205g planted discus/community tank build - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-26-2017, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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205g planted discus/community tank build

I am in the beginning phases of a 205 gallon tank build. I bought a used hybrid tank a few weeks ago. The tank is 44"x36"x30" There is an overflow centered on on of the 36" sides. The tank is also drilled for a reef closed loop (which I will most likely plug and not use). The tank has a PVC bottom, glass wall, and acrylic euro bracing around the top edge. The tank came with an awesome sump which is 32"x36"x18" (I need to double check the sump height). The sump includes two 15"x15" partitioned off areas which will be big enough to breed apistogrammas, shrimp, or something like that in. The tank also came with a metal stand, but the stand was made from thin wall tubular steel which was starting to rust/pit. I decided to trash the stand and I will build a new wooded one.

Two big goals (besides having a great looking tank) are to keep the tank very energy efficient and very quiet. I like the eheim pumps and canister filters for this reason but am open to suggestions.

I have a fairly large piece of drift wood mounted to slate I plan to use and I also have manzanita wood from Rich at www.manzanita.com on the way. I have not been in the hobby a long time and could use some help.

Below is a list of equipment/ideas I am thinking right now. I could use help with all of these topics.

-LED lighting. The tank is 30" deep so I know lighting will be a challenge. I was thinking maybe 3 of the finnex 36" planted+ strips over the tank. Will this be enough? Maybe I can make the substrate fairly thick to raise the 'floor' a little.
-CO2 injection. I have not research a ton yet, but since I will be running a sump I have read there are injectors which you can run into the return line. I would really appreciate some help with this one.
-Substrate. I really have no preference as of this time. Maybe dirt/flourite/something else with sand or very fine gravel over it. What is the best/most cost efficient way to go?
-Livestock. I would like a well mixed community tank with Discus as the focus. Current thoughts are 2-6 discus, pair of appistogramma, tetras, twig catfish pair, german rams, siamese algae eater, gobies, possibly rainbows, and other fish that would fit in.
-Filter. Biomedia in sump (what brand is best value?), canister, potentially uv sterilizer (may add later if I feel I need), filter sock.
-Water flow. Minimal return pump from sump (200-500 gph) as pumping water back to tank is not energy efficient, some kind of powerhead/wavemaker in the tank as this water flow is much more energy efficient. I will run some sort of stand pipe in the tank overflow with a high water height and low flow as to have minimal water surface disturbance as to retain as much CO2 as possible. I plan to run the canister internally to the sump only as the two 'breeding tanks' build in the sump are partitioned off and need water pumped into them. The canister will pump water from the main sump to the breeding tanks which will overflow back into the main sump. I can add the uv sterilizer to the canister flow if needed.

I will post photos of the tank and sump soon. Any and all comments are appreciated.

Chris
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-26-2017, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisaggie View Post
-LED lighting. The tank is 30" deep so I know lighting will be a challenge. I was thinking maybe 3 of the finnex 36" planted+ strips over the tank. Will this be enough? Maybe I can make the substrate fairly thick to raise the 'floor' a little.
are you going with slow growing low light plants? if you decide to go high light, sbreeflights FW is a good choice https://sbreeflights.com/sbox-fw-pla...led-light.html
tagging @jeffkrol cuz he knows more about lights than anyone on the forum

Quote:
-CO2 injection. I have not research a ton yet, but since I will be running a sump I have read there are injectors which you can run into the return line. I would really appreciate some help with this one.
you can go with an atomizer or co2 a reactor. personally i went with a co2 reactor on a separate loop. in-line atomizers can clog over time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SingAlongWithTsing View Post
re-did the sump on tuesday, reduced co2 degassing, reduced the chance of water by passing the bio-media with the pond box

CO2 drop by the end of day @ 80 cc/min: 8.2 -> 6.6, before renovation 8.2 -> 6.8.
Gonna reduce CO2 a lil bit, I don't think I need a 1.6 drop lmao. Gonna try to get the pH to drop to 7 with in 2 hrs of the reactor turning on.

(click for larger images)




Quote:
-Substrate. I really have no preference as of this time. Maybe dirt/flourite/something else with sand or very fine gravel over it. What is the best/most cost efficient way to go?
If you have a tractor supply near you: Black Diamond Blasting Sand $8 / 50lb. if you want something white/tannish pool filter sand.

Quote:
-Livestock. I would like a well mixed community tank with Discus as the focus. Current thoughts are 2-6 discus, pair of appistogramma, tetras, twig catfish pair, german rams, siamese algae eater, gobies, possibly rainbows, and other fish that would fit in.
i think someone here mentioned that a white substrate would be better for discus because darker substrates cause em to have black specks? something about blending into the environment.

