex Planted+ to turn it on and off. Will probably use that light as my peak daytime light in addition to the Current USA lights then have it shut off mid afternoon and let the Currents do it's dimming for night and day cycles. It also controls my Hydors as well. Strictly on and off, it doesn't create waves as these pumps can't handle that kind of use, and it is really loud when they turn on and off a lot which is annoying. It is just nice to have the tank at easy access at any moment and have endless control. I think that is about it for all that.

Aquatic Life

Plants: I have my list of plants together and ordered and set to be delivered when the tank is ready to go up. For a complete list of the plants I am going to be using you can vist this link which is a small page I set up so I could get an overview and keep track of things. There are a couple that are not listed but will update it once it is scaped. http://aquariums.mesquiteweather.net/flora.php

Hardscape: It will have driftwood that I have harvested from the lake across the street from me a long time ago with my daughter on a hiking trip. Lakes are really low right now 20+ ft low so there is TONS of it. Some really nice ones too. This driftwood has been cured and sterilized and I have used these current pieces in the past in other tanks I have so it is tank ready and safe. Hopefully it gets waterlogged by the time this new build goes up. Haven't use it in a few months so they dried out. So if anyone needs some nice driftwood let me know. This wood doesn't leech or change water parameters at all. I power wash them really good and then boil them outside on a fish fry burner in a LARGE pot several times over. It would just be up to you to get it waterlogged so it sinks in your tank. I could probably do that for you a well. EDIT: 12-21-2013 I found some great pieces of driftwood for a great price that I just fell in love with that I am going to be using instead of my lake driftwood. There are pictures of this on couple posts down.

Substrate: ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia 4 1/2 bags.

Fish: Still putting together a list but as of now some cardinals and lots of them. I have always loved those fish and have had them since I was little and love when there is a lot of them and how the school. Some alge squad fish, not sure of their names, they are in the 55G now. Some shrimp, snails, angels, flame gouramis, ram chiclids and not sure on what else at the moment.


I think that just about covers the intro and everything. If I missed something or you have any questions, comments or suggestions fire them at me. I know this is long and if you read it all then thank you! You truly are an addict too! The build will start Dec 15th and I will take lots of pics in the process and keep this thread updated in the process. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, 10 days before Christmas you must be insane!!! It's the family present.

Here is a little history of how this tank has involved to what it is today.

Keeping tanks and reefs is something I have I have done for 20+ year. I have had many over the years but currently I have a 90G in wall reef, and 2 55G in wall reefs and no this 90G planted tank. The 90G in wall reef is about to get upgraded to a 6-700G in wall. That will leave me with 2 extra 55G and 1 90G to do something with. I would like to do a discuss tank next with the old 90G reef that is about to get upgraded.

55G Fish Only freshwater tank which was set up for 7+ years that I took down in Nov to go Planted.



Upgraded to 90G High Tech Planted tank


Last edited by Texan78; 01-16-2014 at 05:21 AM.. Reason: Updating info
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Old 11-22-2013, 06:51 PM   #2
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subscribed!

