Sunfire's 100 gallon starphire semi cube - Updated 8/16 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 162 (permalink) Old 04-11-2009, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Sunfire's 100 gallon starphire semi cube - Updated 8/16

This is my first planted tank and wanted to share with you as this site is a great place to get info and learn about the hobby from other's experience. This is not intended to be so much of a mechanical build journal as it is a planted tank, what I did right, what I do wrong and how I learn, enjoy the experience, and some day the finished project journal. Hopefully you experienced plant gurus can help me get to where I want with this project.

The display was originally designed to be a reef tank, so try and ignore some of the "eccentricities".
Main tank is 1/2" starphire glass, 34" wide x 30" deep x 24" high.
The entire setup is tall, more than 6ft. I hate bending over to look in.


Don't laugh at all of the giant fittings reduced down to small little vinyl hoses. It took me awhile to get used to it, but is very functional and keeps the tank clear of "stuff".


The sump is also custom made, 3/8 glass. I'm running 4 gallons of bio bale for bacteria growth, a small UV in cycles and a small mag return. 400Watt heater in the main section which is where I will be adding a needle wheel Mag3 for Co2 diffusion. The egg crate makes a great place to lay filter bags with any media I might need, but I don't plan on using any. You can also see the autotopoff.com ATO floats here. I am using dual systems for redundancy and flood protection. No reservoir, straight to my RO filter.

The XP3 runs on a closed loop. A 2 gallon square bucket is hard to see, but is on the right and will be used for autodosing. Co2 tank will be on the left, and of course a crappy little shelf for food, etc. You can see the dual ATO solenoids here(top left) and an under cabinet light to make working and cleaning in here easier.


The stand and hood were made by me with general lumber and cabinet grade ply, pre-made door on the stand, and some oak trim. Epoxy coated on the interior, and stained to match the furniture. I also took the time to wire and install a series of switched outlets, all GFCI protected. Sorry, some of these pictures are bad. My good camera was broken by one of my girls who borrowed it because their camera (being used for these shots) "sucked".



Inside the hood, 2 VHO 24" 75 Watt 10K, 2 VHO 24" 75 Watt Actinic, 1 250W 6500K metal Halide and 2 lunar LEDs and a pair of cooling fans.


I used plugs to connect the canopy, so it can be easily removed for cleaning, scaping, etc. They are color coded and I hope I never mess them up when reconnecting. I'm guessing the lunar LEDs won't like being connected to the mh ballasts.


I would appreciate any comments as I go through this project. I'd rather get feedback first and do it as well as possible initially. Thanks for looking and I will try to get some bettter pics as things progress.

Steve
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post #2 of 162 (permalink) Old 04-11-2009, 06:11 PM
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Great repost with the pics! The plumbing area looks like a mad scientist run a muck Hard to follow the tie ins it's all so tight in the pictures. It's going to make the tank so clean on the set up keeping everything outside the tank.


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post #3 of 162 (permalink) Old 04-11-2009, 07:19 PM
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It looks interesting! I can't wait to see what it'll look like when its planted

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post #4 of 162 (permalink) Old 04-11-2009, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments. I'm still a little concerned about flow as my turnover will be quite low, in the 4-5 times per hour range. I think because the tank is more square than most, it will prevent dead spots in the tank. I'll be able to tell more after I get the bubbles going with the needle wheel. If needed, I will add more pump, but I am trying to keep this all reasonably quiet, but functional.

I can't wait to see what it looks like planted either.

Steve
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post #5 of 162 (permalink) Old 04-11-2009, 10:47 PM
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You may want to consider swapping out the acitinics, they're not very useful for plants. Sounds like a lot of light over that size tank.
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post #6 of 162 (permalink) Old 04-11-2009, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Martin,

I was going to change the actinics, but decided to keep them just for color balance that I like. I will be running no more than 400 watts at one time including the actinics. . The tanks about 105 gallons, and deep for this length tank so do you think it's too much?

