d2's Planted Tank Adventurama - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 01:40 AM Thread Starter
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d2's Planted Tank Adventurama

Hi all!
After more than a decade and several successful builds in the Saltwater Reef hobby, I've decided to jump ship and try my hand at this planted tank thang. I need something new to learn but still need to have a tank in the house, so I figure let's try something a little different and go green! Isn't that what all the cool kids are doing these days?

I took down the reef a few months back. Meanwhile, I set up a little 7g cube that I've been fooling around with to kind of dip my toe in and start familiarizing myself with freshwater planted practices. But it's really just scratching the surface. For the big tank, I'm going all in! And I'm going to need some (lots) help along the way. I hope you all will be patient with me as I fumble my way through. I do understand the basics of fish keeping and growing things underwater. I just need to mentally let go of some things and pick up new ideas/practices if that makes sense.

Anyway, let's get on with the show, shall we?

Here's a quick rundown of some of the basics of this build.

Tank: WaterBox Clear Pro 6025 - 143 gallons (541 Liters)
Lighting: (3) GHL Mitras 7004
Controller: GHL Profilux 4
Doser: GHL Doser 2.1 <--- will be implemented later, but I have it from my Reef tank

Those are the current "knowns".

Now to the "unknowns" and "leaning towards" items...

Filtration: Thinking of starting with a Fluval FX6 and possibly adding a second one later if needed
Co2: 10lb tank? And Dual Stage Regulator needed. Suggestions welcome.
Heater: Possibly something in-line?
Water Changes: Leaning towards setting up some sort of Auto Water Change system

Fish, Plants and Scape style: Going for more of a nature-scape, Amano type of thing but maybe not so plant heavy. A good amount of hardscape with large branch. I'm not really sure. I think I'm just going to have to feel it out. I'd really like to try Discus. But I know they prefer warmer water which limits plant selection. So I'll be talking with the guys at ADG here in Houston to help figure that out.

It will probably have a pretty asymmetrical setup, partly to help hide equipment in the tank, and partly because the tank is being located close to a corner of the room.

Which brings me to the final part of my first post of this build... the tank location.
The tank will be located on this empty wall, next to the large sliding glass doors, behind the sofa.








That's it for now! Comments and suggestions appreciated. I'm here to learn and share ideas.
There will be more coming next week as the lights and hopefully the tank arrive!
Thanks!
Greggz, Ventchur and aquaoz like this.

-Dennis
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post #2 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 02:27 AM
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Man I can’t wait for this Dennis! Your reef tanks were superb! I am in the same boat you are. I was in reefing and I need a change. I am going with a 50 gallon setup 90P and I am leaning towards heavily planted with a large school of cardinals. Discus are amazing fish, I would love to see you go that route with that large of a setup. Can’t wait to see your progress.
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post #3 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 03:29 AM
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I saw this post and thought, "I wonder if this is Dennis. I just converted my 200 to planted. So far so good minus the ich I'm dealing with now. Welcome to the other side.

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post #4 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 10:54 AM
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Hello,

Looks like you are off to more then a good start with the equipment you have/are choosing. Regarding the CO2 regulator. You will hear people referring to "building" their own but what they mean is they are taking an existing CO2 regulator and then screwing on parts to make it more precise and better suited for our needs. The best option is to either "build" your own from a used regulator and use parts from some place like diyco2regulator.com. Or to buy one from a member in the sale and trade section who has already done this. After that there are off the shelf options specific to our hobby. CO2Art is the nicest "cheap" brand probably. GLA is well thought of but more expensive.

A FX6 is probably adequate though a lot of people choose to go the sump route when they have tanks this big.

Have you given thought to substrate or plant choices yet? Do you want a plant to carpet some or all of the tank floor?

If you want to do discus I would seriously consider finding a way to put in an auto water change system. I have not owned discus but my understanding from reading about people who are successful at keeping them is that water changes more then once a week is not uncommon.

What are your tap water parameters? Pretty much anything can be worked with but some plants / fish will be easier to work with certain types of parameters then others. The worst case scenario is the need to use RO/DI water for some or all of your water changes. If this is required you will either need a monster system to keep up with a tank this size with discus or reconsider the discus thing.

