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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's the deal. Yesterday my rich uncle (seems like everyone has one;)) was at my house and saw my planted tank. Long story short, he is considering having me set up two nature aquariums up for him, one at his house and one at his office. I would be paid to maintain them, and he would pay for the initial setup and everything. He'd like me to send him a few proposals including cost and pictures of what it may look like. I'd like to hear your opinions about what you would have for your ideal setup (or two setups). Even though money isn't an issue for him, lets keep the ideas realistic and of course fun. Post the specs hear of your dream setup, from equipment and plants all the way to inhabitants. Oh, and one more thing, have fun!

I think it posted twice or something. My fat fingers tend to mess up a lot.
 

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My dream tank right now would be a 48"x24"x24". Other than that specific size, I don't think I'd do anything else "special". I'd probably go with an Eheim (whatever size to get the water moving) and a couple powerheads for circulation in the dead spots.

Hardscape would consist of a little driftwood, but I'd mostly use just plants to get the look I like. The stand would have to be 36" tall (right now I have a 30" stand and I thinkit sits too low). Lighting would be 2-3 WPG CF or t-5, pressurized CO2, dry ferts....

-Dave
 

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I love my 180g setup.

Tons of room to scape, and using the Reef Ready made several things just plain work better - easy access for inline loops, plugging filtration in, plumbing it to the house for auto water changes.

I don't think I'd change much about it other than a taller stand would have been nice - I'm not tall, so a step ladder is in order even with a normal height stand.

Only other thing I'd change is using the 2262 pump instead of the 2260 pump on my filter - swapping it out is on my to-do list this spring.

180G RR

Eheim 2260

Mag 9.5 running inline CO2 loop.

Mineralized soil substrate.

Tek T5, 2 - 6x39W fixtures

20# CO2 tank. (which doesn't fit under the standard height stand, doh!)

Pics of my tank are in my journal, and was my honor to be TOTM of August '08. You can show him what it could look like....

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/...812-august-2008-tank-month-dave-williams.html

Beauty of the setup: Using mineralized soil means next to no dosing. Simplicity! Dial in the CO2, get it stable, and watch it grow.
 

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While a 180 may be a lot of fun and give you tons of options for plants and scaping, if you're not experienced in planted tanks, I wouldn't recommend you go this route. I would go with something smaller, yet large enough to have an impact. My suggestions would be a 75 or a 50 breeder. Both give you a good front to depth ratio for scaping and are much more manageable for a person with less experience. It's much easier to fight an algae battle on these than on a 180. ;)
 

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I would agree with Bert on the size. For the "office" tank I would go with a low light set up. Anubias, ferns and other low light plants, maybe water sprite. Also if you have experience with fish then maybe a Discus tank with 2 pair in 100g and a bunch of cardinal or neon tetras. Water would have to stay clean but and warm but otherwise I don't think it would be too dificult.

Here is a link that I found after you posted this thread:

http://aquaticconcepts.thekrib.com/Articles/PAM_Discus.htm

Looks pretty amazing and I would love to try this one day!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sounds good all. Discus would be a lot of fun, but I'd be a little nervous because I've never kept anything like them before. I think he is looking along the lines of an ADA nature aquarium. He loved my nature aquarium and to be honest, it isn't that great. Isn't it great sometimes to have someone not so used to the idea of planted tanks comment on how great they really are. Sometimes I think we take them for granted.
 

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Nivekid let me give you some recommendations if you do not mind,
In high school i made money by maintaining large(100-200gallon) planted aquariums for a company in orlando, and i have to admit that as much as i hated to hear it, the two they liked the most were just java fern, moss, and blocky driftwood. As a hobbyist i HATED that they liked these of the more advanced tanks, but to them it was most attractive. Sometimes the simplest things appeal the most (Most people dont know that a certain plant is difficult etc..) Big schools of flashy fish and healthy lush plant growth and people will be in awe, complicating things is not necessary.

With that in mind big tanks offer you greater stability, i suggest getting as big as you think you can manage well. a 50 would be a pain if you only get to see it on a weekly basis, a 200 gallon might not need to be tended to other than basic cleaning for a month or longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think your exactly right ShaneS. When he was here I got online and showed him a few planted tanks. The one he liked the most was a large tank with a mound of narrow leaf javas surrounding a large piece of driftwood. I think a large tank full of Java ferns, anubias and xmas moss with a huge school of cardinal tetras would be the perfect thing. Especially if I can only visit to maintain it once a week. Thanks for the idea. I was getting carried away with the things that I would want, but on second thought, I would want them here at my own house and not visiting his house daily to maintain it.
 

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Exactly, keep your own tank for your own needs... but as far as business is concerned you need to take other things into consideration. Keep a constant eye out for Rock and driftwood, i think that great 'hardscape' material are probably the most important part of setting up an eye catching aquarium. This tank could be low-moderate light and minimal ferts and have a more positive impact than a high light high co2 stem plant fest that is unruly because you dont get to tend to it enough (And in my experience will have a better impact than one you do tend to enough haha).
 

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Since you're going to be the one taking care of them, it's essential that they be low maint. setups as you won't always be there to see the incipient stages of a problem.

I'd go w/ top shelf hardware but gear it all to a very nice planted tank w/ modest light and more slower growing med/low light plants and some "sponge" species relegated to the corners of the tank. Great structural pieces and initial layout of the hardscape are a must, as is a very good filtration system. Buy or make a Python to leave with each tank, and see that other maint. items (buckets, scrapers, chemicals etc.) are bought along w/ ea. setup too. The only thing I might buy just one of is a test kit.

I'd also go with a modest number of fish geared for higher impact. This typically means either a few angels or rams and/or one nice school of an appropriate Tetra, Barb or Rasbora species. Add Cories and/or Otos and any needed inverts, done.

If you're going to go w/ Angels, I'd go school, then Cories, Angels last... all after a fishless cycle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wow, this is all great advice. I know we'll be going with the nice equipment and all. I showed him the ADA tanks and he loved the idea of a frameless modern look. I'll definitely pick up a python (on his budget of course). Thanks for the great advice Squawkbert. I'll probably end up with something very similar to what you said: lots of hardscape, low/med light plants, tetras, otos, angels and the essential cleanup crew.
 
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