setup of 90 gallon planted tank - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-15-2012, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Talking setup of 90 gallon planted tank

Hello all,
After a long hiatus I have decided to get back into fish husbandry I have always been involved with animals of one shape or another. I currently have two dachshunds and one scorpion as well as a few tarantulas. About 15 years ago I had designed and built a reef aquarium and enjoyed it as well as my 30 gallon which had one large Oscar in it he was my baby. But as life would have it and a divorce where she got the fish and stuff I lost them all.
I have since decided to embark on an adventure of having a 90 gallon, planted tank with angel(s) Leopaldi Angels or Scalare not sure what else I would like to add adult size is a factor for sure as I do not want to over burden the tank, suggestions would be nice.
Currently I have two magnum 350 external filters for filtration.
Have cut the lumber for the stand 2 x 6 lumber and 4 x 4 legs ( I always over build) using plans I got from Google Sketchup site and the measurements of the tank in question 48 ˝ x 18 ˝ x 29 inches. I have yet to pick this up I hope on the first of next month. I had to make a carrier for it as it will not fit into a ‘94 Lumina inside of the trunk. So out of some lumber I made a case to ride on roof of the car with hold downs of course.
Being of the old school I setup my 30 gallon with a homemade UGF that I always make for my tanks and already added gravel to it I have decided to use this for other fish than my main tank.
I have been reading various forums gathering intelligence can you tell I am a AF Veteran on what is the going things now and have decided to go the dirting method for a planted tank. I figure I will do this in sequence:
1- peat small amount on bottom
2- clay substrate
3. osmocote mix
4. capping material? Have not decided on this as of yet and a little shaky on using sand but I must stay in a small budget.
5. 3 inches in depth.

I have been searching high and low for crush volcanic rock to use as a cap for my 90 gal setup and to no avail seem to be talking in foreign language around here as I always do. I live in Rushville, Indiana close to Indianapolis I have tried Lowes, carter's lumber, Doitbest, etc.., either it is under another name at these stores or they do not carry it. if I cannot find any I need a cheap alternative I am a little wary about sand as a cap.
I have been reading about setting this tank up as a planted tank (my first) its mainly about keeping the sand clean ( or is that necessary ) in a planted tank. I am in the design phase and have cut the lumber for the stand (awaiting fasteners). I am designing the lighting system with LED's as this what I want to do, as I have built one for my 30 long (no fish added as of yet) not a planted tank either. Does anyone (I know everyone has their own opinion on substrates) is my logic is right for start of the setup.

Thank you

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post #2 of 12 Old 08-15-2012, 11:34 AM
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sorry cant help much on what to cap your substrate with but wanted to say welcome to the forum.
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-17-2012, 01:57 PM
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Welcome to the forum. I have moved this thread to the Aquarium Plants section since that is the main subject of your post.

I have several planted tanks running at present [photos of some are under the "Aquariums" tab below my name on the left] and planted tanks have been my thing for 20+ years. The only substrate method I have not tried yet is dirt. Primarily because the benefit does not in my mind make up for the issues. Depending what sort of planted tank you want, you can achieve it with plain sand or plain fine gravel. One basic method is outlined in my articles at the head of the Aquarium Plants section entitled "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" that you might like to check out. For the present, I'll move on to other issues.

And first is the fish. I am assuming you have decided on a planted tank as opposed to a biotope which would have few if any substrate-rooted plants in keeping with the natural habitat of Pterophyllum scalare. However, they do move into the flooded forest for half the year, so a planted tank is still "authentic." These fish do not appreciate bright overhead light, so minimum lighting works best. Sufficient for the needs of the selected plants, plus some floating plants, and this should be fine.

A substrate of sand would be authentic, and here you could use what I now use, Quikrete Play Sand from Home Depot/Lowe's, which is very inexpensive--two 50-pound bags will do your 90g with some to spare.

Filtration can be minimal too, as these fish do not like strong water currents, and neither do the plants. For a 90g i would go with a single canister rated to the tank size. This is what i have on my three largest tanks.

I'm sure you'll have more questions.


Edit: Decided not to move this thread, as various topics are being covered so it might as well remain where it is.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 08-17-2012 at 07:22 PM.
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-17-2012, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Talking hello

thank you for the info as i am still gathering information myself every little bit counts in my book. i will read what you suggested and i have looked at your lovely tanks which are just the thing i am looking for. and would gladly welcome any help you can give.
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post #5 of 12 Old 08-17-2012, 02:22 PM
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About angelfish, if you are torn between angel fish species, it'd be best to look at your water parameters. Scalare Angelfish are common and have been bred in captivity for a long time and will adapt much better if you have basic and hard water. The Leopold Angelfish, as well as the Altum Angelfish are much more sensitive, being wild caught, and will require soft, acidic water. I'd test your pH, gH and kH or call your water plant and ask about these if possible. You can click on the highlighted names to read about each species of angelfish.

Hope that helps, and welcome to TFK.

A note on soil tanks, it does on average take a couple of months before you can add fish, while with a sand only tank filled with plants you can start stocking much sooner.

taking a break from fish-keeping.
3 lovely male betta still keep me company.
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-17-2012, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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Talking hello all

it looks like i will be going with sand instead of the dirt method i was a little hesitant at first but as it has been done the sand method for many years i will go with it and it will be cheaper for me. i will use the 350 magnum just one with no extra filtration. fish i have decided on angels and some of the others mentioned. now to get the tank and the stand built and as far as lighting i will have to readjust my design a bit but no worries. i will post what i have come up with.
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post #7 of 12 Old 08-17-2012, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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Talking okay now for lighting

i have decided on using LED;s like i said this is what i have come up with see attachment i hope this will be enough light after reading abiout a natural tank which is what i would like i figure a row of red, white, blue light or alternate them in the three rows. i plan to use an arduino to control the lights so to better control them.
if in fact i do need to augment my water in some way an autodosing system using the same arduino system. i have to get some a replacement container for the magnum 350 as some of the clips have broken off over time. any one have a spare? hehe.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf my 90 light numbers.pdf (10.4 KB, 7 views)
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post #8 of 12 Old 08-18-2012, 10:10 AM
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I would recommend buying sand as your substrate too.

As for your crushed volcanic rock I recommend buying regular volcanic rock (that should be a lot easier to find) and taking a hammer to it.
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post #9 of 12 Old 08-18-2012, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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on the subject of lighting

i could not help but reread the links provided on the natural aquarium setup and i noticed that i might have too much light should i like half the amount of light as i think this might be too bright for my fish and for plants i plan to choose low light plants. you thoughts on this and any input after reading my lighting setup would be great and thanks so far i am developing a notebook on what to get and what to avoid.
thanks in advance
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post #10 of 12 Old 08-18-2012, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by drhemlock2 View Post
should i like half the amount of light
it depends, how did you initially determine that 2786186526919020272000 photons reaching the bottom of your tank per second is sufficient and what now makes you think that it is too much?
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