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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey there everyone,

I didn't have any plans to purchase a new planted tank, but while selling something on craigslist, a buyer threw in something I couldn't refuse... a 240G Glass tank!

I don't have everything worked out yet, and I still consider myself an amateur to planted tanks. I have one 55G which has been a low tech, no c02, 2WPG, no water changes, planted tank for about a year and a half.

[STRIKE]I plan to duplicate the Low Tech, no c02, no water change method for this new 240G monster. Partly because I don't have the money to invest in all the necessary equipment to have a high tech tank, and partly because I'm a lazy SOB who likes his tanks to maintain themselves! :confused1:[/STRIKE]

New plan is to do pressurized CO2 with a dual stage Matheson 3104C regulator, a 15lb cylinder/tank.

So nothing I post here is set in stone, I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions, most of you have more experience with planted tanks than me.

240 Gallon glass tank. Dimensions 72" (L) X 24" (W) X 32" (H)

To Do list:
-

Completed List:
- Make a new stand (The old one is only 18" high!)
- Re-seal tank?? See pics below, I'm worried about the center brace, at one point it broke and had to be re sealed, not sure about the quality of the work but the previous owner stated that he had it full of water for the past 2-3 years and it was fine. I trust his statement, but just am worried about 240G of water on my floor. Also, years ago the tank leaked, the sealent was replaced and the leak stopped. It doesn't leak now, but should I replace the sealent?
- Clean tank ( super dirty)
- Make a new hood (Old hood will not work with purchased lighting system)



Filtration:
- [STRIKE]Possibly[/STRIKE] Fluval FX5 (Cheapest option I've found so far)

Substrate will be either:
- Mineralized soil capped with:
- 3M Color quartz black
- [STRIKE]Turface pro league charcoal: 25.00 a 50LB bag. (Purchased 4 bags)[/STRIKE]


Lighting:
- [STRIKE]purchased this from a guy off Craigslist, it's a 5 light system. 3X175W Metal halides and 2x45W VHO's. The ballast on this thing ways about 25LBS! At this point I'm not even sure I'm going to use the VHO's. [/STRIKE]

- 4 X 4 foot T5HO bulbs 54W (2 X 10,000K and 2 X 6500K)

WoodScape:
- [STRIKE]Driftwood I found from a local lake[/STRIKE]
- Manzanita via Badcopnofishtank

[STRIKE]Fauna: Here is a list of the fish that will be moving from my 55G to my new 240G:
- 1 Ordinary Pleco
- 6 Otto's
- 3 Rummy nose tetras
- 2 Red Skirt tetras
- 1 Dwarf Puffer
- 2 SAE
- 15 Black marble mollies[/STRIKE]

Fauna Part II: These are fish that I would like to add
- Discus (Will have to check my water paramaters after injecting CO2 for a bit)
- 30 Rummy nose tetras
- 6-10 more otto's
- Pleco (Bristlenose? Goldnugget?)
- True SAE's
- Some type of shrimp (Suggestions?)
[STRIKE]- German Blue Rams? (Always thought they were so pretty, had 2 in my 55G but they died.)[/STRIKE]
Flora: Really not sure about any flora yet. Need suggestions here!
- "Carpet" plant, totally not sure what would work for this as carpet plants are usually somewhat difficult in a low tech tank.
- Dwarf Hairgrass as a carpet, not sure which species yet. Suggestions?
- Moss to cover wood scape.
- Background Plants?
- Foreground plants?
- Swords... not sure which

Total Costs so far:
:
[STRIKE]- Turface Charcoal, 4 X 50LB Bags = $106.00[/STRIKE] Sold the turface and found some 50LB bags of 3M color quartz black for 10.00 a bag.
- Misc cleaning supplies = $10.00

Pictures:
- The first two pictures are of the 240G Next to the 55G. Makes the 55G look tiny!
- Next two pictures are of the center brace that I was worried about. Looking for suggestions/opinions here.
- Last Picture is of the woodscape I intend to use. It measures 23" Wide X 28" High X around 60" Long.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Well I cleaned the tank as best as i could. I used a spray bottle to mist vinegar on the entire tank, then I scraped it with a 3" razor blade. I did this about 5 times.
Now all that's left is a some of that white haze. It's still kind of bothering that the haze is on there, but luckily it's mostly invisible when wet...

I'm going to start building the stand/hood tonight. I plan on having the hood 11" off the water, so the MH's will be about 9" off the water.

Also, I ordered 200LBS of Turface gray, which should give me about 2-2.5 inches of substrate.

