Need help with first "large" tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-11-2012, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
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Need help with first "large" tank

I am pretty new to this hobby so please excuse my lack of knowledge.
I want to design a tank and actually think it through this time
The tanks I have: 2.5 gallon desk tank and Low-tech 10 gallon planted.

I am really excited to get a yellow shrimp colony started in my 10 gallon but want to design this next tank towards invertebrates.

Specifications for tank:
-area to put it: 78x23" space against wall next to 60x60" window
-primary livestock: Yellow shrimp, other dwarf shrimp/ inverts, algae eating fish
-secondary livestock: neon tetras?, Bamboo shrimp
-Size of tank?: L=36+ W=12+ H=18+
-Plants: carpet plants and mostly medium height plants
Extra: I will use DIY Co2 and hopefully upgrade to dry ferts.


I will probably buy the tank off of craigslist but I want to keep this cost as low as possible. I am looking at 35 gallons but will getting a bigger tank (like 50) dramatically increase the price of the setup?
Plants and livestock I will add in over time but I need to know what filter, substrate, and lighting would be best for the tank. Especially lighting though, if you could suggest lights and what carpet plants they can grow that would be great.

Any other suggestions would be great. I am sorry for asking so much but no matter how many threads I have read I still can't figure out what would be best.
Thanks
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-11-2012, 12:55 AM
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Wait until Petco has a sale and grab a 40B. Great size for a shrimp tank. Floor space is much more valuable than height with shrimp. Substrate, a bag of Black Diamond would work great. Get a SunSun (AquaTop) canister filter or two and you are set on filtration. Of course a sponge filter in the tank wouldn't hurt either.


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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-11-2012, 01:44 AM
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Since you're looking for "large", there are 100. 125, and 150g that have a 72" X 18" footprint, which will fit your space. But if you're going for used, you might have a tough time finding these. More likely that you'll find a 75g or 90g, which have 48" X 18" footprints (and a 3" height difference).

My city has about 270,000 people, and I was able to find a 90g for $100 (talked down from $150) with a couple powerheads, a broken heater, and a useless 2' T8 hood. If I were patient, I could probably (eventually) find the same bare tank, with stand, for $200 or less. In larger cities I would bet you'd find better deals. In smaller ones, it would likely be tougher.

However, with large tanks, it becomes increasingly important to place them against a load-bearing wall, perpendicular to floor joists. Something to keep in mind. With a 40g, as Nubster recommended, that wouldn't be an issue. With a 90g, it's something to think about. More than that and it's definitely an issue.

A couple other things to think about:

The most common bulb and fixture sizes are 2' and 4'. In addition, taller tanks are both more difficult to do maintenance on and tougher to light.

And, as far as CO2, DIY is doable with a 40g. Less so with a 90g. More than that, and don't bother - it's just too much effort to be fun anymore (okay, yeah, that's just my opinion, and some people will disagree, but really, it's a massive PITA).

Cost increases as size increases, obviously. But it's not a parallel relationship. A 40g setup, for example, costs less than twice as much as a 20g setup.


You need to pick a cost limit and work from there. For my 90g, which I have yet to set up, I figure on an investment of $500-700 for high light, generic substrate, decent filtration, and a DIY 2X4 / 2X6 / plywood stand. And that's before anything living ends up in the tank.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-11-2012, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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My maximum tank size will be 50. That's big enough for me. Also I am on the 3rd floor of my house (my room is above the kitchen and garage), so I will have to find the support beams in my room.

My initial price is $250-300 (for everything but plants/ livestock). I found a 50G tank for $40 and will probably have to make a stand for it.

For 200 could I easily get a filter, heater, light system and substrate? Anything I am missing?

Like I said I am clueless about what lights are good for what plants so a could you give me an Idea of what I should look for?
Also does any substrate grow plants well as long as there is good lighting and I dose ferts? I have heard making your own can be great but that if you are inexperienced you can really screw up a tank so I want either a foolproof DIY or bought substrate.

As for the filter I do want descent water movement but canister filters are pretty expensive and I would rather have an HOB unless canister is a highly suggested thing to use.

Any suggestions of good brands/ specific products would be great. Even a link to a good article/ thread would be tons of help.

Thanks for the help so far.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-11-2012, 11:07 PM
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Yeah, $250-300 is doable for something that size. I'd still go for a 40B over a 50g, because a 40B is deeper. 12.5" (which, without checking, I'm assuming is the depth of a 50g) is a rough dimension to scape. There's just not enough room for more than about 2 levels of plants. With larger tanks, we talk about foreground, midground, and background plants. With only 12.5" to work with, you've more or less removed the midground.

Still, a cheap tank is a cheap tank. But, as you've discovered, the tank itself is a tiny fraction of the total cost.

