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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

Decided to just move my build thread here to document the progress in one place :)

I'm currently in process of converting my 180g reef tank into a freshwater planted. I've taken out all of the reef inhabitants and some of the extra equipment already and now soaking the tank to get all the remaining tiny reef critters out as they die off >.>

Here is where I'm at so far


Tanks - 180g display, 120g sump, Herbie style overflow box.
Pump - Sicce Syncra 5.0
Controller - Apex with pH, Temp, ORP probes, two 8 outlet power bars, moonlight, two DOS units to dose four different liquids.
Heater - two Ebo Jager 300w on Ranco controller.
Flow - Maxspect Gyre XF150 in display, Hydor Koralia Evo 1400 in the sump (to mix in liquids from the doser)
Filtration - Filter socks from 1 to 200 micron.
Substrate - Black diamond blasting sand (not in yet).
Decorations - Fern Green boulders (link) (soaking in bleach for now).
Light - 5000k 14w LED Sylvania Floodlight (Mainly just to keep tank illuminated while I decide what light to get), similar light in the sump. Will probably exchange it for something else to illuminate the underneath better. These were originally used to grow macro algae in the sump for the reef.
Fish - not sure
Plants - high, med, low? who knows !



For the light I'm right now between buying a pre-built fixture from Finnex or Fluval or a DIY project.

Main issue with retail ones is the lack of 60" or 72" fixtures that would cover the tank well and I'm not even sure if they would cover the tank's 24" width, so I may need two of them side by side and then more to fill the length. But I imagine staggered two 48" fixtures would be good enough. That way side 2 feet of the tank would have one fixture covering them and middle 2 feet would have two fixture above.

On the DIY front for about same amount of money as two 48" fixtures I could make something like this.


I used something similar on a previous planted tank I had, running 16 XM-L cool white LEDs at about 1000mA on a 120g tank.

I'm also still debating if I want to get some manzanita branches in the tank, but will have to wait and see how it will look with just black sand and the rocks I've picked up today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Also forgot to add CO2 stuff. Do not currently have anything for it aside from NextReef MR1 reactor that I will modify to mix in CO2.

I plan to get this 20lbs CO2 tank (unless there is some issue filling 20lbs tank vs 15 etc. or some other reasons to go smaller :) ) - link
And this regulator - GLA GRO-1, not sure if going for the pro one for $50 is worth it?

Fertilizers will come from GLA as well, in fact I have some already and about to read stickies to get a refresher on which ferts I need and how to dose them lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Decided to go with DIY LED fixture, ordered all the parts. Should have it all made later this week :)

Also got 2" poret foam at 45ppi. Will make a divider in the sump with it right after the filter sock. Hopefully filter socks will catch most of everything and I won't have to move that foam too often lol.

After that I will probably create a chamber with egg crate and fill it with lava rock. 2-3 bags from Lowes should do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I kind of do, but don't trust it enough. Ranco is a bit more reliable as it's the only thing it does. I do shut off ranco if temp ever goes too high through Apex.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well 1 micro socks slowly cleaning up the water column from all the dust from the sand. Not clogging withing 30 minutes so that's a good sign lol.

Made an egg crate chamber for lava rock yesterday and added the rock today. Underestimated a bit how much 4 bags of lava rock would fill. Ended up filling only about half of the chamber. I did have about 15-20g of bio balls from last time I had freshwater tank, so filled the rest of the chamber with that.

Should get the 2" poret sheet tomorrow. Will install that before the lava rock/bio balls chamber.

So the final filtration will look like this:

1 to 100 micron filter sock (have a few types to choose from) -> 45ppi 2" poret sheet (23"x20"x2")-> lava rocks + bio balls (23"x23"x23").
 

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Well 1 micro socks slowly cleaning up the water column from all the dust from the sand. Not clogging withing 30 minutes so that's a good sign lol.

