90 Gallon Jungle Tank...Low-Light, High-Tech
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:31 AM   #1
Daximus
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90 Gallon Jungle Tank...Low-Light, High-Tech


Here is my 90 gallon I have affectionately named "The Jungle Tank" mostly because I don't really trim it or do anything much to it. It's a glass box with a bunch of weeds and some critters in it.

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Tank: Random 90 gallon w/stand, 48x24x18
Light: Two Home Depot shoplights with 2x32 watt GE 6500k T8s (128 watts total) http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/li...watt-shop.html
Filter: Aquatop CF-500UV (custom plumbing and spray bar) http://truaqua.com/aquatop-canister-...-cf-500uv.html
Heater: Hydor 300 watt inline, running at 80 degrees http://www.amazon.com/Hydor-In-Line-...1771569&sr=8-1
Co2: Aquatek CA, running about 4 b/p/s, no drop checker http://www.amazon.com/AQUATEK-Regula...ref=pd_sim_k_2
Substrate: Miracle Grow Organic covered with Black Diamond http://www.scotts.com/smg/catalog/pr...temId=cat50154
Water Fertilization: Random amounts of Seachem Flourish http://www.seachem.com/Products/prod.../Flourish.html
Substrate Fertilization: Miracle Grow plant food sticks broke in half http://www.scotts.com/smg/catalog/pr...temId=cat50108
Light Cycle: 64 watts for 10 hours a day with an additional 64 watts for 6 hours as a "midday burst"

Driftwood: Some hedge I picked up of the side of the road
Plants: Lot's of Crypts, Swords, Dwarf Sag...few stems of something...etc. I still can't identify them all.
Fish: 7 various angels, 1 stray discus, 2 otos, 6 corys, small herd of various neons...was some shrimp. Honestly I can't even find all the fish anymore, let alone the shrimp, but that's what I put in there.

Here is the tank as of mid/late October, give or take, right after setup so the water is still funky.
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Here it is on December 7th. I remember this day because it's the day I got Co2...and a timestamp. If you look we had some growth, but nothing crazy given my uber low lighting.
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After roughly 3 months of Co2! Note the dwarf sag...now you understand why I lose fish (lose as in "hey, where the hell is that fish?" not lose as in die off, lol.)
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Here is the tank the other day, just some random left/right pics.
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And here is the whole setup in my man cave. I include this picture because it gives you a better idea of what it actually looks like since my camera skills up close are abysmal.
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This hobby encapsulates all different manor of folks. Those who get very technical, those who spend tons of money, and those that do neither. Right now, I'm in that last group. My random thoughts. T8s can grow plants. Co2 is fun on any tank. Water changes are important, but overrated. Turnover is overrated. Filters shouldn't cost more than tanks. Plants like dirt. Trimming is for sissies. A lost fish is a happy fish. Know T5, know Algae. No T5, no algae.
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Old 03-15-2012, 01:07 AM   #2
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I'm thrilled you posted this! This must be the tank you were telling me about, when I posted something about the HD shop lights. I think the tank looks awesome - if I can end up with anything remotely like that, I'll be as pleased as punch. You hooked me as soon as I read your self-described approach to aquarium keeping, because you took the words right out of my mouth - lol. Then when I saw the shop lights I flipped.
The tank looks stunning (exactly my style) and you've given me a lot of hope...
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Old 03-15-2012, 01:24 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by driftwoodhunter View Post
I'm thrilled you posted this! This must be the tank you were telling me about, when I posted something about the HD shop lights. I think the tank looks awesome - if I can end up with anything remotely like that, I'll be as pleased as punch. You hooked me as soon as I read your self-described approach to aquarium keeping, because you took the words right out of my mouth - lol. Then when I saw the shop lights I flipped.
The tank looks stunning (exactly my style) and you've given me a lot of hope...
~ Cin ~
Well thanks, I'm humbled.

I've stated it as many times as I can on the forum...simply put, there are different styles and methods to achieve different results. All depends on what you're after, what you want to spend, and how much time you put into it. This tank is stupid low maintenance. I went all of three weeks in January without so much as touching it, no water changes, no nothing, just a water top off that my friend did once while I was out of town. It is the definition of low maintenance aquarium. As such, being low light, low tech...it will never look like some of the amazing high tech wonders some folks have, but that doesn't mean it can't look good.

