Preparations for a new tank - input and advice requested!

Wolf6

Member
Joined
18 Dec 2014
Messages
33
Location
Netherlands
Hi all,

I've had the same tank for the past 8 years now, and the same contents ever since we moved house 3 years ago. The passion (and budget to be honest) was gone for a while so I just maintained it with bare minimum of effort(water changes 50% weekly, weekly ferts -used to be daily but cba) but thats about it, so its an overgrown mess with my carpet being overgrown by bits of moss (the dark spots are mostly various types of moss), and increasing algae issues (GSA and a bit of BGA below the grit). Here is a pic of the current state:
tanksmall.jpg

But now we've fully settled in the new house, the list of chores still to be done is getting smaller and smaller, and the garden is about done (never fully done but gardeners will understand ;). And with the WFH situation, I'm getting renewed interest in this hobby as well, so now I'm looking at buying a bigger tank to fit the space against the wall better then the current 70x50x45 tank there is now, and start anew. This one will be torn down and part of the contents may move to my smaller scapers tank, that I will probably also be dusting off. Now I've been looking around and made a selection, and I'd like some input and advice on my choices, possible alternatives and so forth. My plan is to start buying this stuff over the coming months, and hopefully be ready to scape around december/januari. I'm looking at ordering one of these:

reefer425XL.jpg

A red sea reefer 425, dimensions 120(l)x57(w)x55(h) or the reefer 350 (120x50x53). I will be using it for freshwater, but I just love the look of the tank and cabinet. The build in sump and hidden plumbing made it my first choice for a tank, as I can hide all tech in the sump. No cables/tubes visible means my other half can also live with the bigger tank :) Anyone here have experience with using a tank like this? I found one old journal, https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/reefer-350-planted.38956/ - but that hasnt been updated in ages. My main worry is dead spots, as you cant use a spraybar on these (at least not easily). The only other tank with build in plumping was the eheim incpiria, but that costs even more, and comes with lights I'm not sure about, not to mention a closed tank. If there are other options (with integrated plumbing), I'd like to hear them! :)

So for filtration, I'd be making use of the sump using various filter materials (havent looked into the specifics yet), but I'd like to use one of the chambers in the sump to make a sort of small refugium with fast growing plants like hornwort, elodea densa and mosses, together with some shrimp. This would get light at night, in the hopes I could leave CO2 on day and night, using a PH controller for the CO2. What are your views/opinions on this, would this work or cause more problems down the line? I'd be dosing EI, manually at first but eventually I want to automate that too.
The return pump would be a jecod pump doing max 5000l/ hour, that can be reduced incrementally. I wonder if I would be best off adding a powerhead for some extra flow and to avoid dead spots, but here is where I'm really hoping other people have this or a similar tank, what do you have/recommend?

Heater would be an aqua medic heater stuffed into the sump, with temperature controller.

CO2 would either be an inline diffusor in the return, or a regular difussor next to the return pump, so most of the CO2 would get sucked into it. As mentioned, I'm considering a PH controller for this, or is a simple timer better? I'm looking for ease of maintenance here, and I wont be going for the most difficult plants either (afaik).

Lights were the toughest to decide on. I love the ripple effect that kessils have, but in the end I love plants even more, so I think a twinstar 1200SA with controller would be the best choice. I'd start with 5hours of photo, with 1 hour ramp up and 1 hour ramp down, and slowly build it up to 6.5-7 hours with the 2 hours for ramp up/down. For late night viewing, I'd install a type of spotlight so I can still have my rippling effect (open for suggestions here!) ;) The alternative would be 2x AI prime HD's, which come with a moonlight mode, or would I need 3? Budget is also a factor, this whole rig is going to cost me dearly, on the one hand I dont want to buy something I will regret later, but I dont want to spend more then neccesary.

