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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a cross post with another forum, I wanted to post it here too because reading Guaiac_boy's journal made me determined to try out a really big tank... so here it is!

Before showing, first, a BIG thank you to GWAPA. Couldn't have done it without you guys, thank you for all of the learning in the past year, all of the coaching, and all of the help in the layout and planting of this monster, too. :)

Been up for a week. Had to do a huge water change yesterday because of some inline plumbing mistakes, hehe, but so far so good. Water is staying a little cloudy, I think it is green water waiting to explode...

Specs:

180g AGA Reef Ready tank.

2 TEK 6x39w T5 fixtures, running 8 of the 12 bulbs 9 hours a day
Pressurized CO2, 20 lb tank and Milwaukee regulator
Fed into inline loop powered by a MAGDrive 9.5
Filtration via Eheim 2260

Mineralized soil substrate capped with 3M T grade sand and 3M Accent Stone

I have yet to even think about fertilizing this tank. The mineralized soil substrate method has been used in the club many times now, and has many times resulted in tanks barely needing water column ferts, so, it is a wait and see for now.

Plants consist of:

"Low grow" Hygro
Hygrophile Corymbosa Angustifolia
Crypt Balansae
Crypt Spiralis
Crypt Parva
Crypt Wendtii 'Green Gecko'
Crypt Lucens
Crypt Willissii
Anubias Barteri
Anubias Barteri nana
Anubias Lanceolata
Bolbitis Heudulotti (sp)
Pogostemon Stellatus
Echinodorus Vesuvius

Tank shot:



Green Gecko and Lanceolata:



Center section, Anubias, Lutea, Low Grow Hygro, Parva



Echinodorus Vesuvius:

 

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Lookin' good man! I can't wait to see it at a future meeting when she's all grown in.
 

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Very nice! I love the texture of the wood - very interesting pieces. It looks like you plan on keeping mostly slow-growers. Keep an eye on that E. vesuvius. Once it starts growing it can spread everywhere in about 10 minutes. It will also become a bit too tall for the foreground, even for a 180g.

With the exception of P. stellatus, your plants shouldn't be too demanding about ferts.

Keep posting updates. It'll be fun to watch. What are your plans for fish?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh, have no fear, the vesuvius has a corner of the tank to grow out in, but isn't the foreground - the front and center section is planted with C. Parva.

Already seeing some crazy growth, and some minor algae has shown itself, about exclusively on the wood, some fine green fuzz algae. That Angustifolia is now twice as bushy, to the top of the water line, and laced with pink leaves - I never even knew it could be pink!


Well, now, fish/livestock are things I keep changing my mind on!

The ones I'm pretty sure on:

I've already got a starter crew of nerite snails in there, evntually to be about 20.

I've dropped in a bunch of cherries. Having issues with them finding the overflow with the closed loop and ending up as chum spit back out into the tank. I cut some screen and put it across the low side intake of the overflow, see if it helps.

I know I'll have Amanos. Once the cherries stabilize and look good, I'll drop in Amanos, probably 15-20.

For fish....

I'd really like a colony of dwarf neon rainbows. A local fellow in our club has some incredible stock he occasionally thins out - I have some, and am waiting for more. About a dozen in the colony will be nice.

Im leaning to Green Eye Rasbora, also called eye spot or high spot rasboras, as my second school. They are a little unusual, and hard to appreciate if you don't see them in person. Their eyes glow as brightly as the blue side of any neon, pretty neat to see.

Others:

Some otos, waiting for the tank to settle a bit more. I may be asking a certain guy about these funky little red ones he has, see if I can buy a few. ;)

Debating on plecos, maybe some bristlenose. I don't honestly know enough about plecoes to know if they are a good fit or not.

