Starting a Large Tank
I just got my hands on a beautiful 150 gallon tank, the current tank that I own is a 15 gallon tank, so this is a great upgrade. I have a choice between two different 150 gallon tanks from the same person. One tank has an undergravel filter, is very quite, has stable plants, but the glass is scratched. The other tank, the one I want to get, has an over the back filter, is loud, and does not sustain plants as well, but the glass is great and tank looks mu clearer. My question is, when I start a large tank like this should I put in a undergravel filter, keep everything under the water, or should I leave it and use an over the back filter with the bio bags? I really wanted to try an undergravel filter but the person at the pet store that I went to said that they are hassle if they get clogged and she raved about the over the back filters. The thing I do not like about the over the back filters is the waterfall affect that you get and it looks buly hanging on the back of a tank, imo. I am just looking for some sound advice about what I should do. I will be getting the tank in about 2 weeks.
Here's the things I have found out:
1) undergravel filters are good and bad it all depends what you put into the tank, personal preference.
2) HOB filters are great for certian tanks ( I myself use HOB filters & canister filters on all my tanks) , But with such a large tank Imo I don't think one HOB will be large enough to meet your needs.
3) If the tank with scratches can be turned around you might be able to hide them that way.
4) Lighting plays a large part in plant growth so the tank with the best lighting on it might be the way to go.
5) The biggest question you need to know is what are you going to do with the tank!!!!!!!
Hope this helps a little bit :D
Go get a cup of coffee and have a seat, this reply is a long one.
I am a proponent of ugf's, even in planted and cichlid tanks. I also like reverse flow filtration. However, I must say that no single system is as good as a "layered" filtration system. All of my "big" tanks are using ugf's with reverse flow powerheads, internal and external power filters, and canisters. Thus the "layering". By so doing, I can perform maintenance on any element of the system without compromising the biological capacity of the entire system.
If you are going to house cichlids, notorious diggers, place a plastic egg-crate ceiling light diffuser on top of the filter plate. This will help to maintain the integrity of the undergravel filtering system.
I use Marineland powerheads. All three, the 550, 660(r) and the 1140 will provide constant flow to the bacteria in the gravel bed as well as help to prevent substrate compaction. It prevents compaction by forcing water up through the substrate rather than the conventional "down" through. The foam prefilters filter the water to remove particulates.
This method also inhibits mulm build up on the surface of the substrate, allowing the other filters to remove particulates. This reduces the need for frequent gravel sweeps.The system also provides fresh filtered water to the bacteria in the bio bed of the substrate.
The addition of power filters, both internal and external, and canisters provides not only mechanical filtration, but biological as well. Always a good thing.
I am of the belief that no single form of filtration is meant to operate as a stand alone system. They should always be used in unison with other methods of filtering.
In my 180g, similar in footprint to your 150g, I use (4)Marineland 1140 powerheads with power sponge kit. (The kit includes sponge prefilter and all the necessary parts to do the job), Perfecto filter plate(s), (2)Fluval 4+ internal power filters, (2)Magnum 350 canister filters, and (2)Emperor 400 external power filters. Substrate is 3" deep EcoComplete, since it is a planted tank. I also put inline heaters and UV on the return side of the Magnums. This tank has NEVER had an out break of Ich or any other disease that would threaten my fish. I also do not use carbon in filtering in any of the filters.
As for which tank you would choose, I would pick the one in better shape. Hopefully, when you set it up, you will make any necessary adjustments to make it your own and correct anything the previous owner may have missed or done wrong in his/her setup,
If you are going to plant the tank, good substrate, lighting and fertilizing regimen are imperative. Dry ferts in a tank that size is the most economical. The best choice for lighting would be compact fluorescents, preferably high output. Wattage is not important as long as you provide sufficient lumens and proper spectrum.
Thanks for the reply herefishy. I am not sure I understood all of that since I am new to having a tank of this size. Is there anywher on the web that you can direct me so I can see what you are talking about so I may get a better understanding?? I also live in a large city, is there any well known store that you can direct me where I can pick us the items that you stated??
:) As has been stated a planted aquarium needs two vital elements, Light and a substrate for planted aquariums such as flourite , laterite, or eco-complete. The size aquarium you will be using should do Ok with a canister filter and a hang on the back type filter such as the EMPEROR 400. There are many canister filters to choose from and a good place to see examples and info on both is www.liveaquaria.com It could be the tank that you say plants are not as nice in lacks either proper substrate, lighting, or both. In any event, you would be well served by the combination of the above mentioned hang on the back filter and a canister filter that moves twice the water volume of your tank. you will regret not doing so.
did not get previous post edited in time. :twisted: thriving planted tanks also need CO2 injection though there are plants that can grow without it.CO2 injection can get a bit pricey.
If I had a 150 gallon tank I would run 3 filters on it. All fo themr ated at 60 gallons or more. One would be a huge HOB filter right in the middle of the tank. With a dark background over the back of the tnak, all you will ever see if the top of it. As for how loud the waterfall can be, there are two option: one is to keep the water level high and the other it to rig up some sort of diffusor for theo outflow. The other 2 filters would be canister filters. Shear power and would help keep the water pristine.
Reason for HOB filter is so I can customize what I want in there as far as biological and mechanical media. A really large Aqua Clear filter would have lots of room to customize using sponges, Biochem stars and whatever els eI want. The canisters would also have similar varieties of media to make sure that if one ever failed the others could quickly take over and handle all of the biological and mechanical filtration needs.
Someday I will try HF's reverse flow UGF.
As for lighting, CLICK HERE to get a better idea of what you want and need for what you want to do with the tank. Some iof it is still kinda Greek to me but it does explain plant needs a lot better and will get you on the right track to getting the lighting you want and need for your tank.
I found the LFS that I love and trust through my local aquarium society. The chains are rarely good, and quality varies between location anyway, so people on here probably can't help you find a good shop.
Just remember, whatever fish store you go to, the employees knowledge should never replace good, solid research before hand.
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