Edit: one last thing. Regarding the CO2 tank. Before you buy a bright shiny new one figure out where you are going to be refilling the thing. Some places don't refill your tank but trade it in for one of their tanks they already filled. These places also sell tanks. So before you pay for something nice and shiny make sure you will actually be getting to hold on to it after the first fill up.

Last edited by minorhero; 08-08-2019 at 11:15 AM. Reason: reasons
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post #5 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PurdueGK View Post
Man I canít wait for this Dennis! Your reef tanks were superb! I am in the same boat you are. I was in reefing and I need a change. I am going with a 50 gallon setup 90P and I am leaning towards heavily planted with a large school of cardinals. Discus are amazing fish, I would love to see you go that route with that large of a setup. Canít wait to see your progress.
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Originally Posted by Miller View Post
I saw this post and thought, "I wonder if this is Dennis. I just converted my 200 to planted. So far so good minus the ich I'm dealing with now. Welcome to the other side.
HA! Thanks for checking in, guys. Hopefully this build doesn't turn into an epic fail.

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Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Hello,

Looks like you are off to more then a good start with the equipment you have/are choosing.
Thanks! Lots of great info. Let me try to answer...

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Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Regarding the CO2 regulator. You will hear people referring to "building" their own but what they mean is they are taking an existing CO2 regulator and then screwing on parts to make it more precise and better suited for our needs. The best option is to either "build" your own from a used regulator and use parts from some place like diyco2regulator.com. Or to buy one from a member in the sale and trade section who has already done this. After that there are off the shelf options specific to our hobby. CO2Art is the nicest "cheap" brand probably. GLA is well thought of but more expensive.
I've done both before (build vs buy) for my calcium reactors on the reef. I think this time I'll be purchasing. I just don't have as much free time as I've had in the past to search out all the parts.

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A FX6 is probably adequate though a lot of people choose to go the sump route when they have tanks this big.
Yes, I considered both options. Was looking at some wet/dry setups too. I don't know if it's just because I want to do something different this time or what but decided to try going the canister filter route.
I was also considering two slightly smaller filters like the FX4 but they are the same diameter and I like the extra tray in the FX6.
Also thought about a couple of Oase 600 but reviews seemed to be pretty mixed, making me hesitant to go that route.

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Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Have you given thought to substrate or plant choices yet? Do you want a plant to carpet some or all of the tank floor?
Yes, I'm most likely going with the ADA substrates. I would like some ground cover if there is something that is slower growing and easier to trim. But i may limit this, keeping it to the mid-ground, with a white sand in the foreground. Again, still kinda figuring this out and the hardscape may drive my final decision.

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If you want to do discus I would seriously consider finding a way to put in an auto water change system. I have not owned discus but my understanding from reading about people who are successful at keeping them is that water changes more then once a week is not uncommon.
Yeah, i did notice that and one reason I'm leaning towards the AWC, especially with the size of the tank. It would be hard for me to do single massive water changes.
Plus, I always have an AWC with my reef tanks. So much easier. In that first pic you can see a bunch of 1/4" RO line coiled up outside, from the reef setup. Haha. It goes through the wall to the tank inside. And directly behind that wall is a half bath, so I have access to the sink drain.

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Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
What are your tap water parameters? Pretty much anything can be worked with but some plants / fish will be easier to work with certain types of parameters then others. The worst case scenario is the need to use RO/DI water for some or all of your water changes. If this is required you will either need a monster system to keep up with a tank this size with discus or reconsider the discus thing.
We have pretty high TDS in Houston... and high in both chlorine/chloramines. I have a SpectraPure RO/DI with Auto Flush. What I'm still unsure of is exactly what I would need to remineralize the water.

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Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Edit: one last thing. Regarding the CO2 tank. Before you buy a bright shiny new one figure out where you are going to be refilling the thing. Some places don't refill your tank but trade it in for one of their tanks they already filled. These places also sell tanks. So before you pay for something nice and shiny make sure you will actually be getting to hold on to it after the first fill up.
Yep, good point. We have a Home Brew shop just down the street that I will check in with before purchasing a tank.

