Mark's 125 Gallon Angelfish Tank
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Old 12-22-2013, 04:28 AM   #1
Mark Allred
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Mark's 125 Gallon Angelfish Tank


To begin this journal, I guess I need to start where this actually began.
A little history... I have been keeping fish since I was 15, so 45 years ago, I became an exotic fish enthusiast.
Fourteen or so years ago, I got pretty wrapped up in a 130 gallon planted Discus setup.

[IMG][/IMG]

Won some contests, and won some fish.
I also ended up with a 65H, and a 60 gallon tank, also full of Discus! I was also maintaining a 6500 gallon Koi pond.
After about 4 or 5 years, I BURNT OUT!
Sold all my tanks. I figured I was done.
In December of 2011, my son asked me if I wanted my 65 High back, as he wasn't using it....
Here we go again! I had been checking out some of the new Angelfish varieties, and was stoked!
The first fish I ever bought were a pair of Silver Angelfish, in 1969 or so.
I bought 17 Angelfish from David Labell (Angelfish USA), got a nice variety, including some Phillipine Blues. Put them in the 65 High.

[IMG][/IMG]

17 Angelfish is too may Fish for a tank that size, you say?
I know, that way, I could tell my beloved, when these fish started getting big. "They need a bigger aquarium!"
This tank was a failure, as a planted tank, wrong substrate, wrong ferts, lights, etc.
So, in January, of this year, I set this up...

[IMG][/IMG]

You can see in this picture, the Echinodorus bleheri I purchased, had been grown emersed.
I was using two ZooMed 36 X 2 bulb T5 HO, 2 Flora Sun, 2 Ocean Sun bulbs.
I initially set this tank up with an Eshopps WD-150CS (wet/dry) filter, but that will only handle 800 gph,
so I put it on my 65H.
I am using a 20 gallon Long tank as a sump with home built wet/dry filter,
a 300W Eheim Jaeger heater. (2) Rio 3100+ Submersible Pumps (900gph) @ 0 head.
So, about about 1200 gph flow (they are throttled back a little).
I am using a 20 lb. CO2 cylinder with Sera 1000 CO2 reactor, and pH controller.

Substrate is Eco Complete black substrate (160lbs).
Source water is 7.8 pH, 4 GH, 5 dKH. Temperature maintained at 81 F.
Started dosing the tank with Excel, Flourish Comprehensive, and root tabs in mid February. I also started loading up on plants.
March 2nd I installed a pressurized CO2 system with high volume CO2 reactor, and pH controller.
pH controller is set to shut off CO2 at 6.5 pH. 20 lb. tank utilized.
March 10th, installed 4 Lithonia12" 6500K LED strips.
The plug you can see is for the moonlights. (Current LED)

[IMG][/IMG]

This Tank has evolved A LOT since these March pictures.
Updates coming soon!

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 12-22-2013, 04:32 AM   #2
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great write-up!

love the dd's. looking forward to some close ups.

thanks,
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Old 12-22-2013, 05:19 AM   #3
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Thanks Trailsnale!
I had three blacks, one DD Superveil, and two Pinoy. One Pearlscale, and one regular. The Superveil, and Pearlscale have passed on. This is the surviving Pinoy. He is magnificent (and huge!)

[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 12-22-2013, 05:24 AM   #4
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One more of the Pinoy...

[IMG][/IMG]

Last edited by Mark Allred; 03-29-2014 at 02:12 PM.. Reason: changed link
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Old 12-22-2013, 02:22 PM   #5
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Spent another $100+ on plants shortly before stating up the CO2.
So, in about two weeks, I went from not having enough plants, to pruning weekly.
Have been doing weekly 50 to 60 %water changes from the get-go. In late April, I started dosing dry ferts. PPS Pro recipe. Macros and Micros
(Plantex CSM +B).

Here is a picture of a Peruvian Green Glitter X Phillippine Blue Silver.
[IMG][/IMG]

Meanwhile, I had turned the 65H into a Dwarf Cichlid tank. My four Bolivian Rams were getting a bit large, and the tank looked overstocked.
Now they are cohabitants with the Angels.

