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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The tank was originally a reef tank and I moved everything in it to a smaller tank. I spent a couple of days cleaning it. Honestly I have no idea what to do with it. The only thing I am kinda sure is it has to be able survive long period of neglect.



The tank has a sump but I chose not to connect it. After a decade or so running a sump I am questioning the need for it, seems like it just is one more thing to clean. But everything is hooked up and ready to roll if I decide that I need it.



The tank is a custom job. Seems like there is a lot of potential, but I am lazy and for me a tank of this size is a pain to work on. Most of the stuffs are from my reef tank, even the silica sand substrate. There are bits of calcium carbonate (precipitates, dead coralline algaes, shells and what not) in the sand, which I tried to remove as much as I could but removing all is impossible. I hope that it won't drive up my pH too much.



A Tunze 6045 and 6065, from one corner pointing at the opposite corner, most flows goes to surface agitation and creating tank wide indirect flow, but very little high velocity flow. Total turnover rate is 25x or so. Probably unnecessary high, but I have no idea what to do with those pumps anyway. I am tempted to get rid of the 6065 as it is the loudest thing amongst all the pumps in my 4 tanks.



An Eheim Skim 350 hidden in the overflow box, and tap water line for top offs or water change.



LED spotlights from eBay, on a light holder that I made with cooling fans. I don't really like the colour. There seems to be a greenish tint to me. I am not so sure if it is the bulb or the tank glass. Or may be I am not used to seeing this tank with white light. The lights I had on this tank was always bluish.

Since I intend to neglect this tank, there are lots of limitations that I have to respect. Stocking has to be light, plants and fishes have to be hardy. My current plan is to have only plants that are tied to stuffs, like anubias or java fern, and lots of floating weeds to soak up nutrients. I don't want to deal with planting a tank of this size. It will probably look minimalist, not too much plants and fish, lots of negative space. Hopefully it won't look too bad.
 

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The tank was originally a reef tank and I moved everything in it to a smaller tank. I spent a couple of days cleaning it. Honestly I have no idea what to do with it. The only thing I am kinda sure is it has to be able survive long period of neglect.



The tank has a sump but I chose not to connect it. After a decade or so running a sump I am questioning the need for it, seems like it just is one more thing to clean. But everything is hooked up and ready to roll if I decide that I need it.



The tank is a custom job. Seems like there is a lot of potential, but I am lazy and for me a tank of this size is a pain to work on. Most of the stuffs are from my reef tank, even the silica sand substrate. There are bits of calcium carbonate (precipitates, dead coralline algaes, shells and what not) in the sand, which I tried to remove as much as I could but removing all is impossible. I hope that it won't drive up my pH too much.



A Tunze 6045 and 6065, from one corner pointing at the opposite corner, most flows goes to surface agitation and creating tank wide indirect flow, but very little high velocity flow. Total turnover rate is 25x or so. Probably unnecessary high, but I have no idea what to do with those pumps anyway. I am tempted to get rid of the 6065 as it is the loudest thing amongst all the pumps in my 4 tanks.



An Eheim Skim 350 hidden in the overflow box, and tap water line for top offs or water change.



LED spotlights from eBay, on a light holder that I made with cooling fans. I don't really like the colour. There seems to be a greenish tint to me. I am not so sure if it is the bulb or the tank glass. Or may be I am not used to seeing this tank with white light. The lights I had on this tank was always bluish.

Since I intend to neglect this tank, there are lots of limitations that I have to respect. Stocking has to be light, plants and fishes have to be hardy. My current plan is to have only plants that are tied to stuffs, like anubias or java fern, and lots of floating weeds to soak up nutrients. I don't want to deal with planting a tank of this size. It will probably look minimalist, not too much plants and fish, lots of negative space. Hopefully it won't look too bad.
I don't think you need to run those fans for those leds is they are just E27 "cool whites" off [Ebay Link Removed] If they ever become bothersome, that is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I run most of those bulbs fanless for years, some of them can last for years. It's a hit and miss, but these surviving ones are fine. The problem with these cheap crap is they have way undersized heat sink. LED chips are meant to run under 60 deg C. They are way too hot to touch in operation and definitely way above spec, at least in our tropical ambient. When they fail, it's always one of the chip's forward voltage has drifted too high due to overheating. Replacing the failed chip would revive it, but it's a PITA to keep doing it. Running them cooler also improves their efficiency and reduce colour drift and makes them last longer.

That said, small bulbs like these I don't normally bother to run fan, but the light holder was previously used to run much bigger bulbs for reef.


