Converting my saltwater tank over to a planted tank, need help! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Converting my saltwater tank over to a planted tank, need help!

I've decided to convert my 120 gallon saltwater tank over to a freshwater planted tank. I've run a small 20g planted tank previously (though it's been a couple years), but I find myself with a new set of problems with this larger setup.

First off, is that this tank is setup with an external overflow and a sump. I could ditch the sump if I really had to, but I think keeping it in place would be nice so I can keep most equipment out of the tank as well. Its also hooked up with an auto-topoff system. And after converting to freshwater I think I could implement a continuous water replacement system pretty easily (with the sump).

But I worry about the loss of CO2 such a system might entail. Will it be possible to just pump a little more CO2 into the tank to compensate for the additional loss a sump will cause?

Second question is lighting...I've got a monster 8x54w T5 light fixture currently on the tank. 2 of the bulbs are separately controllable so I could conceivably use 6 bulbs only. Is this too much? What T5 bulbs should I be using for freshwater?

More questions later...getting answers to these though will help my initial planning.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 07:10 PM
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You could ask Catalina Aquarium to build you a 2 bulb T5HO light, using a very wide housiing, so the bulbs are separated by about 9 inches. That would give you low medium light, around 40 micromols, with the light sitting on top of the tank. And, the light over the whole substrate would be pretty uniform.

Or, for high light, you could ask them to build a 4 bulb T5HO light, with the bulbs in two groups of 2 closely spaced bulbs, with the groups about 7-9 inches apart, and get high light, around 60-65 micromols of PAR, also with good uniformity of the light over the whole substrate.

With closely spaced bulbs, any more than 2 bulbs gives very high light, making it difficult to avoid constant battles with algae.

Another interesting option would be http://www.catalinaaquarium.com/stor...oducts_id=1819 with the two outer pairs of bulbs on one power cord, the 3rd from each end on another power cord, and the 2 inner bulbs on a 3rd power cord. This would give you as much flexibility as you could possibly ever need.

Hoppy

Last edited by Hoppy; 08-01-2012 at 07:14 PM. Reason: more info
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-01-2012, 07:10 PM
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Same situation.

I'm keeping the sump. I like the idea of an ATO and equipment stash. I'll do a combo of upping the CO2 a little, dosing some supplementary Excel, and not setting up a super high light tank which needs lots of CO2.

I think 8 bulbs might be too much. Not sure what bulbs are in favor these days with FWP T5, but getting away from the 15-20k is a start. You can still use 10k bulbs, but may find you want to mix them with 5k and/or 6.7k. If red plants are your thing, think about one or two of the red color enhancing bulbs to add to the mix.


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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-02-2012, 05:14 PM
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Sumps are becoming more popular with freshwater. Especially on the big tanks. Yes you can increase the co2 to compensate, gauge the limit by what the fish can handle. A drop checker can help as well. The keys are to have your sump inlet below the water level to limit splash. The other key is to cover the top of the sump the best you can to limit co2 loss. Many are using surran wrap or building custom tops. I plan to use sumps from here out. I have (4) 40g tanks lined up to have 10g sumps along with a 180g build next year that will have a 90g sump. Sumps make water changing easier, hides equipment, skims the surface and keeps the water level at a constant. These are the 4 top reasons for me but there are others.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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The sump is plumbed such that most of the flow is through a controlled siphon with no air/bubbles. It dumps into the sump submerged. I do however have the water then flowing over a filter sock that introduces a little turbulence. I may change it around so that I can use a sponge instead. Or heck, maybe I'll build a new/simpler sump optimized just for freshwater (I built my current sump).

Regarding lights...If I go full CO2/fert dosing what would be considered acceptable "high" lighting on this tank (approximately the same size as a standard 120...48x24x24)?

Would running 6x54 T5HO be too much? I saw on one of Toms tanks that he's running an 8x54 T5HO setup (although on a fixture with dimming capabilities).

Many thanks.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Another option I'm thinking about is selling my uber expensive 8x54w ATI fixture and replacing it with something like a 4x54w Tek light. Even after taking a loss on the sale I would still come out with cash in hand...
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, and as a little inspiration, here's my tank (with actinic lighting):



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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 05:20 PM
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Hey I like that Java. Did you construct that yourself or did you have it built. It looks so clean. I'd prefer a stain all the same color but overall it looks great. Is that a fish room on the backside of the wall.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javajaws View Post
Oh, and as a little inspiration, here's my tank (with actinic lighting):



That is insane very well done.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 05:42 PM
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That is a very beautiful looking cabinet work and tank. I think the 8x54 is a too much light for a planted tank but if you can raise the height of the light fixture(by the looks of it you have room inside the canopy) it is possible to use the ATI fixture with just 6 bulbs but it would be risky. I'm not sure which ATI fixture you have but read through Tom's journal as he has a sump and an ATI fixture although his is the dimmable model. Make sure you start a journal when you get this thing going. Here is a link to the journal:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=149265


Edit: I obviously didn't read your post about reading Tom's journal already and stating you don't have the dimmable model. Either way if it was me I would go ahead and try using the fixture you have and raise it up as high as possilbe. With a fixture like you have you can run several different bulb temp. and get all the spectrums covered.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, the cabinet is all DIY (another one of my hobbies). The trim is made out of maple and cherry (no stain used...thus the two color look I was after).

The "fish room" on the other side is the dining room!

I have somewhat easy access to the tank by standing on a cabinet on the other side though.

Some of the guts when it was being set up for saltwater:







Anybody want to buy a used protein skimmer? LOL
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 07:47 PM
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Oh wow, that looks so clean and neat yet so complicated!
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Oh wow, that looks so clean and neat yet so complicated!
LOL, you should have seen the previous incarnation of it...different tank (same location) with 12 holes, a closed loop system with an oceansmotions 4-way + sequence pump, external skimmer, external return pump, calcium reactor (WHY did I sell that CO2 tank/regulator????), etc. This variant is simple in comparison.

But at any rate...yeah, complicated. It's part of the reason I'm going back to a planted tank with less "moving parts".
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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So I'm thinking I'll give the ATI I have a go. I'm thinking about running with 2x54 when the lights go on/off and then switch to 6x54 during the middle of the day for a few hours. I could probably lower the PAR output a bit of the 6 light group by using some non-6000k bulbs as well.

I can also raise the lights up to ~14" above the water line.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javajaws View Post
So I'm thinking I'll give the ATI I have a go. I'm thinking about running with 2x54 when the lights go on/off and then switch to 6x54 during the middle of the day for a few hours. I could probably lower the PAR output a bit of the 6 light group by using some non-6000k bulbs as well.

I can also raise the lights up to ~14" above the water line.
I think you can get away with that light if you can get your co2 dialed in and have the fixture up as high as 14". I would use some ATI purple plus and blue special bulbs in combination with Geismann midday and aquaflora. With that kind of fixture you can try different combinations to see what looks good to you. That is a beautiful setup you have there by the way and you can tell that you definitely have experience in the hobby. The only thing I can suggest is read as much as you can on this site. I myself made the switch from reef keeping to planted tanks about 8 years ago and while my experience with reef keeping helped there was a big learning curve when it comes to planted aquaria. You won't miss all the testing and maintence involved with reefs though. That is what made me make the switch as having kids sure doesn't leave the time to tinker with my tanks as I use to have.

All matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death life is only a dream which is an imagination of ourselves. Bill Hicks
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