And the last one:

I got a gift from a kind friend of some absolutely incredible dwarf african cichlids. Pelvicachromis Taeniatus 'Nyete". I am about dying to put them in, and keep debating with myself because of the shrimp. My hope is the cherries get established, and then outbreed the inevitable predation, but I'm still worried about trying it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Update, week 4

Well, things are progressing pretty well! Haven't dosed a thing, tank has been up a month. Still running 8x39w in TEK fixtures 9 hours a day. Green spot Algae is hitting the glass and anubias leaves now, so I may start dosing some P soon.

I've started adding livestock. Cherry shrimp are in, about 50 of them. Hald dozen Amanos, dozen nerites, 6 otos, a small school of about 20 pygmy cories who are impossible to photo for me.

I also got my first school in place! I've been waiting a while now to get some stock from a local club mate, a really nice gentlemen who happens to have line bred the first female Preacox Rainbows that hit the states. He's been line breeding them for over a decade. His males are incredible, and his females make a lot of the males that are bought today pale in comparison. He was very short females the last few months, so I did add 4 females of decent looking stock from a LFS to round out the school. I now have 3 awesome males and 11 females.

Also added a few new plants. Echinoduros Midifleur was a nice gift from another club mate, as was the Microsorum pteropus "Fingers" or "Trident" as I guess it is being called. Both of these were brought over from ECS last year, and are rather uncommon in the states.

So... photos! My camera is slightly sub par - my photography skills horridly so. Hope these will do.

The whole Tank:


These fish are definitely not used to being in front of a lens, they are very shy yet, but here is a male and female:



And part of the group:



The Pogostemon Stellata, has grown 6" easily in the month, and showing color 12" from the water surface:



Echinodorus Midifleur. This never showed bright red leaves like this in less light. 3 new leaves in a week and a half in the 180g now, and all bright pink/red new leaves:



The new Java fern cultivar:



Echinodorus Vesuvius going crazy! At least three runners shooting out now, were none when planted:

 

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Re: Update, week 4

Haven't dosed a thing, tank has been up a month. Still running 8x39w in TEK fixtures 9 hours a day. Green spot Algae is hitting the glass and anubias leaves now, so I may start dosing some P soon.
Resist the urge to dose! Trust me, the green spot and green dust will settle down after a bit. You need more nerites in there, probably another 2 dozen or so.

It's looking good though man. :D
 

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What a fantastic tank and a wonderful selection of fish! I'm excited to watch this progress. How do you like those T5s?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Honestly Jessie, I don't see myself doing anything other than T5's unless I have to due to an odd tank size (Like the 33g cube I set up, T5's aren't readily available that small). Maybe 30"+ deep tanks would change my mind, but 24" isn't a barrier at all for these TEK fixtures.

I'm running 8x39, 312 watts. The tank is deeper than any other tank I own by a good bit. I'm running T5's, CFL, and T8's on other tanks. The TEK T5's outperform everything else by an order of magnitude.

I'm pretty darn confident I could grow almost anything in this tank in terms of light needs, and it is running what, under 1.8 wpg? For those that wouldn't make it (can't think of any considering what the Parva and Stellata are doing - not super light plants, but moderately light needy, and going bananas), I could run it 12x39, and I'm then sure I could grow it - at only 2.6 WPG.

Some examples:

The Angustifolia backfilled leaves at the bottom of originally bare stems inside a week (!!!), and the top leaves turned pink. It came out of a 2.3 wpg T8 tank, a 55g, where it would routinely drop the bottom leaves once the top shaded them.

The Stellata was 6" tall when it was planted. 12" tall now. It is showing purple 12" under the water surface. Bought from a friend with a high light tank, and it never missed a beat.

Every single crypt, including Parva, every single Anubias, have all grown new leaves - and all are doing so rapidly. The new Balansae leaves are a crazy red, and sprouting like crazy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I AM jealous now ;)

But this is exactly the input I was looking for. Thanks for sharing!!!
Not the purpose at all, sorry if it is doing that.