Steve
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post #7 of 162 (permalink) Old 04-12-2009, 02:36 AM
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I don't know how true this is, but I heard actinics can cause algae problems. You may want to ask around. I like the tank. It's hard to believe it is not a perfect cube.

Without Algae, death of mankind would be inevitable.

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post #8 of 162 (permalink) Old 04-12-2009, 03:01 AM Thread Starter
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Sewingalot, What part of West Virginia you from? My father in law lives there (near Snowshoe) and I love it. I'll have to do some searching on the actinic/algae connection. Thanks for the heads up. I did set out to build a perfect 36"cube then realized the depth would be difficult, and I have only 32" doors to move it through. I almost missed that when I first ordered the tank. I'd have been so sad, and may not have even noticed it by now, as it's never been in my house in the 3+ years I've owned it.

Steve
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post #9 of 162 (permalink) Old 04-12-2009, 04:12 AM
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Western area, right across the river from Ohio. Did you see "We are Marshall?" I live there, graduated from that school. I love the state, it is very beautiful. Just a little boring.....

I am looking forward to your journal developing. I am totally subscribing. I still think it looks like a perfect cube, so you did a great job.

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post #10 of 162 (permalink) Old 04-14-2009, 01:15 AM
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Impressive! What type of scape are you thinking about?


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post #11 of 162 (permalink) Old 04-14-2009, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks fastfreddie, I'm really only getting around to thinking about the scape plans. I have some driftwood pieces from a Cichlid tank that are fake that I might use. They are big enough and full of holes so I believe I can get by using them by planting in the holes for mid and background height. I might put them left of center and basically cover them with plants, using some tall crypts in the very back. I want a rock pile to the right corner also fairly heavily planted. I might do kind of a concave semi circle between the two sides, with overall substrate climbing as it goes to the back.

Here's a pitiful paint drawing I just did. This would be looking from the top. The orangish gobs on the left would be the fake driftwood, which would be mostly used to stack plants for height and covered by moss via a tied or glued on mesh, along with some well placed rocks for plant anchors if needed. My thinking is to have that left area as full and lush as possible leading from very short foreground plants, to very tall crypts in the back. The rock piles on the right (the greenish shapes) I want to be pretty deep, and also planted full but not as tall as the left side and then with some bushy plants transitioning the center along the back 1/3 of the tank. The brown line at the bottom of this totally crappy diagram would be a noticeable drop in substrate elevation maybe held in place with some rocks under the substrate, or more likely just as good as I can get it and then let it settle.
I'm still in negotiations with the Mrs. about how heavily to plant it. She wants mostly a fish tank and wants them to have plenty of room to swim but definitely the left and right sides will be heavy, it's a matter of how far forward we will come. How would a single centerpiece plant look in the middle of the open center amphitheatre area?

Plants I like are Crypt Wendtii, several Anubias, dwarf hairgrass, and I like a Java Fern, the Phillipine type, some of the Cabomba, Blyxe, and later on a few of the harder plants, after I figure out how to not kill the first plants.

For fish, we're fairly settled on 2 schools of Tetras, Rummynose and ??, maybe 15 of each, and a school of Cory's, and some Oto's. Maybe a few Giant Danios also, and last into the tank will be about 5 juvenile Angels, hoping they won't eat all the Tetras when they grow up. I've done alot of reading and think they will be OK if introduced in the right order.

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post #12 of 162 (permalink) Old 04-14-2009, 02:32 AM
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Sounds cool! Tell your wife those fish will love a heavily planted tank! I'm sure people will tell you otherwise, but I think angels are ok with tetras. I've had a large angel since 2005 who has lived with lots of tetras and never eaten any. He does mess with a large black skirt a lot, but its mostly a territory/ meal time thing. I just added 15 cardinals and he totally ignores them. It sounds like you formerly kept cichlids so maybe you're ok with fish eating fish. I don't mind it unless it is an expensive fish getting eaten.

Good luck! Looking forward to your progress!


