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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi Everyone-

I am converting over from African Cichlids to a planted rainbowfish community tank, and wanted to share a bit of what I have been doing, as well as welcome feedback and hope to continue to learn in the process. I have been keeping fish for well over 15 years at this point, but made the splash into planted tanks with a 29 gallon 6 months ago. Anyways, this is about the 55 gallon, so here are some of the specs.

Tank: Marineland 55 gallon with custom build stand (stand 4 years old now...)

Filtration: SunSun 303B canister with a SunSun 603 pre-filter canister with the mechanical filtration using spray bar, SunSun 304B with lava rock and drilled out spray bar.
Filter Media: 2L of MarinePure Balls and 2L of Matrix.

Substrate: Black Diamond Blasting Sand, little less than 2 bags (~80 lbs)

CO2: DIY cerges reactor, 10 lb tank, running off Aquatek regulator supplying two tanks at 40 PSI. Dwyer flow meter running ~25 cc/min

Ferts: Dry dosing from GLA, Macros 1x weekly frontloading (calculated for 45 gallons), Micros 3x weekly of DIY custom mix (from Burr740) for

Weekly Dose (ppm)- (This is not updated- see most recent dosing sheet in other posts)

NO3 25
N 5.65
K 39.05
Mg 8
S 18.7
PO4 8
P 2.61
dGH 1.84

Fe 0.6
Mn 0.15
B 0.15
Zn 0.15
Mo 0.00525
Cu 0.006
Ni 0.0015


Lighting: Beamswork DA FSPEC 48' and Beamswork DHL 6500K 1W 48'. 105 PAR at substrate with glass lids on

Plants:


staurogyne repens
micranthemum monte carlo
Helanthium bolivianum "angustifolius"
Myriophyllum Red Stem
Limnophila Aromatica "Mini"
Pogostemon Kimberley
Clinopodium brownie
Limnophila Indica (Ambulia)
Limnophila Rugosa
Bacopa Colorata
Nymphoides hydrophylla 'Taiwan'

Stocking:

7 Boesmani Rainbow
6 Turquoise Rainbow
3 Roseline Sharks (dennison barbs)
5 Elegan Corries
8 Otocinclus catfish
1 Apistogramma Steel Blue
18 Cherry Barbs




Here are some photos. After draining the tank, I scooped out as much sand as I could, finishing it with a Dry/Wet shop vac. Then After much washing of the BDBS, I added it in. Wanting a mound in the back right, I used some plastic supports I created to hold the sand in place. One thought is, that is all sand under the rocks. Should I have used lava rock first to build some height? Do I need to be worries about gas pockets? Feedback appreciated.

Then time for the initial hardscape. Plants will still be a few weeks, and I'll post my thoughts on those when I get to that point!

Thanks for those who read and comment, and I am looking forward to some good discussion and feedback with this tank!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Good start. I think those wavemakers will make all the stems lean over. I have those sun sun wave makers and they are too strong for my 50g.
I actually did have that worry. Maybe run just one of them? The other issue is they are INSANELY inconsistent, meaning they don't always push water. I think it might be something with catching the 60 hertz cycle wrong and spinning the propeller backwards.... I mean, they are really cheap.

Any thoughts for alternative flow? The SunSun is enough filtration with the bio media I have, but not nearly enough flow.
 

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I actually did have that worry. Maybe run just one of them? The other issue is they are INSANELY inconsistent, meaning they don't always push water. I think it might be something with catching the 60 hertz cycle wrong and spinning the propeller backwards.... I mean, they are really cheap.

Any thoughts for alternative flow? The SunSun is enough filtration with the bio media I have, but not nearly enough flow.
I have a couple of those sun sun's, and when they are running right, they put out a lot of concentrated flow.

If you think you need more flow, I would look at the Koriala Evolution series. A much more broad gentle flow than the Sun Sun's.

And IMO flow is sometimes a bit misunderstood. You want good flow, but you don't want plants waving around frantically bending over. It's a fine line between getting it correct and total mayhem.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You had me at Rainbows.

Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Subscribed.
Thanks! Your tank has also been an inspiration both on here and your videos on YouTube! Really helped me decide planted rainbows are where it's at!

Bump:
If you think you need more flow, I would look at the Koriala Evolution series. A much more broad gentle flow than the Sun Sun's.
I'll check those out. Broad gentle flow sounds much better than what these SunSun's are putting out. For a 55, what would be a better size? I see some are over 1,000 GPH, which is a lot of flow for a 55 that will be planted IMO, depending on the strength of the flow.
 

