Questions for Byron
I want to do a 120 gallon freshwater set up with some natural plants. I don't want to get involved in CO2 and am planning on using the easiest and lowest light plants available. The 120 is the 60inch length and 26 inch
depth. Want to start with two 4ft 40 watt T-12 florescents. I plan on adding LED lighting eventually to the front half of the aquarium and using the florescents toward the back. My question is about filtration. Can I work with two
hang on the back type filters instead of the canister type? I go out of town often and prefer the idea of not having tubing running from the canister and springing a leak while i am gone. I have worked with the hang on the back types and have never had a problem with them. The fish I am planning on are 4 to 6 angles, some tetras and small catfish types, but relatively minimal load of fish for that much water to try and keep the maintance down. I have some experience with fresh water set ups and have bred anglefish in the past but have minimal experience with the plants. From what I have read so far on the forum, you have a relatively simple approach to the plants compared to the advice I have been getting at the local aquarium stores.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Hi David, and welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Glad you joined us.
I moved your post to start its own thread; although the topic is much the same as that thread, it is a different aquarium so it is best as a new thread.
My 115g is basically the same dimensions as your 120g. Two 48-inch T8 (T12) fluorescent tubes is all the light you will need, unless you plan on difficult plants--but I'm assuming not, since CO2 is not being planned and that is usually needed with the higher light. You can see what my 115g looks like in the photos under "Aquariums" below my name on the left.
T12 is the older type of regular fluorescent, being phased out now as manufacturers move to the more energy-efficient T8 which produce the same intensity but with less energy (watts). So some of the tubes I would recommend (and use myself) are 32w instead of 40w. Floating plants are still advisable with forest fish, as even this will be bright to them. Angelfish and tetra fall into this category.
On the filters, i would really recommend a good canister for this size tank. You want a flow (though gentle) from one side to the other lengthwise to replicate a stream for these forest fish, and a canister is the best way to achieve this. I have a Rena XP3 on my 115g; Eheim is (perhaps arguably) a better filter though more expensive, I have Eheims on my 90g and 70g.
The plant species are listed for each of my larger aquaria, so that will give you some suggestions for plants that will do well with minimal lighting and in a natural setup. Feel free to ask questions. There are several of us here with thriving natural planted tanks.
Thank you for the fast reply. A couple more question if you don't mind. With the canister filter have you ever
sprung a leak with one of the hose connections? I guess if I made the intake only a couple inches below the
surface than the worst that could happen is it would pump out that volume of water and start sucking air.
Also, the last aquarium I had was a 90g and I tested it for leaks out on a patio where I filled it and let it sit
for a couple weeks. My new 120g is going into a custom wall unit, so if it developed a leak my wife will file for
divorce, or at least I will be sleeping outside in a tent. I have a garage and was going to test it in there with a
piece of wood and foam pad under it to level the surface. Did you test your 115g or do you think its overkill?
I read your four part article on the basics of planted tanks. It was excellent and I am now understanding why
the most beautiful planted tanks have so few if any fish. My tank will be more fish oriented and I will probably
use some fake plants and then work at getting the real plants going. I assume that you can control the flow
rate with the canister filter so that as the plants get going you can cut back on your biological filtration so they
get more of what they need. By the way my wife is not too excited about my project but my four year old daughter is siked. She currently has a 10 gallon in her room with a couple angles that are getting too big and
will be ready for their new home.
Thanks again Byron.
You want the filter intake close to the substrate. About 4 inches above it is best. As for flow, my older Eheims have no flow control, they just run full out. My newer Rena does, but it is on the 115g and I have it set at maximum anyway, since I have my spotted driftwood catfish in there and they need some current. The filter outflow at one end allows for this (and the cats took up residence in the wood at that end closest to the filter) and by the time it gets down the 5-foot tank it is minimal. It is interesting (but not surprising) that the tetra remain in the right half of the tank where the flow is less.
Personally, I would stuff the tank with live plants on day one. If you have sufficient, you can add a few fish the same day. There will be no "cycle" to speak of with live plants.
Thanks Again Byron
Your knowledge on the subject of planted tanks is much appreciated.
I will take your advice and go for the plants first. Will try to get back to you once my
big tank is up and running.
The tap water in my area has a slight yellow tint to it. Its also fairly hard and pH around 7.4 to 7.6. Is it generally a good or bad idea to run the water through some kind of filter before adding it to a planted tank,
Amazon style planted.
Hope you don't mind me stopping in for a second-
Yellow water is usually caused by rust... And heavy metals (like iron) are definately not a good idea in a planted tank. Try running the water for a few minutes and see if it clears up. If not, you might need some kind of filter. R/O filter would be best, but since they're so expensive, a Brita or a 'Zerowater' filter would be better than nothing.
If you can, just collect rainwater and use it.
Agree. Can you find out the data for the water from the water supply folks? This will tell you what is in the water. Also, what is the number for hardness, GH and KH/Alkaliinity?
One thought. Does this yellow tint occur from the cold water tap running on its own? I'm just wondering if it is the hot water, from the hot water tank.
Thank you both for your reply. I will look into the hardness numbers and see what I can find. The pipes that supply fresh water to our area are being replaced and on numerous occasions we have had boil water orders for a few days at a time. It does not seem to have had a impact so far on the little overstocked tank I have, but that tank has no live plants. By the way Byron, my Anglefish seem to have recovered and have started eating again. I treated the tank for ick and it seems to have worked. The Angles showed no visual signs of it but the Mollies had some white spots and the bigger Angle started rubbing himself against the intake tube for the filter. Anyway, as soon as I get some numbers I will send those to you. I could use rain water in the summer here, but the winter is our dry season and I will be dependent on the tap water for the big planted tank being planned.
Here is what I have found out so far about the water where I live.
Classified as hard to extremely hard. pH around 7.6
Inorganics present : Barium .02, Fluoride 1.0, Nickel .14, Nitrate 8, Sodium 22-41
Radiological contaminants: Alpha Emitters 8.4, combined radium .9, Uranium 1.2, Radon 338
Disinfectants: Chloramines ppm 2.4, Chlorine ppm 2.0
So if I were trying to soften the water for Amazon Swords and Anglefish, would diluting the tap water with rain water and/or distilled water be the best way to do it. I could actually justify buying a commercial water distiller for my business. I currently buy about 5 gallons a week for my work.
Thanks in advance for your help.
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