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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

Decided to come back to freshwater from reef tank for a while. Last time I had a 120g planted tank with discus and few other fish, not quite sure what I would like to do this time :)

Biggest consideration I have to keep in mind is that eventually I will be moving, so having a large bed of substrate for plants may be out of question for now. In fact I may want to stay away from too many plants, just something easy that will be ok without CO2 and with possibly low light (for now I'm thinking of using couple of LED flood lights that I currently use to grow macro algae in the reef).

Hardware wise I have 180g glass tank, 120g glass sump. Water overflows using small box with 2 1" drains.

Return pump pushes something like 1000gph.

I have a few powerheads, but will likely just keep Maxspect Gyre XF150, it creates a nice flow and not too intrusive in the tank. Fish will basically feel like they are in a river type of flow.

Aside from that I have things like Apex controller with ph/orp/temp probes, 3 power bars, 2 Apex DOS dosers (I guess I could keep this to automate dosing of chemicals related to plants in the future, allows me to dose up to 4 different things), 8 bulb ATI T5 fixture (although I'd rather not use that, again, will likely just use few LED flood lights at start and maybe make some DIY LED unit later if I feel like I need more light for plants), several 300 watt heaters with ranco controller. Two reactors (if these not used in freshwater much, this is basically canister you fill with something and push water through it :) I use it currently with activated carbon, will probably continue with that).

For filtration I really only have a skimmer atm in the reef, but that will not work in freshwater quite as well lol, so I'm open to filtration suggestions. I do have a lot of filter socks I could use at a minimum. Would like to avoid any canisters etc.

So to sump up, 180g tank drains into 120g sump. Sump has enough heaters to keep things warm. I can add filter socks for mechanical filtration and run reactor with carbon for chemical filtration. Rest of the "filtration" will be done with water changes. I can potentially have few things dosed, not sure if plant chemicals are very stable when mixed in water to be dosed this way, should I just sell the dosers? And for lights flood LEDs to start and some DIY cree LED fixture later.

What substrate would you suggest? I plan to look for some rocks and wood to add and some basic easy to keep plants (no CO2 or high light).

Any thoughts on fish that you would want to put in 180g tank? :) I can do discus again, but would like to try something new perhaps! Was looking at koi, although not sure how good of a choice that is for a 180g tank. If nothing else that would mean I'd have like 1-2 fish in the whole tank >.> Would like to see a bit more movement, although nothing too tiny perhaps.

Thanks! Will add more as I think of it :)

Old planted tank :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgeHavfiu3g
 

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"Two reactors (if these not used in freshwater much, this is basically canister you fill with something and push water through it I use it currently with activated carbon, will probably continue with that)."

I'd stop that for sure. Active carbon in a planted tank isn't my cup of tea!

Your sump can easily be used for freshwater. Most commonly, foam is used for mechanical filtration but filter socks work fine if you are up to the cleaning regiment. Bio media is usually pretty easy. General pumice works very well! Chemical filtration isn't popular in planted tanks these days.

The dosers will come in handy later if you go with a high tech setup with CO2 and regular dosing. Just my opinion, but I'd hang on to them just in case.

Lighting is tricky. I'm a fan of shop lights and CFLs. I think you learn a lot with a basic, cheap, setup. Flood LEDs have very limited data so you are likely going to be on your own there.

Black diamond blasting sand is my favorite and your local tractor supply carries 50 lb bags for $8 or so. It is intert and black, nothing to complain about!

Fish is easy for me, Denison Barbs. They are amazing fish and you can fit a good full grown school in the tank. They aren't expensive, but not cheap. They aren't very common in the hobby because they require larger tanks. Definitely stay away from Koi. Within a year, they will need to be relocated and they will eat all of your plants anyway. From a guy who did a few months of pond research, koi isn't optimal!

Just a heads up, but I live right around the corner. Feel free to hit me up! I'd love to do some work with local folks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Cool, if carbon is not optimal I'll drop it, less stuff on the tank is better for me lol. I'd like to keep it simple.

I could get some foam blocks, used Poret (Poret® Foam Shop - SWISSTROPICALS) stuff before, but that seems like even worse to clean than filter socks hehe.

I should still have about 10 gallon worth of bio balls somewhere in the attic, so can add that, although ceramic media such as MarinePure (MarinePureâ„¢ by CerMediaâ„¢) may work better perhaps as far as hosting bacteria goes. It is a bit pricey though.

Will be keeping dosers then :)

The flood lights I was talking about are these link, nothing fancy but it is decent enough spectrum to grow plants, however I'm sure it won't all that powerful over 180, but it's something till I get to building some led lights.

Will look into that sand, thanks.

And will check out those barbs, look like they are about 3-4" fish?
 

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Cool, if carbon is not optimal I'll drop it, less stuff on the tank is better for me lol. I'd like to keep it simple.

I could get some foam blocks, used Poret (Poret® Foam Shop - SWISSTROPICALS) stuff before, but that seems like even worse to clean than filter socks hehe.

I should still have about 10 gallon worth of bio balls somewhere in the attic, so can add that, although ceramic media such as MarinePure (MarinePureâ„¢ by CerMediaâ„¢) may work better perhaps as far as hosting bacteria goes. It is a bit pricey though.

Will be keeping dosers then :)

The flood lights I was talking about are these link, nothing fancy but it is decent enough spectrum to grow plants, however I'm sure it won't all that powerful over 180, but it's something till I get to building some led lights.

Will look into that sand, thanks.

And will check out those barbs, look like they are about 3-4" fish?
Simple is better in my opinion!