Thanks!!!

-Dennis
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post #6 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 04:30 PM
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Ah you are in really good shape with the RO/DI setup already in place.

If you don't want to mess with researching regulators then there are folks in the buy/trade forum that can sell you rebuilt regulators for a few hundred dollars that will be better then pretty much anything you can buy elsewhere. The reason being that the solenoids on the off the shelf regulators are usually not great and the needle valves are sometimes less then ideal. Most off the shelf regulators will come with a bubble counter but given the size of tank you will be using this will not be very useful to you, likely you will want a flow meter instead. I know you said you want to buy instead of diy, but diyco2regulator.com makes it pretty easy to do it yourself because they sell everything you need (minus the used regulator itself) in a kit. But not everyone wants to go down that path, sounds like you have gone both ways so to quote my wife, "whatever sparks joy in your life". :P

Carpeting plants tend to be a lot of work to keep trimmed and looking nice, especially if they cover a lot of real estate in a tank. Your tank is going to be pretty big so yea I get wanting to keep it low maintenance. If you have the patience you could go with something like Cryptocoryne parva. It will carpet, but its going to take a while (like 1 or 2 years) before it grows in really well assuming you plant with decent density to start with. It doesn't require much/any maintenance so it makes it an easy choice given what you described.

For discus you may want to consider going with a blackwater aquascape with a lot of tanin in the water. This is a very natural environment for them but its not to everyone's taste.

If you do commit to going with discus it does simplify your plant choices a LOT because most things won't work with temperatures in the mid to upper 80s basically you are can do lots of different kinds of amazon swords, anubias, and crypts. These are relatively low maintenance plants which sounds like that is a goal of yours. The anubias doesn't grow in substrate so you will be planting that on wood/rocks. The crypts and the swords are easy to grow plants that do go in substrate. I will say the ADA aquasoil is kind of overkill, especially if you are planning an auto-doser anyway, but certainly those plants won't mind. The lights you picked I am not familiar with but a google search says they are each capable of 130watts. This is crazy high overkill for swords, anubias, and crypts so you will need to turn those down a lot. If you run your discus a little colder (lower 80s) it gives you access to a lot more plants but /shrug then you are running them at the lower end of their comfort range.

If you think you might change things up down the road then all of these choices make sense, otherwise you may want to consider inert substrate options. An inert and homogeneous substrate has a lot of advantages when aquascaping long term because it doesn't matter if pieces from one part of the tank find themselves in another part. If you have decorative sand in the front and aquasoil in the back then its only a matter of time before you are picking bits of aquasoil out of your sand. As for the lights, certainly you could use much less powerful (and cheaper) lights then the ones you picked out, but it sounds like you either already own these or budget is not a factor to be concerned with?
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post #7 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 05:54 PM
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I subscribed to your journal because your house looks really cool. Very nice.

You have lots of sunlight coming in. Will that not be a problem about algae?

Looking forward to see your progress.
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post #8 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
Ah you are in really good shape with the RO/DI setup already in place.

If you don't want to mess with researching regulators then there are folks in the buy/trade forum that can sell you rebuilt regulators for a few hundred dollars that will be better then pretty much anything you can buy elsewhere. The reason being that the solenoids on the off the shelf regulators are usually not great and the needle valves are sometimes less then ideal. Most off the shelf regulators will come with a bubble counter but given the size of tank you will be using this will not be very useful to you, likely you will want a flow meter instead. I know you said you want to buy instead of diy, but diyco2regulator.com makes it pretty easy to do it yourself because they sell everything you need (minus the used regulator itself) in a kit. But not everyone wants to go down that path, sounds like you have gone both ways so to quote my wife, "whatever sparks joy in your life". :P

Carpeting plants tend to be a lot of work to keep trimmed and looking nice, especially if they cover a lot of real estate in a tank. Your tank is going to be pretty big so yea I get wanting to keep it low maintenance. If you have the patience you could go with something like Cryptocoryne parva. It will carpet, but its going to take a while (like 1 or 2 years) before it grows in really well assuming you plant with decent density to start with. It doesn't require much/any maintenance so it makes it an easy choice given what you described.

