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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-15-2006, 12:43 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Hi everyone.

I hope I can become a semi-active member here. So I figure I will say hello and tell you a little about myself.

I do not currently have a planted tank, however I have kept them in the past. The last planted aquarium I had was about 8 years ago I think. I used soil right out of our ranch (70 acres of texas hill country) and capped it with blasting sand. I used straight tap water (incredibly hard here) and ran 4 x 48" NO tubes over the tank in a DIY canopy. I was seriously strapped for cash at the time so everything I did was an exercise in compromise. Shortly after I added a CO2 cannister to the system, I got married, and moved into an apartment w/ my wife (ranch is family owned, not mine) and the apartment had a strict 'no aquariums' policy. So I got out of the hobby for quite a while. I still had to grow something, so I turned my 55 gallon into a terrarium w/ carnivorous plants in it (Nepenthes).

A couple of years ago I moved, and got sucked into the hobby in a different way. I currently have a 120 gallon cube, w/ a 30 gallon sump and am building it up as a saltwater reef tank. that in itself is a major financial undertaking as I am sure you know.

however, my wife has become addicted to goldfish, and she currently has a 20 gallon high that she has overstocked (right under my nose) in her office. She doesn't want to give up any of the fish, and I am sick of taking care of a tank running the razors edge of instability due to her buying those few extra fish.

So, I have decided at long last to jump back into the planted tank hobby. and it appears a lot has changed. I would like to run my plans by you and see what you think.

1) I know goldfish are herbivorous, the plan is to introduce plants to the tank for about 3 months before adding the goldfish an an attempt to allow them to get a head start. all plants used will either be very fast growing, or to tough for a goldfish to eat (like Anubis or swords).

2) ideal temperatures for goldfish limit plant choices as well.

Ok, so without further rambling, here is the plan:

Tank: 110 gallon tall

Background - I plan on doing a variation of the background done on this site.


Stand and Canopy will be custom built (I have become much better at this lately)

Lighting: Planning on using 2 X 250 watt 6.5 K MH bulbs under reef-optix III reflectors. I doubt the watts per gallon rule applies here since it is Halides and not PC, VHO, or NO bulbs. but it comes out to 4.5 watts per gallon.

Co2 Injection - for ease of setup I will probably get a rated kit from someplace like Dr.s Foster and Smith that is appropriate for the system.

I am sooo happy not to have to go dig up soil again. what a pain in the hind end. I am probably going to use Seachem's Flourite as I am a big fan of seachem from their saltwater products.

Filtration: OK, here is probably where I am going to lose you guys.. you'll see in a second.

Stage 1: Ocean Clear filter w/ UV http://www.aquadirect.com/store/cust...cat=144&page=1

(I haven't decided on what size pump to use to drive all of this)

Stage 2: HIATT Torpedoes --> HUGE MAYBE<---
This part is still up in the air. You are probably scratching your head going 'what are HIATT Torpedoes.

Simple answer that will cause more head scratching: They are long tubes filled with MANY pounds of a specific carbon, Tri-base Pelitized Carbon. This is NOT a super expensive chemical filtration method. TBP carbon is 3 kinds of carbon, very porus, and one of the carbons is bio-available. using the RIGHT NOW bacteria, this method will 'supposedly' give you a fully aerobic nitrogen cycle.

This is not like the eco-aqualizer tubes (bunk). and I have no idea how it works. Here is what I do know:

I have a friend that owns a fish store that knows the owner of HIATT industries. (this is a GREAT LFS BTW). they are running 3 reef systems using this system right now, no skimmers, no sumps, nothing but these tubes of carbon, and it's working. Go figure how. I am still on the fence, I am going to wait about a year to see if these systems crash before incorporating the design into this tank. (if at all) because while I am open to new technologies and methodologies, I am a skeptic at heart.


will probably be around 1500 - 2000 GPH. Planning on having multiple inlets and outlets from the pump filtration system in order to keep large disturbing currents at a minimum. all will be hidden behind that spiffy DIY background linked earlier.

anyhow, that is the basics, what I have thought about so far. I would love to hear some feedback...

oh, and I am not looking to get in a debate over the HIATT systems.

if you want more info on it:


The guy who created this stuff is a chemical engineer working in the waste treatment field, the aquarium stuff is a toatal sideline for him and he won't divulge info on it (red flag of course). that is why my buddies at ths fish store are running tests. (first test they are documenting is a sea horse tank)

Like I said, open minded but skeptical. More interested on your feedback on the more traditional aspects of the tank, and also, whether any of you have kept planted tanks with goldfish before and what your experiences were?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-15-2006, 01:45 AM
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Way too much light for a tank that size.

