Stump Island - 65 Gallon - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Stump Island - 65 Gallon

Greetings!


I have started my 2nd planted tank in the last couple of weeks, and things are starting to get serious, so I figured it was time to Tank Journal it up.


A little less than a year ago, while visiting my folks in NW Alabama, I was perusing the local Craigslist ads as I normally do...you always have to be on the lookout for great deals! Lol. In doing so, I came across a 65 gallon tank for $50. It included the stand, a metal halide/fluorescent light fixture, a 20 gallon long sump with a protein skimmer, return pump, heater, bio balls, magnetic base recirculation pump, coralife digital timer, a couple of manual timers, a ton of salt only chemicals, and a plethora of old dead coral and gunk. Basically their entire system. I felt it was a good enough deal to pull the trigger on it, and then just store it for a while, until we were ready to start up our next tank. So that's what we did! And it sat.....up until a couple of weeks ago.


The Plan!
Moderately Planted, Peaceful Community Tank
Large driftwood feature
Dirt Substrate with Pool Filter Sand Cap
LED lighting (Through help here, I decided that MH/Fluorescent fixture was just too warm and wasn't worth the energy bill when compared to LED. Plus the fixture has a buzz)
CO2 Injection
Retain overflow and sump for hiding equipment.

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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 07:11 PM
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You made a good deal. Good luck my man!

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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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After cleaning out all the sand, salt, coral, and debris from the sump and tank, the first item on the list was to paint the cabinet and the back of the glass. We had a quart of Porch and Floor paint that we got from Lowes for $2 (it was a return) that was a neat gray. Initially we were just testing the color on the walls, but ended up liking it for the stand instead. Went on very quickly and easily. Nice paint really.


Then for the back of the tank...I hemmed and hawed over what to do. I really enjoy some of the translucent white backgrounds with the LED's for effect. But I also have a tendency to overcomplicate the builds of things....and could see myself falling down that particular rabbit hole with the LED and program possibilities. So I ultimately decided black was best, and did a spray can job.

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Once the paint had dried, we were able to move it in. Now, this is an older All Glass brand aquarium. they used some pretty thick glass on it...and you can tell. Its surprisingly heavy for its size!!


My fiancÚ has had a thing for this particular piece of aquarium decoration that's been at our LFS ever since she saw it over a year ago. Once we started to get things moving on this, I was talking about how that overflow is probably going to stand out, and that hopefully plants will help hide it. it was then that she reminded me of the giant stump at Premium Pet Supply. So we went out to get it...and it has a bit of a natural tilt to it, so I thought it might just work out great!


Unfortunately it was too big....but just barely. I had to trim down one branch off the back to make it fit. But fit, it does! And I think its a neat piece, and a great start!

The pics below are with a light that I have since returned, since it wasn't going to put out enough light. It was the Aqueon Modular LED system with a White, ColorMax, and BeautyMax bulb.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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So that stump takes up a fair amount of real estate. I'm a little worried that I will need to sacrifice some stocking with it in there, but that's ok. It should be worth it.


Next up, it came time to figure out the plumbing. After a fair amount of internet research, I decided to convert the stock overflow/return setup to a Herbie setup, using the 1" overflow as the emergency, and the 3/4" original return as the primary. So first step was to get the tubing and gate valve. It ended up being a really easy. Way easier than I thought it would be. The old overflow can slide up and down, and the top part of it just popped off. Then the 3/4 standpipe just popped out so I could trim it to size (6" from the bottom of the weir) with ease.

Once those were installed it came time to re-arrange the sump. Since this was SW before, the existing sump config wasn't exactly ideal for what I wanted to do. So after some head scratching and more research, I decided to go with a fairly simple setup. The pics below show the old config, and then the new. I must say...there might be a trick to getting the old silicone off the glass, but I haven't figure it out yet. That took some work. lol.


So the way the flow goes....it comes in from the tank on the left. Through 3 mechanical pads, down past the egg crate, up through about a gallon of bio-balls, and right now, through a couple of mesh socks filled with carbon. That is only present for startup, once they are spent, I'm not adding any more. After the cabon, poking up just past the surface of water is another sock full of Fluval Bio Rings for good measure. The water cascades over the final baffle and into the last chamber with a heater and the return pump.