For discus you may want to consider going with a blackwater aquascape with a lot of tanin in the water. This is a very natural environment for them but its not to everyone's taste.

If you do commit to going with discus it does simplify your plant choices a LOT because most things won't work with temperatures in the mid to upper 80s basically you are can do lots of different kinds of amazon swords, anubias, and crypts. These are relatively low maintenance plants which sounds like that is a goal of yours. The anubias doesn't grow in substrate so you will be planting that on wood/rocks. The crypts and the swords are easy to grow plants that do go in substrate. I will say the ADA aquasoil is kind of overkill, especially if you are planning an auto-doser anyway, but certainly those plants won't mind. The lights you picked I am not familiar with but a google search says they are each capable of 130watts. This is crazy high overkill for swords, anubias, and crypts so you will need to turn those down a lot. If you run your discus a little colder (lower 80s) it gives you access to a lot more plants but /shrug then you are running them at the lower end of their comfort range.

If you think you might change things up down the road then all of these choices make sense, otherwise you may want to consider inert substrate options. An inert and homogeneous substrate has a lot of advantages when aquascaping long term because it doesn't matter if pieces from one part of the tank find themselves in another part. If you have decorative sand in the front and aquasoil in the back then its only a matter of time before you are picking bits of aquasoil out of your sand. As for the lights, certainly you could use much less powerful (and cheaper) lights then the ones you picked out, but it sounds like you either already own these or budget is not a factor to be concerned with?
You rock, brother! Thanks for all this info you're throwing my way, really appreciate it.

I'm going to look into that diy regulator website. Thanks for the tip. I like the building part, but last time I was scouring ebay for weeks and it was kind of a pain in the butt.
This sounds much easier.
Definitely will look into that carpet. I don't mind the wait. Although I might eat those words 6 months from now.

My thoughts on the soil is this... I figure if I can get the tank setup initially as optimum as possible, it removes certain factors from the equation if I'm having issues.
And I won't have to bother with the doser for awhile, keeping things simpler in the beginning.
I figure as the soil starts to deplete and/or livestock starts taking too much out of the water, I can slowly start dosing. Does that make sense?

As for the discus/plant issues, will probably swing by ADG next week. Having a resource like that locally... can't let that go untapped! haha

Budget.... yeah... so coming from the reef side of the hobby, you guys have it made!!! Everything is so much cheaper. LOL
But even with my reefs I tend to have a buy once cry once mentality and get good equipment from the start. I also would rather overbuild than underbuild.
And to top it off, I'm a professional designer, artist, and photographer. And my wife is a graphic designer, too. So style plays a massive part in EVERYTHING. I don't deny it. How do I pick out a bottle of wine, even? By the label design!!!
So quality, performance, and design are first and foremost. If the equipment has the ability to grow with me, rather than hold me back, even better.
I've been a huge fan of GHL equipment for years. Ticks all the boxes. I won't trust my tanks to any other controller on the market and their lighting has the same build quality and robust/stable software and firmware. Might be overkill from an intensity standpoint, we'll find out. But that's ok since they are so controllable. Again, I'd rather have to turn them down than regret my purchase and wish I got something better.

Speaking of the lights, I'll be showing those in detail. Lots of pics and possibly some videos too.
You don't see them around here and these smaller 4-puck versions are brand spanking new.
I'll be a bit of a guinea pig around here I guess!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank158 View Post
I subscribed to your journal because your house looks really cool. Very nice.

You have lots of sunlight coming in. Will that not be a problem about algae?

Looking forward to see your progress.
Ha!!! Thanks. I'll pass that on to my wife.
Yes, sunlight may definitely become a problem. Will have to wait and see. That spot doesn't really get a lot of direct sunlight, but lots of filtered.
We've talked about getting some drapes or other treatment for those, so worse comes to worse we do that.

-Dennis
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post #9 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 07:25 PM
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1st. Holy wow at the awesome blue couch. GIVE ME IT.

