1300l tank and 1ml of experience...

Tomiam

Member
Joined
28 Apr 2019
Messages
28
Location
Bristol
About 4 weeks ago I found myself in a situation which allowed me to my 'tank of a lifetime'. I dont dobt there are people with bigger or better or both but to me.... this was the golden ticket. :)
Ive had plenty of aquariums before, the largest being 6 x 2 x 2. I was never successful with plants, pond weed yea.. ok.. i could manage that but proper plants. Nope. That was witchcraft and i had no clue how people grew them. This journal will be written as i experienced the highs and lows of educating myself through this project. There will likely be assumptions and perhaps incorrect information but i will try my best not to. Think of this jourmal as beimg from the viewpoint of someone who knows a bit about fish keeping but at this point, wouldnt know anything about growing aquatic plants.

I spent the first week browsing the net, finding good aquarium makers, asking questions and trying desperately to make sure I had a clear vision of what I wanted to achieve.
The last thing I wanted was to make a stupid mistake and end up with a tank full of mess.
After a weeks worth of research Id settled on 'Huge tank, with two weirs, a sump and with plecos'. I mean... how hard can it be? Right??....

Problem no1. Plecos poo a lot.
The first issue to arise was the amount of pleco poop that gets producee by these aquatic cart horses.
I quickly got the impression that the tank would covered with pleco poo sat at the bottom of the tank and the weirs would be unable to pick it up. Far from ideal from both a healthy water and an aesthetic point of view.
Top & bottom scavenging weirs (new to me) were incorporaged into the design. However i needed a way to control the % of water which goes through top or bottom. As I have access to a laser cutter, i requested the weirs have removeable combs so that i can manufacture my own combs. This way i could have a top comb with more flow restriction which will increase the water pressure on the bottom of the weir and force more water through the bottom.
We'll see how well this works in practice when its all set up but the logic is there.

Problem no2. I dont like big tanks where the top 70% is empty.
Each to their own, but i dont like big tanks where there is just pure open water for huge areas. I wanted something which would break up the space and give it a better look.
Thats when i stumbled onto aquascaping..... and who is this bloody George Farmer everyone keeps going on about?! ;)
...and thats when the plan of 'big tank with fish is easy' suddenly took on a life of its own.
From glass rectangle with fish and a nitrate cycle, i found myself studying ferts, macros, micros, liquid co2 except its not is it..., co2 injection, par, pur, lumens, root tabs, pearling, oxygen, EI dosing, auto dosers, sumps, flow rates through pipes of various diams, weir designs, low tech, high tech, par graphs over distance, and ahy does this George Farmer bloke keep bloody popping up everywhere in my searches!
I figured i would get some rock columns purchased and they would help and... i'll grow moss on them! It'll look awesome and everyone will love it.

About 3 weeks ago, the tank was ordered.
90 x 26 x 30 ( l x w x h )
About a few days later problem no.3 arose very quietly.
Why cant I find many people with deep tanks growing plants apart from George Farmer who turns up yet again on youtube with a 1200l tank and oh my.... mines not going to look anywhere near as great as that!!!! Thanks Mr Farmer.... grrrr...
This is when I stumbled across posts from someone called Hoppy. Very clever person and a lot of the info went right over my head but... i now knew a few things from his/her posts.
Lumens = how bright a light looks to us.
Par = the amount of light which plants can use for photosynthesis. There is also PUR but... yea.. i'll stick to par for now.
I also learned that par values get smaller the farther away from the light you are. So whilst par might be 240 right under the light, 30" down under water its going to be a lot less. So much less in fact that i needed to get some proper plant lights but thats ok because plant lights cant be that much money can they?
Quick google search and...
(Censored)!!!!! Seriously??!!!!! How much??!!!
...and why dont manufacturers hive par values ovee distance for their lights?!
This is when I found myself coming back to UKAPS forums again and again.

So what lights? ..and even more questions arose.
Why do i need fertilsers for the plants, theyre just going to eat the waste right?
Wont any old light do? Surely i could just put some tubes in the hood of the tank and itd be alright?
Why are there macro and micro ferts, why cant they be in one bottle?
Whats this liquid co2. Seems easy enough. Why bother with co2 injection.