Had two questions for you guys,

#1) Do you think I should re-seal the tank? I've been told that it's held a full tank of water fine for the past few years. But I'm still slightly worried...

#2) Do people usually do anything to their driftwood to make it safer for the fish? It just seems like my driftwood has tons of very sharp points, should I make them smooth or not worry about it?
 

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Fear the Swamp!
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Fantastic deal you got there. Here's my answers/suggestions to your questions.
Re-seal the tank? If you are that worried about it, go ahead and do it. It's much easier to do it now, instead of noticing a leak a few months down the road and have to tear this monster tank down. It will take some work, but you will have peace of mind.
Driftwood - don't worry about it. The fish would have to have some kind of weird kamikaze mission to run into the sharp ends and hurt themselves.
Shrimp - depends on how much you want to spend. I'm partial to tiger shrimp myself. I usually pick a shrimp, order a small amount from 2-3 members (genetic diversity) and let them breed.
Carpet plants - For a low tech, no CO2 tank, I would suggest Sag grass, Marselia, or Blyxa japonica
Background plants - just about any kind of stem, Hygros would do well with your setup. Most tall grasses, Crypt spiralis, Crypt balansae, Cyperus helferi, tall swords like Echinodorus 'Rubin', Echinodorus 'Kleiner Bar', Echinodorus uruguayensis, or Echinodorus martii
 

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If you're worried about the tank leaking, reseal it. Get several containers of silicone (GE silicone I window and door is what I used, it's easy to find). Some silicone comes in black as well. Clean off all the old silicone with one of those flat razor things (not a utility knife)
It's a lot of work and will take several hours. Get a pack of blades as well, a sharp one works much better. Then you are supposed to clean the seams with rubbing alcohol or acetone. Tape off the bead you want with painter's tape and start sealing it...Silicone I smells bad and burns your eyes if you've got your head in the tank next to it. Set up a fan or do it outside if you can.

WORK QUICKLY

It starts to harden after 15 minutes or so; don't try and smooth it over after that because it will look terrible. Getting someone to help is probably a good idea.

And DO NOT run out of silicone. Apparently new silicone doesn't adhere to previously cured silicone very well, so if you don't get it all done in one go you're screwed and have to restart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the tips.

Still haven't decided if I'm going to re-seal or not. However, if I do re-seal I'm going to use this: GE RTV108 ... It's a very high quality silicon, runs about 10.00 a tube.

I'm still debating what to do about filtration. I'm trying to find the cheapest method possible. I Prefer canisters because I've never used a sump before. Keeping in mind that I only plan to have about 50 fish for quite some time, do you think I can get by with one canister meant for a 180G and a powerhead or two?

Or what other cheap filter options are possibilities?
 

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i think is good idea to re-seal the tank now too since its not set-up yet. make sure its a 100% silicon. when i was re-seal my 90gallon , i just used GE window and doors( NOT bath and kitchen) 100% silicon , work like a champ.

100% with FSM . FX5 is prefect for that tank , but if that was me i'll get two though. is Fx5 really jump up to 250shipped now. i got mine a while back for 210shipped from a ebay seller from MI
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the FX5 suggestion guys. I think i can get one for about 220.00 of ebay...

Today a guy on CL has a Tru Vu 30G Wet/Dry sump with pre filter for $100.00 It seems like a pretty good steal, but I know nothing about sumps, I've never ran one.
I kind of think that a sump would be a bad idea for this low tech tank, as my goal is to limit water changes and maintenance. Any opinions on this?

Also, I'm still debating whether or not to reseal the tank. If I do decide to reseal the tank, would I be able to stand in the tank? I'm 215lbs... don't want to break the glass!! I think resealing would be much harder for this size tank if I have to lean over the side of it for hours, especially since it is so deep.
 

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Thanks for the FX5 suggestion guys. I think i can get one for about 220.00 of ebay...

Today a guy on CL has a Tru Vu 30G Wet/Dry sump with pre filter for $100.00 It seems like a pretty good steal, but I know nothing about sumps, I've never ran one.
I kind of think that a sump would be a bad idea for this low tech tank, as my goal is to limit water changes and maintenance. Any opinions on this?

