I just purchased a new 125g and am super stoked about getting it setup! This will be my largest planted tank endeavor by far (largest truly planted tank so far is 29g). I'm planning to keep this a medium-high tech tank. No crazy high maintenance dutch style setup (I'll leave that for the smaller tanks), but I want to be able to grow at least most plants and have a pretty lush setup. I'll be going for somewhat of a river/nature style setup here.
I'd love some advise, thoughts, and feedback from those who have larger setups like this, specifically regarding lighting, filtration, and CO2. I'd like to do everything the right way from the start. Not looking to cut corners or have to redo systems that aren't working properly down the road. I also want as much equipment out of the tank as possible. On my smaller tanks I've always used inline diffusors and heaters with lilly pipes or DIY spraybars blended into the background.
I was initially considering an FX4 or FX6, however the 1 inch tubing is kind of a bummer since there aren't many/any inline accessories that fit that. I already have inline Hydor heaters and diffusors for 5/8", so was thinking of splitting the 1" outlet to dual 3/4" or 1", then would have to convert that to 5/8" (can't find 1" to 5/8" y-connector - if you know of one PLEASE link!). I could then run CO2 and heat off the 5/8" tubing.
Alternatively I could just get canisters with factory 5/8" tube which would make life easier. Was looking at Hydor 600 potentially, but then would probably need 2. Another option I considered was using an existing Fluval 206 in conjunction with an FX4 or 6. I'd use the 206 specifically to dissolve CO2 and heat the water. I'd put the outlets together to ensure water from the 206 was getting distributed throughout the tank (along with some powerheads probably)... but not sure if that will be enough to get the job done.
House will not get below 63 during winter, but will probably want to keep the tank around 78. If I go with an FX4/6 (without modification) and use my 206 for heating and CO2, I'd only have 1 usable outflow for heat, which I don't think would cut it during the winter. I don't think adding 2 inline to the same outflow would be very efficient either, or if it would properly heat enough water, so I'd still have to DIY split the FX4/6 and add an inline heater.
I'm thinking I will use an inline diffusor on a 5/8 line which then feeds into a Cerges style reactor. I'm hoping this will fully dissolve the CO2, which can then get pumped back in and be mixed throughout the tank. If the 206 is doing this and dumps back in with good circulation around it, will this suffice?
I'm torn between Fluval 3.0 and Planted+ 24/7 (there is a new 24/7 v2 coming out apparently I'm keeping my eye on). I'm even considering doing both (2x 36" of each). Would I NEED both on a 125, or would that be overkill? Would either one alone provide enough light? The Fluvals seem technologically superior (bluetooth and app is super cool and I'm a tech geek), waterproof, probably better quality, warranty, etc, however I REALLY love the 24/7 cycle of the Finnex lights. It keeps the tank so dynamic and always able to peek inside and enjoy it, and I love the different colors it showcases throughout the mornings and evenings. I know you can set custom ramp up/down cycles and colors for the Fluval, but I don't know if it would give the true dynamics of the 24/7's cycle. I love the cycle and color shifts, not just a ramp up and down. I don't know that with only 4 points of programmability that you'd be able to accomplish the same with the Fluval 3.0.
If using both lights I'd keep the Planted+'s on 24/7 mode and use the Fluval's as a mid-day burst (and schedule intensity and ramping via the app). I think this sounds like an awesome combo and could very easily adjust brightness/timing of both to fit the needs of the tank. Even with these 4 lights it's cheaper than going with something like AI Primes or Kessils, and seems to be that it would potentially be better as well (thoughts?). I'm not a fan of the spotlighting effects of those types of lights anyway, and Kessil seems behind the times when it comes to tech.
I'm going with pool filter sand because I love the look and think it will match what I'm going for really well. I've considered adding planted substrate in the back (ADA, Tropica, or earthworm castings), but I will have some loaches (yoyo and zebra) who I'm afraid will make a mess of that in short order. In that case I may need to depend on usage of root tabs and water column dosing (EI).
Thoughts? Advise? Potential pitfalls? If you were setting up your dream 125g what would you do? Thanks in advance for your help! :bounce: