125 Gallon New Year's Tank for Raaan - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
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125 Gallon New Year's Tank for Raaan

I haven’t posted about my tanks on this board in a very long time, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been out of the hobby. I’ve been taking my time setting this tank up, so there’s a bit of backlog before this journal is up to speed.

I’ve been wanting to upgrade the 40 gallon breeder in my living room for a while, and finally decided to bite the bullet. I picked up an Aqueon 125 gallon tank/stand ensemble during PetSmart’s Black Friday sale (Merry Christmas to me!)

I also bought a Fluval FX6 during the same sale. I know it’s rated for a heck of a lot more tank than I’ve got, but it was half off for black Friday and marked another half off because the box was open. How could I resist?

I have to say, Aqueon/AGA does a much better job of siliconing their larger tanks than they do their smaller ones. The silicone is very even on all the seams, and there’s none of the giant excess globs I’m used to at the top corners. The stand that was included with this ensemble is pretty meh. The cabinet is pretty small and after emailing Aqueon, apparently the shelves on either side are rated for a whopping 5(!) pounds. I was thinking of having some small 2 or 4 gallon shrimp tanks on the shelves, but I don’t know if I trust it now.


I wanted to venture into mineralized topsoil with this tank, so it ended up sitting in my living room for quite a while.



Mineralizing the topsoil ended up being a lot more hassle than I was hoping, in no small part due to these California winters. Cold and wet.

I ended up getting EarthGro Topsoil because the ingredients seemed pretty simple and it was cheap. Reviews complained about the amount of debris in it, so I got 2 cubic feet, even though I calculated that I only needed about 0.8 cuft.

The reviewers weren’t kidding. After putting the soil in a bin and filling it up, I was able to skim several pounds of junk right off the surface. It took a good week and a half for it to completely dry out after laying it on the tarp, so I ended up deviating a bit from Aaron Talbot’s guide.


I’d read somewhere that boiling the substrate and drying it out would achieve a similar, if not ideal, end goal. Since my stovetop is way too small for 10+ gallons of dirt, I put the soil back in the bin and poured four big potfulls of boiling water over it (got some weird looks from the neighbor, haha), put the lid on, and let it sit overnight.


It did stink pretty badly the next morning, though I’m not sure what I should really glean from that. I Drained it the best I could and laid it out to dry again. After that, I broke up all the big chunks and went about sifting the leftover twigs and stones out of it, using a homemade sifter I’d fashioned out of a styrofoam box lid and some plastic canvas.



Afterwards, I was left with a little more than a cubic foot of the good stuff.



Since the only natural clay I could find locally was wet, it didn’t take well to mixing. I let it soak in a bucket for a day until it was mostly liquid, then poured some more water into the dirt to make it muddy and mixed the liquid clay in.

Then it was finally time to set up the tank! That also meant it was time to move the 40 gallon out of the way. I have to say, spending three hours to move a tank five feet to the left doesn’t really give you a big sense of accomplishment.

I used plain black gravel along the sides of the tank to cover up the layering. A light dusting of muriate of potash and dolomite lime went on the bottom of the tank, followed by the dirt/clay mud, and finally capped with the EcoComplete from the 40 gallon. I did mix in some more plain gravel for volume, but I still feel that the cap is a bit thin. I think it’s about 0.5 to 1 inch deep in various places. I might end up getting another bag of EcoComplete for some extra security.

So say goodbye to this



and hello to- well, not much just yet, honestly.



Next comes hardscape. The 40 gallon’s hardscape at the time I broke it down was some landscaping rocks from my yard (well scrubbed and scraped) and a large manzanita branch. I’ve had another large manzanita branch and two logs of mopani sitting around for a long time now, waiting for something to come along for them (promise I’m not a hoarder). I also got a huge chunk of Malaysian wood from a friend for Christmas, and lots and lots more landscaping rocks to pick from in the yard. My Christmas present from my mom was a Beamswork 1W 72 inch light fixture, which is BRIGHT. Much brighter than I expected, in any case.