2nd. Please hurry up and make this thing happen because I cannot wait to follow along.

Those large windows are just begging for some automated shades that adjust to temperature. Clean and modern to go with your terrific home.


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post #10 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-09-2019, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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1st. Holy wow at the awesome blue couch. GIVE ME IT.

2nd. Please hurry up and make this thing happen because I cannot wait to follow along.

Those large windows are just begging for some automated shades that adjust to temperature. Clean and modern to go with your terrific home.
HA! Gimme about 6 months. When the cats are done shredding the back two corners I'll give it to you.


So I forgot about one other piece of equipment I was thinking about.... UV Light.
I ran AquaUV Classics on my reef.
Suggestions for this tank? Do it? Don't do it? What size if I do it?

-Dennis
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post #11 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-09-2019, 01:26 AM
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Suggestions for this tank? Do it? Don't do it? What size if I do it?
Do it....

Rimless, long shallow with the base higher then usual so that the centre tank is at eye level. Pendant LEDs (The shimmer would look amazing on that wall behind), in fact go the whole hog and setup RGB tank back lighting.
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post #12 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-09-2019, 11:50 AM
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UV filtration isn't something we use all the time on the freshwater side of the hobby.

I have a couple UV filters and an in-line unit and have only ever used them when I needed to help deal with contaminants or illness - only a handful of times in a couple decades.

Definitely more useful on the reef & salt side. But nothing wrong with having for fresh if you want be extra-prepared. I'm sure there are at least a few people on the forum who use UV as part of their filtration routine constantly, though, so hopefully they'll chime in.

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So I forgot about one other piece of equipment I was thinking about.... UV Light.
I ran AquaUV Classics on my reef.
Suggestions for this tank? Do it? Don't do it? What size if I do it?
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post #13 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-09-2019, 12:06 PM
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UV filtration isn't something we use all the time on the freshwater side of the hobby.

I have a couple UV filters and an in-line unit and have only ever used them when I needed to help deal with contaminants or illness - only a handful of times in a couple decades.

Definitely more useful on the reef & salt side. But nothing wrong with having for fresh if you want be extra-prepared. I'm sure there are at least a few people on the forum who use UV as part of their filtration routine constantly, though, so hopefully they'll chime in.

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So I forgot about one other piece of equipment I was thinking about.... UV Light.
I ran AquaUV Classics on my reef.
Suggestions for this tank? Do it? Don't do it? What size if I do it?
Most frequently I have seen people actually place a uv line into their system temporarily. As easy as place a hose on one size and hooking up to your current canister filter.
Many, many a people are using them as @somewhatshocked has said, and for green water clean up I believe.
Perhaps something useful to have on hand, but maybe not a necessity.
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post #14 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-09-2019, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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Many, many a people are using them as @somewhatshocked has said, and for green water clean up I believe.
Perhaps something useful to have on hand, but maybe not a necessity.
That's actually more how I've seen them used on the reef side. I was one of the few people who run them.
I guess I see it as an extra safeguard to have in place... a preventative rather than a fix. Needed? 99% of the time, no. Helpful in keeping water clear and a little added protection against pests... yes.
And you have to size them properly with the correct amount of flow. Enough to be effective but not so much that you are nuking all the good stuff as well.

I actually would have thought they would have been more popular in fresh but maybe not planted? I know they are definitely popular in ponds. But ya, i don't want to spend the cash if they are not needed at all, but if they are considered helpful and not detrimental in some way, I'd be interested. The good thing is that if I do get one, the size needed would be much smaller... aka cheaper. lol

-Dennis
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post #15 of 54 (permalink) Old 08-09-2019, 12:27 PM
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Since it's not necessarily something you want to spend a lot on and don't obviously need it right away but still want? I'd just keep an eye out for a used unit over the next few months. Buy something someone is tired of, something that just needs replacement bulbs or a new sleeve. You'll save yourself a chunk of cash and will still end up getting something that will give you peace of mind.

I do like having mine even if I rarely use them.

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don't want to spend the cash if they are not needed at all, but if they are considered helpful and not detrimental in some way, I'd be interested.


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