First attempt at 220 planted - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-08-2018, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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First attempt at 220 planted

I should start by saying I've never really documented anything I've done, so since I'm doing this I'm going to err on the side of too much information.

I have a 220 gallon tank that I had set up for African (mostly) cichlids for 12 years. This is what it looked like:



I've since moved and I'm going to try my hand at a planted tank with more placid tenants.
This is what it looked like after doing my best to polish off the hard water etching with a polisher and cerium oxide and adding the hardscape.


I used a layer of styrofoam as the base partly because I didn't want the sharp edges of the lava rock directly on the bottom glass and partly to raise everything up a little. I also used an idea I saw where I put the old gravel in pantyhose and mesh bags to add stability and again to add some height.

Next I added ADA clear super and ADA Tourmaline BC. Probably not necessary, but I figured anything that will increase the likelihood of success is worth a shot. After that, 4 bags of ADA Amazonia. I still have 2 bags left, so I'll probably add one more. BTW, for anyone purchasing 3 bags or more of Amazonia at a time, you can save a little by getting it directly from aquaforestaquarium.com


The "driftwood" is the base of a round arbor vitae that had been cutoff some years ago. I finally got around to pulling it out of the ground 2 years ago, man was that a lot of work. So I know for a fact it hasn't been exposed to any chemicals for at least 3 years and it is not rotted at all. It's super dense and just barely floats. I tied 2 of the mesh bags of gravel around its base just to make sure. While I was doing a leak test on the aquarium I had it in the water for 2 weeks, and it didn't discolor the water at all and only a couple of bits of bark came off.

I'll update as more equipment comes in...
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Last edited by yorknh; 02-09-2018 at 12:43 PM. Reason: Trying to get pictures to show
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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 12:30 AM
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You had my attention at 220G.....looking forward to seeing where this goes and some pics.

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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-09-2018, 01:44 AM
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This looks like itll be fun, would love to see some pics of the whole process. Subbed
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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-10-2018, 09:45 PM
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I like the stump. Rocks take up space that could be utilized by fish and plants. I personally would remove all the rocks on the left side and either do more wood or get a nice scape with some stems in the back and some shorter plants up front. You'll want that space open to make the tank look as large as possible.

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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-11-2018, 02:46 AM
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I gotta agree on the rocks. I know you have A LOT of that stone, and while it was great for the chiclid tank I imagine that it will turn out pretty clashy in a planted tank. I would consider some more natural looking stone that you can better envision in a planted environment.

That stump piece is amazing, and will look killer with a big wad of narrow leaf java fern.

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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I hear what you guys are saying. I'll probably take off the top 2 layers, but I'm not going to get rid of it completely. The rock isn't there to be a focal point so much as it is to be a platform for moss and rhizomes. I'll probably get rid of a couple of chunks around the base of the stump once I'm sure it is weighed down enough to counter the bit of buoyancy it has.

The sump and plumbing should be arriving mid-week so I'll have an update in a couple of days.
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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 02:49 PM
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That will look really cool covered in moss and maybe some ferns or anubias. Do you have a C02 system?? It's been my experience that C02 makes it much easier to get good moss growth that isn't inundated with green hair algae. You probably don't need a super nice regulator if you don't try to max out C02. In a 220 there's a large margin for error. A cheaper Milwaukkee or Aquatech regulator is about $120, a filled tank... and $30 and 30 minutes to build a reactor to run inline with a canister. Not to mention it will save you a fortune not having to buy massive amounts of plants to adequately build up the plant mass in that tank.

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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 03:16 PM
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This is an impressive amount of setup, can't wait to see where this goes.
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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-12-2018, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dude1 View Post
That will look really cool covered in moss and maybe some ferns or anubias. Do you have a C02 system?? It's been my experience that C02 makes it much easier to get good moss growth that isn't inundated with green hair algae. You probably don't need a super nice regulator if you don't try to max out C02. In a 220 there's a large margin for error. A cheaper Milwaukkee or Aquatech regulator is about $120, a filled tank... and $30 and 30 minutes to build a reactor to run inline with a canister. Not to mention it will save you a fortune not having to buy massive amounts of plants to adequately build up the plant mass in that tank.
Yes I will be doing co2. I couldn't find any used tanks, so I just bought a 20lb from Amazon since it was $20-$50 cheaper than a local supplier. I'm about to pull the trigger on a dual stage regulator. I was going to build my own, but I found one that looks like it will be better than what I could have pieced together myself based on used parts that are currently available. A stable co2 supply is something I don't want to have to give a second thought once it is installed. Going to be doing a DIY reactor that I will post construction of as I do it...hopefully showing it working properly, too.
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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-15-2018, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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The Seamless sump and some of the plumbing arrived yesterday. I'm mostly happy with the quality. It's not as airtight as I thought it would be, so I might have to use some silicone under the glass. In fairness to them, they don't advertise it as airtight. Should be plenty of room for the heaters, pumps, and internal reactor.




Just a closeup of the bulkhead connections. Left side is for the 1" id drain hose, and the right is for the 3/4" return to a loc-line fitting.