Since this tank was all about trying new things for me and my fish still have a temporary (if garish) home in their old 40 gallon sans decor, I’ve decided to give the dry start method a shot here.

The only aquarium plants available in town are the tissue cultured bags and tubes at PetSmart, so that’s largely what I’m starting with, in addition to trimmings of from my other tanks. The dwarf hairgrass looked pretty pathetic, with lots of ugly brown roots, so I’m not sure how that’ll do. The rest of them looked as good as I could have hoped for. Many of the plants I plan on putting in this tank are going to be left in the old 40 gallon until it’s time to transfer over the fish, for the sake of giving them a bit more cover in the mean time.

I planted the tank yesterday. I didn’t really intend to plant it on New Year’s Day, but it makes it easy to keep track of things, I suppose.



Left side:





Right Side:





So that’s where I’m at now!

I have to say I was initially nervous about the humidity staying high enough in the tank, given the large air volume I used painter’s tape and cut up fish bags to seal the top and, granted it’s only one day in, it seems to be doing just fine, and looks just as foggy as when I left it last night.

I’ll be looking forward to updating this as things progress.


Current Full Tank Shot and Stock List


Full tank shot (Taken 1/11/2017, day 11)



Substrate:
EarthGro Topsoil
Craft Smart Natural Clay in terra cotta
HiYield Muriate of Potash
Espoma dolomite
EcoComplete cap layer

Hardscape:
Lanscaping stone
Manzanita branches
Mopani wood
Malaysian driftwood
Petrified wood (not in tank)

Equipment:
Aqueon 125 gallon aquarium and stand
Fluval FX6 canister filter
Beamswork LED 1W 6500K HI Lumen Aquarium Light

Flora:
Cryptocoryne undulata
Eleocharis parvula (Dwarf hairgrass)
Saggitaria subulata (Dwarf sag)
Hygrophila corymbosa “compact” (Temple plant)
Alternanthera reineckii
Ludwigia repens
Anubias nana “petite“ (not in tank)
Anubias spp. (not in tank)
Salvinia minima (Water spangle) (not in tank)
Pistia stratiotes (Water lettuce) (not in tank)
Microsorum pteropus “narrow leaf” (Java fern) (not in tank)
Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal plant)
Staurogyne repens

Fauna (not in tank):
1x Pantodon bucholzi (African butterfly fish)
2x Mikrogeophagus altispinosus (Bolivian ram cichlid)
5x Synodontis lucipinnis (“Dwarf petricola”)
6x Puntius titteya (Cherry barb)
7x Rasbora heteromorpha (Harlequin rasbora)
1x Ancistrus sp. (Bristlenose pleco)
8x Corydoras sterbai (Sterba's cories)
quiquik and quiquik like this.

Last edited by Raaan; 01-12-2017 at 12:28 AM. Reason: Update
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 06:33 AM
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125 Gallon New Year's Tank for Raaan

Yay new tank! How exciting! I am sure many people like you in this forum are hoarding....stocking many good stuffs somewhere in the house just in case. I like your woods and hard scape part, it looks really awesome.

Are you going to tie some vern and Anubis on the branch?


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 12:20 PM
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Just a note, the manzanita on the right hand side will lose it's bark eventually. I just picked up a 125! It's a lot to hardscape in my opinion.


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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 12:34 PM
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Nice tank! Wish I had a 125 gal to play with.
Would keep glass wiped down with clean paper towels folded into fourth's lest It become more of a pain to scrub clean when filled.
Scotch-brite pads may be needed for the glass otherwise.(stove top safe ones)
Might also try and use rock's and or wood that are same color so eye's are not drawn to that which is different.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-12-2017, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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Day 11 update

Sorry for the delay. I was hoping to update a bit earlier than his, but my schedule ended up filling in a bit more than I anticipated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitaiwan666 View Post
Yay new tank! How exciting! I am sure many people like you in this forum are hoarding....stocking many good stuffs somewhere in the house just in case. I like your woods and hard scape part, it looks really awesome.

