Its been a long time coming. This tank has gone through a lot of variations to get here. While planning it was first a 120 gallon Rimless Custom Tank
. Then it was a 150 gallon Dart Frog Vivarium
, and now its a 78 gallon UNS 120P. That's not even counting all the sub-variations like when it was going to be made out of concrete
, or when I was planning for natives only biotope. Its been a ride!
Why all the changes? Well at first I went as big as I thought I could in the planning stages but The Wife was unhappy (too big). Then I switched to dart frogs because of maintenance issues (but the darn DIY tank leaked and I couldn't get it under control without tearing it apart). And then the siren call of a large planted aquascape was too strong, but now I have a stand that would only support a 75 gallon so a UNS 120P instead of the 120 gallon custom I originally planned for. I'm not upset about the downsizing, ultimately I think I will be happier with the smaller tank.
For filtration I'm thinking of using one Fluval FX4 with an inline heater and a rex griggs style reactor. Also using stainless steel lily pipes with a built in skimmer (I actually already own these from my previous 40 Breeder Quarantine Tank
). I'd prefer to go with an Oase to get access to the pre-filter but I am not convinced even their 850 is strong enough and that puppy is almost twice as much as a FX4 and inline heater combined. My biggest concern is noise level, I'd like to keep this tank quiet. I briefly considered a sump with a hang on the back overflow but ditched the idea due to watching videos of those critters and noticing just how noisey they were.
Why not just drill the tank? Photography mostly. I would like the option of entering this tank into the AGA Contest and that means I need the back of the tank free of holes, overflow boxes, etc.
Substrate will be aquasoil capped with sand. I plan to build up the substrate a LOT with bags of lava rock. Possibly something in the neighborhood of 20 bags of lava rock... Yeah I plan for the substrate to reach 3/4 of the way to the top of the tank in places.
Fertilizer will either be dry ferts mixed and added once a week or it will be Thrive added once a week. I already own a bunch of dry ferts for PPS-Pro method for when I was running my 40 Breeder tank, but that tank failed so spectacularly I'm not sure I want to try to shoehorn that into a once a week dosing regimen.
Lighting is DIY...ish. I've had the idea of using conduit and regular screw in light bulbs to create tank lighting for a long time now. I previously was interested in BLASTING as high a light as possible and to that end I tested a bunch of bulbs
. But after operating my High Tech Newt Tank
for a few months using the upper ranges of low light, I really got to enjoy the slower pace and much easier maintenance of a low light tank. So for this tank I'm thinking of aiming squarely at medium light. Since I already owned the pendant fixtures for this endevour I just needed to buy some steel plumbing pipes and walla, tank lighting all figured out:
The bulbs are currently 31 inches from the concrete stand top. At that range I am getting about 28 ppfd in the 'corners' of where the tank will be, and 60 ppfd in the dead center. That said, I will probably be changing out at least one of the current bulbs and replacing it with a smart bulb. Currently I'm running two 10w Sansi
bulbs, and one (likely 20w but listed as 100w) Grow Bulb
. The SANSI bulbs I am pretty happy with but the Grow Bulb is a bit too bright for what I'm aiming for and will likely replace that one. I'm hoping to hit 30 to 45 ppfd throughout at substrate level.
The tank itself??? Backordered... le sigh.
I have ordered it from one of the online folks who informed me they expect the tank in the next 5 weeks. So hopefully by early March I will be starting to setup the hardscape.
Speaking of tank interiors... my vision so far is an amazon tank with mostly (all?) plants native to the region but not a 'true biotope'. I am thinking I want angel fish and corydoras (though the wife saw a picture of a discus and started making googly eyes.... was not thinking that would happen... we will see!