a little quidance on setup of 90 gal - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-15-2012, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Talking a little quidance on setup of 90 gal

Hello all,
After a long hiatus I have decided to get back into fish husbandry I have always been involved with animals of one shape or another. I currently have two dachshunds and one scorpion as well as a few tarantulas. About 15 years ago I had designed and built a reef aquarium and enjoyed it as well as my 30 gallon which had one large Oscar in it he was my baby. But as life would have it and a divorce where she got the fish and stuff I lost them all.
I have since decided to embark on an adventure of having a 90 gallon, planted tank with angel(s) Leopaldi Angels or Scalare not sure what else I would like to add adult size is a factor for sure as I do not want to over burden the tank, suggestions would be nice.
Currently I have two magnum 350 external filters for filtration.
Have cut the lumber for the stand 2 x 6 lumber and 4 x 4 legs ( I always over build) using plans I got from Google Sketchup site and the measurements of the tank in question 48 x 18 x 29 inches. I have yet to pick this up I hope on the first of next month. I had to make a carrier for it as it will not fit into a 94 Lumina inside of the trunk. So out of some lumber I made a case to ride on roof of the car with hold downs of course.
Being of the old school I setup my 30 gallon with a homemade UGF that I always make for my tanks and already added gravel to it I have decided to use this for other fish than my main tank.
I have been reading various forums gathering intelligence can you tell I am a AF Veteran on what is the going things now and have decided to go the dirting method for a planted tank. I figure I will do this in sequence:
1- peat small amount on bottom
2- clay substrate
3. osmocote mix
4. capping material? Have not decided on this as of yet and a little shaky on using sand but I must stay in a small budget.
5. 3 inches in depth.

I have been searching high and low for crush volcanic rock to use as a cap for my 90 gal setup and to no avail seem to be talking in foreign language around here as I always do. I live in Rushville, Indiana close to Indianapolis I have tried Lowes, carter's lumber, Doitbest, etc.., either it is under another name at these stores or they do not carry it. if I cannot find any I need a cheap alternative I am a little wary about sand as a cap.
I have been reading about setting this tank up as a planted tank (my first) its mainly about keeping the sand clean ( or is that necessary ) in a planted tank. I am in the design phase and have cut the lumber for the stand (awaiting fasteners). I am designing the lighting system with LED's as this what I want to do, as I have built one for my 30 long (no fish added as of yet) not a planted tank either. Does anyone (I know everyone has their own opinion on substrates) is my logic is right for start of the setup.

Thank you

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-15-2012, 05:10 PM
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Keep it simple. As you move plants around the complex layers get all mixed.
If you want peat moss, go ahead and mix it in, or use just a dusting on the bottom of the tank.
Put Osmocote pellets on the bottom of the tank. (so far you would still be able to see the glass with peat and Osmocote)
Then put the material the plants will root in. 2" is fine for most plants, 3" is getting a bit deep, though if you want hills and valleys the hills will probably end up even higher.
Mineralized top soil is one option, as long as you do not have digging fish.
Turface is a very good option for a soft water tank, and has high cationic exchange capacity, so is very good for holding fertilizers for the roots.
Eco Complete, Flourite and other commercial substrates are also good, though a bit more expensive.

You can cap mineralized top soil with pool filter sand, or fine gravel.
Turface is so light that capping it usually does not work. The cap material sifts through it no matter what you use. I use it without capping it.

Fish ideas:
A mated pair of Angels are likely to claim all of a 4' long tank, so just one pair.
Other fish should be compatible with the needs of the Angels: Warm water (uppermost 70s to low 80s) and very soft (especially if you go with wild caught.)
If you want some unusual fish look into Anostomus (a couple of species, one is a loner, the other is social), Sturisoma (several species, S. nigrirostris is the best for the warmest water), Diamond Tetras. Bristlenose Pleco for alage clean up.

What are your tap water parameters? Will you need to use RO to get the water as soft as you need it?
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-15-2012, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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i do not know as of yet the water conditions here, as i have not gotten a test kit. yet but i am willing to bet it is somewhat hard i get white crusting on glass. i will order the necessary testing material, what would be the best testing material that i would need? i would figure that the angels would not be wild caught and i thought that i needed at least 4 to make things easier as i am not that good at sexing fish as i am arachnids. how would you know which is which when juvenile? i did send for info on the water around here at the city but will test iy myself when i get a kit from the tap. i looked at your choices on fish in addition to the angels interesting collection i wonder if i can find them around here or in indianapolis. thanks for info
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-16-2012, 12:43 AM
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See if your water company publishes a water quality report on line.

White crusts on sinks and so on is highly likely hard water, so maybe you will need to blend tap water with reverse osmosis to get rid of some of the minerals.

API Master Test kit is a good way to get started, but does not include GH and KH tests. Buy these in one box, packaged together, but separate from the master test kit.

Often people will start with half a dozen juvenile Angels, allow the Angels to sort themselves out and pair up. Sometimes 2 pair will reach an understanding about how to divide the territory, but not always. IME one pair dominates the tank and will chase all the other Angels. In a longer tank (say, 6' long) there is a better chance of more than one pair working something out. Plan on returning the extra fish to the breeder or store.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-16-2012, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Hello Diana and thank you for your help in my planning I am getting some good advice here from you and others. I have decided that sand is not as bad as I thought it was if only used as a cap on my main substrate. I have found my local water board and after getting some strange looks I got what they offered as a report and here it goes:
Barium 0.154 PPM
Copper 0.0479 PPM
Lead 0.002 PPM
Flouride 1.4 PPM
Nitrate-N 0.100 PPM
Sodium 13.9 PPM
Sulfate. 023 PPM
Triahomethanes 25.0 PPM
HAA5 whatever this 3.3 PPM
As far as hardness and other levels I will have to wait until I get the tests to get them added here.
I am a little concerned about filtration I have read on here that Cichlids require a good amount of flow in the tank would two Magnum 350’s be enough or do I need something else besides the two power heads I plan to use I think two of them are penguin 400 gph. Any ideas on this?
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