| | Converting a reef...
Well, after 15 years of keeping freshwater fish, and 7 or 8 keeping reef tanks I have finally decided to try setting up a planted tank. Well, actually, I didnít plan on it; I found this site by accident and fell in love with some of the tanks I saw here. I am in the process of taking down my 100 gallon reef tank to set up a larger reef. I had promised to sell my old tank to someone, but then I found this site and decided this would make a nice planted tank.
I really donít know much about planted tanks. The only live plants Iíve ever had were some Java Moss I used in some breeding tanks, so I start from scratch here. First let me describe the equipment I have and then you can tell me what I can keep and what I need to get rid of for this setup. The tank is a 100 gallon (60x18x22) glass tank. There are two 1.5Ē bulkheads drilled into the bottom of the tank, one in each back corner. There are inside a corner overflow so they canít be seen inside the tank. The overflows drain into a 33 gallon sump where I have my heater, skimmer, calcium reactor, probes, etc. Water is pumped from the sump back to the tank by a Blueline 40-HD-X pump (about 1100 GPH). There is a second identical pump running a closed loop on the tank for extra circulation. The lighting consists of three metal halides, and 250 watt in the center and a 175 watt on each end. There are also four 60Ē VHOís running actinics.
Now for what I can keep and what I need to get rid of to convert this to a planted tank. First, from the reading I have done here so far, it seems the sump needs to go so I can keep the CO2 levels up. Thatís fine. What I thought I could do was remove the sump and plumb the tank again. This time I would connect the two drains together under the tank and then hook that up to the pump. The output on the pump could go through a couple of custom built canisters I can build for any filter media I need, and then be returned to the tank. This would turn it into a closed loop so I wouldnít loose the CO2 in the sump. The second pump would be removed because I doubt the plants or the fish would like 2000 GPH flow inside the tank.
For the lighting I thought about leaving the two 175 watt metal halides and removing everything else. This would give me 3.5 watts per gallon. I know this would require CO2, but I already have a spare tank and regulator from my calcium reactor.
This is about as far as Iíve gotten in the planning so far. Iíve still got a lot of reading and planning to do before I start any work on the tank, but I would like your input on what I have so far. Thanks for taking the time to read all this and I look forward to showing you what I have set up in a few months.