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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all just joined the forum, but I have been reading it for a bit now.

I had 3 small planted tanks with Flourite substrate and no CO2. I then read Diana's book and decided to try Natural. I now have 2 tanks set up Natural style. Wow, no comparison, the Natural tanks have just exploded.

I have the opportunity to get a 120 Gal 60Wx18Dx24H tank at a great price and have a spot for it that would be perfect. But after reading Diana's book I am concerned the tank is too deep. I was planning 2 fixtures with dual 65watt bulbs over it. 260 total watts of CF light.

What do you all think? Would this work?

Thanks
 

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If the tank is at a good price, I would give it a try. I am sure that Diana will pipe in with some advice. Read some of the posts on the larger tanks.

Here is a link at Natural Aquariums of some successful larger tanks. One of these is a 135 - not sure of dimensions, but I would think it would be deep. These tanks have been featured here at APC too by the same user guppyramkrib.

http://naturalaquariums.com/bb/index.php?topic=1085.0

Had to REALLY look for this one. This is a BIG tank and I don't know what substrate was used although it looks like sand on top. I do know that there is no CO2 by reading some of the comments. There is filtration though. Just amazing. There are more videos at his "channel"


 

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Hi Tames, Thanks for responding. Really good reading and these tanks look just amazing. The first thread was helpful because he discussed moving from MH lighting to florescent tubes. Sounds like he has multiple similar size tanks with both more and less lighting than I am planning.

The video with the Discus was really good. I would love to set up something like that. Dense planting with vals, onion plants, bacopa, ludwigia, java ferns, anubias, bronze crypts, a couple of swords and some brazilian pennywort floating on top. For fish, a squad of cories, either some small rainbows or rummy nose tetras, and about 5 colorful discus.

I need to buy or pass up this tank tomorrow, and... who am I kidding, of course I am going to take it. I would appreciate any advice you all have on setting it up though. I did pick up some good tips in this forum about introducing some trumpet snails and to be sure my rocks and driftwood are placed on the glass and not on the top of the gravel.

Thanks!
 

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You have lots of room to play with a big tank. Plants like swords get to really stretch out. I love the large bundles of Rotala - really striking. Sounds like you are on your way. I don't have a large tank, so I have no practical experience with them. My largest ones are 29gal.

You may want to consider using sand instead of gravel on top of the soil. Sand is really easy to plant in (like stem plants) and plants like hairgrass and chain sword love it. I use it exclusively now. If I ever have to tear down a tank the whole substrate can be thrown in the garden! Just my opinion. Many others use gravel.
 

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Hey daveg:

I have a 125 set up in my living room. It's pretty deep I think about 18". I have 2 retrofitted 3' 96W CF lamps over my tank and I've had terrific growth. I haven't updated any pics but I will try to tonight. For now, here's the link to the thread with my tank, it gives you all the flora and fauna. Anyway, my tank gets less than 200 wpg so your 260 should be ok. Oh, I should also mention that my tank is next to a south-facing window and it gets indirect light. That's why I felt ok using less than 2 wpg.

hope this helps and good luck!

-ricardo
 

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Hey Flagg! Awesome thread and great photos. Reading it, I was little concerned with your early algae problems. But I am encouraged and now feel like the lighting I had planned will work. The tank can also get a some filtered sun through a basement daylight window into it if needed.

I got the tank and it is in place and filled with water to make sure it does not leak. Looks good so far. I guess I will go ahead and order the lighting, heaters and filters and give this try.

All the folks at my LFSs and local aquarium club forum act like I am crazy when I describe this style of tank. But I have gotten a good welcome and response here and it's good to get some positive feedback from people who have some experience.

I am going to need some TALL background plants in this thing. I know the Vals and Swords will work but am wondering what else to use that will get tall enough.

Also, Do you guys think there would be interest in me posting progress photos as this thing gets going?

Thanks
Dave
 

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No - absolutely not - NO pictures - no way. :rolleyes: Are you kidding? bring 'em on!

I am very lucky that in my local aquarium club there are several that have soil based tanks. Some have soil based tanks with native fishes in them that are collected locally. The club has two extremes - the high tech scientific-ky salty reef people and us fresh water folksy types that throw mud in the bottom of our tanks. The saltys just look at us and shake their heads in disbelief!

I can't think of anything more striking than Jungle Vals (Vallisneria gigantea) in a tall tank. flagg's has V. americana in it. The Jungles are much more stout and would look great in a big tank like yours. Several species of Hygrophila grow quite large. I like Hygrophila corymbosa ‘Angustifolia’ . It has narrow Zen-like leaves.
 

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Hey daveg:

Thanks for the comments! I was worried about the algae too in the beginning, but I knew that fixing it wouldn't be a problem, just a matter of trying the right strategy. Like you I also get a lot of scepticism about the El Natural method at my LFS; that's why I stopped going. The only person who was open to the idea was actually the owner of the store (least I think he was the owner) and I recommended him Diana's book, though I don't know if he bought it.

As for tall plants, I too like jungle vals, just never got the oppy to get them. For tall plants though my favorite is C. balansae. It's tall (though not quite as tall as vals) with a cool ruffled look and subtle but cool coloring. I also like my vals but they're WAY too prolific. I've had mine get over 50" tall in a 36" wide 30 gal tank! It was awesome! R. indica also gets tall and adds a nice contrast to green plants. You could also check out onion plants. If you want the opposite effect (long roots trailing into the tank) you'll love water lettuce, plus it'll do a great job absorbing excess nutrients. Mine don't grow too well, but that might be because of the extremely hard water.

You should look into the red tiger lotus too. It'll send out leaves to the surface and add color.

Oh, and yes, you should definitely post updates.

-ricardo
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sounds great everyone. I appreciate the advice and suggestions on the plants. The lights, pumps and such should be delivered this week.

I think I will take some pics as I am putting it together and start a new thread. Whether it works or crashes it might be interesting to post it all. ( but I do hope it works!!!)

Thanks again for the warm welcome and advice.
 
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