180 Gallon 6x2x2 Community Tank?? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-14-2005, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
 
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180 Gallon 6x2x2 Community Tank??

I am wanting to get an Oceanic 180g tank, oak stand and oak canopy (non-reef-ready). I am wanting to use two Eheim 2128 filters for the tank and have a tank of community fish. I do want to have plants, but not a crazy amount, just enough to make the tank look good and give the fish some cover.

Here are some of the fish I want to keep:

Pearl Gourami
Clown Loaches
Moonlight Gourami
Paradise Fish
Angelfish
Silver Shark
Banded Rainbow
Rummy Nose Tetras
Long Fin Rosy Barbs
Pictus Catfish
Fancy pleco species to be determined

I am wanting to have a nice, large community fish tank with plants, but main emphasis on the fish. I really want the plants for more nutrient control and natural habitat...I do not care for fake plants at all. That said, I don't want to use CO2 or high powered lighting. I am not opposed to using Fluorite for the base, or river gravel and Fluorite. I just don't want to have to trim plants and change water on a weekly basis. I am looking at more of a monthly waterchange with minimal pruning, if any. Can I get your thoughts?

Thanks,

Dave
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-14-2005, 12:41 PM
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Nanook welcome to the PT. It all sounds good except the monthly water changes. That would certainly be stretch on the water changes especially in a new tank. I guess you will definitely have to plan on a light fish load and plan a head to there size at maturity. The Florite substrate would be good to keep the amount of nutrients you ad to the tank as low as possible. There are a couple of fish I'm not sure about in a community tank, are Silver Sharks and Long Fin Rosey Barbs nippy? The only other thing I could say is that if you don't want to do weekly water changes you will probably want to add your fish load slowly over a long period of time.

I have a high light tank with CO2, so I don't have any experience with the type of setup you prefer. I sure someone will be along shortly with the answers to all of our questions.


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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-14-2005, 12:42 PM
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Sounds good, except the monthly water change part......

If you want so many fish (I don't know how many of each you are planning to get), you need to prepare for the waste level. Without many plants to help suck up the nutrients, you would probably have to be doing WC at least twice a month, if not more.

Low light, no CO2, no additional fert = not balanced nutrients, If you don't want to end up with algae tank, you should be more religious on water change.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-14-2005, 12:45 PM
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BTW, personally, I feel it's more pleasing to look at a tank with just 2-3 species of mid-water fish. Too many different types of fish running around the mid-water level looks......ugh.....too busy.....
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-14-2005, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the welcome and the replies. OK, I guess bi-weekly water changes could be done, but that is the limit

As for the fish, I want a school of clown loaches, corydoras, rummy nose tetras and the rest of the fish I want a pair of each. I don't think the tank will be too heavily stocked considering it is a 180g tank, but am open to criticism.

So, would anyone care to make suggestions for middle of the road lighting and filtration requirements?

Thanks again,

Dave
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-14-2005, 10:23 PM
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Medium lighting would be difficult on tank that size. Typically when I think of medium lighting, I think of using several NO flourescents, but I think it's pretty hard to find good quality flourescents in that length. Maybe you could go with 2 x 150 Watt MH pendants and just hang them up a bit higher.

I think you might want to consider going with CO2 as well. Even at low light levels, it is still very beneficial. And if you're going to lay down for an Oceanic 180, what's another $250 for CO2?

As for plants, all I can say is Amazon swords. Big ones. With a tank that size it could make for an awesome display. Good luck.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-28-2005, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
 
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OK, I have been doing some serious thinking and have decided to use my 375g, 8ftx30x30" tank for a planted tank.

I have a large wet-dry trickle filter and main pump that gives 3200gph. I also have heaters and temperature controllers, after that, I am all ears as to equipment for completing the setup.

I am curious how much water should be changed with each bi-weekly water change and what kind of treatment the water will need, if any?

Thanks,

Dave
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-29-2005, 07:05 AM
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Ok, what are you going for high tech or low light? you stated you would like to do fewer less frequent h2o changes, which leads to low tech, In addition you may hear that the wet dry/ trickle filter is a no no. That is only if you are injecting co2, all that agitation will work against having a higher co2 content in your water than the ambiant air, the agitation will just equalize them.

