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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-24-2005, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Need your opinions on this...

i'm buying a new home and am making plans to set up my 220 gallon as a heavily planted tank. i'm having a custom stand and canopy built. i just wanted to make sure i'm doing things right because although i've been into fish for a long time, my experience with plants is limited.

i was going to use a 250 watt halide light on one side and a 24" power compact(65 watt) with a 48" daylight strip light on the other side, because i have these already.

substrate plans are for 200 lbs of river gravel(standard diameter), boiled sphagum peat moss underneath.

plant selection will have to be warm water plants, since there will be discus in the tank i can't go any cooler than 82.

i'm still shopping co2 systems and recommendations on this would be great. they're expensive :P

please let me know if you see anything wrong with my ideas and/or if you have better ones or additional advice. thanks so much!

-miket
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-24-2005, 02:34 PM
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You could try going low light and do away with the CO2 systems... Crypts, Nanas, Java moss, Java Ferns... Those kinda plants...
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-24-2005, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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thanks!

i've done a tank like that before. i'm really gunning for the lush paradise this time, so i think the co2 is a must. i'm prepared to spend the cash, but i still want the best product for the best price i can find.

-mike
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-24-2005, 02:37 PM
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Well when you say standard sized river gravel it doesn't mean a lot. You actually want a substrate in the range of 1-3 mm in size. Smaller than that can cause problems and larger than that makes it hard to get some plants to root.

Since I'm not sure of the dimensions of the tank I can't say much about the lighting except that it seems a bit low.

No need to boil the peat moss. Just spread a thin layer over the glass.

A manual CO2 system can be had for around $150 if you build your own reactor. All you really need is a regulator, needle valve, tubing and a cylinder.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-24-2005, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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thanks, that's good stuff. yes that's what i meant by standard size gravel.

my tank dimensions are (LxWxH) : 72 1/2" x 24 1/2" x 30"
i figured the one side might be a little low, but i was thinking of putting the plants with higher light requirements on one side and having it taper off...with the other side being a large piece of driftwood with java moss tied to it.

any good links on the co2 thing? would you recommend this or is it better to go ahead and spend the cash?

thanks again

-mike
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-24-2005, 02:51 PM
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1-3 mm is actually coarse sand. The rivers around here either have rock or fine sand. That's why I had to ask.

Your lighting is going to be lousy IMHO. High light on one side and no light on the other. A MH light is good for about a 2'X2' area. So in that area you will have 3.8 wpg and in the other part of the tank you will have .7 wpg. Of course there will be some overlap but not a lot. You will have a severe lighting gradient. One side will be bright and the other side will basically end up looking like a black hole.

I would work on the lighting aspect real hard. You have to figure that a standard 40 watt strip light on a 30" deep tank is not going to do squat for plant growth. And a 65 watt PC fixture is only 24" long so you are going to have a lot of dark in the tank.

As for CO2 parts. Check the local home brew beer store for a regulator or look on-line. The needle valve can be purchased from Aquabotanic and other vendors. Same for the tubing.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-24-2005, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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thanks. so basically i should sell the power compact & halide, and look into either 2 x 3ft strip lights or one 6ft, and then get a retro fit kit? what would you recommend? this would also look much nicer and fit under the canopy nicely...

i'm checking out your site. i like your style.

-mike
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-24-2005, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miket
thanks. so basically i should sell the power compact & halide, and look into either 2 x 3ft strip lights or one 6ft, and then get a retro fit kit? what would you recommend? this would also look much nicer and fit under the canopy nicely...

-mike
Thats still not enough light if you want lush plant growth like you said. For a tank that size and that deep I would recommend a 6 x 96W light kit from AH Supply and mount them in the canopy you are having built.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-24-2005, 06:13 PM
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6x 96 w would be nice.

Tank=> 30" deep is a PITA when you deal with plants, have the tank 24H and 30Deep!!

This will make everything look better and larger.

Trust me on this.

Also make a good access, not the type of hoods that you have to hop over a 6" lip to get over, or else remove a huge bulky thing.

CO2:

DIY reactors for as sump will cost about 10$ max.
Powerhead to drive it: 450gph or so, 30-40$.
CO2 tank, I'd get a 20lb
Reg will cost 20-80$ depending.
Needle valves: the 60-80$ range ones come with one and solenoid often.
That will save some gas and some hassle.
I'd suggest a good KH test kit and pH meter.

I'd use a sump on a tank this size, seal the wet/dry section so no air in/out, also raise the over flow so the water only falls about 4 inches.

Plumb the tank so you can drain the tank directly to outside or to a drain with a simple turn of a valve, and also have a refill so that all you need to do is a simple turn of the valve to refill the tank.

@ 220 Gal, this will make your life much much simpler.

Regards,
Tom Barr



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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-25-2005, 08:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain
Plumb the tank so you can drain the tank directly to outside or to a drain with a simple turn of a valve, and also have a refill so that all you need to do is a simple turn of the valve to refill the tank.
Can you please give more information of this or how this can be made?

Thanks!!!! Josh
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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good advice tom. i already have the tank so i can't do much about the dimensions.

any recommendations on DIY sumps? i won't need anything fancy, just big enough for biomedia and heaters. what gph movement is recommended for planted tanks?

DIY reactor plans? i read some that estimated $15-25.

for drainage i have an adjustable powerhead with a line that will run to the floor drain in the basment. flip the switch and it drains about 30%. i'm not comfortable with drilling tanks that large. at least if something goes wrong with overflow boxes you're looking at a 20 gallon mess instead of a 200 gallon :P.

good advice on the hood...gotta have it maintenance friendly...

thanks,

-mike
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-31-2005, 04:35 AM
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The large Homer Depot tupperware thingamagigs work.

A trash can with a tight lid and gholes drilled in the bottom works well for the tower, make it so that is barely fits inside the tupperware sump.

More sump= less refill for evaporation, you can also add another reservior under thwere fro sump top off water at a higher level than the sump or at the same level using a spectra pure electronic auto float switch and powerhead.

Or since you have a hard plumbed tank, turn the refill water on 2x a week etc. I'd say about 1200GPH at whaever head you are lifting the water up.
Use spray bars to make the movement even, generally along the lowest back wall right at the gravel line.
I'd use two spray bars 1/2 for each side and antisiphon holes drilled in at 45 degree upward so to produce some slight surface movement along with the surface skimmer.

The dIY reactor is a 3x 18 PVC Tune, with a drilled 3/4" elbow on the top and threaed or barbed lower outlet.

A 400-500GPH powerhead is used to drive this in the sump.
CO2 is fed into the powerhead's intake. CO2 rich water comes out the bottom of the reactor tube and should have a hose that directs the CO2 rich water directly into the suction side of the return pump.

You can add a 3/16" hole 10" down from the top and a piece of rigid airline tubing well glued about 1" long, 1/2 way in.

An airline is attached to this and also fed into the powerhead, this is a self pruging loop.

No one else knows about it for sump reactors or DIY externals.

My idea.

A similar thing can be done with any external as the gas build up near the end of the day can reduce CO2 and flow.

Regards,
Tom Barr

www.BarrReport.com



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