Yes, any substrate will work, as long as it has a small grain size. The generic epoxy-coated clown puke gravel that all LFS's sell is too big. You're looking for something a bit larger than beach sand size. Pool filter sand (local pool store), blasting sand (no idea where), and baked clay substrates (used in agriculture and baseball infields, brand names are Turface and Diamond Pro) are cheap and will work fine. The baked clay is better due to its high CEC (Cation Exchange Capacity, or, simply put, the ability to absorb and store nutrients).

HOB's work fine and are easier to maintain. Canisters are quieter, can be hidden, and allow you to easily inject CO2 inline. And you can run other equipment inline and hide it too. But they're costly, as you said. You can always add powerheads to increase flow, and even attach a sponge prefilter for more filtration.

It's easy to find generic 4' lighting - Lowes and HD are your friends. HD has a 4' 2XT8 fixture with aluminum diamond plate reflectors for something like $55. But you'll have to figure out what your tank dimensions are first. Stay away from T5HO lighting unless you want to invest in pressurized CO2.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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good point about the breeder... The guy on craigslist says the 50 is 12" deep and a chart of all the tank sizes says a breed has 18". I will check at Aquatic Critters to see if they sell a tank like that. Petco or Petsmart wouldn't sell something like that would they?

Why does more lighting mean more Co2?
And does lack of pressurized Co2 really limit me on what I can do or should I eventually try to invest in it?

Thanks
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 02:15 AM
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Just consider co2 and non-co2 as two different roads. You'll need different setups, different plant selections, but you'll still get a planted tank. Check out the low-tech forum for lots of non-co2 tanks.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 02:21 AM
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Higher lighting drives the demand for nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, as well as a number of trace elements. It also drives the demand for carbon, which is most readily available in the form of carbon dioxide.

When a single one of the associated nutrients is not available, algae takes advantage. Algae requires light, but very little other nutrients, so it is easily grown in higher light systems that don't provide *all* of the other nutrients. Plants need light, N, P, K, and C (and trace elements) to thrive. Algae, for the most part, only needs light. For example, if the system provides enough N, P, and K to support the light demand, but neglects C, then algae has a field day, and plants go nowhere.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 03:03 AM Thread Starter
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oh OK I will go non Co2 and normal lights. That makes more sense now.
What carpet or thick, low growing plants would be good without Co2 and a 2XT8 fixture? I will be getting Kno3, CSM+B, and KH2PO4 from GreenLeafAquariums eventually... probably when I am ready to start heavily planting the tank. For now I am using Tetra fertilizer from Petco.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 03:11 AM
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Without co2, the usual suspects for carpets are mosses, chain swords and similar. None of those tiny, dense growers like HC. Have a look at https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lo...-tell-low.html for some ideas!
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 03:19 AM
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Consider an Acylic 40 Mine is 36x15x16" Nice thing is it can easily be carried. Lift mine with one hand grabbing the filter cut out and the center brace. I don't recommend that, but you can.

Yes you have to be careful but, glass scratched too. Which brings us to used tanks...VERY hards to find them without scratches. You get what you pay for. I don't mind recycled tanks for grow-out or Q-Tanks but I don't want to look at screeched up glass in my display tank.

I've seen them as low as $175 on Amazion I got mine from Myers ay that price.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 03:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGiantDwarfShrimp View Post
good point about the breeder... The guy on craigslist says the 50 is 12" deep and a chart of all the tank sizes says a breed has 18". I will check at Aquatic Critters to see if they sell a tank like that. Petco or Petsmart wouldn't sell something like that would they?

Why does more lighting mean more Co2?
And does lack of pressurized Co2 really limit me on what I can do or should I eventually try to invest in it?

Thanks
Petco does have 40b, however I reccomend against the location on OHB. Smaller store with much less selection.
For a low tech carpet you could use tall sag. It's a taller carpet but will fill in none the less.
Another option for cheap lighting is to use dome housings (lowes has 8" for $10) and cfl (the curly bulbs) in a 6500k daylight. I'm using this set up on my 55g low tech with zero algae and good growth. There are 4 15w bulbs approx 30 inches from the substrate.

Semper Fi
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 03:28 AM Thread Starter
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like I said I only want to spend $250 ish. I might buy the tank new but it all depends on what I can find.
As for the plants those tanks are exactly what I am going for. The grasses and mosses are nice and seem pretty simple.
So for substrate if I went with some sort of sand would I just use sand?
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 03:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGiantDwarfShrimp View Post
So for substrate if I went with some sort of sand would I just use sand?
You can if you use root tabs, or you could do dirt capped with sand.

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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-12-2012, 03:37 AM
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Sorry missed the $250 budget. Do buy the 40B fat PetCo $1 a gl you will be happy you spent that patrt of the budget.

Not sure is Pet supplies Plus is down your way? They are doing $1 gl 'till the 20Th?

You can use Builders const. sand, just a PIA to rinse. $4 a 40#e at HomeDepot. Or scavenge a bucket full.
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