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150 Gallon Planted Tank ..maybe

1603 Views 13 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  frosty1
Totally new to the planted aquarium, but not to fish keeping. Running quite a few tanks now ranging from 30 to 125 gallon and just picked up a 150 for my living room. My original plan was for more mbuna, but have been following some people on youtube and like the relaxing look of a planted tank with some small colorful fish for the living room. I understand the basics, and am experimenting with some basic plants just to see what they will do in a few tanks with no special care other than healthy cycled tanks with low light conditions.
I am prepared to go for good substrate, but maybe not 3" deep without mixing in some fine gravel to cut costs a bit. Also will use 2 36" current led fixtures- the remote control ones with effects. I could also add the 2- 36" single tube flourescents that came with the tank if I'm up to crowding the lids. I also will set up a pressurized co2 system from a tank and regulator from a kegerator I don't use anymore. I just need the solenoid, bubble counter and diffuser to build it. Long story short, I just want to go efficient lighting (led) and cut some cost with subsate by mixing in 50% of the fine natural gravel I already have. A 150 would cost a fortune for 3" of premium substate- I will not do dirt either.
With these basic ideas do you thing I can choose plants to work in these light and substate conditions to fill the tank nice? If no I'll probably just play around with a 55 or 29 in the finished basement instead.

Link to youtube channel shows new tank move and other tanks.

Appreciate any comments. Thank you
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Welcome to TPT!

Sounds to me like you've been doing your homework and have a pretty good plan so far.

Just curious though- why not dirt?
Miracle grow organic potting mix capped with saf-t-sorb would be the way to go. You can go inch and a half mgopm / inch and a half saf-t-sorb cap for less than $50. Will grow plants well and won't need ferts right away. I've been using this combo for a couple years now and love it. Replanting or moving plants can be messy but just being careful can reduce alot of the disturbance.
I use straight up safe t sorb and its awesome.
i'll check out your suggestions. Im mainly concerned about mess in regards to dirt. The cost comparison is worth a look though. I want to go led to conserve electric and keep heat load down in the summer. I'll choose lower mtce plants too. Happy to work to maintain plants, but don't want to get into crazy water stain and algae battle.
+1 for Miracle Gro Organic Potting Soil

I use 1-2" of my old Flourite mix as a cap. Holds it down great.
looking into this a bit and the sts and mgops has a big $ savings vs say eco complete which for this size tank could run me over 200.00 if not cut with anything. Only down side may be light color, but might be ok. I like the idea that if it flops, I can change it out and go in another direction with this tank. I just don't want to be messing too much in this upstairs tank as opposed to my finished basement tanks. I also have a huge amount of small size natural gravel that came with the tank if that of use, otherwise I'll use it in my cichlid tanks. So far thanks, good sound info received.
I love the idea of large planted tanks with lots of small fish. I happen to like tetras and rasbora myself.

The advice I would give you is to first set up and maintain a smaller planted tank first. Let it be a pilot project for learning before you take on a 150 gal tank. That way when you make a mistake, and you'll make a few, it's going to be easy to fix, and not too big a job.

For example, if you need to do a major water change. It's a lot easier to change 20 gal verses 150 gal of water. If you want to try an expensive filter media or substrata you'll only need a small amount.
The MGOPM x STS combo has worked very well for me. The STS that I get at Tractor Supply has a very nice natural color to it. I work construction and put in 12-14 hours a day,6 days a week, so my maintenance time is limited when it comes to my tanks. I usually take a couple hours on a sunday morning doing maintenance on my tanks, the rest on the time I get to relax and enjoy them.
The combo does have it's own set of problems. You get algae, it can be messy when replanting, it can stain your water with tannins, but in 2+ years of use these have been minor issues. It will change you Kh for awhile when first setup, the STS will bring it down until its saturated due to the high CEC. It's only temporary though.
As for fish, cories love it. It has a soft feel to it, so bottom dwellers do very well with it. Plants can be a little hard to get to stay planted at first, but once rooted do very well.
My best advice is try it. It's cheap, attractive, and works. Check out my 125g makeover link in my sig for what it looks like in a big tank.
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You could find a nice small gravel. My brother uses one on his 40b from our lfs. He likes it because of the color. He has a high tech setup. He does ei dosing and root tabs. I use eco complete. Our setups are pretty much the same and his plants do just as good as mine. It may not be as efficient as dirt but we are both happy? Do you have any lfs with fine gravel for planted tanks. By the way his gravel is 50 cents a pound. If it wasn't for the fact I wanted black I would use the same gravel.
You could also go with Black Diamond blasting sand from TSC $8 for 25lb bag then use DIY root tabs that is what i did with my 180 and totally love the look
There's a tractor supply about 1 mile from home LOL. I scoped out the bags of sts yesterday, so the economical options for substrate are easy for me. I mat try it out in either my 29 or 55 that I have running now, while I begin getting the co2 regulator system pieced together. I bought a few anubias and a java fern set up for a few weeks in a non heated 29 with a nutty Albino African black clawed frog and a few growing in a very nicely set up 20 gallon long with about 5 albino bristlenose plecos and 1/2 dozed multies. I'm learning how fast these plants grow under these conditions. They are actually growing leaves and the roots growing. So I think It'll all come together when I set up the big one. Next step is to try the dirt deal combo on either the 55 or 29, then add the co2 and lighting. I don't want to go too big on lighting for both heat and power use.
Good thingis I'm patient. I usually spend about 15-20 minutes each day checking tanks and feeding fish, and do mtce sundays and Mondays 50/50 split. ( running 17 tanks)
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I run LEDs for the lighting cheaper on my power bill and less heat
I'll be getting the "current" led fixtures in 4' and 2' for this tank. I figure they will fit the braces better and are more interchangeable with more common tank sizes I have than 36" fixtures if I change things later. So very soon I'll convert a 55 for a "farm team" tank to set up stuff and move int the 150 gradually. One thing not looking forward to is these smaller type fish and ICK. All my cichlids never had a case over last 5 or 6 years... betting all these little guys will get me- so will try to quaranteen them in smaller tank before going into the big one. Also- getting plants from wherever club auction- on line or wherever sounds like I'll be a snail grower. doessnt sound like anyone has a tank without them.
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