I've not fully decided on stock and plants yet, I'm thinking about something with river rocks, grit and sand, together with a few pieces of driftwood. Aquasoil or a similar soil where large pockets of plants would be. One side of the tank planted with blyxa, hairgras and valisneria as main planting in a sort of island fashion, and a large lotus growing to the surface on the other end of the tank. I'll probably want another red plant in there to offset this with, and some other smaller plants, but I havent decided yet. Fissidens is also a must :) Stockwise I havent decided yet either, just that I'd like some dwarf cichlids (1 male, 2 female) in there, together with a large group (30 ish) of undecided fish, and a group of otto's(5) and cory's(12). Maybe, just maybe, I'd add some angels too, and if I dont, I'd get pearl gourami's instead. But so much more time to think about all that, first I'd like to make my mind up on the tech and tank, and start ordering :) I'm hoping you guys can give some tips/advice/experiences.

Some pics I'll probably use for inspiration:
inspiration1.jpg

inspiration2.jpg

Cheers!
 

Zeus.

Member
Joined
1 Oct 2016
Messages
3,105
Location
Yorkshire,UK
I'm considering a PH controller for this, or is a simple timer better?
Used a pH controller and they are ok, but money better spend on a decent pH probe and a reliable timer IMO. My pH profile is far more stable without the pH controller. Trouble with pH controller is you need to calibrate it regular for it to be any good.

For plumbing a would advise the KISS principle, I have quite a complex plumbing on my 500l with twin CO2 reactors and it can be a PITA at times.

I put twin Maxspect Gyres on my 500L which are not cheap, but well worth the money and very controllable and maintenance very easy, I have higher turnover for photo period and a gentle flow at night. Use to have spray bars which was more ugly and more maintenance. Plus with the gyres you can use any pipe return as the gyres will take care of the tank turnover easy.

For lights I would go for pendent type so easy to get out of way.

For the cabinet consider the height of the base most are quite high (80cm) which puts the tank at a higher viewing and also means you need to be taller for your armpit to reach top off glass rim, lower cabinets are better for viewing and maintenance IMO but less space for hardware under tank. Open top will make life easier, but more evaporation and fish/shrimp can jump/get out.

Auto doser may be worth thinking about, which can drip straight into sump.

With sump you will go through more CO2 than canister filter/s

Take your time

Hope it helps

Zeus
 

alto

Member
Joined
24 Dec 2014
Messages
5,716
I’d also consider the Oase Highline 400
(if you’re not in a hurry, George Farmer should be receiving/setting his up soon - planted discus is the plan)
You can find several YouTube videos for planted aquascapes


And a few aquascapes by George Farmer on Oase Uk
https://m.youtube.com/c/OASEUK/vide...itct=CBYQ8JMBGAEiEwj5i5b9-PDqAhXLisQKHWNtC-M=

You should be able to purchase with/without lights and configure cabinet, top is metal sliders (easy to remove)



Eheim Incpiria - again some shops offer this with/without lights, top is glass sliders so easily removed if you prefer (but very handy for when first adding fish to eliminate jumpers, or if you go on holidays etc)

@REDSTEVEO has run the 400 for a few years now with various aquascapes
https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/planted-tank-for-a-single-mated-pair-of-discus.60371/

@sh4d0w (recent setup)
https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/the-big-return-help-needed.61577/

When I’ve looked at Red Sea Reef locally, even the base model has components that I’d not use for freshwater
(they are nicely finished)

As you’re in the Netherlands, I’d consider the company which manufactures the display tanks for Aquaflora showroom etc (as I recall they can be bespoke though you do need to go through a local shop)
 

Wolf6

Member
Joined
18 Dec 2014
Messages
33
Location
Netherlands
Used a pH controller and they are ok, but money better spend on a decent pH probe and a reliable timer IMO. My pH profile is far more stable without the pH controller. Trouble with pH controller is you need to calibrate it regular for it to be any good.
Thanks a lot for the advice, this is the sort of feedback I was hoping for! How often would you need to calibrate it? Otherwise I'll save my money and go for the gyres you mentioned instead, or the auto doser.

I put twin Maxspect Gyres on my 500L which are not cheap, but well worth the money and very controllable and maintenance very easy, I have higher turnover for photo period and a gentle flow at night. Use to have spray bars which was more ugly and more maintenance. Plus with the gyres you can use any pipe return as the gyres will take care of the tank turnover easy.

For lights I would go for pendent type so easy to get out of way.