I'm pretty much astounded at the output of high end fixtures. I really wanted to get across how much difference they are making. I own current Nova Extremes, flat single reflector T5's - not even in the same ballpark. Nothing else I own is in the same ballpark, except my nano - and I don't think comparing 26 watts over a 2.5g, 8" deep tank is quite fair in comparison. :)

It is one of those things that paying for it hurts, and until you see it first hand, you figure there is no way to justify it - but let me tell you, the cost is justified. I am SO glad I paid the extra money, and so glad that folks like AaronT not only talked to me about, but showed me, how well these fixtures work.
 

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Nahh -- I'm jealous in an inspired sense :)

I feel that I will definitely end up going with the Tek's when the time comes. Despite the price being really painful, I can wait until I can afford it. Since setting up my tank, my mantra has been "do it right the first time." This is something I didn't do from the get go and while the PCF's work for most of my tanks, the direction I'd like my tank to go needs the next step up. So hopefully in time, I'll get there!

Again, thanks for the honest and clear input.

And keep us posted on your tank!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Time to mow it down some this weekend. Stellata is now only a few inches from the water surface, and the Angustifolia is crowning out of the water. Balansae seems to have finished melting its leaves off, and is now quickly regrowing, all new leaves on the balansae are a rusty red instead of the green I originally had - a function of the higher lighting I think?

A club mate is starting a 125g and needs plants, so I told him to come on up this weekend for a discount on some plants that'll help him fill up his tank. :)

Low grow hygro is the only plant not outright flourishing. It is growing, but it growing micro leaves, not the big broad leaves it had when I got it. It has been suggested this may be a sign of K deficiency, so I am adding a small amount (.2 ppm daily) via a premix of K2SO4. Other than that, there is and has been no dosing of anything in this tank.

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So I trimmed on Saturday the 8th, and it looked like this:



Ten days later:



Only dosing to date is .2 (not a typo, point 2) ppm of K2SO4. The low grow hygro has been growing, but growing with micro leaves. Friends suggested trying a little potassium in the water column, as some plants, like this one apparently, start to grow little tiny leaves if getting the nutrients all from the substrate. Leaves have begun to fill out more, not sure if it is easily visible in the photos, but that little bit of potassium seems to be helping it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Re: 180g April 21

Some updated pics.

Tank is doing really well. Still dosing next to nothing, a tiny amount of potassium. Everything is growing in well, some of them a bit too well. The Stellata is having to be mowed monthly or it tries to take over my entire basement. Echinodorus 'Vesuvius' is also doing extremely well, and I've begun to sell some runners of this unusual plant, as well as spread it within my club. Crypts are a mixed bag. Beckettii grows in like a weed. Balansae melted, came back a pretty dark brown/bronze, but is staying short. Green Gecko is struggling, no idea why - it grows in with tiny reddish leaves, and doesn't grow up bigger.

Overall, couldn't ask for more. The tank is simple to maintain, and is filling in quite nicely. I've put in some Polygonom sp. Sao Paulo I picked up from a friend locally to eventually fill in the void in the right side (this was supposed to be a field of Balansae, and it is - 12" tall and hidden behind the rocks and wood!), it is growing, but slowly.

Added some Downoi on the right side, starting to catch hold and grow. Other than that and some slight rearranging, little added or changed.

So, some pics!









And full tank shots:



 

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It's growing in nicely man. :D

How's the flow in the corners of the tank? If I recall there are outlets coming out of the overflows on either end that point towards the middle of the tank yes?

The C. balansae loves flow. It might be time for one of those powerheads you mentioned?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I cheat on flow.

There are 4 upper jets, 2 on each overflow. These split the return of he Eheim, making them about 120 gph or so powerheads in essence. Two pointed along back wall, two into middle of the tank.

Hidden in the tank floor are four more jets pointing up, these are run by a throttled down MAG9.5. Two on the left side, two on the right, under the rockwork essentially, they are hidden. These act as 170 gph or so powerheads pointing up.

Those rear corners are probably the softest flow, you are right - only the lower intake into the overflows moves water there. May have to tweak things and see if it grows a bit taller.
 
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