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Old 07-20-2014, 09:14 AM   #1
BigJay180
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The 180 gallon project - don't know what I'm doing


Background: I managed to snag a 72x24x24 from a friend exiting the hobby for cheap.

It's a solid tank, in almost perfect condition after three years of use. It isn't drilled, but you can't have everything. Best part, it came with an Eheim pro II for filtration, so I should be nearly set there.

I might add a second canister with a surface extractor (Fluval makes a good one) because I want the surface clean as overflows would. Either that, or I'll plant duckweed and lillies.

The question is what in the world to do with this tank? Most of my experience is reef, I had a really nice and elaborate 180 sps reef until I moved cross country and had to sell it (job relocation). That tank was fantastic, it had everything from SPS to gorgeous dwarf angels, and anemones hosting clowns. Sometimes I could spend hours just watching Copepoda and feather worms in the refugium.

I'm going planted this time of course, trying something different. I'm thinking colorful fish. Well, as much as I can manage with freshwater anyways.
Ideas:
Discus with rummies or cardinals (maybe, but don't really want an 86 degree tank)
Rainbows (very possible, since my water is hard and rainbows love it)
Rams
Killies
Harlequin rasbora school (gorgeous)
Dwarf gouramis (love the color)
Gold angels contrast with Congo tetras? (Someone did something like this here - beautiful)
Cherry shrimp (because I miss watching my cleaner shrimp and cleanup crabs)

I'm open to ideas, I really don't know fresh water. What would YOU do with a 180?

Also. Quality counts. I see no point in buying washed out rainbows, dull killies, or stunted fish. If you have a suggestion on where to order some quality stock, let me know. The LFS stock in my area is mostly poor so far.
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:33 AM   #2
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Look into apistogramma! Dwarf chiclids are gorgeous and they go well with discus. Dwarf chiclids like soft water though as do discus. Dwarf chiclids are my favorite fish at the moment I can't get enough they are so beautiful and full of personality! If you are determined to stay with hard water I recommend trying "shellies" perhaps. I don't know much about them but I'm quite interested in them currently. I wish I could get some. They are little chiclids that live in shells. They may make planting tough though not sure.
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Old 07-20-2014, 12:33 PM   #3
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What about no bigger fish , just a huge school (maybe 40-50) of smaller tetras , barbs or lampeyes , plus some corys/ottos (20 or so) down below to clean up the mess....
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Old 07-20-2014, 01:01 PM   #4
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The big question is: Are you planning on planting the tank?

If so, I'd keep away from discus until you have the planted piece down. While planted tanks and discus can be done. I dont buy into the whole idea that you cant grow big healthy discus in a planted tank (I've done it). But planted tanks require a whole other set of skills and understanding. Read up on this forum about low tech vs high tech, c02 injection, substrate, lighting, fertilization. Ask yourself what kind of plants do you want to keep and how much time do you have in doing the maintenance. Fish are one thing, but plants add another variable to the equation.

+1 on the dwarf cichlids- apistogramma. Great personalities and great colors.

Last edited by jasa73; 07-20-2014 at 01:03 PM.. Reason: add
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Old 07-20-2014, 01:26 PM   #5
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Or check out Blood Parrots - lots of personality per inch.

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Old 07-20-2014, 01:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
Or check out Blood Parrots - lots of personality per inch.

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Blood Parrots <3
You could always be like me and keep non traditional fish in your tank.

You planing on going high tech or keeping it low tech?
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Old 07-20-2014, 01:54 PM   #7
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I saw a quote on here: not exactly true to the actual quote though.
I tried for years unsuccessfully, to have plants in my fish tank.
When I tried having a planted tank/w fish in it I was successful.
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Old 07-20-2014, 02:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasa73 View Post
The big question is: Are you planning on planting the tank?

If so, I'd keep away from discus until you have the planted piece down. While planted tanks and discus can be done. I dont buy into the whole idea that you cant grow big healthy discus in a planted tank (I've done it). But planted tanks require a whole other set of skills and understanding. Read up on this forum about low tech vs high tech, c02 injection, substrate, lighting, fertilization. Ask yourself what kind of plants do you want to keep and how much time do you have in doing the maintenance. Fish are one thing, but plants add another variable to the equation.

+1 on the dwarf cichlids- apistogramma. Great personalities and great colors.
I'll follow the advice and start with growing plants first.