Its taken me a number of weeks but for the sake of anyone reading this with the level of knowledge i had a few weeks back...
Dosing ferts will help ensure your plants have the nutrients they need.
Micros and macros do something when combined. Cant remember what but it messes them up, something to do with iron... so dose em on separate days.
Ferts dont last long in the water. You cant dump a lot of ferts into the water and expect it to be there in a usable state in 7 days.
Liquid co2 to be poured into an aquarium isnt liquid co2. Its liquid carbon.
Co2 injection is far superior to liquid carbon.
Some plants / mosses dont like liquid carbon.
Co2 only needs to be in the water when the plants are photo synthesising, whe lights are on.
Surface agitation = co2 easily being released from water.
Lights on = co2 on. Lights off = air pump on.

And thats my journey ovee the first two weeks. I'll type up more and hope to drop some photos in.
Ive purchased a co2 injection starter kit from co2 art. Went for the pro kit as the reg is expandable for 2 x diffusets.
Got a jebeo dp3 auto doser to save the hassle of dosing ferts every day.
Lights i settled on 4 x fluval 3.0 as they have biilt in controllers and , arranged in 2 x rows of 2, will give me enough par at 30" deep that i can grow low light requirement plants.
I usee aquarium classifieds and got two huge pieces of bogwood. One of which is a 5ft branch. That way i can bring some mosses to the light by planting them higher up in the water.

(To be continued)
 

tam

Member
Joined
5 May 2011
Messages
1,022
Half the fun is the research and planning - so enjoy it even if it's a bit overwhelming :)

It sounds like you're on the right track though - building things up with some taller bits of hardscape is a good way to get plants closer to the light and there are quite a few plants that combine - easy to grow, low light and like to be attached to wood. There are big plants too that you might not see so much in the smaller tanks but that will grow pretty close to the lights when they have the space.

Several impressive size tanks in the journals for ideas too.
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,918
arranged in 2 x rows of 2, will give me enough par at 30" deep that i can grow low light requirement plants.
Not exactly, if the lights were stacked and lighting the same area, substrate PAR might be additive in a somewhat linear fashion
BUT
you actually have considerable surface area or tank footprint over which you want to spread that lighting (and design of the fixtures will also impact light spread)

I don’t recall which lens Fluval has used in the 3.0 - that’s a good question to ask your supplier
(ETA as Maidenhead mentions 120degrees I expect that’s what’s in there)

As an example, Kessil uses 120* lens in the A160 & A360 series, new A360X uses a wider angle lens 130* (though there is a narrow lens accessory kits available (& most likely will only be ordered by Reefers))
(note the 360X has other different design features which support the choice of the 130* lens)

FWIW I think the 4 x 59Watt Fluval 3.0 is a sound choice in terms of light distribution
It should be enough light to grow a nice aquascape as long as suitable plants are chosen

Filipe Oliveira has some stunning deep tanks on his Youtube channel - most use higher light than what you have but look at the design basics

One of my favourites (there are several videos from just planted)

Wood stump & Altums

Be very careful with stone columns re concentrated weight on glass AND falling stones (more likely with bigger fish) - there are some companies which make rather nice “fake” stone (though maybe expensive?), also African Cichlid forums tend to have loads of DIY fake stone formations

If you talk to Dave at Aquarium Garden (or Ray at Scaped Nature), I suspect both will look out for big driftwood pieces (possibly not that cheap to transport so always check locally first)

Look at Tropica’s range of Aquadecor for ideas
https://tropica.com/en/plants/aquadecor/

CO2 on/off timing - check with your water supply for local water parameters
Harder water basically “consumes” more CO2 gas to reach 15-25ppm CO2 levels in the water column
 

Tomiam

Member
Joined
28 Apr 2019
Messages
28
Location
Bristol
Ok.. bringing this journal up to date :)

Hardscape. We now have 3 large bits of bogwood. One of which is 30" tall so will provide a nice break. Going to position it about 1/3 in from the right.
Ive also bought a lot of plum slate which ive had soaking in plastic tubs outside for a week. The information ive read says slate is fine for fish but i water tested the tubs they are soaking in before and after anyway. All looks good and any marks have been scrubbed off the slate with a drill + wire brush bit.
Got a stack of slate floor tiles and a cheap tile cutter from screwfix. This let me make up some pleco caves. Used aquamate silicone glue to secure it all together, and its another piece of hardscape done.
Plastic mesh grid tiles have been bought and they'll sit under everything to protect the bottom glass of the tank.
Steered away from aquaroche rock formations. Whilst they are huge and superb, they just dont fit the natural look im going for.