Let us know where you want to go with the tank and your budget and we will help you narow down the choices.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-29-2005, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
 
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Well, I have a large wet-dry filter being made for the tank. I really want a large community tank with a striking aquascape of plants, rock and wood landscaping. I am not opposed to high tech with CO2, lighting and water changes, but I really don't want to spend my time changing water weekly and pruning plants. I think I would get rather tired of that routine.

I would rather have the more mellow tank with plants, rock, wood and fish. Something not quite a swamp , yet not quite a high-powered garden factory. I do have a couple 175w metal halide ballasts and reflectors available and I could get more if needed. CO2 injection I pretty much have what I need, but the wet-dry filter is built very nice and I want to use it on this tank. If that limits keeping a heavily planted tank, then maybe something less is in order?

Sorry for the confusion.

Dave
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 08:59 AM
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Hi Nanook of the North! 375 Gallons, that can be something really special. I'd like to offer my opinion on some things you ought to think about though.

First of all the worries about wet/dry filters and CO2 is largely based on myths. There have been experiments done via side by side comparison of a trickle syetem and a non-trickle system (bare tanks, no fish, no plants). The result was that there was not much difference in CO2 loss between both systems. If you are using a pressurized system (and I assume you would with a tank that size) all you have to do is open the valve more to get the recommended levels. The effectiveness of your CO2 will largely depend on your injection method rather than what type of filter you have.

Were you also aware that, assuming proper nutrint levels are maintained, adding CO2 can boost plant growth up to 3 to 6 times even on a low light tank? The reason I point this out is that you seem reluctant to engage in any sort of pruning or maintenance. If you really dont want to prune or change water I would suggest you keep low light, slow growing plants. You could fill the tank with various species of Swords, Anubias and Cryptocorynes.

You also asked about water change regimen. Plants and fish suffer due to water pollution so this is what we're trying to avoid in a closed system. A large low stocked tank has much more room for error than say a 10 gallon simpy as a reult of the large volume but at some point poor maintenance habits, no matter what size tank will cause problems and will be reflected in either disease or algae. A "typical" regimen is 25% of the water volume per week. In a 375 Gallon, with gravel, decoration etc. you may have only 4/5ths the tank capacity in actual water volume so you may have only 300 gallons (by the ay it's always a good idea to count you volume when you finally are filling the tank so that you will always know. This helps to dose medication and fertilizers later on). This would "typically" mean 75 gallons a week. It's your tank though so do what you want. If you prefer to do a biweekly change then start with that and see how your tank responds. If you are seeing problems either reduce the interval or increase the volume or do both.

Let me just say one thing though - your two statements;

"...a large community tank with a striking aquascape of plants, rock and wood landscaping..."

and

"...don't want to spend my time changing water weekly and pruning plants. I think I would get rather tired of that routine..."

These are almost incompatible statements, at least in the beginning. An aquascape is a garden just like the one outside. Do you really think nice gardens have some kind of remote control where the owner just presses the button and viola, striking beauty? I don't think so. You have to be involved with you tank, especially one that size, otherwise you're likely to have a 375 gallon algae farm.

This is how I do my large water volume changes: I have my 150 gallon tank located near a window leading to the garden. I collect my water early in the week and store it in a couple of 55 gallon plastic drums in the basement. with a long hose I siphon the water out of the tank and use the suction to vacuum the tank scraping any detrius or algae from wood, glass etc. the output of this vacuum is collected in other plastic drums outside or, in the summer directly to the garden. I have a large pond pump that I place in the basement collection drums and long tubes that lead to the tank upstairs. Start the pump and wait. The more powerful the pump the faster filling goes. It's really quite easy and if you do it regularly you become quite efficient at it. It's much more like a fire brigade. With large volumes DO NOT change water with buckets. Perhaps it's the thought of the bucket brigade that is turning you off to water changes?

In any case I would venture to guess that the beautiful tanks you see on this site and others are seldom if ever achieved by putting them on cruise control so you may want to consider starting with lower light, perhaps 2 watts per gallon and low light plants and see how it goes. Hope this helps!

Cheers,
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-30-2005, 01:45 PM
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Dave

Maybe you should post pictures of you reef tank to off set some concerns that you aren't dedicated or able to understand the need a tank can have

I assure you this guy can maintain a tank!

