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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I’ve been visiting this site often for months, but haven't started a thread about my own tank. I have posted a few times seeking advice, have chipped in when I think I have something to offer, but have mostly just read and learned. The information has been invaluable, and I thank everyone here for the wealth of knowledge available here.

Let me say I consider mine a fish tank with plants, not a planted tank with fish. I absolutely love the Dutch scapes here, and marvel at how people create those underwater magical worlds. Just baffles me how they do it. Some are really artists, and I wish I had that vision (and knowhow).

I have been keeping aquariums for over 30 years, so at least as far as fish goes, I do know what has worked for me, and hopefully have something to offer there.

Now to the tank, it’s a 120G (60”Lx18”Dx26”H) Rainbow fish tank. I’ve kept low tech planted for many years, and then late last year I decided to add pressurized CO2 and get more serious about plants.

My plan is to add details about the tank over time, and describe how I got to where the tank is today.

So to start, here's a link to a video of where the tank is today, and a couple of pics of how it's progressed since I started this new phase.

Greggz 120G Planted Rainbow Tank Video:


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Discussion Starter #4
Excellent tank. I saw your tank on youtube when trying to decide what size tank to buy. Love your rainbows they are beautiful when they get old.
Thank you. I've been keeping Bows for many, many years. Some of those guys are 9 years old now. It takes forever for them to mature, but IMO worth the wait.

Bump:
Welcome! Many of the bowheads are here. I myself am getting ready to set up my 75 gal. Bow tank, and tearing down my 40b bow tank.
Thank you. I look forward to hearing from any bowheads here, and would love to hear about (and see) their tanks. In fact, would like to see what you end up doing with your 75.
 

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Very nice tank. It’s like a dutch planted species tank. If you can avoid falling into plant collectoritis syndrome, which happens to most folks entering the planted tank side of the hobby, you will get a lot more out of less. I don’t think you’re there yet, looks great right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks for the nice comments above.

I don’t see a lot of threads here on DIY stand/canopy builds. I know this isn’t a woodworking forum, but I think stands are an important part of the whole experience. When I set up my 120G, finding the right stand proved to be difficult. I liked certain things about one, then something else about another. In the end, I figured why not just build my own exactly the way I want it? Sounds easy, right?

So I set about taking notes on all of the features that were most important to me, and then came up with a plan. I read mostly about tank stands that were built using 2x4 construction, then wrapped in some kind of finish material. I really wanted all oak construction (no oak laminate, plywood, or veneers), and decided why not build it all in dimensional solid oak (1x4’s, 1x6s, etc).

I wanted it to be a little taller than the ones I had seen, so the tank sits 34” off the ground. A little easier to view when standing. The canopy was really the key, as I wanted to have easy daily access, and also not too difficult access when you need to open the top. I ended putting three small flipper doors for daily feeding, and the whole thing opens up via a piano hinge when you need to get your hands in the tank (little did I know how often that would be). So I set about building the whole thing basically using a Kreg pocket hole jig and glue.

In retrospect, there were a million things that could have gone wrong, and it could have been a disaster. But via some miracle, it came out exactly as I had intended.

Here is a short video montage of pictures during the construction. Gives a pretty good idea of the process.



And here are just a couple of quick pics, the plans, the beginning, and the end.

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Stand plans jpeg.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
So here's what I do for lighting, but like everything else, subject to change.

(2) Aruba Sun Retrofit Fixtures (4x54W T5HO)
SMD 3528 Waterproof 300 LED’s on Dimmer
LED Moonlights
All mounted inside of canopy about 30" from substrate.
20160322_175734 (Large).jpg
20160322_175807 (Large).jpg


When I switched over to higher tech, I spent hours researching LED lighting. The more I looked, the more I felt it would be a lot of work and expense to set it up exactly as I wanted. Right or wrong, my feeling is that before long every LED light will be completely computer wifi programmable, allowing for easy custom color, intensity, durations, etc. etc. I know there are some DIY solutions, but as I read them my head began spinning so fast I ended up just sticking with what I know, T5HO.

Since I limit my full "intense" lighting duration, I came up with a solution I refer to as “viewing” lights. Basically I bought some Waterproof LED strips, and attached them to the housing of the T5HO lights. I put two strips on each, so 4 thin strips of LED total. I power them with a dimmable power supply, so the intensity is pretty low. I also added a strip of LED moon lights, so my schedule goes light this.

