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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone. I’m new to the forum and new to planted tanks. Please be patience with me a help me to return to this hobby.:proud:


Some background, in 1990 my father and I built an all glass 80 long by 18 width by 28 height tank (180 Gallons). In that time the tank was used for saltwater fish, it was awesome. Then I got married and out of time to maintain it so we converted it to a freshwater aquarium. Last month the tank have a mayor problem and almost all the fish die. Since this happens my parents start thinking in converting the aquarium to a terrarium, lol. When I heard this I start searching what kind of aquarium we can build and arrive to your forum and see all the amazing planted tanks you have, so I convinced my father to start a new era for the tank… the planted tank era!


For ease of maintenance this is going to be “for now” a Low Tech Tank. The tank is in the dining room and between three walls. The stand is for my mother use, so all the equipment is going to be behind the back wall. The current equipment is an Azoo canister filter that has pump its last gallon. This type of filter is very hard to maintain in our installation because each time you have to change the media, it drains out and is very hard to start it again. For easy of maintenance and less work for my father I’m planning to use and old wet/dry filter as a sump and built a bean animal overflow system to reduce the CO2 loss. For past experiences I know that a sump is the easiest way to change filtration media, in this case only mechanical filtration, and my father would love that. This is the equipment we are planning to buy:



Pump: Jecod/Jebao DCT-6000
Thermostats: two EHEIM Jager 300 watts
Lightning: one Finnex planted+ 24/7 24 inch plus two Finnex planted+ 24/7 30 inch
Substrate: one inch of top soil capped with 2 inch of CaribSea Eco-complete


I will appreciate if you can share any previous experience or suggestion with this equipment and the filtration system.



I don't know if the lights are going to be between low and medium in a 28 inch deep installation?


For the substrate, is this a good mixture? does it need any other material? I'll be using plain top soil, with the washing and drying procedure.



I will send pictures of the tank later.
 

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Good call in ditching the canister for a sump.

I personally recommend just capping dirt with something cheap like black diamond blasting sand. I used to have dirt capped with eco complete and can say that BDBS is way better. Stuff is like $8 per 50lb bag. Just make sure you rinse the crap out of it.

What are you planning for fish? In a large tank like that a school of like 100 fish of the same species would be cool
 

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I would say to make the substrate deeper. One inch of nutrient rich substrate is not very much if you were to have long rooted low light plants such as crypts etc. even if you reverse it to 1 inch sand 2 inches soil or 2 inches of each I think you might be better off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Good call in ditching the canister for a sump.

I hope the sump don't leak to much CO2. I will try to lessen the surface agitation

I personally recommend just capping dirt with something cheap like black diamond blasting sand. I used to have dirt capped with eco complete and can say that BDBS is way better. Stuff is like $8 per 50lb bag. Just make sure you rinse the crap out of it.

What are you planning for fish? In a large tank like that a school of like 100 fish of the same species would be cool
I hope the sump don't leak too much CO2. I will reduce the surface agitation by making a full syphon with bean animal system. Do you have a sump? Can I start a low tech tank with this kind of filtration?



I still evaluating my fish option:
1.- Angel fish, tetras neon, axelrod rasboras, cory cats
2.- Royal blue discus, axelrod rasboras, pearl gouramis
3. Schools of danios, tetras, rasboras…

I would say to make the substrate deeper. One inch of nutrient rich substrate is not very much if you were to have long rooted low light plants such as crypts etc. even if you reverse it to 1 inch sand 2 inches soil or 2 inches of each I think you might be better off.
I can do 2 inches of soil and 2 inches of sand, how deep my substrate can be? Can you do hills with this kind of substrate?
 

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Welcome! I just joined this month, and my tank "hobby" has turned into quite a big obsession! The people are nice and their tanks are mighty impressive.

