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Hawaii 150 gallon planted tank chronicle

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This is my first post here. I kept some fish as a kid. About a year ago, I got back into the hobby as a grownup. I read Diana Walstad's book. The simplicity of a selfcontained eco system, based on science, appealed to me.

Also, I grew up in a cold climate, but now live in Hawaii. Here, keeping tropical fish is so much easier. The tap water here has minimal chlorination, and the temperature is stable all year. This really simplifies waterchanges.

My youngest son and I put together two Walstad tanks now (29 Gallon, and 20 Gallon). They are easy to maintain and seem to be doing well.

It has been our dream to build a larger tank. Last week, I found a 150 Gallon setup on a sidewalk in my neighbourhood... So now we are starting on our dream project.

I will first post some pics of our existing tanks here, and then chronicle the 150 Gallon project.

Here are pics of the first dirted tank we put together, about 15 months ago.

It's 29 gallon. Garden soil substrate. Hardware store coral sand on top. Eheim canister filter. Two Aqueon Optibright Plus LED lights.

The tank is stocked with about 34 young neon tetras, 3 platys, and 4 synodontis punctatus catfish.

The tank is extremely low tech: No heater, no ferts, no CO2. I change about 30% of the water every two weeks.

We built the stand out of 2 by 4s and plywood, then painted white.

The plants grow like weeds. Initially, the tank was filled with Wysteria, which I cut away. There were initially three amazon swords, which kept producing offspring. I decided to cut two down to make more space, but they are already re-growing. For some reason, Val does not seem to grow in this tank at all, I tried two types.