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My 90G Planted

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Jim Miller, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'll try not to spatter my stuff around as much and put everything here. I don't have the tank yet (eta Jan 4) so I'll summarize everthing I've decided for now and post pix as I get them.

    The tank is a nominal 90g (48Lx24hx18d), 3/4" Starphire rimless with the "back" bottom corners drilled and fitted with 1.5" bulkheads. All plumbing is underneath the tank driven by a Velocity T4 pump, View attachment 2016

    Filter is a Nu-Clear 522 canister with carbon removed and replaced by Eheim Substrat Pro. Heater is ETH300. CO2 is 20lb tank into two stage regulator, Clippard mouse solenoid and either a NV55 or a simple barb if the mouse is pulsed; check valve of course. Reactor is 20"x2" DIY. Light is Catalina 4xT5HO switched to allow 1,2,3 or four bulbs to be lit. Normally only the two outer bulbs will be lit with 6500K. Light mounted atop legs over open top tank.

    Plumbing is done as follows in words, diagram when I can find a suitable tool eventually:

    Bulkhead (BH) 1.5" -- Ball Valve (BV) 1.5" -- Union (U) 1.5" -- Reducer 1" -- FlexPVC 1" -- T4 Pump input (mounted vertically)
    T4 Pump out -- Flex 1 -- BV 1 -- U 1 -- Canister In
    Canister Out -- U 1 -- Manifold Y 1x1x1
    Main line from manifold -- BV 1 -- Flex 1 -- Manifold Y 1x1x1.5 -- Long radius 90 elbow upwards 1.5 -- U 1.5 -- BV 1.5 -- Return Bulkhead 1.5

    The other line from the 1x1x1 Manifold feeds the vertical heater/co2 siding as follows:
    From the manifold:
    Flex 1 -- BV 1 -- 5/8" barb -- 5/8" hose -- ETH300 -- 5/8" hose long radius 180 -- input on top of reactor
    Reactor out -- Flex 1 -- U 1 -- BV 1 -- other input of combining Manifold 1x1x1.5.

    This arrangement allows removal of canister if desired for service if necessary. Also allows for removal of CO2/heater and still run filter.

    Flow will divide at 1x1x1 manifold Y into direct return and siding legs with flow limited naturally by 5/8 restriction at ETH. Flow will be recombined from siding and main line via 1x1x1.5 manifold.

    Long radius 1.5 PVC elbow limits loss and is the only major turn on the main loop. Only slight alignment bends made by FlexPVC will exist on main loop. The initial big vertical to horizontal turn is done by vertically mounting the pump. Horizontal pump output in this arrangement naturally aligns with the canister input.

    I'm sure all this will be much clearer in a diagram.

    Stand is a 2" sq tubular welded steel topped with 3/4" plywood covered with a 1/2" sheet of homasote as a buffer. Stand interior bottom to be 3/4" plywood.

    Stand exterior will be four separate cherry face frames finished in tung oil, magnetically attached. Google Sketchup here: http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/details?mid=a50dae8b9f6fc4e76f5eed2f86cabe38

    Tank inlet flow to be managed via Loclines, TBD. Tank outlet flow 6"x1.5" strainer.

    Substrate MTS capped with Florite Black Sand. Mineralizing starts 12/19/10! Woo hoo! Followed by a month or so of DSM.

    Drain via hose to outside and fill via showerhead fitting. The usual PVC over the tank edge siphon cut for 25% length used for WC. Full tank drain or plumbing drain via hose fitting on Nu-Clear.

    Flora, fauna TBD.

    Comments and suggestions welcomed.

    Jim
     
    #1 Jim Miller, Dec 17, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2010
  2. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Jim,

    A few random thoughts if you don't mind....You DID ask lol

    Lighting:

    1) What about using conduit to hang your fixture and allow easy height adjustment? Is not hard to do as I understand it and you seem capable :) Esp with T5HO that is some powerful lights. Mounted on the tank, will be pretty high PAR values I bet.

    2. I think you will find that 2 bulbs will be more than enough light to grow whatever you want.

    Plumbing:

    A). A diagram of ANY sort would in fact help a lot :) Thanks goodness I have detailed out a more complex schema the same way you have, so I understand the dialect lol

    1). When reducing to 1" for the pump intake esp, try and do so as close to the pump as possible. Use 1.5" as much as possible.

    2). How about a ball valve after the union on the pump outlet side? You will want this if you DON'T do it :) trust me.

