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First "Proffesional" tank: 45 gallon Tall/Show

Discussion in 'Aquascaping Journals' started by cooledwhip, May 15, 2016.

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  1. cooledwhip

    cooledwhip New Member

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    Hey everyone. I plan on making this thread a journal somewhat. Basically I was on LetGo which is basically like craigslist and I found this 45 gallon show/tall and the wooden stand for $65. I purchased it and I am very happy. I know this was a great investment because the stand itself can be very expensive in this hobby and the fact this is a wooden one and not cheap plastic or metal is great.



    Anyway, this tank is for my dad at his law office, so I bought it for him and we are going to work on it together. (he knows nothing about aquariums, I'm just guiding him choosing fish and layout and stuff) It's freshwater and I want it to be planted. I do have knowledge about planted tanks from other threads I made ab out my other tanks on this forum, so I want this tank to be VERY low tech and VERY low requirement plants.



    Here is the tank set up in the office: http://imgur.com/a/BIphZ



    I basically wanted help on where to start and stocking list as well as hardware.



    First things first I want to purchase the heater and filter and lights.



    My budget for that is about $120 for lights, heater and filter. I was going for a canister filter, and a fully submersible heater because I plan on hiding it behind hardscape maybe.

    For scaping it, I will have a peice of manzanita driftwood come down from the left top corner and spread out into the substrate like a tree trunk and its roots. I will have lots of rocks around it, and of course, PLANTS! [​IMG]



    I wanted to have some nice swords, ferns, pearlweed, some other lowtech stem plants. Some riccia and mosses for the wood and rocks, and other low tech plants.



    For the stocking plan, I really don't know where to go here. The highest requirement fish I currently have are some rainbowfish and neon dwarf rainbowfish AND some threadfin rainbowfish. For the 45 tall I was thinking of maybe 1-2 angelfish, some boesmani rainbowfish, millenium rainbowfish, other species of rainbowfish. I want a nice school of them. I also wanted a couple schools of smaller fish, a school of some corycats, also a school of some tetras and maybe another smaller schooling fish. I really know what exactly to put in.



    I also wanted help picking substrate too. I understand that for the plants I need a nutrient rich substrate, and I also need to have some sand for the corycats. I really need some guidance here. Thanks much!!





    pH 6.5-8.5 (On the harder side)

    I live in a suburb of chicago if that helps with the water.


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  2. lucasgg

    lucasgg Active Aquascaper

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    You'll need more money for filter/lights/heater if you want anything of lasting quality. I'd recommend an eheim 2213 for a filter, and a Hydor ETH 200 for an inline heater.
    Lights is another matter. Judging by how tall your tank is, I'd get something medium-high strength lights . LEDS are a great option if you have the right color temperature.
    Sand on top of aquasoil or seachem flourite would be a good option, but the sand would probably mix quickly in the gravel. Also, when the time comes, buy as many plants as you can at once. It's best to establish a healthy plant base to stabilize the ecosystem and reduce any potential problems.

    I have a 15 gallon with a ton of plants, substrated with seachem flourite and I am using a eheim 2211 and using medium strength lighting. It's virtually maintenance free, besides the monthly 3 gallon water change.

    Be sure to post a few dry setups to get the aquascape right.
     
  3. lucasgg

    lucasgg Active Aquascaper

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    Sorry for information over load, it's just how i work :ROFLMAO:
     
  4. cooledwhip

    cooledwhip New Member

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    Ok I can up the budget for sure. I just gave a baseline.
    Eheim 2213 Check, I've been recommended that a lot.

    The hydor, Is that really needed? Just wondering. I was going to use an actual suction cup heater.

    Also for the lights, I've never had luck with LEDs and I'd rather buy a fixture of some kind using T5's as the plants will be very far down.

    I do want sand as my substrate but I don't know what I should put under it for nutrients.

    Thanks for the information overload it really helped :D

    I have a couple small ideas for scaping it. Send some of your ideas my way! I could easily find a nice scape but it won't reach the top and it will look weird with a giant open space on top, thats why I wanted the manzanita branch to go up.
     
  5. lucasgg

    lucasgg Active Aquascaper

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    T5's are ok too. The hydor is extremely accurate for temperature control, last long, and haven't produced any major problems. (my previous tube heater spiked to 90ºF and zapped my fish, it was only 2 years old.) I don't believe Hydors has ever exploded either.

    In my opinion, I'd drop the Corydoras idea and use only Aquasoil or Flourite. It will be much better in the long run for the health of the plants and setup.

