Reef to River: Low-tech, Low-maintenane ~90G Penninsula (Photo heavy) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-07-2018, 03:17 AM Thread Starter
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Reef to River: Low-tech, Low-maintenane ~90G Penninsula (Photo heavy)

Iíve had this tank setup as a reef for several years, but Iím back in school in a pre-med program, and donít really have the time to keep up with a reef tank, so Iíve decided to go to freshwater. Iíve had planted tanks in the past, but itís been close to 15 years since my last one! Iím looking forward to it.

Hereís a few shots from when the tank was a reef:





Tank:
A custom ~90g tank built by Miracles. 48Ē long x 30Ē wide x 15Ē tall. The tank is eurobraced with starphire glass for all three viewing panes. It has an external overflow box with the full-height-toothed weir running along 20Ē of the back wall, drilled with three holes for a Bean Animal style drain. It also has two holes drilled for return lines.

Tank when it first arrived:


Stand:
Iron tubes, and a skin/shelf, with a ~50g waterproof catchtray at the bottom lined with PVC shower pan liner. The shelves behind the tank hold the Apex controller, power supplies for pumps and lights, the RO/DI system (BRS 150GPD), an ATO reservoir, and other miscellany.

This shot gives an idea of the underlying construction and plumbing setup before the skin went on:


Sump:
The sump is a Marineland 60g cube. It was originally a two chambered sump setup for the reef tank. I added a third chamber to hold some bio bricks. I probably would have designed it a little bit differently if I had been going FW from the start, but it should work just fine.

Substrate:
Bottom layer of Miracle Growth Organic Choice Potting Mix. I extracted all of the large floaty bits from it, and soaked it a little before use. I mixed in a little bit of eco-complete that I got as a freebie. It is topped with a mixture of Caribsea Peace River Gravel (~1-3mm size) and Caribsea Sunset Gold sand, in a ratio of ~3:1 sand:gravel. Iím very pleased with how it looks. I spend as much of my free time as possible outdoors, and it looks a lot like most sandy stream and pond bottoms that I see.

Lighting:
3x AI Prime HD Freshwater. Given Iím going low tech, I will not be running these at full intensity. Since the tank is in my living room, and the lights about about 15Ē above the tank, I hung a small shoji screen from the ceiling to keep the glare down for people sitting on the couch. Iím happy the lights so far! The room looks dramatically better with them than it did with the more blue reef lights.



[url=https://flic.kr/p/23dayhC]

Return pump:
Ecotech Vectra M1. It runs through 1 1/4Ē PVC most of the way up, and is reduced to 1/2Ē just before the return holes. It feeds into the tank through two Loc-line broad V-shaped nozzles.

This project is been in progress since just before Christmas. I sold off the fish, some corals, and some hardware to local reefers, and traded the rock and remaining corals in to an LFS.

After removing all of the rock (and moving a few bits into my little 40G SW tank housing a lone 6 year old 3Ē+ 3-stripe damsel named Morpheus), I drained the tank and sump, refilled with tap water, added 3 gallons of vinegar and 250mL of peroxide, and let it circulate overnight.



I then drained the tank, rinsed out residual vinegar and peroxide (added some Prime just to be sure), and installed the baffle for the third chamber in the sump.



While the baffle was drying, I added the dirt, the sand on top of it, and started filling the tank directly from my RO/DI.





Shortly after filling, I threw in the wood that already sunk to make more room in the my soaking bins!



After the water cleared a little bit, I put the bio bricks in the sump, dosed ammonia up to ~2ppm, and added Salty Shrimp GH+ and NaHCO3 to adjust GH/KH to 6 and 4 respectively with a TDS of ~190ppm.

Yesterday I ran to the LFS to pick up some freebie plants they gave me as part of my credit for the corals and rock (several large Anubias, a few Vals, some java fern, and a few Crypts, and then made another run to a different LFS today to grab a few more plants.

I will need some more plants. I definitely want to get some moss in there, and weíll see what else after the wood is in and the tank is scaped.

Here is the tank as it currently sits:

Side facing Living room:


Side facing front door:


Far side:


The rest of my wood should be waterlogged in a few days, so next week Iíll pick up some rock from the stone yard, do aqua scraping (with help from my infinitely more aesthetically talented fiancťe) and getting everything planted. Itís only been a few days since I first added ammonia, but nitrates are already up to 1ppm, so hopefully itíll be cycled relatively quickly!