Jebao pump is on order, 12,000l/hr. Its got 20 speed settings so the plan is to run it slow so that its quieter than a smaller pump running flat out. Plus its a bit of a climb to get the water back up into the tank from the sump so this gives me a lot of flexibility to increase the flow if needed. For the extra 40 quid vs smaller pump... its worth it.

Vecton 600 uv steraliser is also coming over. With the value of livestock (plants + fish) thats going to be in there, i figured it was worth the £££ as a bit of insurance.
Additionally, even if it just makes the water quality a bit better...thats good :)
Never used one before but logic says that it needs to be fed with clean water so it'll sit just after the return pump with its own branch of pipework. Any water not going go the UV will just follow the main feed nack to the tank. That way i can turn a ball valve to allow more / restrict water going to it without reducing the overall turnover of the tank.

Auto doser is here :)
Played around with it a few days ago. Can see this being my new best friend :)
Things Ive learned... its cheaper to make your own ferts. Got a starter pack from aquariumplantfoods. Dead simple to make up the solution and saves a lot of money in the long run.

Co2 reg has arrived from CO2 Art. I bought the Pro starter set as it comes with everything i need. I grant i could probably have sourced individual bits myself but buying it like this i had confidence knowing it was 'right'.
Arrived in a box like it an expensive piece of jewellery! Well it was expensive.
10 litre Co2 bottle arrived at work as well. :)
With the fluval 3.0 already on my 200l tank, i set up the co2 so that it comes on 1 hour before my lights come on (plants dont need co2 unless photosynthesising) and then off 30 mins before lights off.
Likewise my air stones follow the opposite sequence so that im not injecting co2 only for it to be released out the surface of the water by surface agitation.
Sat and watched my 200l for about 3hrs last night religiously checking the drop checker to make sure i wasnt putting too much co2 in.

As ive got 2 to 3 weeks before the big tank arrives ive got some java moss and flame moss in the 200l. Java moss is about 8 weeks old and has a bit of brown algae on it whereas the flame moss has just arrived and been super glued to a bit of bogwood.
Amano shrimp have been added last week to help keep the moss free of algae.
If im going to make a mistake i figured it was better to do it now on some moss than in a few weeks with a lot of moss and anubias.

Ive also been out in the garden, drew up a masking tape outline of the tank and positioned the bogwood so i get a sense of how itll look.

The goal at the start was huge tank with plants & plecos.
This has now changed. Much for the better imo.
The tank will be focused on small things. Various shrimp, rabbit snails, cardinal tetras, small (<5") plecos, anything which looks bright and colourful or has a very distinct personality.
If i had big fish, theyd look big to me. But then a few months later... they'll not look as big. That sense of 'wow' will become normal. I want this tank to be entertaining, people to walk up and go 'ohwow. Look at that shrimp cleaning the bogwood and oh!! Wow! Never seen a snail like that and.... " etc. Lots of stuff going on but definately not even close to being over stocked :)
Plant wise, its easy care plants with low light requirements.
Weeping, flame and peacock moss all have my attention as do some of the liverworts. The bogwood allows me to that the plants to the light which helps.
Anubias are definitely on the list but i also need some other plants. Perhaps some cryptos'.
The right 1/3 of the tank will be quite heavily planted so that shrimp / small fish have somewhere to breed.

Final point...
I couldnt find the par values for Fluval 3.0 so MH aquatics kindly got them from Hagen.
Fluval Plant 3.0 46W LED. (120 deg lens)
6" 267 par
12" 112 par
18" 66 par
24" 40 par

Hopefully this will be of use to someone.

Once the tank arrives, i'll be able to give better photos. :)



15575558325078186094418718610178.jpg 15575560490684658669079636830690.jpg 15575558325078186094418718610178.jpg 15575560490684658669079636830690.jpg
 

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19Lee81

Member
Joined
31 Oct 2018
Messages
39
Location
Derbyshire
Ok.. bringing this journal up to date :)

Hardscape. We now have 3 large bits of bogwood. One of which is 30" tall so will provide a nice break. Going to position it about 1/3 in from the right.
Ive also bought a lot of plum slate which ive had soaking in plastic tubs outside for a week. The information ive read says slate is fine for fish but i water tested the tubs they are soaking in before and after anyway. All looks good and any marks have been scrubbed off the slate with a drill + wire brush bit.
Got a stack of slate floor tiles and a cheap tile cutter from screwfix. This let me make up some pleco caves. Used aquamate silicone glue to secure it all together, and its another piece of hardscape done.
Plastic mesh grid tiles have been bought and they'll sit under everything to protect the bottom glass of the tank.
Steered away from aquaroche rock formations. Whilst they are huge and superb, they just dont fit the natural look im going for.

