The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was a salt guy for 15 years (700 gal, fully automatedand shut it all down a couple years ago. I’m thinking about starting a planted tank in my office.

I am considering setting up a small tank in my office and need advice. I know NOTHING about fresh water/planted tanks!!! So let’s start with basics. Hardware - Tank,Flow, lighting, Co2

TANK
Can I (should I) use a tank with an overflow? I was thinking about the 24gal lifeguard crystal with the built in back filter? If not how do you hide mechanics?

FILTRATION
Ceramic/media? If above is suitable I can put it all in the sump water channels

FLOW
How much turnover do you need, if flow important?

LIGHTING
What is needed, what are quality lights?

CO2
Co2 or no Co2?

I don’t want to get in over my head, but I also don’t want to have a goldfish tank with an air stone.

Most importantly, am I missing any of the hardware items.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, there is a lot of info there. That will help, but it doesn’t seems to answer the tank question.

Can I use a tank with an overflow to hide filtration mechanics/technology? Is there any downside?

Table Product Rectangle Desk Parallel
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
I think lots of people have these kinds of tanks with plants. You might have to add a strainer or something for shrimp, not sure on that one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
I am also a former reefer. Planted tanks can be every bit as gear-driven as salt, but there is generally more margin for error, with some exceptions (like shrimp). But it doesn’t have to be.

I have a 25-gallon Waterbox mini peninsula with an overflow. Works great. I’ve had to do some modifications to the overflow — steel mesh between sponge and overflow teeth — to keep tiny fish like juvie Pygmy cories out.

The amount of flow you’ll want will vary by what fauna you’re keeping. I’ve seen a rule of thumb saying you should shoot for 10-15 gph. I use a sicce pump but tamped it down and arranged my planting to provide some still areas because I’ve got clown killies that don’t like flow.

I do love the fact that I can hide my heater in the back chamber, but you can also get the same result with a canister and an inline heater or even one with a heater built in (Oase). I’ve got a CO2 diffuser hidden behind some plants. My drop checker is the only thing that’s really visible.

Lots of good lighting options. I use the Aquaillumination LED fixture that came bundled with the tank. It provides plenty of light for the few medium-to-high light stem plants.

Again, it all depends on what you want to keep.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,240 Posts
Yes, you can use the tank you linked. If you already own it you are good to go. If you haven't bought it yet, I will say that you have other options. The vast majority of high tech setups (any tank with injected CO2) use canister filters. You can use lily pipes (either glass or steel) and no other equipment is in the tank.

For CO2 you can use in tank diffuser, in line diffuser or a reactor. The last 2 are more typical if you have a canister filter or sump since you need a pump to create water flow through a tube to make them work.

You should have 4-8 times actual turnover of tank water per hour. If using a canister filter take advertised flow and divide it in half to get actual flow.

For lights... Kind of a rabbit hole. Depends on how much you want to spend and what features are important. Want to spend 50 dollars or less... Get a beamswork or nicrew. Have 200 dollars, go with twinstar or fluvial 3.0. Just a couple of examples and not necessarily the best either, it really depends on what you want out of the light. Need app support? Sun rise and sunset? Need just a light? Want really good colors? Want only single point source lights? Insane par? Etc

Check out green aqua, aquapros, aquarium co-op, and George farmer on YouTube for a lot of information on tanks from basic to advance.

Just some things to keep in mind. Good luck and welcome to the green side!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
805 Posts
I have found co2 to be more challenging with all-in-one aquariums. You're more limited in diffusion methods and diffuser placement which can make things tricky/frustrating. I would just suggest thinking about where your return nozzle(s) are going to be and make your scape work with that (vs designing your return flow around the scape you want, which you could do with a canister).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
Echoing EmotionalFescue, I couldn’t figure out an effective way to put the CO2 diffuser in the back chamber, but was able to hide it in my plantscape. Seems to get the job done.

What are your goals for the tank?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
642 Posts
Spend a few days looking through the tank journal forum here. Find one that you like and see how they set it up. The answers to most of your questions are found here on TPT. Read first and then ask questions to get clarification. Once you start building then start your own journal so we can follow you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you everyone for your advice. I have been digesting information from this forum, YouTube, and other places for a while to see if this is something I want to get into.

I have seen that most Planted use Canister filters, actually I have not seen anyone with an AIO. Overflow is all I know so I naturally tend to gravitate there, but I am open to change.

Here are the challenges I see with a canister
1) This will be on an office cabinet that has a granite top.
a) I am planning on drilling a 1" hole in the granite and house Co2, power, Automation, ATO... in the cabinet. I am concerned that I will need to drill a larger or multiple holes if I go canister. Will a 1" hole work?​

2) The Glass supply/return look very nice and do not bother me. All these seem to be mounted on the side, but no one shows how the tubes obstruct the side view of their tank. How do you deal with this.

3) how do you do ATO in this type tank or is that not an issue in fresh water?

@mourip I am reading, learning. If you don't want to reply, don't.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,240 Posts
Thank you everyone for your advice. I have been digesting information from this forum, YouTube, and other places for a while to see if this is something I want to get into.