are you going with a quick cycle, since you did mention it to be started 10 days before christmas. Unless I missed you saying you were gonna start the cycle earlier. even so, sounds like a really exciting build for you and your family!
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Old 11-22-2013, 10:43 PM   #3
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Thanks, yeah I think it's going to be fun. I do have the chemicals to quick start the tank which is what I did on my current 55G and it worked great. My plan is to get a cheap 5G tank from like PetSmart and put a HOB on it. Then a couple weeks before the build starts when I do a water change put some of the water from the 55G into the 5G and quick start it and let it cycle for two weeks or so. Then when I comes time to tear down and set up the new tank I will have a somewhat established holding tank to keep the fish from the 55G in while I get the new one up. When I do the water changes on the 55G I will do them on the 5G so hopefully they will be fairly close to each other. Once I get the 90G up I will quick start it but let it sit for a week and let it cycle before I add the fish back. The filter will already be somewhat established from it being on the 55G so after a week the 90G should be established and will be ready to put the fish back in and should be stable and settled somewhat by then. So by Christmas the fish and everything should be back in it and rocking. Of course the new 90G won't have any new fish yet just the ones from the 55G. I will wait a week or two after we put the fish back in to make sure everything is stable before we add an additional bio load and start adding new fish. That is the plan at least.
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Old 11-28-2013, 06:54 AM   #4
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So I got my new Finnex HPS 300 heater and Eheim Professionel 3 XL 2080 Filter. It is a lot bigger than I thought. I won't use it on this tank. It was on sale so I couldn't pass it up for the price to have has a backup or for emergencies. Also got my ADA Aqua Soil in. I am just hoping the 3 bags will be enough for a 2" bed with slopes for the footprint of this tank. Was hoping my dry ferts would be here today but UPS dropped the ball so they won't be here until next week. I have also bought two 48" 10K fixtures from BML and a drop checker from GLA just so I can have some kind of indication of what my CO2 is at even if they are overrated. Something is better than nothing as I always say. Also ordered my Marine Color dosing pump for my ferts. So everything is coming together and should have everything I need when I start the build in 2 weeks.

I have also been putting my plant list together and hope to have it finalized in a couple days.
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Old 11-28-2013, 07:12 AM   #5
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Your intro was a great read. Sorry about your mum.

Your build is going to be great to watch. subbed.

depending on your inhabitants, circulation pumps on a timer are a bad idea imo. small fish and shrimp could get a nasty surprise if they're in the pump when it comes on.

3 bags of ammonia should be enough. happy wc! looking forward to seeing your hardscape.
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Old 11-28-2013, 08:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dantrasy View Post
depending on your inhabitants, circulation pumps on a timer are a bad idea imo. small fish and shrimp could get a nasty surprise if they're in the pump when it comes on.
You're right, I was probably a little vague when I described it. When I was talking about on/off I was meaning like they aren't set up to oscillate like in a reef set up to create waves. They just come on at set time and run for like 12 hours then shut off for another 12. On the Apex they have variable speed ports which I use to ramp them up slowly. So they don't just go to full power when they come on. The pumps are designed for that in mind to keep fish from getting sucked into it. I have them running on the 55G right now just to test and dial in settings since I just got them. So far so good. I have watched shrimp climb all around it and never affect them. So hopefully I won't have any issues with it. I will be keeping and eye on them though. I have the Vortec on my reef tank which is pretty much the same design just cost more and haven't had any problems with them. So hopefully I won't on this tank ether.
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Old 11-28-2013, 09:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texan78 View Post
Thanks, yeah I think it's going to be fun. I do have the chemicals to quick start the tank which is what I did on my current 55G and it worked great. My plan is to get a cheap 5G tank from like PetSmart and put a HOB on it. Then a couple weeks before the build starts when I do a water change put some of the water from the 55G into the 5G and quick start it and let it cycle for two weeks or so. Then when I comes time to tear down and set up the new tank I will have a somewhat established holding tank to keep the fish from the 55G in while I get the new one up. When I do the water changes on the 55G I will do them on the 5G so hopefully they will be fairly close to each other. Once I get the 90G up I will quick start it but let it sit for a week and let it cycle before I add the fish back. The filter will already be somewhat established from it being on the 55G so after a week the 90G should be established and will be ready to put the fish back in and should be stable and settled somewhat by then. So by Christmas the fish and everything should be back in it and rocking. Of course the new 90G won't have any new fish yet just the ones from the 55G. I will wait a week or two after we put the fish back in to make sure everything is stable before we add an additional bio load and start adding new fish. That is the plan at least.
For no reason should you take just my word for this unless it is co-signed by "others" from the community.
I believe that the beneficial bacteria(BB) will die if used in the manner you stated. Likely not all of them but enough
for it to hurt. It takes a while(3-5 days) for the fish waste to supply enough ammonia for the BB to live off of.
For that reason I usually put the fish into the tank first. Then take readings till I get a .5 ammonia reading BEFORE
putting in the "broke in" filter/filter media or BB supplement. I have successfully used this method two times so far.
Additional info: I believe this accounts for 75-85% of any negative reviews on beneficial bacteria supplements
which are used in new tanks which have no fish waste already in them. Putting the fish in at the same time the
BB supplement is added.
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Old 11-29-2013, 02:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond S. View Post
For no reason should you take just my word for this unless it is co-signed by "others" from the community.
I believe that the beneficial bacteria(BB) will die if used in the manner you stated. Likely not all of them but enough
for it to hurt. It takes a while(3-5 days) for the fish waste to supply enough ammonia for the BB to live off of.
For that reason I usually put the fish into the tank first. Then take readings till I get a .5 ammonia reading BEFORE
putting in the "broke in" filter/filter media or BB supplement. I have successfully used this method two times so far.
Additional info: I believe this accounts for 75-85% of any negative reviews on beneficial bacteria supplements
which are used in new tanks which have no fish waste already in them. Putting the fish in at the same time the
BB supplement is added.