I don't really have much advice for you, as I'm still learning and don't want to say something that may turn out to be wrong, but wanted to welcome you aboard and to say that I'll be watching this thread closely for updates and information!
:)
 

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Hills will be difficult as the substrate tends to flatten itself out unless it has support structure in it. Id shoot for 3-4 inches of substrate or so so your roots have plenty of space. most people slope low in front to high in back to add depth
 

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I still evaluating my fish option:
1.- Angel fish, tetras neon, axelrod rasboras, cory cats
Strongly recommend against this option. The angelfish will get large enough to eat the neons and rasboras, and they will.

They might live together for months or years if the angelfish are very young when introduced to the tank, but eventually you'll find your neons and rasboras mysteriously disappearing.

Discus are stunning, but they are not low-maintenance fish.

Large schools of tetras, etc. would be amazing, but it would cost a lot for that many fish. Unless you breed them yourself. ;-)
 

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I hope the sump don't leak too much CO2. I will reduce the surface agitation by making a full syphon with bean animal system. Do you have a sump? Can I start a low tech tank with this kind of filtration?

I can do 2 inches of soil and 2 inches of sand, how deep my substrate can be? Can you do hills with this kind of substrate?
The sump should be fine if you put a lid on it, i believe that's what Tom Barr did with his set ups

For the hills, you can use corrugated plastic sheets as support. for really tall slopes/hills you can add lava rock too. Dirt -> Lava Rock stack-> cap it all with sand.
 

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I agree with the others, you should do a minimum of 2" dirt (3 or 4" is better, plus it brings the substrate level closer to the light) and cap it with some cheap sand (1-1.5" at least) so the water doesn't get so cloudy when you (or the fish) plant/mess with the substrate.

And for the fish, Angelfish do get large enough to eat neon tetras and similar sized fish (I hear Cardinal and Rummy nose tetras, which get a little bigger than neons, are safe). Discus I don't hear them snack on little fish as much, but they do require at least 82*F water, so that limits your selection of plants that can survive in those temps.

As for hills/slopes, ask for others advice as I haven't done any of those yet. But I've seen people use plastic egg crate/light diffusers.
 

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Couple schools of six to eight corys are fun to watch and will spawn and give you more fish.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk
 

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I'd go with making a row of rock where you want the slope to be. Rocks can have plants growing between them or could have moss/Anubias/ferns growing on them, they wouldn't be wasted space! And by row I meant more or less continuous barrier, not a straight row! I'd be sure to completely block possible movement of the soil with plastic strips a bit higher than the level of the soil. You don't much mind sand traveling down hill but soil traveling down might be a problem. If you want a good slope then fill the back of the tank with socks of gravel or lava rock, place the barrier row of more decorative rocks, put down a soil barrier then put on the dirt and the cap.

I haven't actually dirted a tank but less is more. The dirt is a more permanent fertilizer is all, not an actual substrate meant to hold plants safely. An inch of dirt is suggested in that really long thread about mineralizing soil.

Angelfish are fine with deep bodied tetras like diamond, bleeding heart, phantom, pristella, lemon but avoid the torpedo shaped ones like neons and cardinals. Agree about the corydoras, lots of fun to watch and they do breed in the tank. If there is enough cover you may have some babies surviving. Also consider the 'clean up crew'. Since they are busy they can be the most interesting tank occupants. Even large shrimp could have trouble surviving angelfish but platies/swordtails and bristlenose plecos are fine.

As for equipment, sumps are great as you already know and if you can do a beananimal I am envious, I only have a Herbie. It is the drop in the overflow and the bubbling from the drain that degas CO2 the most. With the BA the bubbling is not an issue and easy enough to keep the tank/overflow levels close enough that there isn't much of a drop. The tank shouldn't lose any more CO2 than any other tank with a similar surface area. I only have a 200 watt heater in the tank and so far so good, have another in reserve in case. The lighting will be pretty low light.
 

