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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-17-2014, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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Newb ? from Experienced Fishkeeper

I'm new to the forum and have kept an unplanted African cichlid tank (mbuna) for ~10 years. I originally started with a 55 and upgraded to a 125 not long ago. I am well versed in tank maintenance and filtration.

However, I am attempting to setup a 5'x18"x20" 95G planted tank. I want to keep Thorichthys maculipinnis and some schooling tropical, possibly keeping to a Mexican theme. The problem is that my wife is displeased with the idea of a second large tank taking up real estate in the house. I have to keep to the same allotted real estate my 125 is currently occupying.

So my original plan, before morphing into the Frankenstein I think I created, was to have the 95 under the 125 in the cabinet as a planted refugium. Then I realized I was going to put a beautiful 95 behind closed doors. That is just a waste to me. So I thought, "Why not put fish in it too and allow the tank to be seen?" Sounds like a great idea to me.

Then I started researching fish, plumbing, lighting, plants, substrate, co2 or not, etc. I did decide to go with co2 because I want the tank to be a beneficial part of my system. Now the issues I have thought of, and probably many I haven't, come in to play.

The plan is to use a DIY PVC overflow to bring water down to the 95. I can drop the PVC below the surface to reduce surface agitation. On the co2, I plan to build a reactor to go inline of the canister filter. 1 canister (Rena XP3) will run on the 125 and the second (Eheim 2026) on the 95. Water will return to the 125 by pump.

Questions:
1) Is this a feasible set up? The 125 spray bars agitate most of the surface.

2) With the 95 sitting on a 2x4 frame set on the floor, the top of the intake nozzle of the 2026 is 7" below the lip of the 95. With some of these reactors, do they need to be in a horizontal position or can they be vertical or at a slight angle?

3) With the reactor on the intake line, will this cause problems with the rubber gaskets and such inside the filter?

4) I also plan on setting the overflow so that if the power to the return pump goes off, the water in the 95 will only rise ~1-2". how much of a problem would this cause for light distribution through that much air under the glass lids?

5) Should I scrap the idea of overflow to tank and have 2 separate systems in one stand?

If you see more concerns, please let me know. I don't want ugly plumbing and reactor/diffuser in the tank.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-17-2014, 01:30 AM
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Water parameters are way different in a cichlid tank compared too a planted tank I keep both and my water isant even close to each other my cichlid tank ph is 8 my planted tank ph is 6.6
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-20-2014, 12:49 AM Thread Starter
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Would it be better to go with low light plants and skip co2?
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-20-2014, 03:52 AM
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Yah definitely don't combine the two tanks together keep them separate African cichlids need completely different water parameters. If you don't equipment to be seen pickup a canister filter and buy an inline heater and if you decide co2 (I would definitely use it it's not nearly as complicated as one might think) a inline. Co2 diffuser or reactor. It's up to you with my very first planted tank I went "low tech" thinking it would be much easier to maintain which it was sort ofbut i couldn't grow the plants that I really wanted and the growth was very slow. Now that I have high light plus co2 and I dose ei method it's easy to maintain and I enjoy this much more then my old tank that's for sure. Just don't skip corners and do it right the first time that's what I would have done a couple years back.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-20-2014, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, that gives a little food for thought, I have time to figure things out. I am still working on the stand, building a side cabinet to hide my canisters and electrical control panel, making room for the 95 underneath.
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