I have seen that most Planted use Canister filters, actually I have not seen anyone with an AIO. Overflow is all I know so I naturally tend to gravitate there, but I am open to change.

Here are the challenges I see with a canister
1) This will be on an office cabinet that has a granite top.
a) I am planning on drilling a 1" hole in the granite and house Co2, power, Automation, ATO... in the cabinet. I am concerned that I will need to drill a larger or multiple holes if I go canister. Will a 1" hole work?​

2) The Glass supply/return look very nice and do not bother me. All these seem to be mounted on the side, but no one shows how the tubes obstruct the side view of their tank. How do you deal with this.

3) how do you do ATO in this type tank or is that not an issue in fresh water?

@mourip I am reading, learning. If you don't want to reply, don't.
By office cabinet, do you mean you don't have access to going around the side or behind the cabinet? That's how most people do it, so I am guessing you mean this is a long counter top and the tank is somewhere in the middle? If you look at my shallow tank journal (in my signature) you can see that its possible to put a canister filter next to a tank, but it will be very obviously next to it. I hide mine behind some wood but that might not be feasible for you. A 1" hole might be enough to squeeze your hoses through if you are using 3/8 tubing (which has an outside diameter of 1/2 inch). Likely for 20 gallon tank you will want more standard 5/8" tubing which has an outside diameter of 3/4 so a single 1" hole is likely not enough. 2 and you would be golden.

Its not that all in one systems are unheard of in freshwater tanks, but rather most people are chasing an aesthetic that uses a clear back pane of glass. One of my first planted tanks was a fluval spec v which uses an all in one type filter system. Its definitely doable, but its also very limiting.

As for where to put tubing. You can just put the lily pipes on the back if it bothers you. Most tanks are designed to be viewed primarily from the front and not 3+ sides. Having the tubing on the sides is usually easier for maintenance purposes.

Most people do not bother with auto top off systems on freshwater because you need to be doing 50+% water changes each week (that's usually the minimum, I try to do 70-90%). So if your water drops an inch or 2 during the week its not a big deal, you will be doing water change too soon for it to matter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
805 Posts
1) This will be on an office cabinet that has a granite top.
a) I am planning on drilling a 1" hole in the granite and house Co2, power, Automation, ATO... in the cabinet. I am concerned that I will need to drill a larger or multiple holes if I go canister. Will a 1" hole work?
For a 20+ gallon tank, I think your lines will probably be 5/8" ID, so a single 1" hole wouldn't cut it.

2) The Glass supply/return look very nice and do not bother me. All these seem to be mounted on the side, but no one shows how the tubes obstruct the side view of their tank. How do you deal with this.
It's all a trade off... with an overflow you don't have anything hanging off the side or back of the tank, but you're more limited visually by the box itself, the position of your return(s), and the nature of your filtration intake (all surface and no deep water). With a canister, you've got external lines and you have to choose where they go. On the side is fine to prioritize front viewing because the mirror effect will keep you from seeing them. But, as you note, kinda screws up viewing from the side. You can run the lines down the back, but will then see them from the front unless you black-film the back of the tank. Etc...

3) how do you do ATO in this type tank or is that not an issue in fresh water?
ATO for freshwater is really just for convenience and maintaining a clean water line on the glass. There's no salinity to maintain, so it's not important from a tank-health perspective. I've recently started putting ATOs on all my freshwater tanks both with sumps and with canisters. For the canister-filtered tanks, I just run the ATO line discretely over the side of the tank near the intake/return lines. I have been making little wooden hose holder things that sit on the edge of the tank and look pretty nice. For a 20ish gallon tank, you may be content to just top off manually.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
642 Posts
@mourip I am reading, learning. If you don't want to reply, don't.
Not sure that I understand your intention with that remark but it reads as defensive coming from someone asking for help. Hopefully I misinterpreted it.

Unfortunately there are a lot of threads started here these days by folks who could have found their own answers by a bit of upfront reading. Some literally say "Please plan my tank for me". Glad to hear that you have already done your research. From your questions that just did not seem clear.

An AIO tank sounds like a good choice. There is at least one journal thread here with a nice tank doing that. That one is DIY but contains a ton of information. I considered AIO when I thought that I would put a 16g or 25g gallon on our bedroom desk but the issues with potential water spills caused us to choose the basement. I ended up with a 75 gallon with equipment placed beneath it in a stand. With an AIO tank you can hide pretty much everything except your CO2 tank and power cords. You might add Waterbox to your AIO search.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
My Waterbox is AIO. It‘s great. It’s a peninsula style so the chamber is on a short side so the display is clear on three viewing sides.

I haven’t really noticed any disadvantages. I like being able to see and reach inside the chamber. It’s easier to maintain than a canister.

That said, it’s really up to you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My Waterbox is AIO. It‘s great. It’s a peninsula style so the chamber is on a short side so the display is clear on three viewing sides.

I haven’t really noticed any disadvantages. I like being able to see and reach inside the chamber. It’s easier to maintain than a canister.