I think they key to this one is that I take everything in moderation. I have moderate, low light. I can (and have) forgot about the light on the weekend and accidentally run it 24 hours without catastrophe. I run a moderate amount of Co2. I don't even run a drop checker, my 4-5 bubbles per second isn't going to get near the "ideal" 30 ppm that everyone stresses about. That said, the Co2 I do inject obviously has an effect. Yet, it's at such a low level the fauna are never in danger and quite happy. Since my lights and Co2 are moderately applied, I don't have the need for regular ferts/dosing/water changes. I do these things, but if I skip a week or two the tank isn't going to "crash".

Patience and moderation. Everyone wants to turn it into rocket science...It's a glass box with a bunch of weeds and some critters in it.
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:26 AM   #4
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Looks pretty sweet Dax. I can't see one thing that I don't like about it. I hope I can get mine looking like that in the future.
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:38 AM   #5
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This is brilliant.
Thanks for posting the details. I am in the middle of setting up a new 90 gallon tank as my first planted tank with soil. I was going to do 4 T8 bulbs, no T5 and no CO2.
But, now... That CO2 link on Amazon looks quite affordable...
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:51 AM   #6
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That is a lovely tank.
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Old 03-15-2012, 02:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Msigler View Post
Looks pretty sweet Dax. I can't see one thing that I don't like about it. I hope I can get mine looking like that in the future.
Thanks! There are lot's of little things that drive me nuts, hahaha.

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Originally Posted by mikk View Post
This is brilliant.
Thanks for posting the details. I am in the middle of setting up a new 90 gallon tank as my first planted tank with soil. I was going to do 4 T8 bulbs, no T5 and no CO2.
But, now... That CO2 link on Amazon looks quite affordable...
Thanks!

There is nothing wrong with T5s. I don't want the idea that I'm opposed to them getting out there. They are great, and some of the fixtures look really clean, aesthetically, much more so than my old shoplights! I just wan't to show people you don't have to have T5s to grow lots of plants.

Yea, the change after Co2 is amazing. I'd try to talk you out of it...but I can't, Co2 rocks.


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That is a lovely tank.
Thank you! Appreciated!
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Old 03-15-2012, 02:47 PM   #8
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From the looks of it, it seems not all your stem plants survived or made the cut for the jungle life. In the second picture there seems to be a banana plant in the lower left corner, I don't seem it in the final picture. Did you remove it or let nature take it's course. The same goes for that fluffy feather like stem plant also.
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Old 03-15-2012, 03:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Patriot100% View Post
From the looks of it, it seems not all your stem plants survived or made the cut for the jungle life. In the second picture there seems to be a banana plant in the lower left corner, I don't seem it in the final picture. Did you remove it or let nature take it's course. The same goes for that fluffy feather like stem plant also.
Well...let me answer this in parts, lol.

This was my first large planted tank. I honestly couldn't identify any of the plants I originally put in there, except for the dwarf sag. I started the tank semi-Walstad-ish, so I wanted to plant heavy. I bought live plants, what ever they may have been from my one and only LFS. Whatever she had...I bought. It was trial by fire.

I tinkered around a lot in December and learned a ton as well. My stem plants didn't die off, quite the contrary, they went nuts! I had some Bacopa that almost took over one side of the tank after I started injecting. It got so bad it was blocking out what little light I had. I removed it.

The foxtail (feathery looking one that I don't know the real name of) did very well...I removed it because it became a huge pain. When foxtail gets going it sheds like crazy. I had that stuff floating around, all in my filter. It had to go. It was like duckweed with a stem.

The banana plants just didn't really fit my taste once I got it home. I got rid of it. I moved some other plants around and such, added and removed driftwood, and made some changes through out the process. All in the name of personal preference.

The only thing I have killed is some dwarf hairgrass and baby tears (see the little bright green patches in the middle of the 2nd pic) that I tried. I simply don't have enough light in my deep tank for those plants. After that I started researching my plants before I bought them, lol, go figure. I may have upset my Madegascar Lace as well. It was growing like a weed, but in my slow water flow tank it would collect some algae. My Otos couldn't work their magic on it, due to it's skeletal shape. So I trimmed it up big time, and now it has gone a bit dormant on me. I've read that this happens from time to time...so I haven't really stressed out about it. That, and the more I play around with the tank the more I like the "Amazonia" theme I sort of have going.

