280 Gal Planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-24-2017, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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280 Gal Planted tank

After years of keeping a large reef tank I decided to set up a 40B planted tank in my office. I enjoyed it so much I am now in the process of setting up a 280 gal Jungle style planted tank in my living room. Thankfully, I can use everything I already have with a few simple and inexpensive changes, i.e. different bulbs in metal halides, using sump for filtration, etc.

This weekend was final clean up and installation of substrate, using flora max and root tabs. Got the driftwood in place also. Yesterday and today concentrated on ordering plants- good thing I didn't have to buy lights or canister filter- Phew!
Hopefully, I can start adding water and plants sometime after Wednesday and get some pictures up.

I had posted the above when I first joined the forum in beginning of August. At the time I had not even thought about a journal, but have since decided it would be nice to have a place to go back and look at the progress - or even lack thereof- in the future. This should be helpful as from time to time I may go off on a tangent. For instance- if you notice in the first paragraph I stated "Jungle Tank". I meant it when I typed it. But then I saw some pretty stem plants and Ooooo colors! Then I saw some Discus and oooo planted Discus tank!!!!
So like I said... I may go off on a tangent or two.

For equipment I have reused most things I already had from reef tank with a few changes.
Tank
280 gallon tank with overflow 8 ft. long x 2 ft. deep x 31 inches tall
60 gallon sump

Lighting:
1 light fixture housing 3-250watt metal halides, 4-80 watt T5 HO. At the moment only running 2 of the MH with 6500K bulbs.

There is a heater, but off the top of my head can not remember specs.

Substrate:
Just Floramax with root tabs

Fauna
12 Bloodfin tetras
7 Peppered Corys
5 baby bristlenose plecos

Flora
Amazon Swords
Java Fern
Crypts
Rotala wallichii - Remember the Ooooo pretty color stem plant from above? Yep! That's the culprit!
Camboba
Anubias
Vallisneria
Staurogyne repens

After getting plants in place on Aug. 9th, I was excited to finish filling the tank and standing back to take a look. Unfortunately, I only got the tank a little over half full when I realized my driftwood was...drifting. (insert face palm here) Okay look, I KNOW you have to soak wood for it to sink. I literally had and still have tons of smaller pieces soaking. But these 2 large pieces- between getting them, cutting them to fit- that whole soaking thing got forgotten. So.. driftwood was drifting. Luckily, I had rocks. Actually used all my rocks to hold them down but it worked.

Not very pretty, but rather funny! So here is a picture of said driftwood laden with rocks:


Sorry about lighting, was having to use a floor lamp at the moment. I will post a whole tank shot later this evening using the regular lights.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-24-2017, 05:30 PM
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Envious of a tank that size! Looking forward to seeing how it grows.

SD

Take only pictures, leave only footprints.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-24-2017, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by StevieD View Post
Envious of a tank that size! Looking forward to seeing how it grows.

SD
Would you believe me if I told you I wish it wasn't quite so big? I really think my 40 gal breeder in my office is the perfect size.
Bigger tanks are nice because of the water buffering capacity- however, they come with drawbacks as well.

Water Changes- For instance, this tank is 280 gallons, plus the 60 gallon sump, making a total of 340 gallons. 50 % water changes are 170 gals. Not only do I have to drain that and put that back- but I also have to have a place to treat replacement water (remove chlorine and chloramines) and heat it to same temp as the tank. For me this means 2- 100 gallon Rubbermaid holding tanks outside my backdoor, lots of hose, water pumps- and come winter time- heaters.

Tank maintenance:
Another drawback is the tank height. I"m only 5'6". Even standing on a 4ft. step stool I can not lean over the top of the tank and reach the bottom. I have to use a 6ft ladder and I almost have to bring out the snorkeling gear.
Cleaning the glass on the inside of the tank is also a drawback- because of the thickness of the tank glass (1 inch) A magnet cleaner that can hold through that thickness is around $100.

Bigger tank- Bigger Equipement

But it's what I have to work with so...

Bump: Here is the first "Official" tank shot. Water was still a bit cloudy and the light was sitting on top of the aquarium. Working on redoing the canopy for easier access.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-24-2017, 06:03 PM
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Wry smile. At least you only have to do it once a week.

Take only pictures, leave only footprints.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-24-2017, 07:50 PM
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Very nice... my BN plecos ravenously devoured the swords and other soft leaves plants. They even do damage to the new anubias growth. Maybe you'll have enough plant mass to not notice. Just be prepared if and when it does happen
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 11:43 AM
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nice... man that light is briiight.... I can barely see anything

Aqueon 120 gallon community (planted)
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Very nice... my BN plecos ravenously devoured the swords and other soft leaves plants. They even do damage to the new anubias growth. Maybe you'll have enough plant mass to not notice. Just be prepared if and when it does happen
Thanks and Thank you for the advise about the BN. You know I didn't even think about that being an issue as I have some in my 40B that don't mess with anything. But now that you've said something I"m definitely going to keep a close watch. Matter of fact, when I got home I went immediately to the tank and peered inside to see what they were up to. 3 of the 5 were hanging out on the gravel in the shade of the driftwood - looks like they were holding some sort of project management discussion. Upon closer inspection it does look like the 2 on the left DO have beady little eyes.