I am considering changing things up in the sump, though. I really want to put the CO2 tank under the stand, and the 20L won't allow for that. So I may change to a standard 20 to gain an extra 6" of space on the sides. Also, I don't really like the mechanical filter setup at the moment. Its all the same density, and I am having troubles getting it to stay put and not float up. So I may have 2 or 3 density pads in my future....input and recommendations on this whole section are welcome.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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What I don't have shown in there is a bit of a learning experience on the return line. At first I started with 1/2" line and made a vertical return bar out of PVC that was then placed near where the overflow and glass meet along the back side. It just plain old didn't cut it. There was barely a trickle coming out. Partially I'm sure that's the cheap $20 pump from Amazon, but I know 1/2" was too small. So I sized everything up to 3/4". Still mostly flexible tube, but the PVC return bar is, too. And I also installed 2 LocLine flared ends to help spread out the flow a little bit. I think its going to work well now.


Once I had a better handle on the plumbing, it was time to think about dirt. Now, if I had it to do all over again, I would def do it differently. I didn't rinse ANYTHING. I know, I know...I really should have. I don't know why I didn't, honestly. But I used a bag of Scott's premium top soil, and a bag of pool filter sand. So I guess you could say I was going for a Walstad Method. I really didn't want to spend the time mineralizing (though now I regret it), So I just put it in. Then the sand cap after that. It sure looks good to start....but man, I still have a cloudy tank after quite a few water changes. Shoulda rinsed that stupid sand....anyway...


So After the layers were in, it was time to fill! Super exciting! Unfortunately, this is where the tank gets its name.


I started filling slowly. Very slowly. Very VERRY slowly. Things were going well. It was a little dusty (SHOULD HAVE RINSED!!), but not bad. The sand was staying in place, and the dirt wasnt' creeping out. I thought...awesome! This is going to work!!


Then the tank started to get full. No problems. The stump was almost covered. But then....it wasn't. All of a sudden, the whole stump LIFTS up, and pulls the big stone that its screwed to out of the dirt and sand, letting out a big plume of nasty mud-water. All you could see in the tank was from the top....of a stump floating in the middle, just sitting there. A.....Stump Island.


*sigh*
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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I really wasn't sure how best to proceed at that point. Ultimately I knew I had to drain it to take stock of the damage. I was imagining this gaping hole of mud and muck right in the middle just letting silt and grime out with every passing second. lol, it didn't end up being quite that bad. The sand ended up closing in on the mud pretty quickly after the stump lifted, so it was really just a little dirty. I vacuumed it up with the python wanna be as best as I could while draining and it ended up pretty ok.


So after that, I had to figure out what I could do to further weight this thing down. It ended up being my future brother in law that suggested I bore out the center and put rocks in there to add some weight. As it turns out, I didn't even need to bore it out. It was already partially hollow! So I added a bunch of river rock to the middle, and ultimately gave it about an 8lb advantage.


The 2nd fill went much better.
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Last edited by scolba; 04-14-2017 at 08:50 PM. Reason: removing bumped info
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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And now its time for aquascaping considerations. Obviously this is to be a planted tank....but only moderately so. So there also needs to be some rock. But I'm thinking that with one major feature (stump), rock should be a minor, supporting role. I have some neat petrified logs that I tired (attached), but I don't think that looks quite right.

I have some other rocks to work with (attached), but think I landed on what will be something nice.
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Last edited by scolba; 04-14-2017 at 09:06 PM. Reason: clearing bump
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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And now this one catches us up. I have a set of plants and a new light that get here tomorrow! The light is the Fluval Fresh & Plant 2.0. I got that one mainly based on a members usage and PAR readings for his 75 gallon tank. We are of similar height from the light to the substrate, so I think it will be perfect!!