Back on topic, the only stem plant I have now is some Bacopa looking stuff that is very red. It's wrapped around some driftwood in the far back right side, which is pretty much hidden from all views except looking at the tank directly from above due to the thick nature of things. I've just learned that I personally don't really care for stem plants as they don't lend themselves to the low maintenance aspect of my tank, what with thier constant need fro trimming to remain presentable.
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daximus View Post
Well thanks, I'm humbled.

I've stated it as many times as I can on the forum...simply put, there are different styles and methods to achieve different results. All depends on what you're after, what you want to spend, and how much time you put into it. This tank is stupid low maintenance. I went all of three weeks in January without so much as touching it, no water changes, no nothing, just a water top off that my friend did once while I was out of town. It is the definition of low maintenance aquarium. As such, being low light, low tech...it will never look like some of the amazing high tech wonders some folks have, but that doesn't mean it can't look good.

I think they key to this one is that I take everything in moderation. I have moderate, low light. I can (and have) forgot about the light on the weekend and accidentally run it 24 hours without catastrophe. I run a moderate amount of Co2. I don't even run a drop checker, my 4-5 bubbles per second isn't going to get near the "ideal" 30 ppm that everyone stresses about. That said, the Co2 I do inject obviously has an effect. Yet, it's at such a low level the fauna are never in danger and quite happy. Since my lights and Co2 are moderately applied, I don't have the need for regular ferts/dosing/water changes. I do these things, but if I skip a week or two the tank isn't going to "crash".

Patience and moderation. Everyone wants to turn it into rocket science...It's a glass box with a bunch of weeds and some critters in it.
This is a really solid post that would be a great read for beginners, well done.

Tank is very nice btw, low tech is so nice when your able to not touch it for weeks at a time at still have it looking good.
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:48 PM   #11
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This is a really solid post that would be a great read for beginners, well done.

Tank is very nice btw, low tech is so nice when your able to not touch it for weeks at a time at still have it looking good.
Thank you! It's easier to take a low-tech tank to a hi-tech tank than the other way around. That's how I approached things anyways. I didn't know this kind of growth was possible with a low-tech when I started it. I'm so glad I got Co2 before the high lights, if I hadn't done things "backwards" I never would have known this was possible.

Moral of the story...new people: Get Co2 before you get high light, because you just might find out you don't need or want the high light.
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:48 PM   #12
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hehehe "It's a glass box with a bunch of weeds and some critters in it."

nice, I like
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post
hehehe "It's a glass box with a bunch of weeds and some critters in it."

nice, I like


Thanks!

It was your tank that inspired me to go this route! Granted, I strayed off the path a bit when I added Co2, but that's neither here nor there. This thread should be mandatory ready for new folks interested in dirt tanks and/or low tech setups. http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lo...-soil-sub.html I must have read that whole thread three times before I was even a member on the forum.
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:50 PM   #14
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haha TY

there was no path LOL other than that tank was done on the cheap cheap (tweety tank) dirty old stuff saved from the dump LOL and lowest of the low tech following conversations Tim (Trallen44) and I had in PM's. Dirt, power head, heater, shop lights and weeds. While it was my first I've done a dozen more and all of them are different. The only common point is using MGOCPM.
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:30 PM   #15
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haha TY

there was no path LOL other than that tank was done on the cheap cheap (tweety tank) dirty old stuff saved from the dump LOL and lowest of the low tech following conversations Tim (Trallen44) and I had in PM's. Dirt, power head, heater, shop lights and weeds. While it was my first I've done a dozen more and all of them are different. The only common point is using MGOCPM.
That's what makes it great to me.
Canister filter, no. Co2, no. High light, no. High maintenance, no.

I just followed the same ideals, then added a smidgen of Co2 and...BAM! jungle! It's just appealing to me that one doesn't have to spend hundreds upon hundreds of dollars to have a nice setup. Oh, and that I can leave town for weeks at a time and it just keeps ticking like a clock. Get home, do a water change, and leave it alone for another month.

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Dirt, power head, heater, shop lights and weeds.
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