I'm ready to see you get this setup as it will be striking for sure.
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
 
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If you really dont want to prune or change water I would suggest you keep low light, slow growing plants. You could fill the tank with various species of Swords, Anubias and Cryptocorynes.

I am not opposed to weekly water changes if needed, however, a high-powered, fast-growing tank is not what I am looking to maintain. I think your advice of low light plants, like Swords, Anubias and Cryptocorynes is more up my alley. I do want to see greenery and enjoy the natural look, but am not in favor a super accelerated system. If these were the types of plants I intend to grow, what types of equipment/supplements would you recommend, ie: CO2, lighting, substrate???

but at some point poor maintenance habits, no matter what size tank will cause problems and will be reflected in either disease or algae.

Agreed!! I will submit to having to do weekly water changes

In any case I would venture to guess that the beautiful tanks you see on this site and others are seldom if ever achieved by putting them on cruise control so you may want to consider starting with lower light, perhaps 2 watts per gallon and low light plants and see how it goes. Hope this helps!

Bummer!! Seriously, being this tank is 30 inches deep, would T5 fluorescents provide more sufficient light compared to regular, normal output fluorescents? As for the plants you suggest as slow growing, I will start doing some research on them. I really appreciate your input!!

Maybe you should post pictures of you reef tank to off set some concerns that you aren't dedicated or able to understand the need a tank can have


Awe schucks!! You are too kind! I do try hard at reefkeeping, but I haven't made Tank of the Month yet on Reef Central

Thanks to all for their suggestions. Maybe with the advice I have been given thus far, I can start to narrow down some choices.

Dave
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 08:58 PM
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There have been a few discussions about using wet/dry filters on planted tanks so try a search. I have a wet/dry on my 150. The one thing you'll want to do is to turn it into more of a sump than a wet/dry by taking out the bioballs or whatever media you have in it. The gas exchange when the water trickles over the media is really good for oxygenating the water, but it's also really good for off-gassing your CO2. I only do mechanical filtration in my filter. I rely on the plants and substrate in the tank to house the biological filter. You may need to supplant the biological filter in the tank somehow if you don't have too many plants, but you want the media in the water not in the air.

I think CO2 injection will be extremely beneficial no matter what amount of light you have. CO2 will help the plants grow and outcompete the algae for nutrients. You'll loose a little more CO2 with the wet/dry filter, but I am able to maintain 15-20ppm fairly easily.

I pretty much have the same philosophy about my tank that you described. I want it to look good, but I don't want to be spending several hours every week on it. I don't have a huge bio-load and have pretty much settled on a 20% water change every 1-2 weeks. I could probably go longer, but my rainbow fish and gouramis seem to crap constantly and I need to vacuum the detritus off the substrate.

You'll need to take a look at your water circulation. You don't want the plants flopping around all over the place, but you need enough circulation to move the waste. I added a power head into my tank to get better circulation in some dead spots.

Plant selection will be key. I like the look of the large leaf plants, like swords, crypts, and vals, that root in the substrate and they are also easier to maintain. The bunch plants are much more maintenance intensive, but they remove nutrients from the water faster and help keep algae growth down. You'll have to find some sort of balance that isn't maintenance intensive, but still keeps algae down.

I'm still trying to find the balance in my tank. It's been up for a little over a year now and I still have some algae problems. I think I'm starting to win the battle, but it's taken a while.

David
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 09:35 PM
 
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Dave,

Quick question, I was wondering what kind of plants are you interested in? If you like look of java ferns or anubias, you could get away with a low tech tank. If you didn't want to do water changes, you can also dose using PPS (but you trade in water change to water testing).

Thom
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 03-31-2005, 09:50 PM
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Man, that's one large tank. Would make a truly spectacular display for some of the larger swords. I'd love to have something this size for a pack of discus or altums, but would need some scuba gear just to scape it.

Fish selection looks good, except for a couple of suggestions. The silver shark...know which species it is? I've seen bala sharks called by that name, and also shadowfin for that matter (really different fish). Also, as for the pictus cat, you might want to reconsider it. These guys can get large and would make quick work out of your collection.

Eric


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