In addition to the plants, Iím planning on Neocardina shrimp, a large school of Celestial Pearl Danios, a large school of either Corydoras habrosus or pygmaeus, and probably another school of some sort of small shrimp-safe fish. Iíve always loved watching schools of small fish, and I think having small fish with the tankís large footprint will be very visually appealing.

I look forward to adding more as the build progresses!
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post #2 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-07-2018, 03:25 AM
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Great start. Looking forward to seeing it progress!


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post #3 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-07-2018, 04:36 AM
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That will be an interesting challenge to scape a tank with three different viewing angles. You are off to a great start, interested to see where you go with it!

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post #4 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-07-2018, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesV View Post
dosed ammonia up to ~2ppm,
Beware of ammonia burn on the plants.
Many here have done it!
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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #5 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-07-2018, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
Beware of ammonia burn on the plants.
Many here have done it!
Thanks for the warning! Iím dosing ammonia at a rate that keeps the pH between 8 and 8.4, but maybe Iíll back off a little just to be safe. I figured anything below 8.5 was safe, but Iíd rather not kill these plants. One of the Anubias was slightly beat up from the get-go, and Iíd like it to recover.
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post #6 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-07-2018, 05:26 PM
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Wow tremendous start and fantastic first post! I went a different way. Had 3 tanks and decided to do Med school... now I've got... 5 running and 2 still collecting equipment one of which is a 265 with matching canopy and stand. Although I decided to opt out of Med School and do PA school on my way to a PhD, the tanks are the only thing that can force my mind out of school/studying for a few hours of peace a week.
Gorgeous reef, but I think you'll create an equally impressive planted tank. I did not see it mentioned. Have you purchased a C02 system? I am personally of the opinion that it makes this hobby much easier and much more enjoyable.
Keep us updated. The more posts the better. I think you are making the right choice with a large number of small fish. Have you considered Gertrude Rainbows? Also a nano fish, but extremely active and entertaining. I am working on breeding them. With a large heavily planted tank you may have success rearing fry and increasing their numbers in the tank. I would eventually like to do so.
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post #7 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-07-2018, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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I donít have a CO2 system. I was planning on not, but Iíve been kicking around the idea. I imagine with the Apex it should be easy enough to set one up if I go that route, and I definitely have room in the stand. I had a bad experience with CO2 on a 180G planted tank back in the 90s, so Iím a little gun shy. Iím sure technology has improved, but Iíd hate to gas the tank with a bad solenoid or something like that.

What dimensions are your 265? Iíd love to have a tank that big, but space does not allow it!

And Gertrude Rainbows were in fact one of the fish I was considering. I still havenít made up my mind yet on what will go in with the danios and Cory cats.
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post #8 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-07-2018, 10:04 PM
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That is one heck of a first post.

Looks like the start of something special.

Really looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

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post #9 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesV View Post
I don’t have a CO2 system. I was planning on not, but I’ve been kicking around the idea. I imagine with the Apex it should be easy enough to set one up if I go that route, and I definitely have room in the stand. I had a bad experience with CO2 on a 180G planted tank back in the 90s, so I’m a little gun shy. I’m sure technology has improved, but I’d hate to gas the tank with a bad solenoid or something like that.

What dimensions are your 265? I’d love to have a tank that big, but space does not allow it!

And Gertrude Rainbows were in fact one of the fish I was considering. I still haven’t made up my mind yet on what will go in with the danios and Cory cats.
It's 85 x 24 x 30. It looks alot bigger than the dimensions suggest. I'm super excited, but I need to do large sump and full high tech setup so I still need ALOT of equipment. The good dual stage regulators are almost idiot proof. They are very simple and someone.of your experience wouldn't have any issues. It's pretty much set it and forget it and refill the tank when needed. I strongly encourage C02. Otherwise it's endless trial and error... and lots of failure.. finding out what will work... in what area.. and more commonly won't won't work. You'll save hundreds being able to propagate plants exponentially faster.
I recently got my Gertrude tank setup the way I want it so I'm expecting some fry to make it to adulthood now. I've already had a tremendous number of fry, but I was out of town for a week and they weren't fed enough. I'm seeing a couple new fry every couple days now, but I don't expect to see them as frequently now with all the floating plants. If they werent so expensive I'd love to have a huge group of them in my 150 or 265. Very bold and interactive.

