My 120g first attempt dirt tank.
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:22 PM   #1
dannylc
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My 120g first attempt dirt tank.


Ok, where do I start....

So I bought the tank 120x60x76 ( double 10mm base )second hand with cabinet for 270 with a sump 60x30x20, auto top up tank with pump ( which I am not using ) and 3000lph return pump.

In the process of getting the pipework from tank to sump set up I managed to drop a bend into the sump cracking the base! I fixed this with a piece of 5mm perspex cut to size and siliconed to the base of the sump with the same done inside the sump. In total for the perspex and silicone it cost approx 35

Then I had the problem of lighting which I am sure many of you know by my numerous questions on the subject.

I decided on x2 T5 light units with each taking x2 54w HO bulbs so a total of x4 54w T5HO 6500k bulbs are being used. Which in total for the two units, 4 bulbs, 10m twin and earth wiring, x2 plugs has cost approx 80

The lights are approx 8" above the surface of the water and approx 33" above the substrate.

I then had to decide on substrate and decoration..... I decided I woudl go for a dirt tank because I like the idea of the plants have a good source of food and also the way the dirt can absorb the waste from the tank and then feed the plants with it.

I have used John Inns No3 as I saw recommend on here and other forums with a google search. I have used 1" of this and capped with 1" of a fine sand which you may of noticed has had me worried today that it may not allow sufficient water circulation into the dirt. I have spent approx 15 on dirt and sand. Approx 23kg of dirt and approx 27kg of sand, not sure how many litres of each that would be.

So now decoration... I first though about using wood and purchased a massive piece of wood which cost a fortune then to decide after having it soaking in the tank for a week or so I did not like lol and that I would use rock only!

So I hunted a few rock merchants and finally found two very nice and big and damn heavy ( approx 25-30kg each ) pieces of slate which have cost 10 for the two. Now getting these rocks into the tank was a whole different story! I had to do them one at a time ad prop them on a step ladder while with one leg in the tank and the other on the step ladder cautiously get them to the bottom of the tank!

That was stressful but successful! I thought of it as make or break the tank as these will have the wow factor lol

Now I Have the tank filled and cycling and some plants will be added in the next few days so here is a run down on my equipment.

Tank: 120x60x76 ( 547L - 120g )
Sump: 60x30x30 ( 63L - 11.88g )
Combined volume: ( 610L - 131.88g approx )

I also have an old tank that will be used as the quarantine for new plants and fish that is 60x30x35 ( 63L - 13.8g )

In the sump I have;
section 1: 3" of each course-medium-fine pads
Section 2: 2kg of Alfa Grog, 100 30mm Bio Balls with x2 power heads for added circulation one of 300lh and the other 400lh, x1 200w Fluval Tronic heater.
Section 3: 3000lh return pump and x1 200w Fluval Tronic heater.

So here are some pictures to give you guys a picture of what is what so far,

The beginning, here you can see the water bottle on the sump weighing it down where I added the perspex to the base. Excuse the mess lol


The piece of wood I decided against


The sump


The bare tank with rock added


The dry start with dirt and rocks


The dirt capped with sand and filled with water


Now I know surface agitation is a great thing so here are a few pics and a super slow motion vid of mine, it does not actually break the water




And the video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85NNT...ature=youtu.be

The rocks



Tank from the sides



The future quarantine tank


And the full view


Think I have covered everything up to now so any questions just ask and comments welcome.

Also I am still deciding on using Co2 and a UV.

I will update as things progress.

Thanks

Last edited by dannylc; 07-22-2012 at 07:47 PM.. Reason: More info added
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:29 PM   #2
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I'm subscribed not to miss any update!
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:32 PM   #3
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Thank you I can promise plenty of macro and close up shots once stocking of plants and fish, shrimps etc begins
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:52 PM   #4
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That tank is huge! And those rocks are massive as well. Can't wait to see where you go with this!
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:54 PM   #5
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Did you lay down any kind of barrier between those rocks and the tank bottom? I just read how much those rocks weighed . I would be losing sleep over possible pressure points on that bottom glass pane... Just a thought.
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:00 PM   #6
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Nope straight on the base, I am 95% certain they will be fine directly on the base as it is a double 10mm base and they are quite flat so the weight is spread fairly well, they do not have any lumps or bumps either so I am sure will be fine.