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post #13 of 162 (permalink) Old 04-14-2009, 02:45 AM Thread Starter
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I don't have a real problem with it (fish eating fish) as long as I'm not choosing to be reckless with my choices and they're not expensive . It's less cruel than keeping fish in poor water and dragging out the suffering. As for the fish choices, I'd love to hear suggestions. Rummynose, Corys and Otos are not debatable to me, and the Angels are not debatable to my wife, but I would like to hear suggestions on numbers. We want as large of shoals as possible. My total water volume is something around 150 gallons with the sump. The Giant Danios seem to stay up high in every tank I've seen them in, and they get farily large, but I'm not thrilled by the looks of them. I do like bloodfin, and penguin tetras.

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post #14 of 162 (permalink) Old 04-16-2009, 09:24 PM
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Angel Fish

Selection of your angels should start with a quality breeder first and foremost. The strains out there are wide and varied. You can match your tank water parameters (conditions that you plan on maintaining) to that of a breeder via emails. People state and claim that domestic bred fish will tolerate and adapt to a wide range of parameters just fine. I ask why should they? I also dispute it in that some variants on the species DD super veils, platinumís and blushers just to name three can be hard to establish in your tanks. My problem child for several years has been DD super veils. Still havenít established a successful breeding pair. TAF II members are nationwide and about as great a bunch of members as those here. Great source for local breeders in your area.
fastfreddie posted heís kept a large angel for years with smaller fish. Thatís cool and probably completely factual. No reason for it not to be. Single angels do act differently than a school or group. I keep 1 adult angel for every 10 gallons of tank volume in every one of my tanks. Ottoís and what not go unnoticed but I no longer keep small mid tank open swimming shoals or shrimp. Tetras and fish at least ĺ of an inch in length with some sort of body width (non minnow shape) are safe for the most part. Glass or grass shrimp when added last until found in the open and the angels say yum yum.
Variations in fish structure can go a long way in predicting behavior patterns as adults. All the short finned angels grouped as domestics are faster swimmers and tend to be more aggressive in their nature than the super veiled varieties. SVís tend to swim more slowly, display and bluff charge more often than actually making contact with each other. The domestics Ďbumpí a lot when pairing or defending territory. Actual fin and scale damage usually occurs. I have 6 domestic short fins from a prior spawn 2 marbles, one dark, 3 striped standards or termed domestics. A single purchased DD short finned as well. All my other angels are SVís. 17 total at the present time.
Behavioral differences that Iíve described are across the board on these fish regardless of color, sex or the age of the fish. Simply fin length as the common denominator. Iím sure someone will disagree with what I stated here, opinions always vary. Keeping angels as my primary species for over thirty five years with the one exception of a native bio type tank kept for about three years. Goes without saying (but I will) I think angels are awesome fish!

Just a qwinky dink as my wife says. We vacation every July in Wyoming County. And opening week of deer season every year on one of my family members farms.


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post #15 of 162 (permalink) Old 04-16-2009, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post

Variations in fish structure can go a long way in predicting behavior patterns as adults. All the short finned angels grouped as domestics are faster swimmers and tend to be more aggressive in their nature than the super veiled varieties. SVís tend to swim more slowly, display and bluff charge more often than actually making contact with each other. The domestics Ďbumpí a lot when pairing or defending territory. Actual fin and scale damage usually occurs. I have 6 domestic short fins from a prior spawn 2 marbles, one dark, 3 striped standards or termed domestics. A single purchased DD short finned as well. All my other angels are SVís. 17 total at the present time.
Behavioral differences that Iíve described are across the board on these fish regardless of color, sex or the age of the fish. Simply fin length as the common denominator. Iím sure someone will disagree with what I stated here, opinions always vary. Keeping angels as my primary species for over thirty five years with the one exception of a native bio type tank kept for about three years. Goes without saying (but I will) I think angels are awesome fish!

Just a qwinky dink as my wife says. We vacation every July in Wyoming County. And opening week of deer season every year on one of my family members farms.
Nice Qwinky dink! I have never looked into the habits of angels whatsoever, so I'm prob not the best to have given advice, but this makes me want to do some research on mine. Very cool info!


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