    3). I understand flowing the pump outlet to the NC and THEN splitting it. But again, flow to the stuff further downstream will get reduced flow, esp as the filter clogs, and it will :) Is another reason I chose parallel over serial.

    4). Remember that warmer water holds less c02. If the heater is PRIOR to the reactor you will have two issues:

    a). You will use more c02 to get the same effect than if the heater was not present. Maybe not noticeable, but less optimal IMO.

    b). The reactor performance is going to be limited by the throughput of the heater. Not sure that will be enough to feed such a large reactor as you have.

    5). You may want to plumb your tank drain into the main line input to the pump. Just T it off and use hose, BV, and cap it. You'll be waiting awhile using the NC drain.

    6). How about ball valves on the return(s)? Again may seem like overkill, but is nice to shut these off if needed.

    Not sure I get this????

    Stand:

    1) Sounds sweet and was what I would like to do for my 180, and use very nice hardwood to make it a really nice piece of furniture as well. I like the magnetic holder idea, makes it easy to remove the panels for maint and keep them pristine...

    Pump:

    1). Make sure that the pump can handle being throttled back, either via choice (BV) or filter clogging. Running in series, you will have backpressure simply due to the amount of components and line reduction downstream. This can affect overflow flow thru your system considerably, notwithstanding the caution you have exercised to avoid bends and elbows.

    Sounds good so far. I expect it will turn out nicely. Keep us posted.
     
    #2 Gerryd, Dec 17, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2010
  3. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Gerry

    First, does anyone know of an easy to use free drawing/diagramming program for the PC (not Paint) which I could use to do the diagramming of the plumbing? Couldn't find one last night.

    Lighting: The extra two bulbs and ballasts were sorta free and that's why I got them. It's a four bulb fixture and the ones I plan to use are the outer ones for coverage spread. I really don't plan on using more than two unless I suspend it higher. Two gives me "medium" light on the Hoppy chart. If I get too rapid plant growth for my tastes I'll actually knock it down a bit by raising it somehow or putting some screening on it. I don't really want to be trimming or cleaning algae every week. The downside of the magnetically attached wooden surround is that I'm not sure it would work well with the bent conduit suspension arms. The current location would allow for wall attachment so that's a possiblity.

    The pump intake being vertical and directly below the 1.5" tank outlet will have as short a piece of 1" line as practical. I don't expect it to be more than a couple of inches.

    I forgot the ball valve after the pump. Thanks! I actually want to avoid using the 1.5" valves as much as possible since they're the "emergency all stop" points of last resort. At 1.5" they're a pain to turn and no doubt will stress the bulkheads a bit when doing so.

    I'd rather take the hit on reduced flow from splitting than get the heater and reactor full of "stuff." I'll keep the filter clean. Frankly it's a monster compared to the tank size and I've made as easy as possible to keep clean. Shame on me if I don't pay attention!

    I don't think the heater placement will affect the reactor effectiveness enough to matter. The placement of the heater before the reactor simplifies that part of the plumbing. The reactor length is overkill but the stand is high so why not use the length. The flow through the 5/8 is what would have happened if I had gone with the Eheim anyway. This is a pretty small tank for the flow rate I'll likely get so there will be plenty of CO2 injection going on I think. I can always parallel them on the siding if it's a problem.

    Both the main return line and the reactor siding have ball valves so everything can be removed. Need to get the drawing program to make things clearer. Again I didn't want to be cranking on the 1.5" valves if possible so I thought I had everything shut off there. I'll check again.

    The PVC thingy is just a hang-over-the-edge-of-the-tank siphon that everyone seems to build. TB has one somewhere on the site. I'll get this built sometime this week and take a pic. It will be sized for 25% siphon break to make it easy to get that amount of WC. In my location I can either drain into the shower basin or outside to the shrub beds(brrr). The shower is where I'll get the fill water. Already have all the fittings for that. Got a nice flexible 50ft hose dedicated to the task. We're on a well here. I need to get the water checked for a baseline. It's fairly soft for a well and we don't use any conditioner.

    I found some cherry scraps at a local sawmill and I plan to get around to trying out the tung oil on it next week. I have another woodworking project to finish for my daughter first. I got 100% tung oil and some citrus solvent to cut it with for the first application from www.realmilkpaint.com. I expect it will take 4-6 hand rubbed coats to achieve the finish I want. The $10/bd ft that yard wants is more than I expected. I found another mill about 2hrs away run by Mennonites that want $3/bd ft and will plane it to finish dimension for 30cents a foot so I'll check them out first. The nice part about individual side pieces is that I can attach them as I get them done so I'm won't gate tank bringup by my slow woodworking and finishing. I'm doing a full foursided finish to allow this to be used in a peninsula setting as well.

