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Discussion Starter #201
Just thought I would share a few random shots from the tank tonight.

I’ll start with some Rainbows (what a surprise!)

Here are a couple of young Boesemani Rainbow (Lake Aytingo)
Boes Young 1.jpg
Boes young 2.jpg

And here’s an older one.
Boes Old.jpg

The elusive Pygmaea Rainbow. Small and fast, very hard to photograph.
Pygmae.jpg

A young Glossolepis dorityi. Red stripes are starting to come in nice now.
Doriti.jpg

This is an Orange Albino Millennium Rainbow. Getting more red all the time.
Albino 1.jpg
Albino 2.jpg

The Melanotaenia Praecox Pagai. Hard to catch the shimmer they create.
Neon 1.jpg
Neon 2.jpg

Now, I know I mostly concentrate on pics of Rainbows. But here are some other tank mates, equally as colorful.

Electric Blue Ram
Electric Blue.jpg

Gold Nose Electric Blue Ram
Gold Nose Electric 1.jpg
Gold Nose Electric 2.jpg

And of course, what Rainbow tank is complete without Roseline Sharks. Funny with all the Rainbows I keep, when people see the tank for the first time, they always comment on the Roselines.
Roseline 1.jpg
Roseline 2.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #205
Great pics, as always, Gregg!

Question: I thought that blue rams needed acidic water...?
Well, as usual, my advice would be not to worry about it too much. At least it has not been my experience.

I've kept Rams with Rainbows for years. I have found them to be pretty resilient, regardless of pH, temp, or other parameters. Actually very tough little buggers. I have a couple right now that are about 3 years old, which is pretty good for a Ram.

Keep in mind most of these fish are bred by people in whatever water comes out of their tap wherever they live. The Rams I get are bred locally. I think fish are more adaptable than most people think. In my experience, concentrate on the basics (you know, large water changes, good surface agitation, heavy filtration, etc.) and most fish will be just fine.
 

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really pretty fish! in my upcoming 75G I have decided that rather than going with larger rainbows, to go with smaller versions such as threadfins (possibly) or Forktail Blue Eyed rainbowfish.. smaller and very detailed!
 

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@Greggz Where did you get your Praecox Pagai, my praecox were of crappy stock and all but 3 are dead. I am looking for a replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #208
really pretty fish! in my upcoming 75G I have decided that rather than going with larger rainbows, to go with smaller versions such as threadfins (possibly) or Forktail Blue Eyed rainbowfish.. smaller and very detailed!
I've never kept the smaller blue eyed species. Some of them are really striking, and I think a larger tank full of them would be beautiful. You just don't see large groups of them that often. Looking forward to seeing how it works out for you.

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@Greggz Where did you get your Praecox Pagai, my praecox were of crappy stock and all but 3 are dead. I am looking for a replacement.
Yes, the LFS Praecox is a weak strain of fish. Always has been for many, many years.

I bought the Pagai variety through a breeder on aquabid. They don't come up too often.

I see you are in Naperville. I used to live there for about 15 years. Nice place to be. I know a local breeder near you. I will PM you with his information and a few others I would get in contact with. If they don't have them, they might know who does.
 

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Discussion Starter #209 (Edited)
I was fortunate to be able to borrow a Par meter this week. My tank is somewhat tall, with lights well off the surface, and I always wondered what the actual Par values are. Well now I know so I thought I would share my results.

Frist here are the pertinent details. The tank is a 120 gallon, at 60” x 18” 26”. There are two fixtures, with total light being 4 X 54W, with 48” bulbs and good quality polished reflectors. The back and front bulbs are Zoo Med Ocean Sun 10,000K, center bulbs are Truelumen Fresh Flora red. All are about a month old.

So with a 60” tank, and 48” bulbs, I have 6” of tank on both sides with no light directly above. You would not really notice it all just looking at the tank, but I expected the Par would drop off quickly, which is why I focus on Crypts there.

Light fixtures are mounted up inside a canopy, so lights are about 10” from the water surface, and 30” from the top of substrate.