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I actually did have that worry. Maybe run just one of them? The other issue is they are INSANELY inconsistent, meaning they don't always push water. I think it might be something with catching the 60 hertz cycle wrong and spinning the propeller backwards.... I mean, they are really cheap.

Any thoughts for alternative flow? The SunSun is enough filtration with the bio media I have, but not nearly enough flow.
My 50g is similar to a 55g. I found that with a 6" spray bar mounted on the side, the water movement was increased dramatically. You probably won't need the wavemakers.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My 50g is similar to a 55g. I found that with a 6" spray bar mounted on the side, the water movement was increased dramatically. You probably won't need the wavemakers.
I have the spray bar right now, I can see if that will work when I get planted. The canister filter is <400GPH rated, and with a pre-filter canister and 4L of media, I would guess flow is somewhere in the high 200GHP.
 

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I have the spray bar right now, I can see if that will work when I get planted. The canister filter is <400GPH rated, and with a pre-filter canister and 4L of media, I would guess flow is somewhere in the high 200GHP.
SunSun filters already have large surface area capacity vs. their flow. Why do you need a pre-filter canister?

I have a 303b that will be going on a 75g tank and I think it will be plenty for your 55g without the extension. If anything, you should be running a Griggs reactor inline with your filter, not another pre-filter.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So I run the pre-filter because I find the SunSun canister has a tremendous amount of water that bypasses the filter media with the loose fitting baskets. Every time I would open it up, the bio media would be COVERED with filth. I put the pre-filter to have all the mechanical filtration happen external of the canister so only very clean water was going to the canister, keeping my bio media healthier. Also makes maintenance MUCH easier, as I rarely need to open the actual canister and remove the bio media, just the pre-filter.

As far as the reactor, I am debating exactly what to run the CO2 into right now. Part of me really wants to make a reactor, and part of me is thinking simple diffuser...
 

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Ok let me get organized.
1. Did you test those rocks to make sure they are nonreactive?
2. The flow from the 304B on my 75 is almost non-existent. Even with a supplemental AC70 it isn't good enough... but the Sunsun powerheads are too strong especially for stems. I would add a secondary filter like an AC for sure.
3. Do you plan on keeping all of those rainbows or growing some out, keeping best males and rehoming the rest. There are some gorgeous Rainbows and mass produced Bosemani aren't a good representation. I would leave some room for yellow rainbows, Kamaka, Red Laser, Goyder River, Wanamensis, Dorityi.... there are some stunning Rainbows. Just presenting the idea up front for your consideration.
4. The FSPEC was not adequate on my 75 which has the same depth. I added a DA and that got me where I needed to be. Both come on at 930am. The DA shuts off at 2pm and the FSPEC shuts off at 9pm. Once I got some good plant mass I was able to extend my viewing hours, but you may need to have a shorter photoperiod.
5. Rainbows jump. Make sure you have a lid.
6. A reactor is so much more efficient and easier to maintain. The diffuser will clog up and need cleaning and give you the soda water effect... with less diffusion. A reactor is like $30 in parts and maybe 10 minutes of work.
 

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Well, I disagree with ChrisX on this one. I have a Sunsun 304b on my 75g (with a Griggs Reactor), and the flow exists, but its fairly weak. I use a ~350gph powerhead to supply most of the flow to the tank.
Its actually a 304b I got for my 75g and have yet to set up. Its supposed to have a 500gph pump, sized for 150g??? I haven't run it yet.

I also have a 302b on my 50g doing all the filtration. It has a griggs and the 6" spray bar at the end, everything in the tank sways and moves a little bit.

IMO, a shorter spray bar creates a better jet and more water movement.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ok let me get organized.
1. Did you test those rocks to make sure they are nonreactive?
2. The flow from the 304B on my 75 is almost non-existent. Even with a supplemental AC70 it isn't good enough... but the Sunsun powerheads are too strong especially for stems. I would add a secondary filter like an AC for sure.
3. Do you plan on keeping all of those rainbows or growing some out, keeping best males and rehoming the rest. There are some gorgeous Rainbows and mass produced Bosemani aren't a good representation. I would leave some room for yellow rainbows, Kamaka, Red Laser, Goyder River, Wanamensis, Dorityi.... there are some stunning Rainbows. Just presenting the idea up front for your consideration.
4. The FSPEC was not adequate on my 75 which has the same depth. I added a DA and that got me where I needed to be. Both come on at 930am. The DA shuts off at 2pm and the FSPEC shuts off at 9pm. Once I got some good plant mass I was able to extend my viewing hours, but you may need to have a shorter photoperiod.
5. Rainbows jump. Make sure you have a lid.
6. A reactor is so much more efficient and easier to maintain. The diffuser will clog up and need cleaning and give you the soda water effect... with less diffusion. A reactor is like $30 in parts and maybe 10 minutes of work.
Thanks for you comments! Here are some answers/ thoughts:

1- Yes, passed vinegar test and used in aquarium for over a year prior to this scape. Just did a bleach and waster clean, rise, and dry, then added to new scape.