Carbon is not a good choice for a planted tank.

Save money and build your own CO2 system. Plumb the reactor into the output of your filter.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-15-2006, 01:52 AM
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I have 2 smaller goldfish in my plant grow-up tank. They ate every last bit of the duckweed, but don't seem to bother the other plants at all. But... as said, they are still pretty small... maybe only 1 1/2 inch (without tail).

I do know that hornwart and swords and even jungle val survive the beating that my angels usually put on plants. (My angels devour moneywart like crazy.)

Something so expensive and addictive HAS to be illegal. I'm just waiting for the police to break down my door and confinscate my fish food.
What's my sign? I'm an aquarist. --- 18g Planted Guppies, 15g Planted Killifish, 40g Planted Molly, 55g Asst Cichlids, 120g Planted Community, 60g Salty Reef, 180g Planted Goldfish

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-16-2006, 06:07 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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thanks for the replies guys..

Rex, do you think bumping it down to 150 watt or 175 watt halides is a better choice?

I am worried about the depth of the tank and getting proper exposure at the bottom of it, as the tank is 30 inches deep. my understanding is that PAR falls off around 26 inches with a 250 watt halide, but that is again, saltwater knowledge, not planted tank knowledge.

btw, the carbon in the filter runs out after about 4 weeks, after that it is nothing but a fancy bio-media. (for the bacteria to eat.) however, I am thinking I will probably leave it out anyhow.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-16-2006, 12:11 PM
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30" tank depth - 3" of substrate depth = ~27" water depth.

Also the WPG rule breaks down on larger tanks. They require less light to get the job done.

Remember that SW tanks as a general rule require more light than planted tanks.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-16-2006, 04:59 PM
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Hey RamPuppy, glad to hear that you're getting back into planted tanks. A lot of advances have occured over the past few years to make things easier for planted tank people. I also had a planted tank many years back, but after reentering the planted tank scene for the past few years, I am amzed by all the useful toys available to us: compact fluorescent lighting, 'all-in-one' substrate (Flourite, Eco-Complete etc) etc. As well, a lot has been learned about fertilization regimes and algae control (thanks to Tom Barr and others).

Anyways, I agree with Rex that 2x250 Watt MH is probably too much lighting (thankfully, for the most part, planted tanks aren't quite as demanding as reef tanks in terms of lighting). Maybe 2x150 watt MHs? You may also want to consider compact fluorescent lighting, since it's very efficient and provides even coverage of lighting (not a spot source like MH).

In terms of the 'HIATT' torpedoes, generally carbon filtration isn't used since it's believed that the carbon media will absorb useful nutrients. As well, if you're going to be doing regular weekly/biweekly water changes, you won't have to worry about there being excess accumulation of organics in your tank.

You may want to invest in purchasing some dry ferts (e.g., from gregwatson.com), so that you can dose your ferts individually and customize the levels for your tank's requirements. Much better and cheaper in the long run than using commercial fertilizers.

Good luck with your tank, and keep us posted!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-17-2006, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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thanks for the feedback guys...

I really want to use halides but I do have a compact flourescent strip laying around (I upgraded to T-5's on my reef) that could fill the bill in 'evening out' the light.

so 150's or maybe 175's.

The HIATT torpedoes tend to lose their chemical absorbtion ability in about 3 weeks, the carbon becomes a food sorce for the bacteria, sort of a 'binary' food source if you will. don't ask me how it works, but the tanks they are using it on are beautiful.

I have however decided not to use it on the new tank simply because I think if it chews through organics as fast as I have seen in the reef systems (3 weeks cleaned up a cyano problem w/ no other changes, haven't been able to get a film algae to even start on the glass of the test tanks) then it is also chewing through what the plants need as well. I think the torpedos would be organically competitive witht he plants if you will, and since the goal of the tank is to have an awesome planted display, not an awesome colony of bacteria, the decision is pretty easy.

I may even back off the ocean clear filters andjust go with two filstar XP3's. muuuch cheaper.

I really appreciate all your help guys... I was going to start on the tank this weekend but two things happened that will force me to wait. I picked up massive OT for the weekend. (cha ching) and I shredded a tire on the way home last night. (good bye cha ching. )

So next week I will start with the custom background. over at reefcentral and other saltwater boards when we start projects like this we do 'follow along' threads... do you guys do that? where every step is documented with a digital camera and uploaded so the thread can be used as a reference later?
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