Last edited by Foxbody Fanatic; 08-25-2017 at 01:39 PM. Reason: One cup of coffee isn't enough for proper spelling- or maybe it's the typing that needs help.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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nice... man that light is briiight.... I can barely see anything
Part of that is my camera phone and the way it compensates. In person there are no dark shadows or defined cones of light. One day I might figure out how to set it to do better. But-Yes, it is. Normally it would not sit on top of the tank like that, it would be mounted at least 15 inches higher inside the canopy. Trying to figure out a way to rework the canopy. When the canopy is in place the light makes it hard to get inside the tank. Hopefully get something worked out in the next couple of weeks.

Does make it easier to see the beautiful diatom bloom that has spread across the bottom though! Nice to check that off the list as the cycling continues and the tank works it way towards balance.

Picture from last night:
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 04:33 PM
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Are you going to do C02? In a tank that size you wouldn't need to worry about getting a super accurate regulator. I've got a cheap Aquatek one of my 75 that I'm moving over to my 150. Lots of people mention the complexity of it... honestly I spend half as much time in that tank as my others which do not have pressurized C02. That's a big reason why I'm going to pressurized on 3 of the 4. Better growth, less algae... just less hassle. The scale you can create in a larger tank is so appealing to me.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-25-2017, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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May go CO2 route later, but for now just going to let the tank do its thing. I have learned patience over many years of keeping a Reef tank.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-26-2017, 11:29 AM
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Woooo awesome
So excited to see how this tank develops, I recently got a 150 gallon and I love it !
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-26-2017, 12:27 PM
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Great looking tank. Was thinking about your glass thickness comment and the overall dimensions - guessing that is one heavy tank to move!
Not knowing how your under cabinet is set up, but for me water changes definitely got easier when I redid the stand. If you look at the beginning of my build thread it might give you some ideas. Basically I have a 20 gallon holding tank under my 75 gallon display tank. Hot & cold water is piped from the basement into the holding tank. I treat the water, then pump it into the display tank.
In your situation, you likely don't have room from a 100 gallon tank next to your sump, but if you had room for another 60ish gallon tank you might be able to do something similar to my setup. Water changes are definitely much easier when all you have to do is turn valves and flip light switches :-)
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-26-2017, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Great looking tank. Was thinking about your glass thickness comment and the overall dimensions - guessing that is one heavy tank to move!
Not knowing how your under cabinet is set up, but for me water changes definitely got easier when I redid the stand. If you look at the beginning of my build thread it might give you some ideas. Basically I have a 20 gallon holding tank under my 75 gallon display tank. Hot & cold water is piped from the basement into the holding tank. I treat the water, then pump it into the display tank.
In your situation, you likely don't have room from a 100 gallon tank next to your sump, but if you had room for another 60ish gallon tank you might be able to do something similar to my setup. Water changes are definitely much easier when all you have to do is turn valves and flip light switches :-)
Thank you
The tank is indeed heavy- aquarium by it'self is 900 lbs. However, it's not really hard to move. My husband built (welded) a large cart on wheels- for lack of better word. We (He and I together) can slide the tank off the stand onto the cart and back. The cart rolls easily because of the big wheels. However, before he built the cart it took 8-10 men to move.

Would love to have a house with a basement, would make it easier. I have been considering deleting the sump and going with a couple Fluval FX6 cannister filters. It Would give me room to set up something similar to what you are suggesting as far as holding tanks that I could treat, heat and then pump up into the tank.

On the positive side, doing all that outside does keep me from flooding the house on the occasion I get distracted and the water overflows. I refuse to admit how many times this has happened in the past or if it has happened at all

Last edited by Foxbody Fanatic; 08-26-2017 at 05:58 PM. Reason: Edited because I like to hit the enter button before completing a thought.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-26-2017, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Journal time.

Today I did some trimming and cleanup. Looks like my Vals have quit melting and are actually looking better.(They are green!) The crypts I moved from my 40B to the 280 have not melted but I"m watching just in case. The windelov java fern is getting new leaves already which is nice as it transitions from emersed to submersed.

I removed the dwarf hair grass as it was turning white but I probably should have left it. I see some that I missed has now turned green. It was probably just acclimating and I jumped the gun. Oh well, it was hard as *&%$# to get that stuff to stay planted. Lesson learned. Surprisingly, everything else is growing and looking decent.

I did add 11 Otocinclus this morning and introduced them to the all you can eat diatom buffet. They were pleased and are happily flitting about the tank walls at the moment.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Got a 50% water change accomplished yesterday and noticed some algae starting to show up. The otocinclus were having fun playing in the water when I was filling it back up. Every time I tried to take a picture they would take off but I finally managed to grab a shot of half of them.


Really enjoying the bloodfin tetras as they school well most of the time. Getting them to sit still for pictures is an exercise in stealth. May have to actually pull out my tripod and canon for decent pictures of them as the phone camera has trouble with tank lights.


Earlier I had tossed some baby ozelot swords into my water feature on the back porch thinking I would use them for this tank. They grew well and I Went to grab them only to find the underside of the leaves covered in snail eggs. The couple, tiny ramshorn snails I had noticed earlier this year have mutated into giants. Needless to say, I was unable to use those but did find 2 baby plants I was able to grab along with some hornwort.

Looking for some floating plants but don't want anything small. Like the look of water lettuce roots hanging down in water, but it's illegal to have in SC. Any suggestions? Until I find something hornwort will work fine.

On a funny note- Noticed some people with VERY nice planted tanks took time to look at my journal. My first knee- jerk reaction was to squeal in panic and want to clean glass, do a water change, and rearrange plants for contrast, composition as well as hire a professional photographer to capture great shots of the tank. I keep having to remind myself this tank is only a little over a month old
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Last edited by Foxbody Fanatic; 09-03-2017 at 06:38 PM. Reason: spelling is important
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