Swisstropics works well. It is personal preference on which is easier. To me, setting up foam blocks is easier. Pulling it out and hosing it off is pretty simple to me. I've only tried filter socks once and failed haha.

Pumice can be bought online and is a good media choice. There is a thread here comparing it to seachem matrix and it shows good results.

I'm not sure on those lights. Plain old 13w CFLs work well though.

The barbs will get to be around 4". I'm sure my largest was around 4-5".
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How about putting two 2" poret dividers across the sump with appropriate PPI (so 4" total), then fill large portion of the sump with lava rock (assuming that is an ok option) something like 50 gallons worth, and maybe one more poret foam block/wall right before the return pump. Would probably create walls around lava rock out of egg crate (light diffuser stuff from lowes).

Just not sure how useful lava rock would be, how well water flows through it etc.
 

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How about putting two 2" poret dividers across the sump with appropriate PPI (so 4" total), then fill large portion of the sump with lava rock (assuming that is an ok option) something like 50 gallons worth, and maybe one more poret foam block/wall right before the return pump. Would probably create walls around lava rock out of egg crate (light diffuser stuff from lowes).

Just not sure how useful lava rock would be, how well water flows through it etc.
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/9-equipment/1045898-matrix-without-seachem.html

This over lava rock. Mucho better. You'll need less of it for more bio capacity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Found buyer for the reef's livestock, so took all the rock out and cleaned up a bit. Soaking it all in freshwater for now :)

Not sure if those lights would do much for the plants. Looks like about 75PAR right under the light at the bottom of the tank. With bit less turbulence at the surface and cleaner water I guess that would go up a bit, but def not too much.


 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Now I just need to find some rocks and wood to fill it in.... For rock I'll check out Pebble Junction near me, I'm sure they have something interesting. For wood I'd like manzanita branches again, there any cheaper sources of it for Florida? :)

Funny... Manzanita Driftwood shipping , those 3 pictures are actually from me receiving wood for my previous tank few years ago :)
 

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If you want to go in the cheap, use black diamond sand as mentioned, then keep the socks in place in your sump, fill in the area around that chamber with body scrubbies like these.

Put a couple packets of purigen where the water can flow through the packet and go with easy plants like java ferns, annubias and crypts.

Last piece of the puzzle willl be lighting.
 

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Now I just need to find some rocks and wood to fill it in.... For rock I'll check out Pebble Junction near me, I'm sure they have something interesting. For wood I'd like manzanita branches again, there any cheaper sources of it for Florida? :)

Funny... Manzanita Driftwood shipping , those 3 pictures are actually from me receiving wood for my previous tank few years ago :)
In Florida if you live near the beach you might be able to go to the beach and find yourself some nice pieces of wood though you would have to treat them yourself.

Those are some beautiful pieces of wood, if you can get a few like those your aquarium would look even better!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Def will not be doing shower scrubbies in the sump :) I don't like to pay a lot for overpriced things, but I do like to have things that are fairly good quality.

Speaking of lighting, looked at stuff like Fluval's 2.0 fixture, will one of those be enough to cover 24 widths of the tank? Also PAR on them doesn't seem to be all that great, I thought those floodlights I have were low, but this seems even worse lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok, updated list.

Have:
Tanks - 180g display tank, 120g sump.
Pumps - 1000gph return pump.
Controller - Apex controller with temp/ph/orp probes (orp is probably not very useful for planted, but have it from reef :) ).
Heater - 2x 300watt Ebo Jager heaters on Ranco controller.
Flow - Maxspect Gyre XF150 powerhead in the display for gentle laminar flow, Hydor Koralia Evo powerhead in the sump to help mix dosing things such as fertilizers.
Dosing - Apex DOS x2 allowing to dose up to 4 things, various 1g and 5g containers to hold liquid form of fertilizers.

To Buy list
Substrate - Black diamond blasting sand base. (might upgrade later, but has to be something easy to move for now).
Decorations - Manzanita branches, some smaller rocks and boulders from Rockscape® Landscape Boulders | Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa (not sure if all are safe for aquarium use).
CO2 set - 20lbs tank (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ICOKQMI), Regulator (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009WTXYN0), Reactor (will modify NextReef MR1 that I already have).
Light - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00U0HMX1C , maybe two of them if one won't provide high enough light at least to 60-70% of the tank.
Filtration - Several layers of Poret foam in the sump to create a wall between drain and return, possibly keep using filter socks, at least until i get tired of washing them :)
Plants - not sure yet... likely something with high/med light requirements.
Fish - not sure yet... maybe discus again...


Not very set on the light or the regulator as of now. Used that brand of regulator before and it seem to work fine, but perhaps there are better in the price range now :)
 

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For plant fertilizers I'm guessing?

Hey do any of these rocks look bad for an aquarium or should all be mostly safe to use? Rockscape® Landscape Boulders | Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa
Natural rocks should definitely work for the aquarium. Those look good. However, before you add them to your aquarium, I would make sure to undergo the standard process people undergo to clean live rocks before putting them in a reef aquarium.

Start by putting them in a bucket / tub with a pump (for water movement) and putting in some bleach. Leave it in the bleach solution for a few days. Then take out all the rock and put it on a clean towel for a day to allow the bleach to evaporate. And then finish up by letting the rocks sit in a tub of fresh aquarium water for a few more days. The rocks can then be added to your aquarium.
 

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Def will not be doing shower scrubbies in the sump :) I don't like to pay a lot for overpriced things, but I do like to have things that are fairly good quality.
You can get 72 packs of 8 scrubbies (total of 576) for $55 before shipping

Colored Scouring Pads

the pumice stones freemananana linked also seem good
 
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