Coming back to Freshwater Aquariums -- Need Advice
I wanted to see if I can centralize some ideas for a new 90 Gallon FW fish tank.
I'm coming back from about a year's vacation, sold my 90 gallon FW fish tank last year and tossed my salt water tank since I got board with saltwater (great colors, didn't enjoy the tank after I successfully kept it going for a few months)
I want the tank to be planted, but i was never very good at aquascaping, I mainly had swords and crypts and some java fern
I wanted some ideas on the following:
1 - The most popular and inexpensive away to use gravel (I heard flourite is great!)
2 - The best way to hide a fluval 405 cannister filter valves, and a hydor heater?
- I plan to use non carbon filtering (going with bioballs and sponge) -- any suggestions here?
3 - Since it's going to be a standard sized 90 gallon tank, where should I position the power heads so that it's most appealing? What size powerhead should i get (I heard the hydor evolutions replace the Hydor 2's and those should be good enough for a 90 gallon tank)
4 - I'm going to be using low light hoods (probably a power glow with a sunglow) T8's most likely and it will be 2x 48in tubes, so that turns out to be 80w - 80w.
- Is there any plants for beginners? I was thinking swords, crypts, java ferns, and a few moss balls (I got a bunch of Microbe-lift bloom & grow for my old 90 gallon tank so that is still good to use for ferts.
- I don't want to go C02 route, because of the job that i have, I don't have much time maintaining.
5 - Decoration: I want to make it look as natural as possible without it being a high-tech tank, I just want to be able to look at it and relax in front of it once i'm done and just do minor maintenance.
6 - Here's a list of fish I would like to place in this tank (if there's any further suggestions please let me know)
4 x Clown Loaches (2-4 inches)
10 x Tiger Barbs
This is it so far, any other fish that is compatible would be great, I wanted the tank to be fully planted. If anyone has pictures that they can take to give me some idea of how I can hide tubing and aquascape that would be great.
I'm open to any ideas as far as how, or what type of stones to use or how to position as i'm such a noob at this.
I've done some reading around the forums, but there's no where that has all the information centralized and would like to make it easier. Any help would be great!
Thank You all before hand!
This is very much along the lines of my larger tanks, with respect to lighting. I'm attaching some photos of my 90g (which has two 48-inch T8 tubes, no CO2, and plain fine gravel substrate) as it has appeared at different times over the last few years. This will give three similar yet different looks, indicative of what is possible with a natural or low-tech method. First and second photos are of one aquascape, showing the increased plant growth after just 4 months; photo 3 is a different aquascape, and photo 4 is the current river habitat aquascape. Same dark gravel substrate in all.
On fish, I myself would reconsider Tiger Barb. Their aggressive tendencies will limit some other possible fish in this sort of tank. A better barb would be the Black Ruby Barb; I have a group of 8 of these in the current 90g and they provide the black vertical stripe appearance but without any of the nastiness. Congo Tetra is in with these, and few fish have flowing fins like Congo but there is no issue with these barb.
The selection of fish if forest types like tetra, loach, catfish, barb, rasbora, etc., would be best suited with a simple canister filter rated for a 90g. I have an Eheim Pro II on this tank, with the heating element built in. The latter means two less implements hanging in the water, so this is one way to avoid equipment in th tank. And the filter is not very obvious in these photos. But tall standing wood, representing a tree stump, or tall plants are easy ways to conceal equipment.
This will start the thinking. I'd be glad to answer any questions.
Thank for all the help Byron,
question about detritus control in your planted tank, without powerheads and without water flow, outside of your powerhead how do you control dead spots in the water?
where did you position the outlet and the inlet of your tank to filter?
I found a Hydor Inline 300w heater -- wondering if that would work with either a fluval 405 or the Fluval fx -- I want to keep as little artificial stuff in the tank as possible.
Also with barbs, black ruby barbs = cherry barbs? not too sure I have black ruby barbs around but they look similar. I like them too, but the misses think they look like insects.
thank you for your opinions and images it gives me a starting point to look forward to .
Provided the heater is of sufficient power, it should work. I would always use two heaters on large tanks as a precaution; first, two heaters will each work less hard to heat the tank so less likely to fail, and second if one should fail you have the other to prevent a disaster. Tanks can cool very fast during a cold night. And the higher wattage the heaters, the better as again they work less hard and last longer.
I think I definitely have enough information on what I would like to setup.