    In the mean time, here are a few ideas you could model your setup after. I think Dragon stone and driftwood would look great coming out of a steep slope. Make sure to realize that if you don't fill at least 2/3 of the vertical height, the setup will look empty and lonely. This probably will be your major challenge whilst aquascaping. If you do buy stones, make sure they have lots of character, e.g. different colors, shapes, textures, angles.
    9b994efe597c5096311169f8c861fe20.jpg f8ca28ab62b9511fb77c1030c9dcaa6f.jpg tumblr_n300w3yp1j1rfc73zo1_1280.jpg
     
  6. cooledwhip

    cooledwhip New Member

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    I really wanted some corys tho.

    Keep in mind I will not have a carpeting plant so whatever substrate I choose will be what shows.
     
  7. cooledwhip

    cooledwhip New Member

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    What about flourite substrate, and ALSO a flourite sand to go over it? That way it won't look bad when it's mixed and it's also got the sand on top.
     
  8. cooledwhip

    cooledwhip New Member

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    Also, thanks for the advice but these tanks you are showing me are very tiny and the scapes won't work in my tank. Not even the inspiration because the scale is totally off.
     
  9. cooledwhip

    cooledwhip New Member

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    Oh maybe kuhli loaches!!!
     
  10. lucasgg

    lucasgg Active Aquascaper

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    Flourite sand, yes, good idea!

    Have a few ideas for you dry setup

    1. Extreme substrate height differences
    2. Hardscape height differences (such as built high in the corners with a valley in between)
    3. Create depth with textures, overlapping hardscape, plants, etc.


    I have to say your aquarium shape has limited your setup to a select few styles.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2016
  11. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    cooledwhip

    Just as a starter you will need far more money than that as a starter.

    My suggestion is do a complete costing that is suitable for your tall tank.

    Do you have any idea of what you would like to do if you do post the photos please, if not start doing a lot of research on tanks that size.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  12. cooledwhip

    cooledwhip New Member

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    True but it has made certain styles very interesting and applicable. I will for sure to the manzanita branch going vertically, and some height differentials in the substrate. Which means it will cost a lot right? :(
     
  13. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    cooledwhip

    That is why I said do a full costing first then do the ongoing costing as well.

    Aquascaping/Aquarium is far from a cheap hobby.

    Buying cheap products will cost you far more in the end.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
  14. lucasgg

    lucasgg Active Aquascaper

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    On the positive side, buying respectable equipment means it is very reusable.
     
  15. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    I resold all my equipment very quickly because it was all quality products.

    Keith:cat::cat:
     
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  16. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Now that I've had a look at that tank, I'm going to make a few suggestions in your plan.

    First, the challenge here is the spectacular height of the tank. Getting enough light to the bottom and not too much at the top will be difficult. For very low maintenance, I think you should go low light all the way.

    Manzanita is a great choice for the driftwood. Some pieces that either appear to spiral up or down would look great.

    Substrate: In my opinion, toss the entire idea of a planted substrate and forget about stems here. The height will make stems look weird anyways. For the easiest maintenance and cheapest cost I'd recommend pool filter sand as your base substrate. Forget about swords or anything else. Build a base of stones for the wood to settle into and then tie a bunch of various anubias species to the stones or in and around the stones to build a small planted island the wood works its way into. Then as you move up the branches, use moss like fissidens fontanus in various locations and tie some ferns like bolbitus to the wood. You can actually glue the fissidens using a glue made by seachem

    The anubias will do fine in the low light at the bottom of the tank and will not need a nutrient rich substrate as long as you dose the water column. You can do lean dosing using standard commercial ferts or make your own EI low tech using the calculator found HERE

    The Eheim 2217 you have would work well for this. I suppose so would the rena. But in the minimalist low tech you can get by with lower flow. Given the height I would do a spray bar aligned vertically. It will be hard to get good surface movement so add an eheim skim 350 to your plans on equipment. You will be saving lots on substrate and lighting. Look into getting a Fluval Aquasky of the appropriate size. These days that is my recommendation for an easy to operate LED that performs well and is adjustable.

    You have a small footprint, so I would not put in many cory cats. 5 would be a nice number. I think Angel fish are a great idea, try to get some with some vertical lines to them to emphasize the height of the setup. No more than 5.

    I would then pick one schooling variety. Preferably something South American since the other two species are SA fish.

    Last thing I would want to mention....while you have read a lot about tanks on the forum and via your threads....it is not quite the same as knowing. You will learn a great deal more by doing. I like your enthusiasm and your confidence...I just want you to temper that with some realism.