    I'm looking forward to getting this up and running. I plan to do a temp rise and flow test as part of my tank first fill as soon as I get it in place. I'll also check the heater and reactor performance then. Once I'm satisfied I'll drain the tank and start the DSM process.

    Thanks!

    Jim
     
    #3 Jim Miller, Dec 18, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2010
  4. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller Lifetime Charter Member
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    Plant selection and aquascape

    I'm quite likely to go through a major collectoritis phase since I seem to like everything I see. I'm a retired engineer, not an artist, but I have the benefit of having a wife with a good eye and a fineart painter daughter to help me along. However since neither of them have any aquascaping background either I suspect the collectoritis phase will be necessary before settling down to a more rational set of species.

    I have a nice load of manzanita from Tom so that's what I'll scape around. I really like vals and with a 24" high tank they'll have some room. I also like crypts. A bushy thing or two but not over grown, perhaps one with some color if it isn't fussy. For foreground I like dwarf hairgrass 'belem' but wouldn't want a huge patch of it before transitioning to either blyxa or some small crypts and some anubias. The tank will be open top rimless so I'd like to enjoy something emersed as well. Perhaps a lily...dunno.

    I'd rather an in and out appearance with a bit of organization but not a tiered hedgerow appearance. Not a dense forest but not so airy that its a see-through either. Background will be set with black signvinyl. Substrate cap will be Flourite Black Sand. So neither will be a standout if visible.

    I'll probably just try a bunch of things rather than Photoshop endlessly.

    Cleaning crew will be RCS, corys, otos and nerites and the rest of the fish will be mildmannered and plant friendly so I don't expect them to be an issue.

    Suggestions welcome.

    Thanks

    Jim
     
  5. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller Lifetime Charter Member
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    Bio Media Quantity?

    Fedex just delivered a bunch of fittings and my Nu-Clear 522. The carbon insert is a mesh bag with what looks like 1/2 gallon of carbon in it. I plan to dump out the carbon and save it and replace it with what is likely 2 liters of Eheim Substrat Pro. That's about 1/3 of what would have been in the Eheim 2078 I was previously considering. However since the primary bioreactor is the tank substrate and plants themselves I'm guessing this is ok.

    If not I can always add a Nu-Clear 547 which holds 3 gallons of media.

    Feedback needed

    Thanks

    Jim
     
  6. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Jim,

    Ultimately depends on your bio-load.

    If you have lots of fish or large fish, or add many fish at once, it is possible to induce an ammonia spike...

    Seems like overkill for a 90 for dual NC..Do you have room under there???

    Up to you, but if going in series, I would place it first, as there is less resistance through the bio canister, so less reduction of flow downstream.

    I think adding bio-material to the 522 will be fine....

    Again, based on bio-load.
     
  7. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hi Gerry

    Not sure if it would fit either! I think I'll just go with what I have for now and be mindful of the fact that the tank is the major bioreactor and ripping all the plants out or doing something screwy with the substrate may have dire consequences. I guess I could always just put a smallish Eheim stuffed full of nothing but Substrat Pro on the heater/co2 siding if I wanted more bioreactor. It could also act as flow assist on that loop.

    Fish are undercertain but most will be in the 1" domain (tetras, barbs, danios, rasboras) with a half dozen or so of the smaller rainbowfish i.e. praecox or parva, likely a mix of the two. Both of those varieties should max out around 2.5" I'll be adding one specie at a time starting with the bottom dwellers to avoid a ammonia spike. Probably a couple of months to find and introduce everything.

    Total fish-inches should be under 90 in any case which I'm not sure means anything. Sounds like WPG for bioload. ;-)

    Thanks

    Jim
     
    #7 Jim Miller, Dec 18, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2010
  8. inkslinger

    inkslinger Guru Class Expert

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  9. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'm cleverly disguised on TPT as Jim Miller, no imagination... I saw those and they're probably not bad. But my PVC is cheap and fun! PVC = Legos for adults!

    thanks

    jim
     
  10. pat w

    pat w Member

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    Try Google Sketchup and go to the Engineering Toolbox and get their plugin.

    Pat
     
  11. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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  12. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller Lifetime Charter Member
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  13. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Jim,

    What is the status overall? Do you have an ETA yet? :)
     
  14. inkslinger

    inkslinger Guru Class Expert

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    How about using the smallest bio balls an fill the center.
     