Now, onto the next step -- gravel, lighting, driftwood, and stones
driftwood and stones are not a big problem, even plants are not a problem since I know what I will need a lot of low light plants.
Gravel is my next problem I have to conquer.
Now I know i'm going to mix Seachem Flourite + quikrete all purpose play sand, but the next question would be how much of each, I want enough substrate but i've ran into problems where I had some bad smelling water in my last tank and pockets of black was trapped in the substrate (hydrogen sulfide?).
I want to try to prevent this, but also not disturb the plants once I have finished planting them.
as for lighting I'm going to be picking up corallife T5 -VHO hood with a 67k light and a all spectrum light, so I'm hoping that helps the plant growth.
Flourite is an enriched substrate, but having had it now for 7+ months in my 70g, I would not waste the money on it again. The pygmy chain sword may be doing better in this tank than it is in the other tanks (I also have it in playsand tanks and fine gravel tanks), but it is not sufficiently better for me to justify having spent $180 for the Flourite compared to $12 for playsand sufficient to provide a substrate over the same surface area. I used just playsand when I reset my 5-foot 115g this summer, and I have playsand in the 33g and intend to use it alone in the 29g when I reset that next. I am having to dose Flourish Comprehensive once a week in all these tanks, regardless of the substrate. I have Flourish tabs next to the large swords in the 90g and 115g now. They are probably cheaper long-term than Flourite; they say it never wears out, but that is an impossible claim because the nutrients have to be replenished somehow. Flourite also seems to need regular fertilizer being added to work anyway. Having said all that, if you want a pure black substrate, and the money is not an issue, the Flourite sand on its own should work. For a 90g you will want 6 bags; they are (if memory serves me) 7 kg/15 pound bags. I used six bags in my 70g, and it has the same surface area as the 90g (864 sq inches).
VHO [very high output] is intended for reef marine tanks. T5 was in fact designed to provide higher light for reef tanks over the regular T8, so fewer tubes would be needed. T5 comes in NO (normal), HO (high) and VHO. The NO is approximately identical in intensity to T8 of the same type and length; but paying almost double for T5 over T8 for the same result makes no sense, and (probably for this reason) NO tubes are hard to find. HO is approximately 1.5 times more intense than T8 in the same type and length. VHO is obviously even more. Those tank photos I posted all have two 48-inch T8 tubes, and I have to keep the duration down to 8 hours or algae explodes.
Other than my dual T8, the only fixture I would consider over a 90g is a single tube T5. This is slightly less light, which in itself would still be manageable, but considering the considerable cost of the T5 fixtures and tubes by comparison to T8, over time it would not be sensible. Two years ago I tried a dual T5 HO fixture when my old T8 gave out; over the 90g it was just too much light. I tried it over my 5-foot 115g thinking it might work there, but after using it for a week I took it back for a new dual T8. I told the store my fish were asking me for sunglasses. Much too bright. Fine if you have a high-tech setup, with CO2 diffusion and daily dosing of nutrients to balance. But not over natural systems.
As far as the light bulbs, if you're using a T8 bulb what type of light are you actually using in the tank, any recommendations there -- because my old tank was a T8 and a T10 a life glo2 and a sun glo.
I actually found the bulb type from coralife and they are NO
what is your opinion on these? since they are Normal Output they should be okay right?
I've considered pricing, my local fish shops make me pay double of what I find online -- so if it's not money, I think this would be great --
I want the benefits of good light, but also have the colors of both plants and fish pop out -- I never got that with my life and sun glo bulbs, but the plants grew well with them. what's your take on that?
As far as sand, I would like to use black sand or a mix of black and play, the flourite was going to be a sand based flourite so i'm not sure how that would play out. I would love a way for that type of sand to come in black, but there is only petco and that is 15 dollars for a 20lb bag.
The Life-Glo is my absolute favourite tube. It give a true rendition of fish and plant colours, close to mid-day sun. Your Sun Glo was very warm, more red in the mix. Fine for plants, but if I am reading you correctly you are looking for more "cool" which brings out blues more. I like such a combo myself, a Life-Glo (= full spectrum) plus a cooler white (higher Kelvin) will achieve this. Instead of the Sun Glo, the ZooMed CoralSun will achieve this. I had this combo over my 90g and liked it. There is also a brand called Lightening Rod, and their Ultra Daylight at 11,000K was a good match with a full spectrum like Life-Glo.
If it were me, to keep more options in tunbes open, and for less money to boot, I would stay with a T8 fixture.
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