Quote:
-Filter. Biomedia in sump (what brand is best value?), canister, potentially uv sterilizer (may add later if I feel I need), filter sock.
pumice stone is pretty cheap, 15lb for $25 shipped: Order Here! ? General Pumice Products
lava rock is cheap too, but i dont think it has as much surface area as pumice.
plastic pot scrubbers if you have a wet/dry filter sump, lots of surface area and easy to clean: Colored Scouring Pads

Quote:
-Water flow. Minimal return pump from sump (200-500 gph) as pumping water back to tank is not energy efficient, some kind of powerhead/wavemaker in the tank as this water flow is much more energy efficient. I will run some sort of stand pipe in the tank overflow with a high water height and low flow as to have minimal water surface disturbance as to retain as much CO2 as possible. I plan to run the canister internally to the sump only as the two 'breeding tanks' build in the sump are partitioned off and need water pumped into them. The canister will pump water from the main sump to the breeding tanks which will overflow back into the main sump. I can add the uv sterilizer to the canister flow if needed.

I will post photos of the tank and sump soon. Any and all comments are appreciated.

Chris
Jebao DCP, it's a DC pump, adjustable and is energy efficient. Been using the DCP-8000 for about 8 months now, it's dead silent. the DCT series has a slight turbine sound, can't comment on the DCS series (dont own one).
Canister filter: one of the SunSun filters. my sunsun 303b has been running for about 3 years without a problem and my 304b for 2 years without a problem. got them both from cll pet supplies on fleabay if it matters.


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Last edited by SingAlongWithTsing; 08-26-2017 at 11:17 PM. Reason: ...
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-27-2017, 01:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the great start! That will give me a lot to think about/research. I was thinking I need to run dirt/nutrient substrate under the sand as I would like a lot of rooted plants. Is this true and what would be best? I plan to run medium and low light plants.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-27-2017, 04:57 AM
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Who makes the tank? Any photos of it? Those dimension are amazing.

With that water volume you could house 15-20 discus. I'd do at least 8+. They can become over stressed in smaller groups. I have 7 in a 90g currently.

Edit- did some searching and found mrc. These are dream dimensions. Following this build.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-27-2017, 05:10 AM
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Planted pluses @ 30" depth isn't going to get much light down to the dirt..
Few 120 degree lensed lights will.

some PAR data on types..


somewhat poor example but you can do about 1/2 doz LED flood lights.


Quote:
Here is a 180 3 50w cool wht about 3/4" off the glass canopy.

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."

Last edited by jeffkrol; 08-27-2017 at 05:16 AM. Reason: edit
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-27-2017, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jjonesls1 View Post
Who makes the tank? Any photos of it? Those dimension are amazing.

With that water volume you could house 15-20 discus. I'd do at least 8+. They can become over stressed in smaller groups. I have 7 in a 90g currently.

Edit- did some searching and found mrc. These are dream dimensions. Following this build.
Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
I am pretty sure the tank was made by Acrylic and Glass Exhibits (AGE).

Jeff, your light info helps immensely!!! I love the idea of using flood lights as I feel these will push deeper in the tank. Based on your chart the Finnex light idea is out the window. Do you have some good recommendations for flood lights? I have done a quick search around and it looks like most of them are 120 degree output.

Here is a quick shot of the tank I had with my three year old inside. I will get shots of the sump and post lots of photos during this build.


Last edited by Darkblade48; 08-28-2017 at 12:44 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-27-2017, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisaggie View Post
Thank you for the great start! That will give me a lot to think about/research. I was thinking I need to run dirt/nutrient substrate under the sand as I would like a lot of rooted plants. Is this true and what would be best? I plan to run medium and low light plants.
you can if you want.

dirt + something cap like dennis wong / @Xiaozhuang
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12...iments-17.html

you can still do great with just plain sand with a few osmocote plus balls like @burr740
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12...l#post10439602

personally i went with the 100% sand route since i like to rearrange the scape every so often and i dont like pulling up dirt through the cap.

if you go the dirt route, remember to sift out the wood mulch and plant heavy on day 1