Also, I'm still debating whether or not to reseal the tank. If I do decide to reseal the tank, would I be able to stand in the tank? I'm 215lbs... don't want to break the glass!! I think resealing would be much harder for this size tank if I have to lean over the side of it for hours, especially since it is so deep.
why would you want to stand in the tank when you re-seal? put the tank down from the stand and bend your back and do the job!! remember to take all the old silicon out and use some alcochol to wipe it before starts the new silicon. its up to you , if you dont think it need to reseal then dont do it . but better a few hours of back bend than leak later and break it all down. if you got a back problem than i dont think plants aquarium is right for U ( trust me i been thinking the same way too , few day ago i waS Planting some plants and my back is killing me ) i was think to go back and raise cichlids again :)
 

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Many plants...little time
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if you got a back problem than i dont think plants aquarium is right for U ( trust me i been thinking the same way too , few day ago i waS Planting some plants and my back is killing me ) i was think to go back and raise cichlids again :)
Kali, sorry about that plant package...I never thought a plant package would injure...:hihi:
 

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Hmm... that lighting is a bit agressive. "Cheap" does not always mean you can bale out on responsible decisions up front. NOW is the time to either wait or go. With those lights.... I see some type of CO2 requirements needed. (And don't think that DIY is going to be your wild card, sorry).

Just my opinion... but thats a big boy tank with some big boy specs. Thats no baby toy.

Buck up... get the pressurized CO2, OR... and this is the big option.... don't use the metal halides AT ALL until you get CO2.

Just ride low tech on the T5's. If you do that....

Swords. Cryptocoryne. Both of which will thrive in the mineralized. Some Anubias for accent.

Add Fish and Enjoy. Throw in a WC every month or so and brag to your friends about how much work it is. No moss. stuff is a nuiscance in low tech and grows all stringy and is prone to attract algae.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
How about if i just use 2 of the metal halides? So that would be 2X175W or 350W total for a 240G tall.

Is that still too much light for low tech?

If I kept this light fixture it would allow me the option of going high tech later on by just plugging in the other MH and the 2 VHO's.


Oh yeah, I've decided to re-seal the tank. It just makes sense to go ahead and do it now while its empty.

I bought 9 tubes of the GE RTV108, will try and get to this weekend and post some pictures.
 

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Many plants...little time
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How about if i just use 2 of the metal halides? So that would be 2X175W or 350W total for a 240G tall.

Is that still too much light for low tech?

If I kept this light fixture it would allow me the option of going high tech later on by just plugging in the other MH and the 2 VHO's.


Oh yeah, I've decided to re-seal the tank. It just makes sense to go ahead and do it now while its empty.

I bought 9 tubes of the GE RTV108, will try and get to this weekend and post some pictures.
I don't mean to butt in but...
I would say too much light...MH are like spot lights so you would have dark corners. Also the light emitted is very intense...
You could go high tech with that fixture once you add pressurized CO2 and dry ferts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well today I've been doing a lot of work on the tank.

I've been stripping all the old silicone out of the tank, which I'm almost done with now.
Also in regards to mineralized soil, I've been soaking some topsoil in a big 30G Tub of water.

So somebody on CL was selling an Icecap 660 (read about it here) VHO ballast and 3X140W 5ft VHO's. I was thinking I could get this ballast and either use 2X140W. What do you guys think, would this be a better option than running 2 of the halides? Also, was thinking with my current setup that I could run 1X175W Halide on one side of the tank and 2X40W VHO's on the other side.

Any thoughts?

Here are some new pics:

First pic: Tank, Driftwood, Mineralized soil... and Helper cat.

Second, an additional option I have been toying with... A 240G Dog tank!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Today I finished cleaning/striping the old silicone out of the tank and also resealed the tank with 1 and 3/4 tubes of RTV108. I bought 8 tubes thinking I would need 4-8. I put pretty big stands of it down and still only used 1 and 3/4 tubes, so that will save me about $60.00.

Of course with 5 minutes left in the resealing process it started raining pretty heavily. I finished up very quickly and grabbed a tarp and covered up the tank. Hopefully it doesn't leak...

Does anyone have any thoughts about the lights from the previous post?

TIA
 

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You are quite the adventurer. You're dog looks like he feels punished! Poor poochy! Glad you have the helper cat. He was probably the MOST important add to your project!:wink:

Hope your project continues as smoothly as possible. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
@TexGal, yeah our dog didn't really like being in the tank, so she was only in there for a few seconds. Helpercat is extremely helpful, he's more of a supervisor type helper. He shows his approval for tasks by glancing at you for a short second and then looking away.

@YikesJason, do you think the blankets that the tank is resting on now provide a stable/flat enough surface to test fill the tank? I don't have anything else to put it on, and would prefer the blankets of the cement. What do you think?

I realized in my haste to cover the tank during the downpour that I forgot to take the masking tape off. So now the silicone has been curing for 18 hours! I think I will let it cure completely and then see if the masking tape disrupts the silicone at all. If it looks bad I may have scrape it all of and reseal ... =(

Still looking for more input on the lighting. Specifically the MH kit VS the Icecap.
 
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