2- Thanks, good to know it's not just me with the SunSuns. I'll keep working to figure out flow source. I eventually want an inline heater, and possible reactor (more below) so maybe a 2nd canister would be best, one with heater, one with reactor.

3- Agree with this on mass produced rainbows. My thought is run with these guys for a while and see what they grow into, with the idea of rehoming some down the road. I like the idea of having only a few species at this time, that being the boesmani and turquoise. Good news is there are lot's of hobbiests who enjoy the rainbows where I live so not too concerned with potentially fining a good home for some in the future.

What I do have available right at my LFS are Millineum, Red, Wapoga, Wanamensis, Boesmani, Turquoise, and Praecox

I also want to add bottom feeders, thinking some kind of cory, and either Roseline Sharks (dennison barbs) or a smaller schooling fish. Anyone have thoughts on this? Headed to the LFS tomorrow to mostly finish stocking.:laugh2:


4- Good to know. The DA is the 6500K, correct? That would be good to add down to road to help balance some colors out. I have on my 29 gallon the same FSPEC, but also run 2 6ft strips of Phillips Hue Gen 2 Led Strips (color, intensity, and temperature can be modified through Hue app and or/ SmartThings. True RBGW strips.) to bring more intensity during the day and allow for a ramp up/ down. Note those are pricey lights that I happened to get an amazing deal on, and have extras lying around the house. Might use some on the 55 also to tune the colors. If I didn't already have them, I would not use them.

5- Yup! Just switched from the black cheap lids with stock led to glass lids to run the lights and keep fish in the tank!

6- Yeah, I really think I'll build a reactor. I just looked over at the 29 gallon tank, and already it needs a bleach dip... yuck.

I am thinking planting will be a few weeks out still. I want to really think it through. Some nice compact plants would be nice around the rocks on the right, and some larger either ferns or crypts (I have a MASSIVE cryptocoryne undulatus red in the 29 reaching the top of the tank right now) on the left side? Not sure if I am wanting demanding stems at this point in time. Maybe do some more demanding plants in the 29 gallon, and keep this one more about the fish.
 

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2- Thanks, good to know it's not just me with the SunSuns. I'll keep working to figure out flow source. I eventually want an inline heater, and possible reactor (more below) so maybe a 2nd canister would be best, one with heater, one with reactor.

3- Agree with this on mass produced rainbows. My thought is run with these guys for a while and see what they grow into, with the idea of rehoming some down the road. I like the idea of having only a few species at this time, that being the boesmani and turquoise. Good news is there are lot's of hobbiests who enjoy the rainbows where I live so not too concerned with potentially fining a good home for some in the future.

What I do have available right at my LFS are Millineum, Red, Wapoga, Wanamensis, Boesmani, Turquoise, and Praecox


I was going to suggest a second canister. That alone should provide enough flow. Plus when you clean one, the bio field on the other is not disturbed. Or if one fails, the tank is OK while you repair or replace. Once you get a bunch of mature Rainbows several years old in there, you will understand the value of that.

And Rainbows appreciate lots of oxygen, so I would keep spray bars aimed up at the surface. A nice gentle ripple assures good healthy oxygen levels.

Millenniums are very nice. Females stay tan, and have some of the worst female color of all Rainbows. So I would stick with males. They stay smaller than Red Irians, and will better for your 55 gallon. Irians get huge.

I would go with Wapoga vs. Praecox. In general, Praecox are the weakest strain of all LFS Rainbows. They have been over bred, and just tend to wither and die for no apparent reason. It's been that way for decades. Wapoga is fairly new to the hobby, so the bloodlines are much more pure. Colors are very similar, but Wapoga seems to be more healthy in general.

Cory's are personal preference. I had some for a very short time. I didn't like they way they shot up to the surface all the time, as it seemed to break up the fluid tranquil vibe of the Rainbows. But hey, I know many adore them, so it's whatever YOU like.