[IMG][/IMG]

This shot was taken May 3rd. The tank is becoming a jungle, my three large pieces of Malawi driftwood have been swallowed up.
My lack of aquascaping skills is becoming evident

[IMG][/IMG]

My Ludwigia repens, and Blood Stargrass, although beautiful, are getting out of control.

[IMG][/IMG]

Nice picture of two of a trio of spawners, with eggs on an Ozelot Swordplant Leaf.
[IMG][/IMG]

Trying to thin the herd, tried to sell this 21" Amazon Swordplant.
"Sure, this would be a great plant for your 10 gallon tank!"
[IMG][/IMG]

Coming up: Continuous water change system!
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Old 12-31-2013, 04:37 AM   #6
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Automatic water change setup is now running, as of last July 23rd!
Installed overflow bulkhead with strainer on side of wet/dry filter, and plumbed to the drain header
(drains to washing machine drain in basement.) tubing to needle valve set to fill at 20 drops per second?
[IMG][/IMG]

In the background you can see a vent/riser for the 1/2" PVC drain line,
it goes around 3 walls of the room, and is also plumbed into the sump from my 65H.
It drops through the floor, into the wash room, and drains into the washing machine drain.
[IMG][/IMG]
I plumbed a needle valve into my cold water line, feeding my water heater,
for water addition for the two tanks. Water is plumbed to tanks with 1/4" rigid tubing.
[IMG][/IMG]

Initially, I was using these brass needle valves, to regulate water addition to the tanks.
After about 2 weeks, they were unusable! Can't shut them off, or adjust the flow down enough!
[IMG][/IMG]
In Utah, over the holidays, I saw my son was using these, because of the same problem I was having!
He said they are working better, so I got a couple at Lowes.
[IMG][/IMG]
The sump addition is temporary, I need to get the water back to being added directly to the tank.

Here is a tank picture from two weeks ater setting this up. Tank is like a jungle! I wish I had someone to sell, or give plants to.
[IMG][/IMG]

More to come.
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Old 12-31-2013, 12:12 PM   #7
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Love the angels and your plants are beautiful! I used to have some of those fast growers but got tired of trimming all the time. I really liked the stargrass, but just got out of control to quickly. I have one angel that I raised from a fry from a silver/marble pair and he is one of my favorites. Great job on the tank!
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Old 12-31-2013, 02:26 PM   #8
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Great looking tank! I went through a similar burnout as you did, and got back into the hobby two years ago, and went the same route you did, angels and 65! You're one step ahead of me, as I've been trying to convince the wife for an upgrade to a 125.

I love the continuous water change system, been thinking of doing one for some time now.

And as far as your excess plants, post them in the RAOK section, someone will want them. I'd make you an offer on the large amazon sword and maybe some others, but I don't trust our weather here in PA. Temps are all over the place.
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Old 12-31-2013, 04:18 PM   #9
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Thanks Dewalltheway,
Yeah, I had to get rid of the Blood Stargrass, and the Ludwigia repens, both grew like weeds!

Longgonedaddy,
Thanks, so far the only issue I have had with the continuous water change system, was letting too much get changed.
The Apple snails don't do well with it. Chlorine?, I don't know. Had some die off. None of the fish have been affected at all.

It is definitely a BIG time saver!
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Old 01-01-2014, 08:55 AM   #10
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I was given 8 or so Malaysian Trumpet snails from a friend in late July.
I thought they would be good to keep the substrate aerated...
Bad plan! Now I am overrun with them!

Fast forward to November 7th or so.
I ordered a 56 LED Cree 6 channel controller kit from Aquastyleonline.
On Ray's recommendation, I added 7 660 nm red, and 7 violet 420nm with boards.
The 56 Cree were 35 white 6500K, 14 white 4500K, 7 warm white 3000K.
All LED were sent with 80 degree optics.

For heatsinks, and fans, I opted to go with four of Steve's LEDs 1 1/4" aluminum square tubing 60" long,
and two of his pressured cooling fans.

Ray from Aquastyleonline recommended four rows of lights with 3" LED spacing.