Jebao pump is on order, 12,000l/hr. Its got 20 speed settings so the plan is to run it slow so that its quieter than a smaller pump running flat out. Plus its a bit of a climb to get the water back up into the tank from the sump so this gives me a lot of flexibility to increase the flow if needed. For the extra 40 quid vs smaller pump... its worth it.

Vecton 600 uv steraliser is also coming over. With the value of livestock (plants + fish) thats going to be in there, i figured it was worth the £££ as a bit of insurance.
Additionally, even if it just makes the water quality a bit better...thats good :)
Never used one before but logic says that it needs to be fed with clean water so it'll sit just after the return pump with its own branch of pipework. Any water not going go the UV will just follow the main feed nack to the tank. That way i can turn a ball valve to allow more / restrict water going to it without reducing the overall turnover of the tank.

Auto doser is here :)
Played around with it a few days ago. Can see this being my new best friend :)
Things Ive learned... its cheaper to make your own ferts. Got a starter pack from aquariumplantfoods. Dead simple to make up the solution and saves a lot of money in the long run.

Co2 reg has arrived from CO2 Art. I bought the Pro starter set as it comes with everything i need. I grant i could probably have sourced individual bits myself but buying it like this i had confidence knowing it was 'right'.
Arrived in a box like it an expensive piece of jewellery! Well it was expensive.
10 litre Co2 bottle arrived at work as well. :)
With the fluval 3.0 already on my 200l tank, i set up the co2 so that it comes on 1 hour before my lights come on (plants dont need co2 unless photosynthesising) and then off 30 mins before lights off.
Likewise my air stones follow the opposite sequence so that im not injecting co2 only for it to be released out the surface of the water by surface agitation.
Sat and watched my 200l for about 3hrs last night religiously checking the drop checker to make sure i wasnt putting too much co2 in.

As ive got 2 to 3 weeks before the big tank arrives ive got some java moss and flame moss in the 200l. Java moss is about 8 weeks old and has a bit of brown algae on it whereas the flame moss has just arrived and been super glued to a bit of bogwood.
Amano shrimp have been added last week to help keep the moss free of algae.
If im going to make a mistake i figured it was better to do it now on some moss than in a few weeks with a lot of moss and anubias.

Ive also been out in the garden, drew up a masking tape outline of the tank and positioned the bogwood so i get a sense of how itll look.

The goal at the start was huge tank with plants & plecos.
This has now changed. Much for the better imo.
The tank will be focused on small things. Various shrimp, rabbit snails, cardinal tetras, small (<5") plecos, anything which looks bright and colourful or has a very distinct personality.
If i had big fish, theyd look big to me. But then a few months later... they'll not look as big. That sense of 'wow' will become normal. I want this tank to be entertaining, people to walk up and go 'ohwow. Look at that shrimp cleaning the bogwood and oh!! Wow! Never seen a snail like that and.... " etc. Lots of stuff going on but definately not even close to being over stocked :)
Plant wise, its easy care plants with low light requirements.
Weeping, flame and peacock moss all have my attention as do some of the liverworts. The bogwood allows me to that the plants to the light which helps.
Anubias are definitely on the list but i also need some other plants. Perhaps some cryptos'.
The right 1/3 of the tank will be quite heavily planted so that shrimp / small fish have somewhere to breed.

Final point...
I couldnt find the par values for Fluval 3.0 so MH aquatics kindly got them from Hagen.
Fluval Plant 3.0 46W LED. (120 deg lens)
6" 267 par
12" 112 par
18" 66 par
24" 40 par

Hopefully this will be of use to someone.