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post #10 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-09-2018, 04:13 AM Thread Starter
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Todayís update:

Cycle is going well! Nitrites and nitrates both spiked this morning, and the tank ate through 1.5ppm (~650mg) of ammonia today. The cycle may finish faster than I expected. I tossed in an old dirty filter pad donated from an LFSís box filter, I guess the bacteria are multiplying quickly! Iíve been keeping the temperature at 79.5 to speed up reproduction. Didnít want to go any higher for fear of melting plants already stressed by going into a new tank.

I also built a simple media basket out of egg crate and zip ties for the sump, as I felt the GAC wasnít getting enough flow on the floor.





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post #11 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-09-2018, 04:32 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by The Dude1 View Post
It's 85 x 24 x 30. It looks alot bigger than the dimensions suggest. I'm super excited, but I need to do large sump and full high tech setup so I still need ALOT of equipment. The good dual stage regulators are almost idiot proof. They are very simple and someone.of your experience wouldn't have any issues. It's pretty much set it and forget it and refill the tank when needed. I strongly encourage C02. Otherwise it's endless trial and error... and lots of failure.. finding out what will work... in what area.. and more commonly won't won't work. You'll save hundreds being able to propagate plants exponentially faster.
I recently got my Gertrude tank setup the way I want it so I'm expecting some fry to make it to adulthood now. I've already had a tremendous number of fry, but I was out of town for a week and they weren't fed enough. I'm seeing a couple new fry every couple days now, but I don't expect to see them as frequently now with all the floating plants. If they werent so expensive I'd love to have a huge group of them in my 150 or 265. Very bold and interactive.
Iíd like to keep things as simple as possible for now, but if I run into problems with algae or poor growth, Iíll definitely keep CO2 in mind.

You should be able to do some cool stuff with that tank! How around you planning on lighting something that long and deep? T5s, or LEDs?

Iíll have to see if I can find an LFS to see those Rainbows in person, Iíd love to see how they behave.
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post #12 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-09-2018, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by CharlesV View Post
Iíd like to keep things as simple as possible for now, but if I run into problems with algae or poor growth, Iíll definitely keep CO2 in mind.

You should be able to do some cool stuff with that tank! How around you planning on lighting something that long and deep? T5s, or LEDs?

Iíll have to see if I can find an LFS to see those Rainbows in person, Iíd love to see how they behave.
I'm testing out some options now. I bought these 6500k LED floodlights from Amazon to light the planted HOB's I'm working on. They offer the same floodlights in 150w versions. I was thinking 5 of these would give me more light than I could reasonably use. At $55 a piece and IP68 waterproof rating I don't see why I would spend the money on the crazy expensive ones. I'll probably add a low light Beamswork fixture for night viewing like I have on the 75 gallon tanks.
If you have a good relationship with your LFS they may be able to get some in for you. Despite people claiming they are "easy" to breed they are always scarce. There is a tremendous difference in their behaviour when they are in an adequate group. Otherwise they are shy. They do stay very closely together... like inches from one another at most.

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post #13 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 02:57 AM Thread Starter
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I'm testing out some options now. I bought these 6500k LED floodlights from Amazon to light the planted HOB's I'm working on. They offer the same floodlights in 150w versions. I was thinking 5 of these would give me more light than I could reasonably use. At $55 a piece and IP68 waterproof rating I don't see why I would spend the money on the crazy expensive ones. I'll probably add a low light Beamswork fixture for night viewing like I have on the 75 gallon tanks.
If you have a good relationship with your LFS they may be able to get some in for you. Despite people claiming they are "easy" to breed they are always scarce. There is a tremendous difference in their behaviour when they are in an adequate group. Otherwise they are shy. They do stay very closely together... like inches from one another at most.
I used a Par38 LED for my refugium with great success. I used one over a nano tank for anemones at one point too. I definitely think an array of those could do the trick for you.

Bump:

Bump: Got the last of my wood in today. It is currently soaking, so hopefully Iíll be ready to do the aquascape by the end of the week. I picked up a few more plants from a new LFS today. A couple more crypts, a few jungle Valís, Aponogeton crispus, Shinnersia rivularis, and some cambomba.

The cycle is going very well.

Ammonia ~3 hrs after dosing up to 1.5ppm:


Nitrate:


At this rate, the tank will be ready for fish next week!
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post #14 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 03:56 AM
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What testing kit are you using?


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post #15 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-10-2018, 04:53 AM Thread Starter
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What testing kit are you using?


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Salifert. Iíve always liked their kits.
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