New 90g Planted tank planning - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-24-2010, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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New 90g Planted tank planning

I am considering a planted tank with discus and rams as the primary fish. As part of the planning process I am figuring out if what I have is doable.
90g drilled tank with integral overflow.
40g long sump
Eheim canister filter
4x54w T5 lighting with LED night lights( I was planning a SW tank)
Two actinic blue bulbs, two 10k bulbs
5 gallons of natural substrate(previous project I didnt start)

Substrate: What I was thinking was pick up a bag of small grain gravel of a suitibly emo dark color and mix the two together thoroughly for the substrate. For a 90, would that be enough or should I get another bag of gravel?

Lighting: Are four bulbs too much? I can always not run one and they are on two circuits. I want one of the actinics, I am pretty sure unless I was doing a tank based on a freshwater spring, that they are useless but I want to bring out the blues in the rams and discus. Put 6500k bulbs in the other three slots or reduce them down to 2 bulbs? I havent decided on what plants yet just heavily planted.

Flow: I have a mag drive 7.5 for the return flow to the tank. I can aim it at the glass but at the height it is at I imagine the flow will be less than that. I also have a device that would allow for alternating current and could put an outflow at either end of the tank and it would go back and forth every ten seconds or so but a very minor back and forth(its not a wavemaker) also cuts water flow down a bit.

Sump: I was going to compartmentalize the really long sump to where the overflow goes into the first compartment, there is a large middle compartment where I put the heater, and the end compartment where the magdrive sits. I figure gunk and garbage should end up in the first two spaces for easy removal.

I was going to use the Eheim simply for mechanical filtration. Where would be a good place for this? I can put it in the sump to reduce current in the main tank or I can put it up there.

Think that about covers design questions so far.
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-24-2010, 01:47 PM
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This is a wonderful aquascape, discus and rams in a well-planted 90 gallon aquarium. I have a 90g set up as a flooded Amazon forest which would be ideal for discus (I don't have them...yet) and the 115g Amazon riverscape is another approach; the photos of these under my "Aquariums" under my name at the left might give you some ideas to work around.

There are some significant problems with light and filtration in your plan, and rather than repeat everything i would suggest you read through the 4-part series of stickies at the head of this section. Part 3 covers filtration and part 4 lighting, but there are related issues in the others that will help in understanding the concept.

Discus are quiet sedate fish that appreciate (= will be much less stressed and thus healthier) low lighting and lower filtration. And so will the plants, as detailed in the stickies. I can expand if you have questions.


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; 01-24-2010 at 01:49 PM.
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-24-2010, 02:17 PM
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Apart from what I already tried to point out to you as far as water parameters and light in this thread
For a 90g dep how deep you want the substrate you'll need something in the house number of 90-100lbs fine gravel.

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-24-2010, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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I got your light part Angel, I was more concerned with the power of the light than the color spectrum in this thread and using what I have rather than buying something new again.
I do plan on a large amount of drift wood so there will be quite a bit of shaded areas. I can always just run one bulb in each circuit, they are parallel circuits so it wont be an issue. That will only make it 108w but I have never been a fan of the watts per gallon theory as there are too many other factors to work in aside from that. Thinking swords for the back kinda coming over in a canopy.
I read the stickies before posting the original message on this forum. Thats why I am solely doing mechanical on the filtration. Guess I will have it in the sump. I will see if I can engineer some kind of either baffle or spray disbursal for the return from the sump to reduce the current flow, maybe a long pipe across the top with multiple holes to reduce pressure.

I am looking at about 3" - 4" or so I think. I already have about 40 pounds of substrate, so I guess another three bags of fine gravel to mix with it? Is that a good dpeth for rooted FW plants? The grassbed I was planning as a SW was going to be 5"-6" due to turtlegrass liking it deep which is also why I have a 90gal for the extra height.

This whole boiling driftwood thing you mentioned earlier, Angel, you are actually referring to hot water boiling correct? Like sticking it in a caldron of boiling water for a little while? I only ask because there is a salt water process of boiling live rock and it has absolutely nothing to do with hot water and takes about six months.

Last edited by Bluetangclan; 01-24-2010 at 05:42 PM.
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-24-2010, 06:32 PM
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True. Which is why I tried explaining in the other thread, you need a full spectrum round about 6500K and on a normal florescent ~1wpg is sufficient for plants (and also to make the fish color look at their best).
The problem/ difference here to SW tanks is simply if you run some 150-200w over this tank it will literally burn your FW plants, no joke.

Anything min 2" and more will do fine for Live plants.
I used Hairgrass in my latest set up (See Aquarium tap here "2nd new shrimp farm" so that may be a option for you to plant in your freshwater too, I really like its looks.

I can't comment on the SW "boiling" no SW gal here Yes you actually take the Driftwood if it fits in a pot you have great if not you'll use your tub or a big plastic bucket etc, anything the DW fits into and poor hot boiling water over it, for one to destroy unwanted bacteria off of it and not get them in your tank, second to do is to remove tannis from not leaching your tank looking like coffee in the end

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
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