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Completely open to correction here, but in a non injected tank exchange is not an issue
it happens when the CO2(or Oxygen) is higher than normal. Since the plants will make it lower than normal as they use it the actual exchange will go the other way as in back into the water from the atmosphere. Albeit slower that that rate which the plants will use it.
Were this not the case a tank would not replenish it's CO2 supply overnight while the plants aren't using any. Also a no light period in the middle of the day gives this opportunity for gathering more CO2 as the plants aren't using it during the lights off period.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Strongly recommend against this option. The angelfish will get large enough to eat the neons and rasboras, and they will.

They might live together for months or years if the angelfish are very young when introduced to the tank, but eventually you'll find your neons and rasboras mysteriously disappearing.

Discus are stunning, but they are not low-maintenance fish.

Large schools of tetras, etc. would be amazing, but it would cost a lot for that many fish. Unless you breed them yourself. ;-)
Thats why discus are my second option. I know angels can be aggresive but its a good option because of the height of the tank.>:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
I'd go with making a row of rock where you want the slope to be. Rocks can have plants growing between them or could have moss/Anubias/ferns growing on them, they wouldn't be wasted space! And by row I meant more or less continuous barrier, not a straight row! I'd be sure to completely block possible movement of the soil with plastic strips a bit higher than the level of the soil. You don't much mind sand traveling down hill but soil traveling down might be a problem. If you want a good slope then fill the back of the tank with socks of gravel or lava rock, place the barrier row of more decorative rocks, put down a soil barrier then put on the dirt and the cap.

I haven't actually dirted a tank but less is more. The dirt is a more permanent fertilizer is all, not an actual substrate meant to hold plants safely. An inch of dirt is suggested in that really long thread about mineralizing soil.

Angelfish are fine with deep bodied tetras like diamond, bleeding heart, phantom, pristella, lemon but avoid the torpedo shaped ones like neons and cardinals. Agree about the corydoras, lots of fun to watch and they do breed in the tank. If there is enough cover you may have some babies surviving. Also consider the 'clean up crew'. Since they are busy they can be the most interesting tank occupants. Even large shrimp could have trouble surviving angelfish but platies/swordtails and bristlenose plecos are fine.

As for equipment, sumps are great as you already know and if you can do a beananimal I am envious, I only have a Herbie. It is the drop in the overflow and the bubbling from the drain that degas CO2 the most. With the BA the bubbling is not an issue and easy enough to keep the tank/overflow levels close enough that there isn't much of a drop. The tank shouldn't lose any more CO2 than any other tank with a similar surface area. I only have a 200 watt heater in the tank and so far so good, have another in reserve in case. The lighting will be pretty low light.
I'm thinking doing hills with lava rock, maybe a big hill in the side of the tank of 15 inch. When I start the hardscape I will send some pictures.

I hope to build a good beananimal systems, is the first time! Well is the first time for most of the things we are going to do.

I'm worry about the light, I read the thread about this finnex light and the par readings shows a low to medium range. Do you think I need more? Some people use generic 6000k led flood lights with good results and are cheaper. Also the original finnex lights are cheaper and I can buy almost two for the price of one finnex planted 7/24. I like the automatic day cycle of the planted 7/24 though.
 

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hmm, i am kind of obsessed with the fish aspect, so i may be able to help.
Angels would be cool and you could do a decent number of them.
A few large schools of tetras would look awesome IMO
Some discus would be awesome if you have the money
Roseline sharks would be EPIC in that tank, you could put a dozen in there and they school really well
African Cichlids?
Just a warning, you will start low tech and quickly want to escalate to high tech, i joined this forum not knowing anything, i learned some, then i decided i wanted a carpet, you need co2 for a carpet, so i decided to go all in and start a high tech planted tank, i just planted it yesterday, but it looks awesome IMO
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I start a test on a topsoil and I think is pretty good. Is only black soil with no fertilizers added and when I wash it almost 80% of the soil went down in less than two hours. I read a thread in dirt substrate saying that if this happens is a good soil. But I don't have experience in this, any recommendation would be appreciated.

I don't know why the pictures are rotated.
 

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