03-07-2006, 05:00 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: South Central Idaho, USA
iTrader Positive Rating: 100%
| | Need advice for monster tank
OK, I'm hoping that this thread can be a running set of ideas to help me clarify some hardware choices for an upcoming endeavor. It's finally time to get some of it down on paper........LOL...........or computer screen.
Bigger is always better, right?
I'm planning on building a 'dream' tank this summer. This has been brewing in my head for a long time and it looks like I'll be in a position soon to make it happen. Large bowfronts caught my attention a few months ago, but I think I'm over that now. It looks like I'll go with an 8'x2'x2' - 240 gallon. It will be glass, for sure and will have a cover. This really isn't an option with all the kids and other pets in the house.
I'm planning a DIY lighting hood with AH Supply stuff - probably 12 - 55 W 6,700K PC's for a total of 2.75 wpg. I'd run the lights sequentially so that they're all on for only a few hours a day. It would be an effective noon burst which I believe will keep the higher demand plants (like HC) happy without letting things get too out of hand. I'm planning on a light box that has a piano hinge lengthwise. This would allow me to swing the front 1/3 of the light box up and away while working in the tank.
A CO2 controller and a 20 lb cylinder are in the works. I'll probably use a DIY 3" PVC reactor driven by an external pump to handle the CO2 and provide extra circulation. I'm open to ideas about how to keep a good current going throughout the whole tank.
At present I'm leaning toward 2 large canister filters instead of a sump-type system. Big Eheims seem to be a good choice since I have the most experience with their stuff. I'll probably use 2 in-line heaters or just thermo Eheims if they come big enough.
For hardscape I'm leaning towards a heavily terraced look. I envision a fairly large foreground at the full 24" depth, with the midground regions elevated maybe 4-6" above that. The back corners will be up about 10-12". This will make it easier to reach since it's already going to be bad enough. I'll never be able to get away completely from stem plants and this will allow me some well-planned areas to put them that aren't too hard to get to. The terraces themselves will be built up with permanent rockwork. It might not still look good after a few months, but at least it will be stable. There will be a hefty amount of driftwood too - probably manzanita. I'm still trying to devise a good way to take up the dead space under the elevated areas so that I don't end up with 10" of substrate in the corners. It would also be nice if the substrate will stay up where it belongs.
I'm totally open to ideas when it comes to an easy way to drain and refill the tank. I'll probably continue with 50% weekly WC's.
I'm also open to ideas when it comes to which substrate to use. My criteria are dark color, inert chemical properties, small enough grains to handle HC, and longevity - it needs to last at least 5 years. I don't want to mix 2 types of substrate since they inevitably get mixed up after not too long. My only experience to date is with Flourite. There are rumors that Seachem will be introducing Black Flourite soon. I've never tried Onyx sand, but where I'm going the water is already quite hard (GH 15+). ADA's Amazonia is also tempting. Does it hold up well over time?
Fish will be 20-24 congo tetras, 15 columbian tetras or something similar (praecox 'bows?), and maybe 30 or 40 rummies. I'll probably have 4-6 german blue rams or other dwarf chiclids. They probably won't have any trouble getting along in a tank that size. Otos will have algae duty with maybe SAE's, but I worry about them getting too big. I'll probably also go with a school of marble hatchets and a school of small corries to keep all the zones occupied.
Whaddya think? Am I nuts? I'll journal the whole thing here so you can laugh and cry along with me.........
Last edited by BryceM; 03-07-2006 at 05:06 PM..