Made an egg crate chamber for lava rock yesterday and added the rock today. Underestimated a bit how much 4 bags of lava rock would fill. Ended up filling only about half of the chamber. I did have about 15-20g of bio balls from last time I had freshwater tank, so filled the rest of the chamber with that.

Should get the 2" poret sheet tomorrow. Will install that before the lava rock/bio balls chamber.

So the final filtration will look like this:

1 to 100 micron filter sock (have a few types to choose from) -> 45ppi 2" poret sheet (23"x20"x2")-> lava rocks + bio balls (23"x23"x23").

Wow! That is a lot of bio media space. You'll find that you won't need nearly as much for a freshwater planted tank. But since you are using less efficient-budget media, it is good to have more.

Decided to put in the black blasting sand in today. I should've rinsed it first lol... already had to change filter sock 3 times in past few hours ><

I've never rinsed mine. A tip that is probably too late, but you can literally scoop off a lot of the floating sand. I use an old fish net.

Decided to go with DIY LED fixture, ordered all the parts. Should have it all made later this week :)

Also got 2" poret foam at 45ppi. Will make a divider in the sump with it right after the filter sock. Hopefully filter socks will catch most of everything and I won't have to move that foam too often lol.

After that I will probably create a chamber with egg crate and fill it with lava rock. 2-3 bags from Lowes should do it.
The sock will likely catch everything. I'm glad to see you went with a DIY fixture. Don't be discouraged, it will take some fine tuning and almost no data will be available haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, I'm going to experiment once everything is set and just pick whatever micro rating seem to work best. 100 micron definitely was not catching all the dust coming off of that blasting sand :) on the other hand something like 1 micro may be a bit much as I would have to change them almost daily.

And yes this is probably way more bio surface than I had last time with planted discus. I'm pretty sure that towards the end all I had were few walls in the sump out of poret foam and it was working just fine. But it's there for now. Have a lot of room in 120g sump lol, so wanted to fill it with something.

Still wonder when will my DIY LED stuff ship. Should get the heat sinks (aka aluminum u channels) tomorrow, but still no ship notice from LEDGroupBuy, so won't be playing with new lights this weekend lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So I have this RO/DI system with up to 5 chambers for various filters and media. I don't really plan to keep filtering water this way, that was just needed for the reef, but I do want to utilize it since it is there :)

Would running tap through sediment filter(s) and some carbon blocks be of any use for water changes and top-off? Water in general should be ok to use as is as far as I know. Last time I was just using straight tap mixed with a bit of hot water to bring up temp for discus and just added a bit of Safe powder to the tank as it was filling up. Did not have any issues with that, but perhaps there is benefit to at least run it though some basic filtration?

Since my tank volume is fairly large and so will be water changes I do not really want to "age" water, so only two options I have is tap or filtered tap in a quick way. Sediment and carbon filters do not slow down normal tap flow too much so it's quite possible to fill the tank in real time so to speak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
CO2 stuff in on the way. 20lbs aluminum tank and GRO regulator from GLA with misc things like tubing and check valve etc. Once I get it will need to see size of that tubing to figure out a way to connect it to the reactor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
It maybe those, are they bad for aquarium? I do see that if I rub some of the dark spots on the rock, I do end up with some brown residue on my fingers.

Not sure if the rock would be limestone since it did not react to vinegar. Poured it all over all 3 rocks and nothing happened.

But yeah I'm really not sure what kind of rock it is lol. It's fairly light green, kind of pastel color, with veins or just big spots of black/dark brown. I'll take some pictures in a bit and post.
 

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Well first vineagar sometimes isn't strong enough. Use Muratic acid (be very careful btw)
The "Acid Test" for Carbonate Minerals and Carbonate Rocks

To be honest the only rocks I trust are granite, slate, and some quartz and basalts..
and can't really tell from a picture though.
Only worry is you want to keep discus.. soo....
 

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strange that you have to use 100 micron or smaller to catch all the dust, my 200 micron do just fine and my water is crystal clear.
don't know about your tap parameters but discus require very soft water, so you might need is after all.
 
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