Here is a screenshot of my design layout done using Coreldraw,
Corel wouldn't let me save this as a jpeg, so this will have to do.
I also added a fan driver (CH.5) and 4 Bridgelux 10,000K LEDs (Ch. 6) for moonlights.
Channel 6 is non dimmable, so I had to figure a way to diffuse them, as I knew they would be way too bright.
[IMG][/IMG]

I laid my four rows into position, and riveted them into position, onto 3 pieces of aluminum flat strap. LEDs were glued into position.
The printout was handy to make sure + and - were laid out correctly, and wiring was correct.
[IMG][/IMG]

My Corel template was great for cutting my "Y" pieces for the cooling fans.
My friend Chad was set up at his place, to weld aluminum, so we got 'er done!
[IMG][/IMG]

Here wiring is being soldered, and kitchen table mockup! You can see the 12 Meanwell driver boards, and 350 watt power supply.
[IMG][/IMG]

The kit came with 2 meters of aluminum wire, that was enough to solder the LEDs together. I needed about another 130 feet!
Someone on one of the forums was having a cow about having a hard time sourcing aluminum wire for these kits.
I don't know why you would have to use aluminum, but I found an easy solution. I needed a lighter gauge anyway,
so I bought a few rolls of 18 ga. speaker wire, and just stripped off the negative (aluminum wire) .

NASA, we have ignition! No lenses attached yet.
[IMG][/IMG]

Here are the fans, and voltage regulators mounted.
[IMG][/IMG]
So, right in the middle of building this, I get a "Posterior apistaxis".
Two days in the emergency room, huge catheter jammed up my nose (and inflated), and missed 3 days of work.
Seemed like every time I sat down to work on this, my nose would start to bleed... bad! So, I finally get this thing installed on December 7th.
Lenses are only installed on the "white" lights.
[IMG][/IMG]

Power supply and box for drivers.
[IMG][/IMG]

Here it is, mounted on the tank. I was bothered by the fact, the lights would be mounted towards the back of the aquarium,
so I installed the assembly on modified drawer slides, so the light can be centered over the tank.
I can also, slide them all the way to the back for aquarium maintenance access. These lights are incredible!
The color is superb! I am seeing increased plant growth already.
Channels 1-4 have a sunrise/sunset mode, The first and last half 1/2 hour, they ramp up from 0% to 100%, and back down at sunset.

Maximum brightness can be set, where ever you want it, and different start/stop times can be set on all channels.
[IMG][/IMG]

Upon first running these lights, I had dead spots on the ends. I removed the lenses on the outermost lights, and problem solved!
I decided to adapt the lenses for my Bridgelux "moonlights", and applied two coats of Smoke lens tint paint (for car tail light lenses, etc.).
It was still too bright, and had a spot lighting effect. I ended up using clear drinking water bottle caps, sprayed with four coats of lens tint paint.
It looks pretty good now, but could still be a little darker.
[IMG][/IMG]

Happy New Year!

Last edited by Mark Allred; 01-01-2014 at 05:35 PM.. Reason: photo reload
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Old 01-01-2014, 12:23 PM   #11
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What what a great project - happy new year!
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:50 AM   #12
Mark Allred
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Well, I have been running my new lights 6 weeks now, and a week or so ago noticed I'm growing a little BBA
Mostly on Sagittaria near the top. Started dosing Gluteraldehyde 3 days ago, and tonight set the lights all at 85%, instead of 100%.
I had no algae issues with the old lights
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:50 PM   #13
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Nice, looks awesome! I really like you lighting system. It's a shame your getting a bba its really annoying!!
Good luck...
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Old 01-25-2014, 06:09 PM   #14
Mark Allred
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Thanks, horsedude!
I am loving the lights! You would have to see them, to really appreciate them!
Last night, I did a little more pruning to remove a little more BBA.
A few Crypt, and Java Fern leaves. Haircut for some Java Moss.
Set the pH controller down a notch to add enough CO2 to bring the pH down from 7.0 to 6.8.
I'll give it a few days...if it is not better then. I will cut the photo period back an hour.
A "sunrise" picture I took this morning...
[IMG][/IMG]
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Old 01-25-2014, 06:24 PM   #15
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That's awesome!!
I know what you mean, sometimes photos don't give enough emphasise on the lighting, fish, plants etc...
Its surprising how much a tank looks after a good trimming, I trimmed my 20g this morning (the night for you!) I cut 1/3 of my stem plants and got rid of 1/2 my duckweed to let more light in! I cut at least 10 or more leaves off my massive Anubis.
Good Luck, its looking good!....
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