The regulator should be showing up today.
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post #11 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-17-2018, 03:15 PM
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I'm not critisizing in any way, but how much was that sump? It's looks very expensive. You aren't falling into this, but many times I see people spend several hundred on complex sumps on smaller tanks and then cheap out or completely forego C02... it's too early at the moment to be sure, but my custom made $550 regulator had at least one area that was not adequately tightened. I've gone through like 3 20lb tanks since August. I think I've got it fixed now, but just hooked up a new tank yesterday. I expect at least 4 months running both of my 75 gallon tanks. Now I feel like I should have researched and bought the pieces myself and learned the ins and outs.
On the other hand as far as function I've had no problems with my cheap (it looks like cheap crap with nearly useless gauges and a very poor needle valve) on my 150. Once I got it set it comes on and turns off and keeps flow constant and no leaks.
Lastly have you located a place to fill the tank? My local place does not fill... only exchanges. Fortunately they always keep a nice looking 5lb and 20lb aluminum tank for me. I bought my first 20lb tank on amazon for like $120... but the 5lb tank i just bought there.. it was about $100 for a filled 5lb tank. Refills are $18 for the 5lb and $32 For the 20lb. I just couldn't hide a 20lb for my 150 since it's in the entryway.
Have you gotten your ferts yet? I started with just the basic EI ferts. A few months later and I've got some serious deficiencies in Fe, Mg, and Ca. So I would get those too

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post #12 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-17-2018, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dude1 View Post
I'm not critisizing in any way, but how much was that sump? It's looks very expensive. You aren't falling into this, but many times I see people spend several hundred on complex sumps on smaller tanks and then cheap out or completely forego C02... it's too early at the moment to be sure, but my custom made $550 regulator had at least one area that was not adequately tightened. I've gone through like 3 20lb tanks since August. I think I've got it fixed now, but just hooked up a new tank yesterday. I expect at least 4 months running both of my 75 gallon tanks. Now I feel like I should have researched and bought the pieces myself and learned the ins and outs.
On the other hand as far as function I've had no problems with my cheap (it looks like cheap crap with nearly useless gauges and a very poor needle valve) on my 150. Once I got it set it comes on and turns off and keeps flow constant and no leaks.
Lastly have you located a place to fill the tank? My local place does not fill... only exchanges. Fortunately they always keep a nice looking 5lb and 20lb aluminum tank for me. I bought my first 20lb tank on amazon for like $120... but the 5lb tank i just bought there.. it was about $100 for a filled 5lb tank. Refills are $18 for the 5lb and $32 For the 20lb. I just couldn't hide a 20lb for my 150 since it's in the entryway.
Have you gotten your ferts yet? I started with just the basic EI ferts. A few months later and I've got some serious deficiencies in Fe, Mg, and Ca. So I would get those too
I'm not really sure how to answer this as it's a little all over the place. The sump was a little over $500. It adds nearly 50g of additional capacity, but more importantly allows me to keep all of the accessories out of the tank, plus it is modular. Trying to maneuver a single 50g container into the space is darn near impossible.

The reg cost me $195 shipped, including the power supply for the solenoid. It's a Advanced Specialty Gas Equipment reg, Parker Skinner 3 watt/24 Volt Stainless Steel solenoid, and a Parker Stainless Steel metering valve. I'm pressure testing it this weekend, but I doubt there will be any issues as the whole thing looks new (even though it's not). I play paintball, so I'm pretty familiar with small air systems and regulators, and don't really care to learn the subtleties of the regulator body, especially since you can't really do anything about it if it has and internal failure. Everything else is a bolt on.

They only do swaps in my area, I looked into that before committing to a tank. 5lb is too small, they rarely have 10lbs available for swap, so 20lb it is, plus I have room for it next to the tank in a area where it won't get bumped.

Not going to worry about ferts for a while, that's part of what the ADA Amazonia is for.


Updated layout. Not massively different, but tamed the left side.




And some pics of the reg.

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post #13 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-17-2018, 08:01 PM
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Hardscape looks much better. $500 isn't bad. Did you already have a pump? I have a new 265 in my garage that I am collecting equipment for. I hadn't considered getting a premade tank into the cabinet. Is your tank drilled?
Have you decided on fauna yet? An 8 foot tank allows for a pretty remarkable community... I still can't decide on what I want in what tank.

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post #14 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-17-2018, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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The back glass is drilled in the upper corners, one using 1" tubing for the drain, the other, 3/4" for the return. I have and eheim ecco pro 300 canister, beyond that I'm winging it. I got a Rio 2500 that I'll use a a return pump. Depending on it's strength I'll get another and size it based on the performance of the 2500.

Fauna...I would like 3-4 shoals. Cardinals or neons, pygmy corys, rummynose, emperor tetras, harlequin rasboras, etc for shoaling fish. Possibly upside down cats. Definitely Angels, rams and other dwarf cichlids.
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post #15 of 48 (permalink) Old 02-18-2018, 07:17 AM
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nice! I like the new scape much better. fallowing!
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