You will find Roseline's in many Rainbow tanks. Helps with layering. They stay more toward the lower third of the tank, Rainbows in the upper two thirds. Great healthy fish that are easy to care for, and good looking too.
 

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I forgot Milleniums. I've got 2 gorgeous males and they are striking. The red is just crazy.
I've got Panda Corys with my Rainbows. There cool, but they need a big group to be social with such active tankmates. I almost bought a group of 5 Zebra loaches the other day. Super cool and so active. The only issue is I have a large group of syno's in my 150 and the aforementioned Corys with my Rainbows.
 

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As far as a second light, I think its depends on what you want to achieve. I'd say you're right on that a single 48" DA FSPEC is medium light. It will grow most plants pretty well with co2. However, you're not going to be driving them hard like a dutch tank. It depends on what you're looking for: high growth rate, high maintenance or slower growth rate, but healthy plants ( as opposed to no co2 ).

I'm running a single 48" DA FSPEC on my 75g and its enough for my tastes at the moment, but it doesn't get the crazy inch per day growth rates I hear about on tanks with high par.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So a few updates from this weekend, nothing crazy yet. Finished my stocking, I'll update the first post this week to reflect everything, but added roseline barbs and a school of elegan corrys. So far really enjoying everyone as they settle. Today did a fairly large water change and added in my meds as a preventative measure. Using General Cure and Erythromycin which I plan to keep in the water column for 7 days then will water change.

I should probably run some carbon after that change to make sure all meds are out. I have never used carbon in a canister filter before, so any recommendations would be appreciated. Not sure what brands to go with, and guessing to get something like seachems 'the bag'?

As far as CO2, working on getting the fittings ordered and in, and deciding between the Fabco NV-55 needle valve or a dwyer RMA-151 flow meeter (for the right price...). Either way need to run this tank and the 29 gallon (oh boy is that tank rough right now, pressurized CO2 from DIY about 2 weeks ago and massive algae bloom. Will have to reconfigure ferts, lighting cycle, and do a couple massive back to back water changes to reset, not to mention probably taking lots of the plants out for pruning/ H2O2 sprays).

While on the topic of the 29, what would make more sense, having a new thread for that tank, or updating this one to 'A Tale of Two Tanks'?

Thanks for the feedback on the lighting, I want to keep in the medium for right now. One complaint I have about the FSPEC is the red led's are showing up on the rocks. It's almost as if the lenses isn't wide enough to disperse the light. I suppose for the price of it you can't have it all. Still considering adding one of the RBGW strips later to tune the color more.

No pictures to share tonight, but I'll see if everyone has settled in a bit more tomorrow and try and grab a few of the fish to share.

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Discussion Starter #19
Got a deal on a used RMA-151 SSV on the auction site today for $23 shipped. Hope it works well being used, but for the price I had to give it a shot. Seller guaranteed it works, so figured little risk at this point. There are some more on the site right now, but it seems they do not have valves incorporated, just the flow meter. I'll keep and eye out depending on how things go with this one, but would really like to get two of these to keep things consistent, and easy to dial back in after a CO2 refill.

Drop checker for the 55 gallon is on its way also. Slowly but surely getting all the parts in!

Also, found a local company who deals Fabco, Clippard, Dwyer, etc. Talked to a rep there and I can order whatever I need, pick up locally and will not need to worry about the outrageous handling and shipping fees (Clippard and Fabco each had $10 handling for ordering through them!). Now to get my list of fittings, etc. together and grab everything. Then a run to Home Depot to get reactor supplies and air line tubing. Just need to figure out what design I want to go with. As far as the tubing for CO2, I have read almost every post on the CO2 tubing, and have decided that for me, using the cheaper available tubing at Home Depot 3/16 ID 5/16 OD 20 ft for under $5 would be best. Not too worried about line loss, permeation, or pressure (rated 55 PSI max).

I'll work on getting a few pictures this afternoon/ evening!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Here are a few shots. Too bright in the room right now so get lots of reflections. More photos another time that I'll take after the sun goes down.

Bright side is I super thinned out the 29 gallon tank (1 pic also included- after only), had way too much plant mass, and was just out of whack. I need to figure out some crypts that don't grow so tall and some decent stems for the 29. Also cleaned up and replanted the s-repins. Hope they take hold and take off! The dwarf hairgrass is rocking pretty good. Did a H2O2 treatment to that and the anubias nana. Things should dial in after this scrub. EI dosing, and thinking I'll do micro macro on the same day, just deciding on 2 or 3 times per week. Would really like to dial in good and not need anything chemical to prevent algae in the future, though in the past had used excel.


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