I agree, I am mainly doing that just so the tank has time to settle from the substrate and planting and all that other junk and letting the temp stablize and parameters level out some so I am not shocking the fish. I probably won't wait a week. That is probably just worse case scenario. That is why I am going to start cycling a small 5G holding tank from the 55G water. I am also holding back 25G of water from the 55G to put in the 90G. So when I set up the 90G it will pretty much be like a large water change. As far as the filter goes ether way the BB will die off even if it is just siting or if I introduce it immediately. In my case I really don't have much of a choice since I am using the filter from the 55G on the 90G. It's kind of the lesser of two evils. I would rather have the BB die off from inadequate ammonia than have high nitrite and it getting out of hand. Like I said thought, ether way you're going to lose BB though. It is something I have thought about though. Fortunately the fish I do have are not high dollar fish. They are really hardy though which is why I use them.
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Old 11-29-2013, 03:12 AM   #9
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UPDATE: So I got my Finnex heater in and it works great. I love it so far on first impression. I decided to go another route though and use a Hydor Inline heater. I really like the fact of not having so much stuff in the tank. I want it to be low profile as it can be. I will use the Finnex as a back up or in another tank as it does works great. Only down fall is it is white so it stands out a lot in the tank, especially with a black background. Which is another reason for going inline and getting it out of the tank.

Another change I have made, I have gotten tired of the micro-bubbles from the atomic diffuser so I pulled the trigger on a Aqua Medic External Co2 Reactor 1000 during the Black Friday sales. So I will be replacing the intank diffuser and plumbing it in. The GLA atomic diffuser works great but, I just got tired of the micro-bubbles. I am sure I will leave it and the Finnex heater and the Finnex Planted + Fixture on this 55G and use it to grow plants that come from the 90G in case I need to.

I have also decided to go with a different lighting option so I purchased 2 48" 10K fixtures from BML. I like the fact I can control them with my Apex so that is a major plus for me. I will use the Current USA fixtures to do my moon lights and weather just for the fun and wow factor since the kids like them and sync with the BML since both fixtures are capable of dimming to create dusk/dawn sequences.

Lastly, I have decided on the color I am going to stain the stand and canopy. I am going to go with the Bombay Mahogany using the Minwax PolyShades which is both a stain and poly coat which is nice. Here is an example of the color and what it will look like. This is not my stand but the color is the exact color and the stand is similar to what mine will look like. It just happened I found an example of the color I am going to use on another stand when looking for an example.