6:30 AM LED Moon Lights
9:00 AM LED Viewing Lights on
11:00 AM 2 T5HO Bulbs on
12:00PM the other T5HO bulbs come on, full intensity
7:00PM 2 T5HO bulbs off
8:00PM the other two T5HO bulbs turn off,
10:00PM LED Viewing lights off
10:00PM LED Moon Lights

Now I have adjusted this slightly many times already, which leads me back to going full LED. It seems it should be easy to set up something like this with LED and tweak it as necessary. Maybe it’s out there, but I couldn’t find it. If not, is it coming soon?

Here's a terrible pic of one of my fixtures. One 10k bulb, one red color plant bulb, two LED SMD strips, and you can see the unlit moonlight strip right in the middle. The second picture is my "automated control system". Would love to replace this whole mess some day.
 

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AWESOME Rainbow Tank!!!! The 120g is a GREAT size for rainbows too!

How large were your fish when you got them? They are quite big now! Also your plant selection goes well with the colors of the bows too!

Subscribed!!!

Keep up the GREAT WORK!!!
Drew
 
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Discussion Starter #11
AWESOME Rainbow Tank!!!! The 120g is a GREAT size for rainbows too!

How large were your fish when you got them? They are quite big now! Also your plant selection goes well with the colors of the bows too!

Subscribed!!!

Keep up the GREAT WORK!!!
Drew
Drew, each one of those fish was about the size of a minnow when I purchased them, under two inches. And at that size, they have little or no color.

In general they are slow growers, and take literally years to fully mature and color up. Takes patience and some advance planning, as you can't really go out and buy a tank of mature bows.

Bump:
Very nice looking tank, awesome rainbows. Great job on the stand too. Im sure those plans will be very helpful to some folks.
Burr740 glad to hear from you. Tanks like yours are the reason I went high tech. You really do create living art. I don't have the "green thumb" that you do but am getting better all the time. The tricky part is I need to leave some room for the Bows to swim, so I have to balance that.

As far as the stand goes, I appreciate the nice comment. It was a great project. I learned a lot and would be happy to help out/share with anyone who goes in this direction.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Nice build on the stand! Built my own as well (pics in sig link). Just picked up M/F pair of New Guinea Red Rainbow (Glossolepis incisus) to go with the others. Should be interesting once the male matures :)
Yes I've looked over your build. I do love the infrastructure you incorporated. Very well thought out and something I would like to do someday.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
For those interested in Rainbow fish, here are some pictures and a little description of the species seen in the video.


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Goyder River Rainbow (Melanotaenia trifasciata). There are many varieties of Trifasciata’s. They are also referred to as Banded Rainbow fish, as they all have a dark band running through them. I keep Running Creek, Goyder River, and Wonga Creek. They are named for where they came from. This one is a one-year-old Goyder River. He under 3”, and is showing very good color for still being kind of a baby. Unfortunately, Goyder River’s are one of the most overbred Rainbows. Many from fish farms are just a drab gold color with a faint stripe. Very much worth getting good stock, and fully grown adult males are spectacular.


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Running Creek Rainbow (Melanotaenia trifasciata). The most common yellow Rainbow is the M. Hebertaxelrodi. The Running Creek is also yellow, but gets much larger than the axelrodi. You generally won’t find them in your local LFS, so you don’t see them every day. For a smaller tank, I would stick with the axelrodi, as the Running Creek is the largest trifasciata I have kept. This one is about 9 years old.


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Boesemani Rainbow (Melanotaenia Boesemani). Probably what most people associate with Rainbow Fish, and also the most difficult to get good stock. There is a world of difference between a washed out overbred Boesemani and good stock from a breeder. I have seen them a combination of pale gray/light yellow, to a vibrant dark blue/orange. Some are even almost red. This guy is also about 9 years old. Boesemani don’t get nearly as large as Lacustris or most trifasiatsa’s.


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Turquoise Rainbow (Lake Kutubu) (Melanotaenia Lacustris) These Rainbows really change shape over the years, and do get quite large. As you can see, they get taller as they age, and the color gets to be much deeper blue. This guy is also in the nine-year range.


