Kvans 285 L (75 gallon) - Low-tech, low-cost tank journal
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Old 06-25-2014, 02:27 PM   #1
kvans
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Kvans 285 L (75 gallon) - Low-tech, low-cost tank journal


After being inspired by all your jaw-dropping tanks on this forum i decided to start up a new tank.

My goals for this tank are to setup a low-maintenance, low-tech tank for as cheap as possible, but still have something beautiful (The tank is going to be in my bedroom so it needs to look great).

Equipment Details:

Tank: 285 liter - 105cm x 55cm x 65cm - Custom drilled overflow (Herbie design)

Stand: Wooden office table 120cm x 60cm (I had to add extra support to this table in the form of wooden beams as the tank is ridiculously heavy and i'm terrified of flooding my room).

Filtration: 100 liter (Long) Sump with filter pads, 10kg ceramic rings, possible hornwart refugium.

Lighting: 4x 20w Compact CFL (6500K) - DIY reflectors

Substrate: Organic potting soil, Pool filter sand cap.

Ferts/CO2: NONE


Flora and Fauna:

I live in South Africa so i am rather limited in terms of what species of plants i can get my hands on - especially the more exotic plants and the ones i can find are rather pricey.

I am aiming for an Angel tank with lots of java-fern, some sort of carpet plant and some sort of small bush like plant with some white river rocks - Ill just have to see whats available at the LFS (Ordering online is not an option - shipping costs more than the actual product!).

Progress:

Table has been braced and tested with the full tank - very sturdy, no leaks.

The lights have all been wired and the light hangers have been bent into shape.

The sump has been re-siliconed and leak tested.

TODO:

Drill the three bulkhead holes into the tank. (I've been putting off doing this for so long now as im petrified of cracking the tank and then its all over).

Plumb the Herbie overflow.

Fill the tank with substrate and scape it.

?

SUCCESS!

Questions:

1) Will the 4 x 20W CFL's be enough light for the tank? i was thinking of getting another 2 and then having 2 rows of 3 lights along the tank.

2) Are there any downsides of using a overflow/sump in a planted tank? i don't often see them used here on the forums and was wondering why.

3) Does it matter what type of potting soil i buy? Miracle grow is not available here.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! I will post some pictures once i have the plumbing done and keep this thread updated as i go along.

Hope you all enjoy! and sorry for any horrible spelling/grammar writing was never my strong point.

Last edited by kvans; 06-25-2014 at 02:42 PM.. Reason: Forgot to add a question.
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Old 06-25-2014, 03:47 PM   #2
pseudomugil
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1) For a foreground carpet type plant, you will probably need more light, but for java ferns that amount will be just fine
2)I've never used an overflow or sump, but if you want to see successful tanks with overflows/sumps, Hydrophyte has some awesome setups, I'm not sure if all of his are sumped, but I know several of his are
3)Look for organic potting soil, otherwise it will leach fertilisers into your aquarium and make a huge algae bloom, and those little foam balls will be all over your tank, another big mess
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:37 PM   #3
klibs
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1) Start low... You will regret it if you have too much light and blow up with algae. Slow growth > cleaning up a disaster tank. I don't know much about CFL intensity but do what you can handle and then find the balance when adding more light (ESPECIALLY with no CO2)
2)People say that overflows / sump setups have gas exchange issues and waste CO2 (not a problem for you). Others will say that is a load of crap, there are many successful planted tanks with sumps - their bio filtration is very good (I am assuming you will go with a wet-dry?). I say go for it. Biggest pain is to make it silent IMO.
3)As long as your topsoil does not have fertilizers in it you should be fine. I would honestly order a few bags of MGOCPM off of Amazon just to be safe but that's up to you.

Also good luck drilling your tank. It will be better than an overflow box but I don't think I would have the balls to do it. I hear if the glass is tempered then you will shatter it so you should make sure it isn't before attempting to drill... Look into that if you haven't heard that before lol.

Last edited by klibs; 06-25-2014 at 09:52 PM.. Reason: Forgot some stuff
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Old 06-27-2014, 07:09 AM   #4
kvans
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Thanks for the replies guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pseudomugil View Post
1) For a foreground carpet type plant, you will probably need more light, but for java ferns that amount will be just fine
2)I've never used an overflow or sump, but if you want to see successful tanks with overflows/sumps, Hydrophyte has some awesome setups, I'm not sure if all of his are sumped, but I know several of his are
3)Look for organic potting soil, otherwise it will leach fertilisers into your aquarium and make a huge algae bloom, and those little foam balls will be all over your tank, another big mess
I think i will stick with some simple plants to start with and depending on their growth ill add more at a later stage. I also went to a local gardening center and picked up some organic soil, the guy there said that the soil has no additives so im hoping i bought the correct stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by klibs View Post
1) Start low... You will regret it if you have too much light and blow up with algae. Slow growth > cleaning up a disaster tank. I don't know much about CFL intensity but do what you can handle and then find the balance when adding more light (ESPECIALLY with no CO2)
2)People say that overflows / sump setups have gas exchange issues and waste CO2 (not a problem for you). Others will say that is a load of crap, there are many successful planted tanks with sumps - their bio filtration is very good (I am assuming you will go with a wet-dry?). I say go for it. Biggest pain is to make it silent IMO.
3)As long as your topsoil does not have fertilizers in it you should be fine. I would honestly order a few bags of MGOCPM off of Amazon just to be safe but that's up to you.

Also good luck drilling your tank. It will be better than an overflow box but I don't think I would have the balls to do it. I hear if the glass is tempered then you will shatter it so you should make sure it isn't before attempting to drill... Look into that if you haven't heard that before lol.
I'm going to stick with the 4 x 20w setup for now, i can always add more later. lets pray that the algae gods are kind with this tank!.

As for the drilling of the tank, i kinda wimped out on that and found a glass installation company that will do it for me.

Ok now for some updates:

Shot of the tank on its stand.



Light stand



Light with reflector



After spraying (Looks better than expected)



Sump



Substrate and sandcap.



BONUS PIC: one of the two Bumblebee Goby's i picked up at the LFS. SO CUTE!



This weekend i am going to try and get the bulkheads drilled and the plumbing done. More updates to come.
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