http://i1145.photobucket.com/albums/...7_21_12008.jpg

Well that is all for now. Hope to have the plants all nailed down in a couple days and get a mock up done.
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Old 11-29-2013, 09:09 AM   #10
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Many many moons ago...my brother was in the "I have arrived" mode both mentally and beginning to get there financially
and he was thinking of buying a boat...so he said. Somewhere in there he mentioned "the only thing keeping me back on
this is "that" saying...you know..."A boat...is a hole in the water...into which you pour large sums of money" He never got the boat.
Well, that water from the hole, I think I have just found out where it went to...LOL....
Great to see someone indulging them selves to "make it just the way I want it".
I'll be watching this one for a while as I can't wait to see the progress pictures. I will admit I'm a bit curious as to why, if one
has plants, that one wouldn't get 7000K plant light bulbs, or one of those ready made ones like the Dutch Planted for example.
But the 10,000K does deep water and there is one in that plant selection...so...I'll wait to see how it looks and grows plants.
Don't mind my curiosity as that's all it is...far from being ANY kind of pert...except maybe in algae growing...LOL...
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Old 11-29-2013, 09:43 AM   #11
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I know far to well about throwing money into the water. I have a boat too which stands for Bust Out Another Thousand and it couldn't be more true. Now I am kind of seeing a pattern here. I have a water addiction. Ha!

Well I just bought 2 10K fixtures from BML so we will see how well all three of the major players size up. I decided on the BML mainly because of the rave reviews and they are local and I am really familiar with the LEDs they use and can vouch they are high quality. Also it plays nice with the Apex so that is a bonus. Looking forward to getting this build started. 2 more weeks.
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Old 11-30-2013, 12:14 AM   #12
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Ok well thanks to a another thread on here I found a really cool hole in the wall specialty aquarium shop. So decided to go check it out. I had no intention on buying anything just went in to browse. Needless to say I found some really great driftwood root pieces that are attached to slate that was REALLY cheap. I couldn't pass it up so I grabbed it. I was going to use the driftwood that I had now and harvested from the lake many years ago and is aged and tank seasoned. These pieces I bought are perfect and will fit in nicely so I will use them instead.

So here is the new driftwood I will be using for my hardscape. I will also be using 3 pieces of petrified wood as well.

The second picture is the driftwood that is in my 55G now that I was going to use. Big difference as you can tell.
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Old 12-01-2013, 03:49 AM   #13
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UPDATE: Nothing really interesting today but I did get my plant selection done. I decided to start a small page to document my progress as well as update here for suggestions, advice and comments. You can find that link with my plant selection below that I will use in this build.

One other thing I started today was I went out and got a 44 Gallon trash guy, unused, clean as a whistle and started soaking the new driftwood to leech out the tannins. The new pieces are mounted to slate so sinking shouldn't be an issue. At last check it doesn't appear to be leeching much at the moment but that might change as time goes on. Hopefully it won't leech at all but ether way it should be good to go come build time. Other than that nothing exciting going on. I did get my JBJ style bubble counter for my Aquqtek regulator and got it installed. Have to say I am really liking it so far having it all contained to one unit. This replaced my GLA bubble counter.

On the concerns of the fishless cycle. I remember now why I was going to wait a week now. the ADA Aquasoil leeches ammonia naturally. So there will be ammonia present when I set this tank up. That is why I decided on waiting on fish for about a week and hoping the BB that is built up in the filter from the 50G and the water I am adding will be sufficient enough to handle the ammonia leeched from the Aquasoil.

Anyways, check out my plant selection and let me know what you think.

http://aquariums.mesquiteweather.net/flora.php

Last edited by Texan78; 12-01-2013 at 04:25 AM.. Reason: Updated link
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Old 12-04-2013, 07:00 AM   #14
Texan78
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Just a small update. I have received some more goodies and hopefully should have the rest of everything else to start the build by Friday. Then all I will be waiting on is for my new tank, stand and canopy to arrive so I can trim it and stain it. I have received my Marine Color doser, ferts, Hydor inline heater and my aquascape tools. I will give a review on this doser after I have time to play with it and I have it set up. I have also started purchasing some of the plants I will be using in this build and will just hold them in my 55G until the build starts. Still waiting on my 10K BML fixtures and new CO2 reactor as well.

Here are a few pics of the doser.
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Old 12-04-2013, 07:28 AM   #15
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Nice gear. Clearly going all out

About the dosing machine. Forgive my ignorance, I've never owned one or even seen one in person before. I see three pumps, so does that mean it draws from three fert bottles? If so, which fertz do you mix?
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