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Millennium Rainbow (Glossolepis Pseudoincisus) There are two red rainbows pretty commonly available, the Millennium and the Irian (Glossolepis Incisus). The Millennium stays smaller (Irian gets quite large), has a smaller scale pattern, and at maturity is a brighter red color. I prefer the adult color of the Millennium, but they are both great. This one is about 5 years old.



Orange Albino Mi
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llennium Rainbow (Glossolepis Pseudoincisus). This is a variation of the Millennium above. As a juvenile, it has a beautiful orange color. However, I understand it will mature to a mostly red color, but slightly different than the regular variety. First time I have had them. Fairly new in the hobby, but you can find them now. This one’s still a baby, a little over six months old and less than 3”.

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Bleheri Rainbow (Chilatherina bleheri). You don’t see these in the stores too often, pretty much have to get from breeder. This guy is a baby, and only a little over 2”. For that size, already showing some nice colors. I kept some of these years ago, and they are just beautiful when full grown. He’s got a long way to go.



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Wapoga River Rainbow (Chilatherina alleni). You won’t find these at your LFS. A few people breed them, and that’s where you need to get them. I like them because they stay small, and are a nice addition to my mostly large species. They are also very fast and active. This is a two year old, about full grown at 3”.



Neon Rainbow (Melanotaenia Praecox). These are by far the weakest of all the common Rainbow strains. While Rainbows in general are long lived, the Praexcox can wither away for no perceived reason at all. With this batch I purchased 6 two years ago, and am down to 3. It just happens. Well known in the hobby. There are some promising newer strains of Praecox
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(Pagai) with new blood lines, but I haven’t owned them yet.
 

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I am thinking about going rainbows in my next tank. What do you feed them to keep them so healthy?

This tank is amazing!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I am thinking about going rainbows in my next tank. What do you feed them to keep them so healthy?

This tank is amazing!
Thanks for the nice compliment.

The staple food is New Life Spectrum Cichlid 1mm sinking pellets. Each day they also get some kind of mix of a freeze dried brine, mysis shrimp, blood worms, tubifex, Daphne,........spirulina Flake...frozen brine, frozen bloodworms....they will eat anything. Feed usually twice a day....morning and evening.

In general, Rainbows are always hungry, and I keep mine well fed. Remember, even well fed they still grow slowly.
 

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THANK YOU for the AWESOME PICS Greggz!!!


I am a HUGE fan of Rainbows, and they are what I started my Planted Tank Adventure with in 2004!!! I believe there are some pics In my journal of my 55g still! I will look and if so and they are any good I will post you a link here so You can check them out! I got mine at about the same size, and they grew somewhat slowly, and I STILL KICK MY SELF IN THE ARSE for selling them and going with some other fish!!!!

I am actually thinking of taking apart my 55g and building a Custom Plywood Tank, and using the front and rear glass panes for the fronts on the Plywood tank, then cutting the bottom in half and using them for the ends!!! I already have a few gallons of epoxy that I was going to use for building my Dad a Wooden Boat, but He changed his mind! So now I have the PERFECT Epoxy, then all I would need is the Aquarium safe paint to coat the inside of the tank to seal everything, and I could make a tank whatever size (gallons) I wanted from 8' long x 2' deep x 20"H with the glass I would have. It is a All Glass Aquarium so it is made of all Plate glass and NO Tempered! If I am able to build the tank it will be for BOWS!!!!!

Anyway, sorry for the rambling and Hijack! LOL;)

Keep up the AWESOME WORK!!!!
Drew

p.s. You built you stand just like I learned how to in Cabinet Making in High School!!! Very Well Done!!! I forgot to mention it in my first post!!! I just wish I could afford to build all my stands like that still!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
p.s. You built you stand just like I learned how to in Cabinet Making in High School!!! Very Well Done!!! I forgot to mention it in my first post!!! I just wish I could afford to build all my stands like that still!!!
You have to figure the cost of the materials compared to what it would have cost to have someone build it in this fashion. Trust me I know I ended up SAVING lots of money.

But that wasn't really the point. I did it for the experience and the satisfaction of the accomplishment.

Your plans for your tank sound really interesting. Looks like a very involved project as well.
 
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