After setting up the 65 gallon tank, the next obvious step was to go bigger! Over the last year or so, I have followed this forum and have been in awe of the achievements. I have spent the last 3-4 months visiting various LFS communicating with forum members and equipment suppliers. To all those I am very thankful.
First FTS after initial set up and planting:
The set up:
TANK: VISIO 135 gallon (72” x 18” x 24”) - would have liked to go 24” deep but space was a limiting factor.
STAND: Opted for a readymade stand and canopy - my carpentry skills are absolutely zero and my wife was not too keen on me learning a
new skill that involved power tools!!
SUBSTRATE: Black Diamond Blasting Sand (about 200lbs). First time to use it and hands down much better than Eco-Complete. Cheaper and
easier to plant in.
LIGHT: Based on my experience with the 65 gal setup, I wanted to go the T5HO route. However, with the 72” tank length, choice was
limited. I ended up with 8 x 3ft Nanotech Sunblaster fixtures. I have wired them in 2 “banks” of 4. In addition to the T5HO, there is
also a LED strip light for viewing/moonlight. I also looked into the SB Reef lights…looked very promising except that my canopy was
too short for them.
FILTERS: This is an overkill with a Fluval FX6 used as a filter only and a Hydor 600 that not only acts as a filter but also feeds the CO2 reactor
and has an in line heater attached to it. Wanted the overkill as I plan on a large fish load.
CO2: Lost most of my hair when building the Cerges reactor for my 65 gal. Finally got it right after 3 builds and few modifications. Second
time round opted for a RG type reactor with 3” PVC fittings. The pipe is 24” long and has “T” connectors at either end. The bottom
“T” is closed off with a screw type clean out plug. The reactor is fed by the Hydor canister filter and CO2 is introduced from a 20#
tank using a GLA GRO 1 regulator and Dwyer flow meter. Had to play around with the back pressure to get optimum dissolution and
almost no micro bubbles in the DT. Best guesstimate is that the ball valve at the exit of the RG is closed about 10%.
FERTS: Following a very slightly modified EI procedure:
NO3: 7.5 ppm
PO4: 1.3 ppm
Plantex CSMB: 0.1 ppm Fe
10% DTPA Fe: 0.1 ppm Fe
K2SO4: 2.0ppm K (total K is 7.3)
PLANTS: Mostly acquired from TPT members. Will add more details in future posts.
FISH: Aiming for mostly a rainbow tank. First stocking, acquired from LFS:
3 x Roseline Sharks
4 x Clown Loachs
3 x Otos
4 x Bolivian Rams
2 x Parkinsoni Rainbows
Later added the following (acquired from Wetspot):
2 x Boesemani
2 x Alleni
2 x Irian Red
2 x Kamaka
2 x Millennium
2 x Neon Dwarf
2 x Picta
2 x Goyder River Trifasciata
2 x Hapgood Trifasciata
2 x Turquoise
2 x Yellow
Wife picked out the driftwood - she likened it to a "lion's head" !!!!
Initial setup was a little crazy. Although, the 4ft spirit level showed that the tank was level, it was off by about 0.25 inches end to end. This was evident after filling the tank and noticing the left to right slope of the water at the top edge of the tank. Immediately emptied it to about 2 inches above substrate and then shimmed the tank till the water line was level – measured from the water line to the top edge of the tank. Composite shims were much better than the wooden ones I have used before.
Fishless cycling using ammonia seemed to take forever but that tank cycled in about 4 weeks. Introduced the first batch of fish and plants and within a week the water was a light cloudy green. Partial water changes and reduced photo periods did not help and with the plants in the tank I was reluctant to go with a complete black out. After 2 weeks, “soft” plumbed in a UV light using a submersible pump and flexible tubing loop. Within 2-3 days the water cleared up. This convinced me to hard plumb in the UV light. I now have the Hydor feeding the UV light and heater in series. The UV light is only turned on for a couple of hours after water change. Additionally, 250ml of Purigen has also helped get clear water.
All the above has taken about 2 months. Now the real work and hopefully satisfaction begins.
Lights schedule is as follows:
6:00am – 1:00pm : LED viewing lights
1:00pm – 8:00pm : Row 1 and 3 of T5HOs (6500k and True Lumen Flora)
3:00pm – 6:00pm : Row 2 and 4 of T5HOs (6500k and Zoo Med Flora)
I also have the top of the tank covered with a screen. With the lights only 5” from the surface, I think the PAR levels may be too high. Will have to play around till I get the sweet spot
CO2 runs from 11:30am to 7:00pm set at 20 cc/min. pH levels:
At Lights On: 6.6