Last thing I need to do is mess up and kill a $200.00 adult show fish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErtyJr View Post
Look into apistogramma! Dwarf chiclids are gorgeous and they go well with discus. Dwarf chiclids like soft water though as do discus. Dwarf chiclids are my favorite fish at the moment I can't get enough they are so beautiful and full of personality! If you are determined to stay with hard water I recommend trying "shellies" perhaps. I don't know much about them but I'm quite interested in them currently. I wish I could get some. They are little chiclids that live in shells. They may make planting tough though not sure.
Apistos! How is their temperament in a planted tank? Do they uproot stuff? Do they have personality?

Quote:
Originally Posted by someoldguy View Post
What about no bigger fish , just a huge school (maybe 40-50) of smaller tetras , barbs or lampeyes , plus some corys/ottos (20 or so) down below to clean up the mess....
Thats a fantastic idea. I looked into barbs and I could do huge schools of tigers, cherries, and golds in a 180. I like the idea of having some cories too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HybridHerp View Post
Blood Parrots <3
You could always be like me and keep non traditional fish in your tank.

You planing on going high tech or keeping it low tech?
Not sure yet. I'm reading up on this.

If I decide on high tech, I'll start with two 36" T5HO four bulb fixtures and then pick up a Milwaukee regulator and a co2 tank. I used a Milwaukee for a couple of years with a Korallin calcium reactor on my reef for years with no issues. I liked it and I know exactly how to dial it in.

For low tech, I can pick up two 36 inch T5HO TWO bulb fixtures or go LED, and use one of the flourish excel copy cats for carbon.

I get the vibe that high tech tanks are usually more successful for newbies?

As for odd fish, how about an archer? :-D
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Old 07-20-2014, 03:04 PM   #9
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I think most archers are brackish but research man.

And the thing with high tech is since growth pressure is high, beginner mistakes will hit harder than low tech mistakes.

Also, do your research on lighting. And figure out what plants you want to grow. Maybe what would be good is get a fantastic substrate, hard scape, then start mediumish light no co2 until you feel comfortable taking the leap. You can even get a powerful highlight fixture and just not run all the bulbs or something until you get the co2 dialed in and bumpin.
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Old 07-20-2014, 03:14 PM   #10
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Apistos are fantastic. I've kept german blue rams (GBR), and presently have a pair of apistogramma agassazii...awesome colors and they have super personalities. I find apistos do not root up anything.

It's great you have experience with a pH controller. It will make the c02 injection piece easier for you. Keep in mind that people have been known to gas their fish to death. Be sure to read up on how to find the right c02 ppm and get a drop checker. A drop checker is what people use in C02 injection that dont use a pH controller (usually measuring their rate by bubbles per minute. I use a pH controller as well but I use a drop checker as a spot visual as to where my c02 is at.

If you are going high tech or high light be sure to read up on fertilization. I dose Estimative Index aka EI. Its based on the premise that if we provide excess nutrients to our plants, the plants will get everything they need, provided they have adequate access to c02, and light they will grow well and out compete algae. It rejects the notion that excess nutrients are the cause of algae outbreaks and eliminates the need for tedious and inaccurate testing of the water. The system is reset weekly by a large weekly water change. There are other fert regimes that you can read up on the fert section.

Keep in mind light is the big driver here. I like to think of light amount (intensity and photoperiod) as our accelerator.If you have high light and c02 or ferts are not in balance you will get alage. The higher the light the faster you could crash. Many of the posts from beginners on here that have major algae outbreaks have way too much light in either intensity or photoperiod, coupled with no/low ferts and/or not enough c02.
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:43 PM   #11
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:31 AM   #12
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I set the tank up and started cleaning it with vinegar and water.

It's huge. I had a 180 reef, but it looked a hell of a lot smaller with hundreds of pounds of live rock.
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:27 PM   #13
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When I finish college I am going to setup a 180 in my own living room. The stock will be something around this

50+ cardinal tetras
4-6 angles
20+ cory cats
4-6 german blue rams
4-6 cockatoo cichlids


Now this is just an estimate and I will rethink the bottom dwellers but that's what I plan to have.



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Old 07-21-2014, 06:13 PM   #14
Jeff5614
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I like a large school of small fish in a large tank. It seems to make the tank look even larger.

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Old 07-21-2014, 06:48 PM   #15
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I like a large school of small fish in a large tank. It seems to make the tank look even larger.
+1
Large schools of small fish / small plants look best IMO. A carpet of something small looks AMAZING in big tanks with small-leaf stem plants filled in. This is one of my favorite tanks that I am using as my current inspiration:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=541881
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