Once the tank arrives, i'll be able to give better photos. :)



View attachment 124186 View attachment 124189 View attachment 124186 View attachment 124189
Really excited to see this build take shape!!!!...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Tomiam

Member
Joined
28 Apr 2019
Messages
28
Location
Bristol
Haha. Thats awesome :) been reading your beast journal. Not finished readibg yet... got quite a few pages :)

Agreed on the maintenance.
Ive gone for filters socks (mechanical filtration) then into a 19 x 17" chamber of k1 (biological) then into a 'polishing section where i could put fine wool or c2 resin , then return chamber. Ive got enough filter socks that i can simply swap them out every few days if needed. Sump is 60" x 18 x 17 so plenty of filtration capacity.
Water changes will be handled by ..
OUT: a t piece off the return pipe to a ball valve to a piece of hose with a garden hose connector on it. At rest the valve is off and the hose sits in the sump, just in case.
When draining water... Connect garden hose, open ball valve, water plants in garden.
IN: Bucket in sink with powerhead + hose. Not fancy but chuck prime in it , set temp, and away we go pumping water into the sump / tank.
I need to work the whole process so im not putting clean water into the sump only to pump it into the garden... :(

Lights are all programmed and on timers.
Ferts are being auto dosed.

Trying to think ahead so the necessary maintenance is easy to do / automated. :)
 

Filip Krupa

Member
Joined
13 Oct 2016
Messages
578
Location
Liverpool
Not finished readibg yet... got quite a few pages :)
True, getting lenthy. Good luck to anyone who reads the lot!

I like your plan on water changes. Although I cant quite visualise the draining. Are you sure youre not accidentally increasing your risk of flooding from the sump if the return pump dies?

Fil
 

Tomiam

Member
Joined
28 Apr 2019
Messages
28
Location
Bristol
Possibly overkill but im fine with that. My tank isnt going to be heavily planted, mainly just the right third and pockets of plants across the rest.
With the amount of poop plecos produce, id much rather be safe than sorry in this regard. My Flash pleco produces enough to make a big mess on his own!
Once its in... that sump aint coming out. So overkill... yea im ok. :)
 

Jayefc1

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Joined
2 Sep 2017
Messages
2,058
Location
Swadlincote
Looks like it's going to be amazing love watching peoples new journeys and seeing how things develop good look and remember to enjoy every second of it and there are a lot of very wise people here to help
 

Edvet

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Staff member
Joined
15 Aug 2013
Messages
5,149
Location
Lelystad, Netherlands
Pleco''s and plants might not mix very well ( unless you have large well established ( read large rootsystems)).
Also: large amounts of pleco poop are a recipe for cloudy water, make sure you have excellent flow to remove that.
 

Tomiam

Member
Joined
28 Apr 2019
Messages
28
Location
Bristol
Thanks for the advice and kind words :)
Agreed on some plecos, the smaller species tend to leave plants alone and go for the easier options. Maybe im lucky :)
My current l204 & l333 & bristlenoses get fed a varied diet. Courgette, red pepper, mushroom, algae wafers, spirulina algae wafers, bottom feeder pellets and prawn. They're either grazing on the bogwood or food.
Bigger plecos yea... gawd no. I could see myself having to replant again and again when they go digging :)

Agreed on the pleco poop. Ive got access to a laser cutter so can make my own weir combs and restrict water flow over the top of the weir, pushing more flow through the bottom comb (weirs are top and bottom scavenging). This should help with 'poop pick up'.

I didnt know until recently that some plants also like a bit of flow.
I'll add some cirrculation pumps (if thats the right wording?) to the list so i can make sure there are no dead spots. This should also help poop pick up.
The magnetic pumps you stick on the side of the tank. Those :)
.
Getting impatient waiting for tank to arrive... lol
2 weeks to go. But i rigged up the air pumps & co2 bottle on the 200l with electronic timers today.
Side note... when putting new plants into a tank. I hear the term melt used a lot. Im assuming this is because plants need to acclimatise to new environments. Even if they went into perfect conditions theyd still do this i guess.
Just setting my expectations :)
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,918
I hear the term melt used a lot. Im assuming this is because plants need to acclimatise to new environments. Even if they went into perfect conditions theyd still do this i guess.
It’s a mystery

I often use the same source tissue culture plants in various scapes
Sometimes there will be
- virtually no melt (ie none I can see)
- some melt
- devastating melt
:confused:

No obvious cause/effect

And the melt factor often only applies to a couple specific plant species (in the scape)
I suspect the determining factor is what happened before I received the plant

Note this is under conditions of suitable light, CO2, fertilizers, substrate etc
I’m also exempting cryptocorynes from this generalization
 

cdelly

Member
Joined
15 Apr 2019
Messages
32
Location
Leeds
check out vortech mp10 -mp60's you could get 2 mp10's and link them together. I use one on my marine tank and they are easier to use than the gyre (had one of them as well).
 

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