I put together charts to show the values at 10”, 19”, and 28” from the light.

A few things I found interesting. I expected a drop off in intensity as you move away from the center of the tank, which was true. What I wasn’t expecting was how much the drop off was at the ends of the tank. I expected it at the very end, as there no light directly above. But there is also a significant drop off in the last 1 foot or so of the bulb. Might have to consider going to 5' bulbs? At least it's food for thought.

I also found it interesting how quickly the light intensity fades from surface to substrate. I imagine if I re positioned my lights closer to the top of the water, it would increase the readings. May consider that as well.

So here are the readings. They were all taken at least three times. So am I high light, medium light, low light? I guess that depends on where in the tank you are measuring.
Par Values.jpg
 

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From what I have read, I would put the central floor of your tank in the medium/high PAR level. The extreme ends of the tank would be more of a low to low/medium PAR.
What I found very interesting was the 32 par reading at each end, regardless of the depth. I would assume 32 is not the lowest reading for the meter so I do find that interesting.
Instead of buying a new 5' fixture and new bulbs, I wonder how effective it would be to add a small dome fixture at one end with a CFL bulb. Cheap enough to try out assuming you have the meter for a few more days.
 

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Discussion Starter #211
From what I have read, I would put the central floor of your tank in the medium/high PAR level. The extreme ends of the tank would be more of a low to low/medium PAR.
What I found very interesting was the 32 par reading at each end, regardless of the depth. I would assume 32 is not the lowest reading for the meter so I do find that interesting.
Instead of buying a new 5' fixture and new bulbs, I wonder how effective it would be to add a small dome fixture at one end with a CFL bulb. Cheap enough to try out assuming you have the meter for a few more days.
I agree with your take on the PAR values ranges (med/high to med/low). Would be curious if others have measurements of their tank at the substrate. May have to do a search a little later and see what I find.

And yes, the readings on the ends were interesting. Here's my theory. At the surface, getting very little light spread, but are close to the bulb. As you move further down, you are farther away from bulb, but picking up greater light spread. I thought it was a fluke too, but it tested the same over and over again.

And I also thought about filling in the ends with something. A couple of cheap CFL fixtures might be the ticket. Thanks I am going to explore that a little further.
 

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Interesting PAR readings. I would've expected a tad higher, but not much at that distance.

Do the lights have individual reflectors for each bulb, or one for both?

As for adding more, as long as it looks good in person I wouldnt mess with it. That's still plenty of light.

My 20 long ranges from 35 to 55 at the sub, depending on where you measure. Two T8s in a homemade box with pretty good reflectors. It'll grow any plant I have just fine.

Things grow faster in the 120 (obviously), and get bigger. Other than that not much difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #213
Interesting PAR readings. I would've expected a tad higher, but not much at that distance.

Do the lights have individual reflectors for each bulb, or one for both?

As for adding more, as long as it looks good in person I wouldnt mess with it. That's still plenty of light.

My 20 long ranges from 35 to 55 at the sub, depending on where you measure. Two T8s in a homemade box with pretty good reflectors. It'll grow any plant I have just fine.

Things grow faster in the 120 (obviously), and get bigger. Other than that not much difference.
Burr740 thanks for checking in. I was hoping to get your opinion on this.

Each bulb has an individual reflector, and they are about 4" apart, so evenly spaced across the 18" width of the tank.

It was really nice to have the meter, as with my lights so high above the water line, I really had no idea of what kind of penetration I was getting. Turns out I was at the low end of my estimate. But like you said, probably adequate for most everything.

Stay tuned for a new project I have coming up. As you know, I have an interesting toxic soup of tap water. That may be changing soon. Details to come. I think you may find it interesting.
 

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Greggz,

32 umol PAR isn't terrible. That's about what the edges of my tank are getting and foreground plants do just fine. They may grow a little slower, but that's not always a bad thing. :)

As for high/med/low light? I'd consider it high for purposes of CO2 and ferts as the majority of the tank gets significant light.
 