Are you going to tie some vern and Anubis on the branch?
Thanks very much.
I do have a lot of Anubias that will at least be going around the base of the manzanita branches and probably between the rocks. I have some Java fern on rocks and wood not yet in the tank, so I don't think i'll be adding any to the branches, if that's what you mean. I do have some hygro fern growing in a jar on my windowsill that I'd like to try and attach to the thicker parts of the branches, along with some moss.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freemananana View Post
Just a note, the manzanita on the right hand side will lose it's bark eventually. I just picked up a 125! It's a lot to hardscape in my opinion.
Yes, unfortunately we can't keep that beautiful deep red bark on the manzanita branches without sealing them, but I do find it easier to let the shrimp do the work of removing it rather than trying to scrub it off myself.

I took a quick scroll through your journal and you're definitely a lot handier than I am, to say the least. I feel my approach to scaping large tanks like this is more of a "cheap and lazy" one, but the results are aesthetic enough to pass.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
Nice tank! Wish I had a 125 gal to play with.
Would keep glass wiped down with clean paper towels folded into fourth's lest It become more of a pain to scrub clean when filled.
Scotch-brite pads may be needed for the glass otherwise.(stove top safe ones)
Might also try and use rock's and or wood that are same color so eye's are not drawn to that which is different.
I didn't consider wiping the glass initially and you're right, as it did start to develop water spots after a couple days. I was able to scrub them clean and have been keeping the tank wiped down since.

I was hoping the colors would eventually darken and even out once the tank was filled, but the more I look at the tank, it seems the left piece of mopani is going to be too bright to really blend in. I could experiment with either flipping it upside down or using a different piece.


As for the tank, the news so far is mixed. I had some issues around day 4 and 5 with mold showing up on the wood. None on the plants or substrate, fortunately.



I've since been venting the tank more frequently and using a humidity gauge to try and keep it around 85-90%. I also dug up a USB fan and mounted it in the corner, and I mixed a bit of Excel into my regular spray bottle. The mold has died off now.

Another equipment addition is an electronic fogger, on a timer, to humidify the tank more evenly and regularly. It's housed in the suspended bucket (function over form, for sure).



The plants have been getting mixed results. The hairgrass is yellowing and the dwarf sag is nearly completely melted (not altogether surprising). The Alternanthera is doing okay, and the Hygrophila is a little dry, but hanging in there. The crypts actually appear to be putting out new leaves, which surprised me a bit.



I've also added some Staurogyne repens and cardinal plant to fill in the spots left thin by the sag and hairgrass. If the sag completely dies out I'll wait until after flooding and give it another shot. I also got another bag of EcoComplete to fill in the puddles in the lower areas.



More exciting than that, though, is some new tankmates I picked up! They'll be isolated until the tank is flooded and everyone is moved over.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-12-2017, 12:40 AM
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This will be a fun one to follow and I think your tank is going to look great! Looking at the pictures, you can easily reinforce the shelves in your stand to support some small tanks. I have six sterbai corys in my 60 gallon tank and I love them...with the exception of them uprooting plants .

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-12-2017, 12:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raaan View Post
Yes, unfortunately we can't keep that beautiful deep red bark on the manzanita branches without sealing them, but I do find it easier to let the shrimp do the work of removing it rather than trying to scrub it off myself.

I took a quick scroll through your journal and you're definitely a lot handier than I am, to say the least. I feel my approach to scaping large tanks like this is more of a "cheap and lazy" one, but the results are aesthetic enough to pass.
Aye! I'll take being handy, it is the part I enjoy the most about this hobby. I let my shrimp and ottos eat the red bark off of mine previously as well without any issues. I don't mind the tannin leak either (or whatever). I'm just picking up big rocks for my scape... so "cheap and lazy" applies to me as well. I like easy plants and pretty fish haha.


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