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First Larger Planted Tank - 120G

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by marmot74, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. marmot74

    marmot74 Junior Poster

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    Hey Guys,

    I've had a few smaller planted tanks but am now moving to a larger tank and am looking for some help on equipment.

    Tank: 120g (48X24x24).
    Substrate: Mostly Eco-Complete
    Filters: Eheim 2026 + 2028 (Is this enough?)
    Light: Only have PC but I have 3 strips of 65x2 each for a total of 290watts (too much?)

    CO2: Not sure what to do here. I have a cylinder and gauge but I only 2 rhino 5000's for diffusers. Will this work or would I be better off using 2 inline diffusers on the canisters? I assume I would need a dual manifold with 2 bubble counters correct?

    Thanks
    Mike
     
  2. marmot74

    marmot74 Junior Poster

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    No insight from the Plant Guru's! Need help guys! :p
     
  3. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Mike

    Hi Mike

    I would think your Eheim filters should be sufficient, though I tend to think the more filtration the better. I also tend to think that the higher water turnover rate the better, well I wouldn't exceed 25 times an hour!:rolleyes:

    You might wish add a powerhead or two.

    The lighting really isn't over the top.

    How much control do you have over the lighting? Can you turn the bulbs on and off independently?

    I think you may wish to upgrade your CO2 diffusers. You really have a lot of options. In this size of tank I like inline systems and/or external reactor. Really depends on your budget and/or how much of a do-it-yourself person you are.

    The bigger the tank the more important I think it is to 'over plant' from the beginning. Plenty of fast growing plants that you can remove as others grow.

    Make sure you have design going in, make sure you understand your hardscape design. Before you get things going is the time to put in dividers, decide where pots or planters are going, how and where you are going to hide the plumbing.

    Have fun!:cool:

    Biollante
     
  4. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    A larger tank does require a bit more of almost everything so keep this in mind..

    So, I think you have 390 watts at 3 x (2x65w). Is this correct? I would think you may need only one or two of these strips at most.

    Suspending the fixtures so they can be raised/lowered as desired will also help in the future........

    Light is what drives plant growth and c02 and nutrient demand. The more light the more demand. Easier to supply a lower amount of c02 when starting out.

    A lot depends on your goals and the species of fish and plants kept. What are your goals? Do you want a lot of growth or not? Many fish or just a few? Stem plants or no?

    Eheims are great filters but tend to be rated optimistically (like most canisters). Adding another filter will never really hurt but I think you have enough now:) You can always add another one..

    Is the tank bottom drilled or not? If so, you can have a nice closed loop system and plumb it all together so it is hidden.

    A Koralia II or III model powerhead will help with flow and current to wash away waste products and provide nutrients to all plant sections......

    I would use either a large DIY reactor (or two one on each side) powered by a 300-500 gph (or smaller if using 2) or possibly a needle wheel/mist setup which then allows you to step down to a Koralia I or II only to help push the mist output around the tank. Since the needle wheel is already a powerhead, it allows for more flow.

    8-10 hours duration is fine for your lights. No need really for more.

    C02 can come on 90 minutes PRIOR to lights on. C02 can go off 45-60 minutes PRIOR to lights off. Pointing a powerhead at the surface to create a nice ripple will help add 02 to the water and alleviate any stress from playing with the c02...........I have a small Koralia 24/7 that does this to provide surface ripple in my 180.

    You can always add more light if the growth is too slow..

    I had excellent slow/full growth using 240 watts of t12 lighting over my 180 and using an AM1000 reactor. Mostly crypts, anubias, java, moss, etc. Your PC will be fine.

    C02 will be your biggest issue going forward. Think about maintenance too and how much time you will have to give the tank. An easy way to make your weekly water changes will be huge or they get neglected.

    As the tank cycles and matures, you will see how it does and react accordingly. Best of luck.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. marmot74

    marmot74 Junior Poster

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    Thanks for all the feedback guys!

    Probably going to go the external reactor way for the CO2. keeps more stuff out of the tank that way as well.

    Maintenance isn't a big concern as I am always messing around with my tanks anyways :D The wife thinks its a disease!

    As for the 2 eheims how would you place the spray bars in a tank of that size?

    Oh, I also have a couple Koralia's I will be using so no worries there.
     