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someone should make fixtures with stronger / more LEDs on the outer edges to accommodate for the lower par... my tank for sure cannot grow high light type stems out on the edges due to lack of light so your readings are not that surprising...

what i DO find surprising is that on the edges you have ~30 PAR regardless of depth... i did not expect that
 

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Discussion Starter #216 (Edited)
someone should make fixtures with stronger / more LEDs on the outer edges to accommodate for the lower par... my tank for sure cannot grow high light type stems out on the edges due to lack of light so your readings are not that surprising...

what i DO find surprising is that on the edges you have ~30 PAR regardless of depth... i did not expect that
Klibs the 30 par on the edges is interesting. I tested it over and over, and it stayed the same at any depth.

It's interesting to the naked eye, you would never know the difference, as the whole tank looks bright.

As I think back on some of my plant experience, in relation to their location in the tank, it actually does make sense now.

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Greggz,

32 umol PAR isn't terrible. That's about what the edges of my tank are getting and foreground plants do just fine. They may grow a little slower, but that's not always a bad thing. :)

As for high/med/low light? I'd consider it high for purposes of CO2 and ferts as the majority of the tank gets significant light.
Thanks for the comment. I was thinking most of the tank is high/medium high. I concentrate on crypts at the outer edges, which is fine because I need swimming room for the Rainbows.

But really, in the end, I guess it matters very little, as very little about this hobby is an exact science. But still interesting nonetheless.
 

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Discussion Starter #217
I’ve mentioned several times that my tap water is less than ideal.

I’m on a well, with water going through a softener. My GH starts out at almost zero. TDS is very high, between 600-700 right out of tap. The softener doesn't affect the KH, so it can be uber high, right now at about 19. And the exchange with the salts.....well, I think most would say I have a recipe for disaster.

But somehow some way things have been going pretty well.

So what do I decide to do? Why not see if it could be better?

So here I go again, another project about to commence. Pretty busy with other things, but should have it done in a couple of weekends.

The plan is to install a new 6 stage reverse osmosis system in the basement, with storage for about 90 gallons for water changes. Something I swore I would never do. I plan to pump it up through a wall and into the tank. It’s also going to feed the kitchen sink and fridge.

I ran the idea past @Immortal1, and of course he suggested why not set it up to drain easily too? A very good idea actually. And since I have a weak mind and am easily influenced I thought, hey, why not? So the plan is to set it up to easily pump the water out into the wall down into the basement and into the sump.

So here is everything that I think I will need. I have the plans in my head, and am hoping I thought of everything. Wish me luck. This should be fun.

Of course, comments/suggestions are always welcome.
Ro Water.jpg
 

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"weak mind / easily influenced". That made me laugh. Sounds like you are headed in the right direction.

As PEdwards said - don't mess things up. On the other hand, could you make it any worse than it already is? Likely not. I have a feeling your 90 gallon storage will end up a lot like my 20 gallon storage tank. A place where you can make what you want, then add what you need to your display tank.
I change about 30 gallons of water in my 75g tank (really only about 60 gallons of water) each week and lately every 2 weeks I mix in 5 gallons of distilled water. Helps lower my GH.

Look forward to your build process :)
 

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Discussion Starter #220
My comment: Don't [censored][censored][censored][censored] it up. ;)
LOL that's a good one. I guess I did ask for comments. :wink2:

And believe me I have thought about that, as any change can have unintended consequences. I'll ease into it, observe closely, and adjust as necessary.

Worst case is I go back to tap water in the tank, and have a boatload of RO water to drink!

Bump:
I have a feeling your 90 gallon storage will end up a lot like my 20 gallon storage tank. A place where you can make what you want, then add what you need to your display tank.
Yes, the plan is to condition the water in the holding tanks. The RO water will be heated, aerated, remineralized, GH boosted, and in general I'll try to get it to a specific pH and hardness.

I'll start by blending it with the soup that comes out of the tap, and will gradually increase and see how it goes.

Of course, like always, that is the plan. We'll see how things actually work out once I get things put together.

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