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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 08-28-2017, 02:13 AM Thread Starter
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This is the sump I have to run under the main tank. The sump is 36"x32"x~16-18" (need to measure height). It is something like 80 gallons. The two 'breeding' tanks which are built into the sump are in the front of the pic. I believe I will cut the top left black corner baffle out as I will be running a very low flow through a filter sock into the aquarium.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-02-2017, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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I have been reading quite a bit and catching up on planted tank theories. I have ordered a Jebao DCP-6500 (~850g/hr @ 2m head) for the main pump and a Jebao DP-4 dosing pump to dose via the estimative index (EI) method. It seems as though a lot of folks like the Flourish Excel but I haven't made my mind up if I want to dose this or not. I will most likely order my fertilizers from Green Leaf Aquariums. I will probably start with 4 50w LED flood lights but will add 2 more if they are needed. I have not figured out what method I want to use to add CO2 yet but leabing atomizer or reactor as I don't really want a diffuser in the main tank. I haven't figured out how to monitor CO2 yet either. I will likely run my temp around 78 degrees as this seems to be a good balance for the discus, plants, and heating costs. I will likely start my cabinet and canopy in the next few weeks. I bought 3 medium dragon stones today which I think will work great in the tank (will likely cut the base of them flat so they can stand up at an angle. I think I have decided to used pool filter sand as the substrate and will leave the option open to use fertilizer tabs or something similar for plants that may need it. I am thinking about using 50/50 RO and tap water as my tap is about 350 TDS. Once I get all the equipment figured and and the stand built I will beginning posting stocking plans.

Questions I have at this point that I would appreciate help with at this point:
-Other than the EI macro fert, micro fert, and flourish excel is there anything else I should consider dosing?
-Is starting with 4 50w LED flood lights a good start or should I just go with 6 from the beginning?
-Is the pool filter sand as the only substrate a good decision?
-Is the 50/50 RO and tap a good way to go?
-Any problems with my methods/equipment so far?
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-02-2017, 11:32 PM
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Have you considered metal halide for your lighting? A 250w Iwasaki would light that tank up real nice.


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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 02:31 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by xmas_one View Post
Have you considered metal halide for your lighting? A 250w Iwasaki would light that tank up real nice.
I would consider one 250w halide but I think the 44"x36" tank base it too big of an area for one halide, no?
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 02:52 AM
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I would consider one 250w halide but I think the 44"x36" tank base it too big of an area for one halide, no?
The 250w Iwasaki in 6500K is one of the brightest halides you can get, with a good reflector hung high you could easily cover that footprint.


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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 08:08 AM
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After a lot of research I went with dirt under gravel... I am very pleased with the results!

I just switched from a Quiet One 3000 AC pump to a Jeboa DCP 5000. The Jeboa DCP 5000 is rated for more flow than the Quiet One 3000 but the Quiet One definitely has much more flow in my setup. Other than the flow I love and would recommend the Jeboa DCP pumps... just buy larger than you think you will need, you can always turn the DCP down for less flow and less energy consumption. My DCP 5000 can be turned down to 30% which is just a bit more than a trickle.

I am a big fan of sock filters although my current sump is a wet/dry trickle filter with filter pads. If you are going with a wet dry filter I would highly recommend bioballs. If you are going with submerged biomedia ceramic rings work very well. I like to put air stones under my bio media whether it is ceramic rings or bio balls. It is a great way to oxygenate the water and give the beneficial bacterial the oxygen they need right where they need it.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-06-2017, 04:01 AM
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Similar project

I just started a similar project. I went with a Miracles rimless top (3/4 inch glass) 60"x30"x24" with three GHL Mitras 7000s for lighting. I also went with a sump design. This is allowing me to hide a bunch of stuff in the sump, and have most of run of the main return pump. I have it plumbed to my house drain (for water changes) and to media filters in the sump. Am running bio balls in the sump as well, and a submerged UV sterilizer. I used the DSM method, for about 6 weeks and so far so good. Some plants perished but the vast majority survived. I am now running it full of water for about 5 days. The problem I am having is that I am not getting CO2 in the tank and have resorted to liquid supplement while I try to figure this out. I have a 10lb tank using a CarbonDoser regulator attached to a DIY media reactor in the sump on the return pump network. After days of messing with it, I am not seeing bubbling on the plants, unless I use the supplement. I am having a CarbonDoser EXT5000 delivered to replace this method of CO2 reaction. I will hook it up to a new submersed pump in the sump to feed it from there, and then have the return located near my return PVC in the sump. AquariumPlantStore claims this should be enough for a 200 gallon system, but am concerned about my open top, sump and bio balls. So am researching the Rex Griggs reactors, which I can go with as many as two on my return lines, thinking advanced and 24" long. That way I will never have to worry about CO2 capacity.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 09-06-2017, 10:06 PM
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Check out this tank for inspiration. Its one of my all time favorite Discus tanks.

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