That said, it’s really up to you.
THIS IS GREAT!!! I just ordered the 24.6 gal Lifeguard AIO.

I think I may go with the Radion Freshwater XR15 G5 Light. I am familiar with that brand in the salt world so I feel comfortable and I don't know any of the fresh water brands.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Not sure that I understand your intention with that remark but it reads as defensive coming from someone asking for help. Hopefully I misinterpreted it.
I was being a bit of a jerk. I apologize as I assumed you were being one too. I get it, people don't do their research, throw out thoughts and you never hear from them again. I am the opposite. I did saltwater for 15 years and had 30k invested in a system that had was fully automated, had a sump room that was 13' x 13' that was amazing. I know what goes into having a tank and have been researching fresh water, planted, Low/Hi Tech... for over a month and regardless of my thoughts, I need and want to hear from people that have experience. "Read first and then ask questions to get clarification" is a typical response people give on the salt forums, I have seen it for years and those people are usually not the coolest. We got off on the wrong foot. Again I apologize.

I really liked the thread you sent. I have skimmed though it, and I will read it with more detail later. I loved how he built acrylic boxes for his filter media that can be quickly/easily removed. Very clever.

I actually have a 30 gal AIO that I used for a QT tank back in the day. It was an always on tank that I only used to QT all my fish. I kept all my fish in that tank for 30 days after they were for sure eating and without disease before I put them in my display. I don't want to use that because I want a rimless, but I wanted to hear from people that have used a AIO before I made a purchase. I purchased my tank today.

I am going to get my light soon, but I anticipate that it will be 3 months before I put water in it. I have a lot to learn. I will start my hardscape soon, but anticipate I will redo it over and over again, until I find the pieces I like and a look I like. The tank is so small, I am afraid it will be difficult to get a multi zone aquascape, but I am going to try.

Before I pull the trigger, I will have everything setup and ready. I will have all hardware installed, I will have a solution for ATO, how/where I will make RO water in my warehouse, how I will do maintenance/water changes... Once I have all that done and have set looking at the tank for a couple weeks, then I will move forward. The reason is, if I don't have a good plan, then I will make a mistake or be unhappy with my setup and tear it out/start over and I don't want to do that. ALSO, I have ZERO knowledge on Plants and or fish. I know marine and corals, but not freshwater.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
By office cabinet, do you mean you don't have access to going around the side or behind the cabinet? That's how most people do it, so I am guessing you mean this is a long counter top and the tank is somewhere in the middle? If you look at my shallow tank journal (in my signature) you can see that its possible to put a canister filter next to a tank, but it will be very obviously next to it. I hide mine behind some wood but that might not be feasible for you. A 1" hole might be enough to squeeze your hoses through if you are using 3/8 tubing (which has an outside diameter of 1/2 inch). Likely for 20 gallon tank you will want more standard 5/8" tubing which has an outside diameter of 3/4 so a single 1" hole is likely not enough. 2 and you would be golden.

Its not that all in one systems are unheard of in freshwater tanks, but rather most people are chasing an aesthetic that uses a clear back pane of glass. One of my first planted tanks was a fluval spec v which uses an all in one type filter system. Its definitely doable, but its also very limiting.

As for where to put tubing. You can just put the lily pipes on the back if it bothers you. Most tanks are designed to be viewed primarily from the front and not 3+ sides. Having the tubing on the sides is usually easier for maintenance purposes.

Most people do not bother with auto top off systems on freshwater because you need to be doing 50+% water changes each week (that's usually the minimum, I try to do 70-90%). So if your water drops an inch or 2 during the week its not a big deal, you will be doing water change too soon for it to matter.
Yeah, it is a long counter and the tank will be somewhere in the middle. I am going to go with the AIO because I am familiar with that style and it will be good for the space. Thank you so much for all your help. I hope you continue to offer your support.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
My Waterbox is AIO. It‘s great. It’s a peninsula style so the chamber is on a short side so the display is clear on three viewing sides.

I haven’t really noticed any disadvantages. I like being able to see and reach inside the chamber. It’s easier to maintain than a canister.

That said, it’s really up to you.
Do you have a build thread for your tank? I have searched here for AIO tanks and there are not any recent ones and the only real one was recommended to me on this thread?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
67 Posts
I don’t have a build thread. Just lazy, lol. I was also frustrated when setting up because I didn’t see much out there on these types of tanks, especially since it is peninsula-shaped.

Honestly, though, it hasn’t been that different from other tanks I’ve set up — just a bit neater.

The only thing I’ve had to do is set up a smart plug with a switch that turns off the heater when ever I turn of the pump. I forgot once and the chamber the heater was in overheated and cracked the false wall. It didn’t affect the structural integrity of the tank, but I did have to drain and seal the crack. But you may not be a space case like me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have an old Apex controller from my salt days so I will remember to program that in so the same doesn’t happen to me.

TBH, a lot of the info seems to be old and you are right there is only 1 build thread with our kind of tank which is the one noted above from @mourip , from what I saw.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top