  15. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller Lifetime Charter Member
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    I'm planning on picking up the tank and stand on Jan 4; that will be a full day roundtrip to NJ and back, weather permitting... I've got some help lined up to get it out of the car and mapped out a plan to keep it safe until finally located. The rest of the plumbing parts (flexpvc, random fittings...) will be here tomorrow. I spent the last couple of days assembling things and finding random fittings I was missing. I'll get the CO2 and a few last things tomorrow. That will let me start testing the regulator build.

    First of three bags of soil is just starting it's second mineralizing cycle; first cycle took four days with a 250w heat lamp in a plastic bin in the basement. It's cold here in MD.

    I think by the time I get the tank level, stable, plumbing done and tested for leaks, flow, co2 and heat (including rise due to pump activity) and emptied back out, I should have all three bags cycled and ready for DSM. That should line up well with the first club auction of the year at the end of January. Already have the Flourite Black Sand for capping.

    I'm not making any forecasts beyond that. Can't force mother nature.

    re: bioballs, already got 2 liters of Substrat Pro.

    Thanks!

    Jim (impatiently waiting for next tuesday!)
     
  16. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller Lifetime Charter Member
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    Plumbing gets tight...

    I've done quite a bit of PVC plumbing but never in such confined quarters. Made an 18"x48" rectangle on the floor and started laying stuff out. All of the fittings start really stringing out when put together. Just placed another order for some PVC closefit nipples and some spigot/male fittings to reduce some intercoupling lengths. That will allow some of the unions to have male rather than female threads.

    Also changing from separate union and ball valves on the 1.5" feeds from the tank to true union ball valves which will make orientation easier.

    Strongly considering adding an Eheim 2078 to just add bio capacity and drive the CO2 and heater components. It has a pretty small footprint. I think I'll make provisions in the plumbing just in case but leave the siding passive for now. 2078 is overkill for this purpose but could act in a standin capacity if the primary filter pump failed and also has an electronically reducable flow rather than choking with a valve.

    Also just realized that the lack of symmetry on the Nu-Clear wrt the placement of pressure gauge and drain means it strongly favors a left to right flow under the tank.

    May have to put some of the return plumbing vertical and give up the 1.5" long sweep in favor of long turns on the 1" flexpvc.

    Tradeoffs, tradeoffs...

    Also got notice that tank is now delayed until Jan 6 due to delay in stand manufacture. No biggie.

    jim
     
  17. pat w

    pat w Member

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    You might find google SketchUp (FREE) and Engineering Toolbox's plugin usefull. You can find both HERE

    Here is a sample of a layout I been tossing around in my head that uses GLA's new diffuser and a DIY spray bar (work in progress)

    [​IMG]

    Pat
     
  18. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller Lifetime Charter Member
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    Mixed T5HO/T5NO Lower Light approach?

    Has anyone tried using a T5NO in the back where the plants are higher and closer to the lights and a T5HO in the front where the distance to the foreground "lawn" is greater?

    Seems like HO could be used front and back until the back plants neared the desired height then the rear bulb could be replaced with a less powerful NO. The dimmer light might also add to an illusion of depth. It also could be used on a slightly longer photoperiod if desired/needed and provide some "night lighting" extension for viewing.

    I wonder if that would keep the maintenance trimming of the back plants down a bit or if they would just suffer and die?

    Too much time on my hands while waiting for more fittings...also procrastinating cleaning up office for tax season...ugh

    Jim
     
  19. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller Lifetime Charter Member
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    Plumbing solved

    Redid the return portion of the plumbing putting more of the fittings in the vertical orientation. This takes a lot of pressure off the horizontal space.

    Also pulled the trigger on a 2078 for the siding to provide bio "ballast", drive the heater and CO2 reactor and act as a backup if the main filter or pump fail. The 2078 has the ability to be electronically throttled back which should be useful.

    Since the Nu-Clear will be ahead of the 2078 it should keep it quite clean and make maintenance minimal. Since the 2078 has plenty of bio capacity I'll leave the bio out of the Nu-Clear and transfer it to the 2078.

    Jim
     
  20. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller Lifetime Charter Member
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    Picked up tank and stand today. Exhausted from 8hr round trip. Tank looks geat! Coast to Coast is a class act!

    Now to find three stong backs to help get it out of the van...tomorrow.

    UPS also delivered 2078 and media today.

    Jim
     
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