Hello all! My name is Tyler, and I'm a new member. I've had freshwater aquariums all of my life, but I've never had one over ~40 gallons. Currently, I have a 35 gallon tank (which I have created a profile for if anyone is interested in seeing it), which only uses plastic plants and a pebble base, so I have no experience using real plants in an aquarium.
My fiancee and I just purchased our first home, and I will be lining one wall of my downstairs office with a 90-150 gallon fresh water tank (probably at least 6' long, so it will be a more shallow tank). The tank will be in a darker part of my downstairs area (about 20 ft away from a large set of windows). Given that I enjoy the natural wood look in my current tank, I have started to look into making my new one a planted tank, but there is an overwhelming amount of information out there and I'm not sure where to start.
**As a side note, I have already considered the costs/benefits of such a large tank, and I am very prepared to take on the work that is involved... or so I think, lol.**
I have a number of questions that I'm sure you all may be able to help me with for planning this tank, but I'm sure you want to know a bit about what I'd like to accomplish before diving into the questions, so here goes:
First and foremost, I should discuss my budget
. Not including the tank or base, I would like to keep the cost of filling it with plants, substrate/gravel, stone/wood centerpieces , and fish under $500
if possible. I think this is a healthy budget, but I could be proven wrong!
I like a more simple look
... I don't want a jungle growing in the tank, but a moderate amount of plant life would be nice. I've seen the phrase "el natural" used before to describe the look that I'm going for, but I don't really want a tank from the 1970's, lol. Something in between the "el natural" and a serene aquascape would be nice. Here's a couple of picture that I found which display the approximate look I'm going for (but obviously in a much larger tank):
I like the look of grass-like plants
, such as dwarf hairgrass, and others that I've seen described as "carpeting" plants, but I would also like to have a few tall plants
as well. A nice three-layer approach with lots of low-level grass-type plants, a few medium height plants scattered around, and a couple of tall plants strategically placed would be nice.
I plan on incorporating either driftwood or large natural stones
in the tank. I don't plan on filling every square inch on the bottom with plants/stone/wood, but I would like to see about 50% of the tank bottom covered by plants or centerpieces
I wouldn't mind using a substrate
at the bottom of the tank, but I would prefer to keep it inexpensive and low maintenance
I am probably going to fill the tank with cichlids and other fairly aggressive fish
. I don't know the exact number of fish that I'll be able to put in, but I would assume around 5-7 larger fish, and maybe one oscar, would be acceptable? Again, this is where you guys can help me out. If it's any help, I like medium-size, more colorful fish
Well that's all I can think of for now to help you help me, lol.
And now for my questions:
1. Is it even a good idea to try and make a ~100 gallon tank an planted tank?
2. What kind of substrate / gravel should I use at the bottom?
3. What kind of a filtration system should I be using?
4. What kind of plants should I buy, and where can I get them (I live in central CT and wouldn't mind traveling a bit).
5. Are the fish I want to live in the tank (more aggressive species such as cichlids) going to do well with natural plants?
6. How much work is this REALLY going to be? lol
Thanks in advance for your help!