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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I started doing the planted tank thing in late 2019, and we've individually and collectively done, well... several tanks since then. We share a border-collie-with-frisbee disposition when it comes to hobbies, and we've gotten in pretty deep with it during this pandemic. I have to say - it's been a wonderful, enriching hobby that I'm glad we are sharing. I think what makes it so enriching is that it's super hard. Not in an off-putting way - more that there's so much to it, there's lots of room to grow (pun intended).

Anyway, we have three planted tanks up and running at the moment, the longest and most successful of which has been going for ten months. That one has sort of become my tank these past several months as my wife took on the role of homeschool teacher while continuing to work part time (we both telecommute). I've learned a lot from that tank. Gutters and strikes for sure, but it's in a good place now. I would like to do a journal for that one, but so much has happened with it that it's a bit much to sit down and chronicle at this point.

That brings me to this tank and this journal. My wife has in her office (increasingly her fish room - ha) a UNS 60A that she has recently taken down. She decided that the all-in-one was really not ideal for a high tech planted tank. So, she's replacing it with a 60U and I offered to help out. It's turned into a joint project, and we're both using it as an opportunity to try new things!

All of our planted tanks to date have been pretty nature-scape-y. This one is going to be different:
-no hardscape
-spraybar instead of lily pipes
-T5s instead of LEDs
-black film on back and sides

Okay, here's the equipment list:
tank: UNS 60U (with white UNS stand)
filtration: Fluval 307 + spraybar (DIY)
co2: pressurized with co2art regulator (3 manifold blocks for other tanks in the room) and cerges reactor
lighting: 4 bulb 24" T5 (currently have 2 hortilux FS+UV, 1 powerveg 660, and 1 powerveg 420)
heater: inline Ista 150w
substrate: Tropica aquasoil
fertilizers: dry ferts mixed into liquid and dosed daily (I stole parameters off of @Greggz 's TPT member dosing spreadsheet and they're working well in other tanks)

Not sure which plants we'll be starting with. Fish will come later after things are settled.

Pics to come.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That's it for now. I'm renting a PAR meter from BRS - will be here next week. I don't have a good feel for the output of these T5s... we'll adjust the fixture height based on our readings.

Also will be making a spraybar next week.

Fun stuff!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Pretty spiffy setup so far! I really like that light stand. I've thought of making something similar. Is that 3/4" conduit?

You mentioned no hardscape, is this a dutch style tank?
Thanks. It's 1/2" steel pipe. I've used 3/4 for other DIY light mounts because it's big enough to run the cord through with most LEDs. That wasn't gonna work with this fixture though so I just used 1/2.

I get the impression that dutch has a pretty specific meaning which I'm fuzzy on... So I'll say dutch inspired!
 

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Awesome! I really like your setup. I'm trying to get my boyfriend into my new set-up right now. He helped me with the lights and is all about the fish but but her hasn't really nerded out it's so cool that it's something you and your girlfriend enjoy together! I love to hear that. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Lots of progress this weekend...

Sanded the light mount and installed the t5 fixture (mounted at a height that will give us ~100 par at the substrate):
1025415


Back to front we've got a hortilux FS+UV, giesemann super purple (had a hortilux 420 in that position, but it made the whole thing too purple), giesemann super flora and a hortilux 660:
1025416


Built the spraybar (this is the dryfit test and before the holes were drilled):
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Applied the black film and flooded:
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I haven't DIY'd a spraybar before, and I'm pretty tickled with how this one came out. the bar itself isn't cemented, so it can be taken out and cleaned or the orientation of the holes can be changed. this position - angled up to the surface - is going to be a winner though, i think. nice surface agitation, and a nice, gentle barrel roll of circulation down the front glass.

All put together:
1025419


Next up is plant selection and prepping the filter/aquasoil. Might be challenging getting plants right now, so we may have to wait a bit until we have a stretch of warm weather to have the best shot with shipping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
LFS got a huge shipment of tissues this weekend, so things escalated quickly...

1026665


1026664


1026663


Not 100% sure all of the selections will work well together, but it's a good place to start, and we didn't have to wait until spring!
 

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It gets real when the plants go in!

Is the ista inline heater new? I just got one in for my tank and even though I ordered a 16/22mm model the outside diameter of the largest barb was only 5/8 inch and the internal diameter just 1/2". I'm wondering if yours is bigger by chance?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It gets real when the plants go in!

Is the ista inline heater new? I just got one in for my tank and even though I ordered a 16/22mm model the outside diameter of the largest barb was only 5/8 inch and the internal diameter just 1/2". I'm wondering if yours is bigger by chance?
it's actually one i've had on my shelf for a while, so it is the old style. i do have a newer one like you describe on my 68G (500w). i cut the narrower part off. seemed like the inside was still 5/8, iirc?
 

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it's actually one i've had on my shelf for a while, so it is the old style. i do have a newer one like you describe on my 68G (500w). i cut the narrower part off. seemed like the inside was still 5/8, iirc?
I also cut off the narrow end and then even hollowed out the opening with a drill bit to get every bit of space I could. 1/2" is my generous measurement, le sigh, I can't decide if I were sold a fraudulent model (shipper removing it from its original box and putting it in the box of a smaller heater) or if they changed their design.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I also cut off the narrow end and then even hollowed out the opening with a drill bit to get every bit of space I could. 1/2" is my generous measurement, le sigh, I can't decide if I were sold a fraudulent model (shipper removing it from its original box and putting it in the box of a smaller heater) or if they changed their design.
yep, i did the same thing. i was kinda stressed about it for a bit, but then decided my flow was fine (i overbought on the filter).

i have considered making an inline heater with schedule 40 and a cable gland. i have two concerns... the first is that i would need to cut the power cord to the probe to get it through the gland and then splice it back together. that's doable, but i'm going to need to work on my solder-splicing skills and test it out with an old probe first. second is that i need to figure out how to get the thermometer for the temperature controller into the heater housing because my filter (FX4) does a power down bubble purge once every 12 hours. it's off for a full minute, and if there's a 300w probe in there cooking along, it could cause some serious problems. either overheating the housing or dumping a superheated burst of water into the tank. would also need a second gland for the thermometer...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
That orange thing is the ph probe, right?

Can you mount it inside the spray bar? It would be hidden that way.
It is the ph probe. It's not going to stay in there beyond a couple more days. Just while we dial things in with the co2.

We're hitting a 1.3-1.4 drop during the lighting period, so we're doing great for the plants, but don't want to have to turn it way down when we add some fish in a month or so. Want to try to figure out what rate gets us 1.2-1.3.
 

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It is the ph probe. It's not going to stay in there beyond a couple more days. Just while we dial things in with the co2.

We're hitting a 1.3-1.4 drop during the lighting period, so we're doing great for the plants, but don't want to have to turn it way down when we add some fish in a month or so. Want to try to figure out what rate gets us 1.2-1.3.
You don't run it all the time to keep the CO2 perfect? I thought that that was the whole point of having a controller.
 
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