For the last 20+ years my main tank has been a 45 gallon (tall) that I've kept mostly Cichlids in. However, I have also kept some things that I had no business keeping in that tank, with various amounts of success;
(Silver Arrowana, Jardini, various Gar, Clown Knives, Pacu, Oscars, African Frogs, Fire Eel, Needlefish, etc.)
I've had this tank through College and have taken it down and set it back up over a dozen times from various moves. My wife and I are settled into a more permanent home now, and I have been wanting a larger tank.
I've planted with some, but not too much success. Mostly augmenting my plastic plants with some live ones. I have gone as far a building a low tech yeast based Co2 setup. I didn't see enough results from it, and lost interest in pursuing that route.
Below is a shot of the old 45 gallon.
I have always been pleased with how much value live plants have brought to my aquascapes, and have always envied lushly planted tanks. This time, I'm going all in. In November, I acquired a "new to me" 110 gallon setup. Tank, stand, hood, sump, and pump for $350 on Craigslist. I have been slowly getting it ready to transition out my 45 gallon and replace it with this 110 gallon.
The "new to me" one is an Oceanic 110 (60" wide x 24" tall x 18" deep). It has built-in overflows and is bottom drilled for drains and returns. It's sump is 36" x 18" x 12" (30 gallons). It was used as a marine reef tank and was pretty dirty when I got it. I have experience with under-gravel, HOB, and canister filtration. This will be my first attempt at sump filtration. My goal is to keep all equipment and lines out view, so the sump seems ideal for that.
So far, I have been busy cleaning the tank and sump. I have also been refinishing the stand and hood to match some of the accents of our living-room. I am now setting everything up in my garage before bringing it inside. Trying to ensure that I have no leaks, etc. The last owner intended for the pump to run outside of the sump. I feel that I would save a lot of space by running the pump inside the sump. I can see that I am going to have to make some alterations for that to work. I am going to have to move a sump partisan wall, to accommodate the pump (taking away space from the refugium). I am also going to have to re-plumb the tank return line to reach the in-sump pump.
I'm in no hurry and want to take my time to do this right.
Below are a few shots of the 110 coming together.
I am debating with myself whether I should try a dirted setup or not;
I like the low cost and DIY nature of using mineralized topsoil substrate. However, I am concerned with this being my first real planted setup, I will be wanting to make adjustments to the scape often and will be mudding things up by disturbing the substrate. I have around 120lbs of Black Diamond in the garage so far. I was planning on using it to cap the soil, but I may just get more and use it by itself instead.
I am planning on injecting Co2 and adding as much light as I can afford to.
I was given a single stage Victor regulator by my father in-law. For now the single stage will do, and I can apply my budget to lights and everything else. I already have a 10lb Co2 tank, needle valve, bubble counter, and I'm looking at solenoids also. I have already started buiding a Cerges reactor from a 20" Westinghouse water filter. I am planning on running it in-line from the sump return to the tank.
I have purchased an Ecoxotic E-120 Full Spectrum LED 48-Inch. I am a little concerned that with this much tank depth, I'll have a hard time getting enough PAR with only one.
I really don't want to have my planting limited by the lighting, so I am questioning whether or not to start with 2 E-Series or not? I got a pretty sweet deal on this one (@ $160 on Amazon ), I am going to wait and see how I like it before deciding. Soon it will be time to shop dosing pumps.
As far as tank inhabitants go...
my list of desired Fauna;
1 x Cockatoo Apisto
3 x Gold Nugget Pleco
5 x Bandit Cory
5 x Threadfin Rainbow
5 x German Blue Ram
7 x Glass Catfish
13 x Rummynose Tetra
21 x Neon Tetra (May want to consider more)
I'm considering adding shrimp as well, but have no experience with them at all.
My list of desired Flora;
Dwarf Baby Tears
Alternanthera reineckii "Mini"
Anyway, that where everything stands now. If anyone has any advice or critique, let me know. I'm fairly thick skinned. I'll be updating my progress here as things come along.
Thanks for reading.