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Discussion Starter #1
Ok here is the physical set up ... questions at the end.

Lighting - I am going to go with 175 watts of MH and 48 watts of T-5 above my little 50 gallon cube (24x24x18) What the heck does that give me, 4.5 watts per gallon. If it was good enough for SPS corals, it should work for some river plants :) I am thinking the 175 will be 6500K and the t-5 will be 10000K. That should give a nice balance. I will likely run the MH 6 hours a day and the t-5 10 hours.

CO2 - I am looking for the right priced CO2 regulator...If I get the tank going before then I will start with a DIY generator and graduate up to the pressurized system.

Substraite I am going with a mix of colorquartz and Ecocomplete, about 5 parts ColorQuartz, 2 Parts Eco, giving me about 4" of black sand bed. I am looking to get some nice dark grey rectangular stones and some wood branches.

Fertilizers... looking at the the articles I am seeing the way to go is Dry Ferts. This is the breakdown I am thinking about...
Barrs GH Booster
CSM+B Plantex.
Mono Potassium Phosphate - KH2PO4
Potassium Nitrate - KNO3
Iron Chelate 10%
Substrate Root Zone Tabs (for any plants that will not feed from the water column.

Filtration - I am not using a canister, I am converting a reef tank, so I will use the sump. I will have about 350 GPH go through the sump or about 7x flow through he sump. I have a filter sock in the sump to catch and debris that comes out of the tank, changed daily.

Water Flow - I have 2 Tunze Nano streams power heads in the tank, alternating on/off, to have a little more random flow and hopefully keep dead spots to a minimum. They push 660 GPH. So the whole tank will have about 1000 GPH flow in it or about 20x flow. That seems like a lot, but was never enough in the reef, placing soft corals they would sway, but were never pushed over, it will be interesting to see what the plants think.

Addition set up notes - The system will be controlled via an AC3. Heaters will be in the sump, co2 diffuser will be in the sump next to the return pump so co2 rich water will be pumped into the display and should flow deep. CO2 will eventually be controlled and be on with lighting.

Tank - Pictures of the build tank build can be seen here It is nearly 100% DIY.

Plants - I am planning the plantings now...more on that later, I need to research, find the names of plants I am considering and will post them here.

Fish - one big requirement on the fish was that there needed to be a lot of them. My wife wants to see lots of swimming around, lots of interest. I ma looking at guppies, tetras, rasbora, otto, bristle nose pleco, killfish, swordtail... A list of these guys will follow as I get that figured out.

QUESTIONS -

How does that set up look?
Too much flow through the sump? I could swap out the pump or place a valve in line to cut back flow.
How about the power heads? I do not normally see Tunze mentioned in fresh water setups.
I know Sumps are frowned on, but this tank with the external overflow it will be hard to avoid, and I have it. I do not want to buy canisters when I already have the sump (budgets). My return is under water, and there is very little splash.
Additional filter media, do I need any in the sump? Loss, bioballs, ceramic, etc?

How am I doing in the transition? I know I am clinging to my reef background, but hey, it is what I know and what I have.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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That's way too much light. 2-3 wpg is high light for tanks 55gal and up.

You're going to need to put some planning into how to maintain good CO2 levels and not have it all outgassed by your sump. Doable, but takes some work. Flow isn't the issue, surface agitation is.

www.greenleafaquariums.com is a great place to get CO2 equipment.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
to be fair, my lights are way up off the water... T-5 are 12" and MH is 14" from the water, so that reduces their intensity a bit.

I can also alter the lights... T-5 for 2 hours, MH for 2 hours, both for 2 hours, MH for 2 hours, t-5 for 2 hours
 

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A word of warning.. do not start up your tank (with that much light) without pressurized CO2! You will have an Algae farm b4 you can say "Oh S**t"
IF you really have to get water in it (I understand completely ;) ) just run the T5's... they will get you through the set-up just fine.

As far as the sump is concerned, just do everything possible to minimize turbulence and it will be fine.. I doubt you'll need the additional powerheads
in the tank.. Although, I have given some serious thought to utilizing a pulsed
flow system in a planted tank myself, I think it could be made to work well.

As lauraleellbp said, give Orland @ http://www.greenleafaquariums.com/ a call, He'll get you set up with everything you need (and not sell you a bunch of crap you don't)

Hope this helps...keep us posted on your progress...

Larry
 

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For the gear you have I almost think a river/stream tank makes some sense here. I know nothing about them but on youtube people have some pretty cool videos of it.

For a regular planted tank you don't need the tunze pumps. You can add some floss/bio balls into the sump for some more filtration surface area.

I would be concerned that the water level in your sump would not be adequate to properly diffuse co2, you might end up wasting alot. You can do an inline aquamedic reactor or DIY on your return for your co2. You had corals did you just dose?

Corals grow slow... Plants grow fast.... the more ferts and light you throw their direction the more often you have to trim them. Its all about balance.

Lastly you have a really cool opportunity in your sump to have a freshwater "refugium". Live aquaria sells some fresh water clams, mini crabs and shrimp. The crabs need a "shoreline" access to dry ground. I was thinking about a setup like yours for a tank of mine a while back. Kind of still keeps you rooted in your SW ways.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well I found a regulator for $50, so compressed here I come!

Question, what kind of test kits do I need?
 
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