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I would take that tank, put it on a full sided stand, redesign the light holder a little so it's on the sides, same with the Sump attachments, and centerpiece that tank in a living room, but that's just me. ;)

I can't comment on the PH thing, but being that your a reef person I suspect you can monitor that. :)

Some good neglect plants for a tank like this would be Anubis and Crypts along with Mosses as these are slow growing. You would probably want shrimp with a setup like this, due to the neglect (keeps algae down, etc..) so I would think out your plants and fish around those.

This is one of those that if you put a lot of time into the setup, you can design a tank that is literally designed to be limited maintenance. I.e. put the food in it daily and check on it once a month (could even skip the physical action of food w/ an automated feeder).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Like I said earlier, I really had no idea what to do with it. So I spent the last month or so researching ideas. I even considered oddball ideas like cray fish. I did consider discus, which the main thing is of course water change. Water change isn't too hard to execute on this tank, the bathroom is just behind the wall (which is the reason the tank is there). A hose could drain the tank straight to the bathroom, and I only need to open a tap to fill the tank back up. But even with that, I have no idea how long I can keep up with that. Not completely off the table though.

I had a 20G tank that I almost don't do anything to it. It doesn't look great, but it doesn't look like crap either IMHO. So most likely I would replicate it. The only type of plant in it is anubias. There are also amano shrimps which outlived most of the fishes.



The plants, drift woods and the filter sponge are from the 20G, which I intend to turn into something else. I bought a dozen pink zebra danios, although 1 jumped today. They swim all over the tank, which in a way made the tank look less bare. I find them rather unnatural looking in a tank with plants. I don't know if it is because I am aware that they are genetically modified, or pink just doesn't go that well with green.

I initially wanted dwarf gourami, but it seems that they can't be trusted with shrimps, which I suspect I would want.

The scape is temporary, will need more plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Bought more plants and wood.



Earlier I said I was planning to have lots of negative space, I think we are way past that. I can't say I am happy with the result, it's busier and messier than I would like. To my eyes it also looks nicer in photo than in real life. I think I have way too much large plants and not enough small plants. May be spreading everything out would help, but that means I would have to redo everything.

That said I think I still want 2 more small plants for the front right. After that I think I am all done plant wise.

After the tank mature a bit then I can start adding algae crews.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Rearranged the pieces a little bit and I think I am done. I hate working on a tank this tall. May it be long before I have to dip my hand in it. However there are concerns on a few species of anubias here if they can survive submerged.



Earlier I thought my lighting has a green hue, now I think I have green water. This is the first time I have green water in my decades of aquarium keeping! I thought it is strange that it started so early, it started a day after I filled the tank, before I added any plants and fish. The water is also brown from the new drift woods.
 

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Do a heavy (50%+) water change and cut your lights in half for a few days. That should clear it up. I think it's looking nice but I agree that pink doesn't sit quite right.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am not so worried about the green water at the moment so long as it doesn't get too out of hand, I suspect once the bacteria and the plants got established it would go away on its own. I think it's due to the decomposing tiny critters and organics in the sand that I didn't quite get rid. I also fertilised the water too soon (right after I filled the tank). But I'll let the wood soak for a month and then do a big water change.
 

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nice tank...
i have very similar tank like yours (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/12-tank-journals/1015537-700l-natural-aquarium.html)

is it 80cm high?

with tank that size, it is quite a challange to fill 80% of that tank with plants.
I understand you have realized that..

you don't need to fertilized the tank if you only have anubias and other slow growth plants. maybe some micros.
the fish food provides plenty of macros for anubias.

anyway , of you decide you want some more challenge:
this tank would be perfect for discus.
here some idea for discus tank from takeshi amano's book. it is minimalist.

if you decide to combine discus and planted tank aquarium, make sure your tank has matured before bring in the discus.
I learned it the hard way (see my journal)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks guys for your kind words. :)

I have kept an anubias only tank for a few years, some of the plants are from there. IME is that there tend to be an excess of N and not enough P and K if we rely on fish waste alone. Not dosing them would cause the growth to stunt and the leaves tiny. Whereas N is something I need to get rid through water change. This is especially noticeable in the high flow areas (less CO2 limited I suppose). You can see that my old plants weren't the prettiest because of that. So I only dosed micro, P and K. I dosed N but just a tiny bit (10% dose).

The tank is 60 cm tall (standard 120G dimension), not too deep but enough to wet my shirt if I reach too far in. One of the main reason I turned it into fresh water is it would cost a lot to fill it up with corals. Anubias are much cheaper compared to corals, but of course if we go for finesse (fancy rocks and substrate) it can get expensive too. Another thing is it is also more difficult to achieve finesse in large tanks IMO, too many details to make up the big picture. A combination of these factors made me choose to focus on smaller tanks instead.


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African cichlids! You already have stuff in the substrate that will help buffer to their higher pH/KH requirements, many species won't bother your Anubias, you have the filtration to overstock (which is a tried-and-true method to reduce their aggression, believe it or not), and they're some of the most interesting and colorful freshwater fish on earth. A tank of a variety of male peacock species from Lake Malawi or a few groups of mbuna species (also from Lake Malawi) would be spectacular, and much lower maintenance than discus.

Check out cichlid-forum.com and the Internets generally for more info on particular species.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I did looked into cichlids when I was researching. At the time I decided against larger fishes because a. they would eat amano shrimp, b. they poop larger too. But yeah literally everything else is lower maintenance than discus. :D I know there are many types of cichlids, mostly from what I have seen at the LFS. I took a peek at the website, I did not expect there are that many species! Most I have never seen in person. Thanks for opening that part of the world to me, where I shall investigate more.


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To my eyes it also looks nicer in photo than in real life.
I love this comment. It's the opposite of what's always said.

I think adding lilies could be an interesting idea if you wanted to play with negative space and low maintenance. You'd get some really atmospheric lighting with the LEDs throwing beams of light and shadows down. With the surface cover you could keep the wood less densely planted, and not have it feel awkwardly bare with the interest provided by the vertical stalks. Just thinking out loud here. Looking forward to seeing where you take this.

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To my eyes it also looks nicer in photo than in real life.
I love this comment. It's the opposite of what's always said.

I think adding lilies could be an interesting idea if you wanted to play with negative space and low maintenance. You'd get some really atmospheric lighting with the LEDs throwing beams of light and shadows down. With the surface cover you could keep the wood less densely planted, and not have it feel awkwardly bare with the interest provided by the vertical stalks. Just thinking out loud here. Looking forward to seeing where you take this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I just want to be honest, I didn't like that scape. Photos are 2D, we see mostly the outlines and it's hard to make out the layers sometimes (compression effects). That particular scape, I didn't like the foreground. While in photos the 2 scapes looked very similar, the second scape makes it quite a bit less awkward to look at in person. In other words, it looks better in person. (There you go :D )

But honestly, the style of this tank isn't quite my cup of tea. Personally I would prefer a softer look. But those fine leaved plants tend to get wild when not trimmed, or worse, melt to when not fertilised. So I am realistic given what I intend to put in, if a year later the tank would look exactly as it is now I would call it a win. "Not an eyesore" is good enough for me.

I know I kept saying this, but it's true. When I was researching, I considered all sorts of odd ball options, believe it or not water lilies is one of them. :D I didn't delve too far into it for the reason you mentioned, those stalks and what's going to happen underneath the leaves. The main attraction would be above the tank which is almost too high up to look at. And where our eyes tend to go to, which is the tank, there won't be much of anything. If this tank is shorter I think it would be a nice idea.

This would work well on my 20G former anubias tank which I just torn down, the tank is just 12" tall and the water surface is at about waist level. If you stand in front of it it is in fact easier to see what is on the water than under it, so I always keep some plants emersed.



I am afraid I might disappoint you as I am pretty much done taking this tank to places for now. Although if anyone has suggestion I am all ears. That said I found a small piece of moss floating around, I am not sure where it came from, I wedge it to the wood. I thought it might be nice if the woods are covered by moss.


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Not to be a downer but the discus planted tank Akaliman posted though beautiful is not telling the whole truth. That tank was scaped at much lower temps, temp raised and then discus added for an editorial photo. High temp fish require high temp plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I wasn't expecting much of a cycle since I used my old plants, wood, and filter sponge to seed the bacteria, but I got one anyway. I had trace ammonia, but it's gone now. Now I have 7.5ppm or so nitrite. I did a large (90% or so) water change to get rid of the nitrite, and also the tannins from the new wood.



I also dumped the remaining odd plants from the old setup here.

The floating plants doesn't seem to do too well. The salvinia that hasn't rotted, I moved it to another tank. I added some frogbits, looks like they aren't going to make it. Might be because I have too much surface movement.

During the water change, all my fishes looked suffocated. A few minutes later they were normal, but 2 didn't make it. I am not too sure what happened, but my guess is the tap water somehow have very low oxygen content, plus the Seachem Prime apparently deoxygenates the water when first mixed. Another first for me. I am down to 9 fishes.

I have never seen the tank so clear since it was set up. The contrast between white sand and the brown wood suddenly looks very stark. Now I get to see everything clearer, my old plants look even more hideous. The Anubias gigantea (the long narrow leaved one) also make the outline looks weird. Suddenly I am reconsidering the crayfish idea again. I am busy with other tank at the moment so this will have to wait a little.
 
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