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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!