The plants are also from a member here! They are as follows:
- 3 x Ludwigia sp. red
- 4 x Ludwigia lacustris
- 3 x AR Mini (Nice sized stems - red and vibrant)
- 5 x Rotala assorted (singapore, rotundifolia, h'ra)
- 3 x Downoi (rooted crowns)
- 1 x 2 by 1 section of Monte Carlo


Attached is my placement plan. Its really just a stab, as I have no experience with placing this number of plants. Eventually I would like to put some ON the stump on the top, and in some of the crooks. Thoughts on any of that? Any rule of thum as far as plant and color groupings go? You'll have to use your imagination on the placement a bit...since its not 3D. the taller plants will be back along the glass or in front of the overflow. The boundary created by the rock in front of the stump will hopefully hold back the MC and create a little natural sandy path to the right of it. That was the thought anyway. lol
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 10:07 PM
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I would cover that stump in buces and moss
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-14-2017, 11:28 PM
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Buces or small anubias would look great on that stump. Personally, I would avoid a fast growing moss as it will take over, especially you do not have a lot of really defined areas on the wood to keep it separate. A slow growing moss could work though. I really like the setup and glad you got the stump to stay on the bottom of the tank. I'm still suffering through a large piece of driftwood that has been completely submerged for over 5 months and still wants to float like a cork.

If you do go with buces there is a great seller on this forum - junglefowl.

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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-15-2017, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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Ooh I like buces! That will be a nice looking addition. I had considered mosses, but as you said I'm worried it would take over. Buces might be the ticket though!

Thanks for the compliments SD. That stinks you can't get yours to sink! After 5 months I'd start boring out the bottom and screwing in weights to the under side. Lol

So two updates for the evening. I found a java fern offspring in my other tank, and it found a new home in the big one.

Also built a Cerges reactor this evening. Or at least my take on it.
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-15-2017, 02:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scolba View Post
So that stump takes up a fair amount of real estate. I'm a little worried that I will need to sacrifice some stocking with it in there, but that's ok. It should be worth it.


Next up, it came time to figure out the plumbing. After a fair amount of internet research, I decided to convert the stock overflow/return setup to a Herbie setup, using the 1" overflow as the emergency, and the 3/4" original return as the primary. So first step was to get the tubing and gate valve. It ended up being a really easy. Way easier than I thought it would be. The old overflow can slide up and down, and the top part of it just popped off. Then the 3/4 standpipe just popped out so I could trim it to size (6" from the bottom of the weir) with ease.

Once those were installed it came time to re-arrange the sump. ...
I'm slowly learning that there are a few stages in a sump that work well for low maintenance.

Herbie:

The two pipes coming down get a screen sock (not a poly sock).
- it lasts a few weeks and more, although it can be swapped earlier. It catches large material.
- turds turn into a blender vortex and pass into a slice of thin coarse sponge next.
- the thin course layer of sponge can be removed easily, and spanked against an object and put back in.

A MAIN thicker, but normal (30ppi) Bio sponge is the heart of the sump.
- this main sponge is split up to seem like a big mass, but is actually a few small slabs that look like one large sponge.
- a big slab is just too messy to get out.
- small pieces worked better for the cumbersome task.
- this is the Heart of your sump, no need to mess with it too often (we're talking months).

The blue poly fiber you have would be the last stage.
- these are the mechanical filters to polish that water and keep the pump clean.
- you can see the level in the last baffle change when they are full, or you can use a time schedule (whichever comes 1st).

Does this make sense?

I have been converting the two sumps slowly after each time I get some tonic in me and stare at them for a while.
-Ideas run wild.
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-15-2017, 03:03 AM Thread Starter
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Yup that does indeed make sense. I had a laugh once a turd laden blender vortex clicked. lol.

Do you have specific products in mind for the sponges and socks? I'm not familiar enough with the products out there to really know where to start on those.


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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Update time! Over the span of the last few days, I have done quite a bit. The new light showed up, and looks great! I rebuilt the Regulator, which was a surprisingly easy job to do. The kit for both low pressure and high pressure bits was only about $45, too, so that was nice. After that was done, I assembled all the extra bits to make a plant setup for CO2. After retaping a few joints to get rid of leaks, all was well!

I went with a separate bubble counter, instead of one of the inline ones that mounts to the top of the needle valve. I like being able to view it from afar, but also having something thats not super obvious. I might change to a all glass one in the future, but for now this is good. Also added a drop checker, which hopefully should be green very soon!

I installed the CO2 reactor. Boy, i need to find some more flexible hose. This stuff is kind of rough to work with. But after a little rearranging, it turned out ok.

And finally for this update....WE HAVE PLANTS!!! WOOT! My order was delayed by the USPS, but it ended up being perfect, as i got a ton of work done today, and it was actually ready to go when the plants showed up. I ended up sticking mostly to the plan before, but not exactly. I'm really looking forward to it growing up!
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