205 gallon planted discus/community tank build

chrisaggie

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Sep 1, 2017
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Stagecoach, TX
I recently picked up a used 205g tank (36"x44"x30") and 90g sump (32"x36"x18"). The tank is a hybrid tank with PVC bottom, glass walls, and acrylic top bracing. The tank is drilled for a closed loop system which I plan to plug and not use. The overflow is in the middle of one of the 36" side so the tank was designed to be used as a peninsula tank and viewed from 3 sides which I plan to utilize. The sump has two ~15-20 g partitioned off areas which I am thinking I will use to breed Apistogrammas in, but we will see. The tank also came with a metal stand but after examining it when getting it home I decided to scrap it and build my own wood stand (36" tall). I plan to use the EI fertilization method with a dosing pump (Jebao DP-4). This is one of the main reasons I wanted to start a build thread on this forum as it seems I can get the most help here ( and this forum seems more technical than most). I will follow the EI method closely at first using dry fertilizers and 50% weekly water changed and adjust as needed. I will likely use 50/50 RO/tap for the water but could use help with this, my well water TDS is around 350. I plan to use CO2 with a Matheson dual stage regulator, Ideal needle valve, and Rex Grigg Style reactor. I decided to go big on the reactor. Last night I built most of it and it is 4" diameter pvc and 28" tall. It will be plumbed into the return plumbing between the sump and tank with a Jebao DCP-6500 pump. The drain from the tank with be a herbie overflow and the water will run through 200 micron filter socks. I have 15lbs of pumice to use in bags as media in the sump. The lighting will be 4 x 50w 6000-6500k 5000lm 60 degree flood lights. I initially bought a 120 degree flood light to test and thought the spread on it was just too much to punch through 30" of water. We will see if the ones I got can handle the task. I will likely use some kind of wavemaker in the tank also as this type of flow is very energy efficient as compared to flow from the return pump. I plan to use a drop checker to monitor CO2 but realize there are better ways to do this. I have dry manzanita wood I need to begin water logging. I think I will use sand (not sure about tan pool filter sand or black blasting sand yet but am leaning tan sand. I may use osmocote plus tabs on heavy feeding plants if needed. I plan to make my own discus food with a base of beef, beed heart, shrimp, and fish. I am just finishing the stand base and plan to put the tank on the stand soon. Once the tank is on the stand I plan to try to buff some minor scratches out of the inside of the glass. Once the tank is up and running livestock could include discus, apistogrammas, tetras, corys, loaches (do I want snails? I was thinking no), farowellas, rams, siamese algae eaters, ottos, plecos, gobies, etc. I will try to update frequently during the build.

Any and all opinions/thoughts are welcome and appreciated.

Chris

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Christophe

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I plan to use CO2 with a Matheson dual stage regulator, Ideal needle valve, and Rex Grigg Style reactor. I decided to go big on the reactor. Last night I built most of it and it is 4" diameter pvc and 28" tall. It will be plumbed into the return plumbing between the sump and tank with a Jebao DCP-6500 pump. The drain from the tank with be a herbie overflow and the water will run through 200 micron filter socks.
The reactor seems like it should be up to it -- don't put it inline with your return, it will kill your flow throughput. You've got a big sump, plenty of room for a separate pump circuit for the reactor. Just return it directly to your main return pump's intake.

I use a Herbie overflow also, utterly trouble-free and silent. The whole system, pumps and all, is quieter than a canister that has only a third the throughput of the big system.

I have 15lbs of pumice to use in bags as media in the sump. The lighting will be 4 x 50w 6000-6500k 5000lm 60 degree flood lights. I initially bought a 120 degree flood light to test and thought the spread on it was just too much to punch through 30" of water. We will see if the ones I got can handle the task. I will likely use some kind of wavemaker in the tank also as this type of flow is very energy efficient as compared to flow from the return pump. I plan to use a drop checker to monitor CO2 but realize there are better ways to do this.
Don't overkill the lighting, especially starting out.

You'll find a drop checker way too slow to respond, especially in this big of a system. Probably be hard to read also, depending on lighting and the background stuff around your tank. A pH probe is fully worth it, and it can live in your sump too. Less junk in the tank!

Looks like a great setup! Looking forward to seeing it develop.
 

chrisaggie

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Sep 1, 2017
22
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Stagecoach, TX
I washed the 15lbs of pumice tonight and put them in the three media bags. It ended up being about 3.5 gallons of pumice. I think it should work out nice. I also need to make a small bracket to mount the electric switch panel under the stand.

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chrisaggie

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Sep 1, 2017
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Stagecoach, TX
Update:

I moved the tank in the house and put it on the stand about a week and a half ago. This was a chore since the tank will only fit through the door flipped on it's side. I spend a few days shimming the plywood under the tank to make sure it all sat flush. I also buffed the inside of the glass with heavy duty rubbing compound.

I wired lights under the stand. One light that will run on the main light timer and another set of lights on a switch that I can turn on/off to work under the tank.

I filled the tank with water 90% to make sure everything was good, no leaks. Drained the tank to continue work.

A few nights ago I moved the sump under the tank...holy cow that thing is big! The sump takes up the majority of the room under the tank.

Since moving the sump in I have been working on the plumbing. I plumbed the 1.5" main drain line with a gate valve that will handle 99% of the drain flow through a 200 micron filter sock. The 1" drain is the emergency overflow for the herbie style drain and will only handle <1% of the flow under normal conditions.

After plumbing the drains I have been working on the return plumbing through the CO2 reactor. I need to make a trip to the hardware store for a couple pvc parts tomorrow to finish.

I have included one pic but will post an update later this week with several more pics.

tank w sump.JPG
 
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Greggz

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Very cool. Look forward to seeing where this goes.

And my initial thought is that you better have some LONG arms!!:D
 
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Phishless

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Long arms and what about lighting???

Are those evil looking fish in the painting on the wall? Looks way cool!
 
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chrisaggie

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Sep 1, 2017
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Lighting is planned to be 4x50w (5000 lumen each) led flood lights. I believe par should be around 50-60 at the substrate.

Yes, that is fish art behind the tank made of nails. They don't look evil when you see it (but I see what you mean about that). It needs to move walls.
 

Kyalgae

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Lighting is planned to be 4x50w (5000 lumen each) led flood lights. I believe par should be around 50-60 at the substrate.

Yes, that is fish art behind the tank made of nails. They don't look evil when you see it (but I see what you mean about that). It needs to move walls.


20k lumens! How far above the tank will they be?
 

Greggz

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Lighting is planned to be 4x50w (5000 lumen each) led flood lights. I believe par should be around 50-60 at the substrate.

Yes, that is fish art behind the tank made of nails. They don't look evil when you see it (but I see what you mean about that). It needs to move walls.
50/60 PAR? I can tell you this, guessing is just that, a guess. The thing is, at maybe 50/60 PAR, it is right on borderline of most higher tech/higher light plants vs. lower tech/lower light plants. What are you planning for? We talk about Ferts and CO2 all the time, but the amount of light drives everything else.
 

chrisaggie

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Sep 1, 2017
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Stagecoach, TX
Greggz, I figure this tank will be medium light level tank at the substrate. I will have quite a bit of driftwood off the bottom that will get higher light. Honestly I am going in to this without too much of a plant plan (besides trying to keep higher temp plants for discus) and I will just figure out what works as I go. Like you say, I will have to get the lights on the tank first and see what the lighting is like.