I have stacked over 200kg of ocean rock in my old 6x2x2 Malawi tank straight on a double 10mm base and that has some quite sharp edges and that was fine so these should be fine.
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Old 07-23-2012, 12:20 AM   #7
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Right, decided on the scape I would like and it will not be easy but will be worth it!

I have had to move the left rock to make space for another smaller rock to go beside it, I have to find a suitable piece now........

If you can imagine it this is how it will look, the right corner behind the large rock on the right will be built up like a rockery and the same behind the current left rock with between the two current rock left clear.

I will make a quick photoshop mock up to give you guys a better idea but I can picture it lol

here is the tank now,
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Dirt tank - 120g 120cm x 60cm x 76cm ( under construction )
Shrimp tank - 10g 60cm x 30cm x 35cm ( under construction )
The Fraternity of Dirt #93
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Old 07-23-2012, 04:38 AM   #8
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Well..............tank is drained and new scape coming later today....
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Dirt tank - 120g 120cm x 60cm x 76cm ( under construction )
Shrimp tank - 10g 60cm x 30cm x 35cm ( under construction )
The Fraternity of Dirt #93
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Old 07-23-2012, 05:46 AM   #9
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I rarely see blue backgrounds
I'm sure this thing is going to look sick in the future
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:51 PM   #10
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Right... New hard scape done, not sure if it qualifies for Iwagumi but it has 7 pieces of rock lol

I got a new piece of rock and I smashed up the massive piece that was on the left with some success and got some decent pieces from it.

Now to fill the gaps with sand then re dirt and re sand lol Still deciding on slopes or not so may be tomorrow I actually get dirt in again.

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Dirt tank - 120g 120cm x 60cm x 76cm ( under construction )
Shrimp tank - 10g 60cm x 30cm x 35cm ( under construction )
The Fraternity of Dirt #93
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:38 PM   #11
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Correction, This I am sure is my finished hard scape!

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Dirt tank - 120g 120cm x 60cm x 76cm ( under construction )
Shrimp tank - 10g 60cm x 30cm x 35cm ( under construction )
The Fraternity of Dirt #93
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:23 AM   #12
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Here are a few quick shots of the 5 rocks I have used.

The second from left has crystals on that I will try and make look like an ice cap of a mountain , it is part of a few that I got from smashing up a big one.

These are currently dry and when wet show much much more detail and go much darker.



















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Dirt tank - 120g 120cm x 60cm x 76cm ( under construction )
Shrimp tank - 10g 60cm x 30cm x 35cm ( under construction )
The Fraternity of Dirt #93
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:14 AM   #13
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Well... the re-scape is complete and the tank now once again running! 1" John Inns No3 and capped with fine sand.

The corners are sand only about 7" at the deepest as you will see below, I will have some deep rooting plants in them and also disturb them a bit myself to prevent compacting as much as I can.

You can not see the affect of the sloping corners very well in pictures so I will try and get a good picture of the tank at some point.

I have also ordered my first plants, x5 Aponogeton Natans and also x5 Vallisneria gigantea var. rubra which I will have by the end of the week I hope.

Sorry about the poor quality of some of the pics they where taken in a rush.







And as it is right now

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My journal

Dirt tank - 120g 120cm x 60cm x 76cm ( under construction )
Shrimp tank - 10g 60cm x 30cm x 35cm ( under construction )
The Fraternity of Dirt #93

Last edited by dannylc; 07-25-2012 at 12:46 AM.. Reason: More info
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:56 AM   #14
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I LOVE the rocks you are working with - please share how you came into them - but I cannot say you have the found the optimal arrangement. I cannot say I found the optimal arrangement with the ones I used in my 75g either, but I know I enjoyed playing around with arrangements for several weeks.

What kind of plants are you thinking about? And what about fish, etc?
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:26 AM   #15
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The rocks are just standard grey slate like you would buy in small pieces from a fish shop but giant pieces from a rock merchant that would normally be used in landscaping.

Not 100% decided on fish yet but mainly Tetra's and Shrimp, plants will just be a couple of types of whatever is easy as this is a first attempt just to see how it goes initially.

I am thinking of using Echinodorus Tenellus as a carpet in the front as that seems the easiest I have read about so far.
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Dirt tank - 120g 120cm x 60cm x 76cm ( under construction )
Shrimp tank - 10g 60cm x 30cm x 35cm ( under construction )
The Fraternity of Dirt #93
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