  6. hydrophyte

    hydrophyte Prolific Poster

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    I don't have much experience at all--and even less with large tanks--so I can't offer much informed advice. But it sounds like you are on the right track. I agree with those previous points about lighting and filtration. It seems those filters should be adequate. You can just add powerheads if you need more flow.

    Do you have an idea of what kinds of plants you will include? It would be great to see some pictures.
     
  7. marmot74

    marmot74 Junior Poster

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    Still trying to figure out what plants I want. I love Tiger Lily's so definitely one of those. I have a big mother plant that grows like mad already. Got some very different species of swords as well, a few large ones with leaves that are 12-18 inches long. I want to do some other nice colorful plants but not sure.

    Any ideas for foreground plants?
     
  8. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Planning

    Hi Mike,

    The more specific you are the easier it is to help.

    What do you want? What does your significant other want?

    Is this a major display tank for you? Do you have a fantasy tank in mind? What does your fantasy tank look like?

    What kind of Swords? These can be real monsters, great to build a tank around or dwarf and overwhelm the main attraction.

    Personally, I am a surface skimmer kind of plant, great oxygenation without disruption to the surface, clean look with a higher filtration you can pull water not just from the surface but all along the water column as you please, me I pull about 20 -40% off the surface, the rest deep with my Tiger Lilies for instance.

    I am not so sure about drilling the bottom of the tank, often-tempered glass there. However, I certainly think it is worth considering drilling the back to hide the plumbing and avoid the use of siphons or things cluttering the background.

    The use of external reactor(s) is, in my opinion anyway, a good choice. The Koralias are a great choice for extra circulation and not bad choice for directing the output of one or more CO2 reactors.

    Planning the location of rocks, pots, wood and location of plants, especially the large ones makes it easier to plan for and deal with circulation issues. Folks have all this wonderful high priced equipment then end up with areas they can’t get CO2 or other nutrients to, that with some planning they could have avoided. Hide plumbing under the substrate to provide flow to potential problem areas in and around rocks and wood, while maintaining balanced circulation. It is amazing how many algae problems can be avoided by a directed flow CO2 rich water across a bare rock face.:)

    At this stage, you can glue down things that might shift. Acrylic strips easily bent and shaped as dividers glued to allow the use of multiple substrates, to benefit various plants rather than a one-size fits all approach.;)

    Planning now can make water changes and general maintenance much easier and increase your chance of success. As Gerry said, “a larger tank does require a bit more of almost everything.”:)

    Biollante
     
  9. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    You know, if you're trying to keep crap out of the tank, an in-line heater would be a nice step. I picked one up for my new tank :D

    For the plumbing, please don't drill the tempered glass; at that size of tank, it's almost always tempered IME. Instead, try piping down both the intake and output in one corner, then running a network of loc-line under the gravel, piping water in and out of areas that will keep good movement throughout stands of plants. It's hard to beat better CO2 distribution than blowing it right up from inside masses of plants.

    -Philosophos
     
  10. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    inline heaters and other musings

    The hydor inline heaters are ok, but suffer from the same issue you'll see with the AM1000 CO2 reactors. Namely limited flow due to small inlet/outlets. The older Fireplugs are nice if you can find them as they have larger ( somewhat ) openings. If you want something that can do more flow you'll likely need to go the DIY route. This would likely either be larger size PVC pipes with larger openings with the heater inside a compression fitting or you could place the heaters in a sump. One nice idea I've seen has the heaters in the sump using compression fittings so only the heater element is in the sump and all wiring is outside away from the water which nearly guarantees no water seepage into the heater.

    Pretty much any of the larger tanks 75G and up will have a tempered bottom unless it specifically states otherwise. I've heard that it is "technically" possible to drill one. I also have heard that it's technically possible for the federal government to be fiscally responsible. Both are ideas mythical beasts. Keep the sharp pointy things away from the tank bottom. You're just asking for the bottom glass to do the magic trick where it does its impression of rock salt and empties your wallet.

    The idea of the lokline under the substrate is a good one and probably one that I'll swipe when the time comes. I've heard of some people laying down pipe grids under the substrate to do the same thing. Just pump the CO2 rich water in and you should get a nice flow of it welling up from under the "soil". Depending on the substrate this could just make a cloudy mess though.

    For a nice sword you can try one of the Reuben Swords. Nice plant, reddish brown. BIG though. The ones I've seen will easily take up a 18" square area, or more, if you let them spread out fully.

    -
    S





     
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