    Since I was home I did a quick sketch of my thoughts

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

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  17. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    This tank will not work well to try and build up the substrate to create depth...there is just too much height and it is visible from three sides. I would go for a nice level substrate and use the driftwood as scaffolding for moss and ferns climbing up the tank vertically
     
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  18. cooledwhip

    cooledwhip New Member

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    Thanks for all the detailed reply and the sketch. Thanks for taking YOUR time to help me.

    I agree it is very tall, and this will be hard to scape.

    I won't rely on stem plants or swords but I will for sure throw in some swords just to see what happens. I have a 10 gallon now with eco complete and a tank light (not even for plants, it's literally like 5 led bulbs) that has a amazon sword that is shooting runners.

    For low light, what do you mean? I don't know if I should use LED, T5, t8, etc. I have a couple T8 fixtures.

    Manzanita is a beautiful type of driftwood. Would you recommend the driftwood go top down or top up? Meaning like the smaller branches stemming into the sand or up to the sky. Where can I buy some manzanita? I want lots of cover space for the angelfish. Not just a single peice, so I want a peice of driftwood really wacky with lots of other branches.

    I'll buy pool filter sand. I do have lots of ADU Aquascaping's dragon stones so I am happy about that.

    I'll be buying lots of ferns and mosses, as well as some anubias for the bottom. Would bucefelandra work?

    I already have some of the EI dry dose things. I have three chemicals that I bought on aquariumfertilizer.com.

    I think I'm gonna use the Rena just because I don't plan on getting any other bigger tanks. Also the rena is a much larger filter. So should I skip the chemical, and all I need now is bio media right? What would you recommend?

    Would you recommend finnex LED's? I've heard those work well for planted tanks.

    Also for the stock:

    5 corycats
    5 angelfish (max)
    School of tetras (You pick this out, I just want a school of filler fish)
    Would I be able to do 2 schools of different fish?
    Also just wondering would German Blue rams work too?

    Thanks much.
     
  19. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    You're welcome. I'm glad to help, I'm just paying forward the help I received when I started. Believe me, I stumbled along in the hobby for a bit.

    By low light I mean the amount not necessarily the type. LEDs are the way to go these days and one feature I like is that many commercial brands come with a dimming option, so you can do multiple levels with a single light and not have to move it around if you don't have somewhere to hang it so you can adjust the height to reduce intensity. The fluval aquasky has this feature. In this size thank with the depth it would be low light, even at 100% power I'd wager. But if you start to get algae issues, you can dim it.
    Buces would work, but if you are on a budget they don't come cheap. Small clumps of buce can cost $40 or more. Anubias are much cheaper and grow better. Up to you though.

    I've never used the finnex LEDs before so I cannot say from personal experience here. LEDs grow plants well that is for sure. I think the feature you really want is dimming in a commercial planted aquarium fixture...this gives you flexibility without much hassle.

    Check out the Barr Report for Manzanita, Tom usually posts up a sale thread. You could try messaging him as well with what you are looking for and he may be able to help you out. Other than that you can find stuff around the web. I'll try to see what I know of and can find and get back to you on other places. I've only ever gotten my manzanita from Tom Barr. As far a position, it depends on what look you are going for. If you want something more artful I'd say so it looks like it is growing or spreading up from the bottom like in my sketch. If you want something to look more natural then from the top corner spreading towards the bottom. Check out Aquarium Design Groups facebook page for ideas on using driftwood, particularly in hardscape only tanks. They do an incredible job at it.

    For your filter, you don't need any chemical media. You could run some carbon for the first month if you wanted. It wouldn't hurt. Then after a month remove it and replace with biomedia. Biomedia is anything that is highly porous, like pumice stone. Some people even use crushed lava rock, the smaller pieces you get from a garden supply store. This is super cheap. I use commercial biomedia from Seachem. Every brand of filter has their own biomedia. Some is better than others, but overall probably won't matter a lot as long as you keep up with filter maintenance.

    Stocking: You could do German Blue Rams, although I would do 5 of those instead of 5 angels then. The tank isn't large enough to do both, IMO. I think we pick the schoolers based on what you decide for the feature fish. I think Angels are a better idea for a tall tank. Apistos tend to be bottom dwellers and the small footprint may be an issue for them. SO on second thought, you may only be able to do a pair. You could try to get a pair of Bolivian rams instead of either of those as well. But the angels will occupy all levels of the tank, so they are the best option.
     
  20. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    cooledwhip

    Shawn has given you some excellent advice to follow.

    With the DW very tall twiggy type might work out the best for you.

    You can get extra height by placing the DW on rocks and using the gaps filled with substrate for planting.

    Holding the DW upright will have to be done with either rocks around the base or screwed to a piece of slate using high grade SS screws.

    Keith :cat::cat:
     
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