For the cabinet consider the height of the base most are quite high (80cm) which puts the tank at a higher viewing and also means you need to be taller for your armpit to reach top off glass rim, lower cabinets are better for viewing and maintenance IMO but less space for hardware under tank. Open top will make life easier, but more evaporation and fish/shrimp can jump/get out.

Auto doser may be worth thinking about, which can drip straight into sump.

With sump you will go through more CO2 than canister filter/s

Take your time

Hope it helps

Zeus
I'll look at those Gyres, they look like exactly the sort of thing that could take my dead-spot worries away. How have you positioned yours?
Pendent type, like the AI prime HD's?
Height shouldnt be too much of an issue, I am quite tall (192cm) and there are always kitchen steps nearby. I am a fan of open tops, my current tank also has that. So much easier to correct something or remove something without having to open a lid etc :)
Thanks again!
 

REDSTEVEO

Member
Joined
31 Mar 2008
Messages
1,308
Location
Planet Earth
I’d also consider the Oase Highline 400
(if you’re not in a hurry, George Farmer should be receiving/setting his up soon - planted discus is the plan)
You can find several YouTube videos for planted aquascapes


And a few aquascapes by George Farmer on Oase Uk
https://m.youtube.com/c/OASEUK/vide...itct=CBYQ8JMBGAEiEwj5i5b9-PDqAhXLisQKHWNtC-M=

You should be able to purchase with/without lights and configure cabinet, top is metal sliders (easy to remove)



Eheim Incpiria - again some shops offer this with/without lights, top is glass sliders so easily removed if you prefer (but very handy for when first adding fish to eliminate jumpers, or if you go on holidays etc)

@REDSTEVEO has run the 400 for a few years now with various aquascapes
https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/planted-tank-for-a-single-mated-pair-of-discus.60371/

@sh4d0w (recent setup)
https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/the-big-return-help-needed.61577/

When I’ve looked at Red Sea Reef locally, even the base model has components that I’d not use for freshwater
(they are nicely finished)

As you’re in the Netherlands, I’d consider the company which manufactures the display tanks for Aquaflora showroom etc (as I recall they can be bespoke though you do need to go through a local shop)
For a full account of the Eheim Incpiria 400 see the journal The Full Monty.

https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads...ft-the-building-last-photos.33594/post-464069
 

Wolf6

Member
Joined
18 Dec 2014
Messages
33
Location
Netherlands
I’d also consider the Oase Highline 400
(if you’re not in a hurry, George Farmer should be receiving/setting his up soon - planted discus is the plan)
You can find several YouTube videos for planted aquascapes

You should be able to purchase with/without lights and configure cabinet, top is metal sliders (easy to remove)



Eheim Incpiria - again some shops offer this with/without lights, top is glass sliders so easily removed if you prefer (but very handy for when first adding fish to eliminate jumpers, or if you go on holidays etc)

@REDSTEVEO has run the 400 for a few years now with various aquascapes
https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/planted-tank-for-a-single-mated-pair-of-discus.60371/

@sh4d0w (recent setup)
https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/the-big-return-help-needed.61577/

When I’ve looked at Red Sea Reef locally, even the base model has components that I’d not use for freshwater
(they are nicely finished)

As you’re in the Netherlands, I’d consider the company which manufactures the display tanks for Aquaflora showroom etc (as I recall they can be bespoke though you do need to go through a local shop)
Ah those do look nice, they come in slightly different sizes compared to 'standard' (115x50 or 139x50) and pricewise are comparable to the red sea reefers, just no sump, so that would add costs for a cannister, but I'll look into them some more before I decide. About the reefer you saw, which components did it contain you wouldnt use? Because over here the base model is just tank, cabinet and sump with plumbing. Everything else you still have to buy over here. Thanks for the tip about the aquaflora tanks, I'll look into that :)
 

Wolf6

Member
Joined
18 Dec 2014
Messages
33
Location
Netherlands
Hi all, That is lovely.

cheers Darrel
Thanks :) There is a lot of hardscape underneath all that green, but it has vanished from sight :) Was never really happy with the hardscape, was put down in a hurry after the move, was too much to do still. Rock on top was just to keep down the wood and was removed later.
startlast70x50x45.jpg
 
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