Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

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Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  SeanSS on Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:42 am

Hello Hello


Some of you may remember me, probably remember me a bit easier with a face for the name.
about 2 or 3 years ago we had...a bunch, of aquariums. I was breeding 20 some different species at one time, all kinds
of crazy stuff.
Ran all over the midwest to swap meets and auctions while working a full time day job.
Crazy.


Anyways, we sold everything. Moved and had to get rid of everything. I mean everything.
I didnt even have a fish net until the other day.... lol

So, we just recently moved. (We have packed up and moved every winter for the last 5 years now)
And ive got the itch...Or i had gotten the itch about 3 months ago. Wanted to get a tank. A single tank.
And it had to be something large. Larger then the largest tank we use to have which was a 6ft 125G.
So i started searching and shopping. Asking around, keeping my eyes open and spreading the word.
Finally, found a 180 gallon that i approved of. Its not a show piece..But its something that will cure the itch.

So..we have this 180G, what to put in it. Three months ago i decided i wanted to get back into the hobby
with a high tech, planted, discus show tank. Im good with the plants and the high tech stuff...I have never
once kept discus.
So i started gathering supplies, equipment and started to research on what everyone is using today for substrate
in planted tanks.
I picked up a used Fluval FX5 from ebay. Was hesitant on buying it, and now i wish i really would of just turned
my head when i saw it. Picked up 2 36" 6x39w T5HO light fixtures. That is 234watts per fixture, 468 watts
between the 2 fixtures and 2.6 watts per gallon! So my lighting is great.

Ive picked up some other stuff, right now i just need to get a Co2 regulator, Co2 bottle, a decent heater or two
and some other odds and ends stuff.

Here are a few pictures..







Figured out what substrate i was going to use. Before i used Mineralized top soil. Which is dirt, that you wet and dry
wet and dry all while adding different nutrients to the soil in powder form. Stirring it all up, wetting and letting it dry
some more. Very timely process... I didnt want to do this again..So i talked to a few others with planted tanks who
use miracle grow organic potting soil. Right from the bag! I gave it a shot.. Went to home depot and bought 3 bags.
I bought 2 bags too much.




No matter how slow the trickle...The water was horrible. lol
Ive done 2 water changes so far..
I started working on my stand. Needed some lighting under there. I went to Menards and pick up 3 sets of LED under Cabinet lights.
I think they are 16" long each...Bright! 1300 some lumens or something like that.




Fast forward a bit.. Started rinsing my sand and getting it ready.
Drained the tank and started laying in my sand. Got all my sand moved in, and started filling it back up.
This time the water looks much better. Im using a Maxi Jet 1200 with a sponge filter to filter out the large debris from the soil and to
also just simply add some current so the water isnt stagnant.

I picked up 2 killer looking pieces of driftwood from ebay.





So thats where im at right now..
Waiting on some media for the FX5.
Need to run over to Lowe's and buy some plumbing parts.
Im running some PVC in the stand for the FX5. The canister it self will be soft plumbed into the PVC its self so i can
still service the canister. I havent decided if im going to run PVC up into the aquarium or just run PVC out the back
and up to the aquarium and then use soft hose from there into the tank..
So, still some planning and building to do.


Now...For the real game changer..
We are questioning plants now..
Torn between doing another all male Hap/Peacock show tank or doing a planted discus show tank.
Plants are going to be a ton more work in comparison. Especially in a tank this size.

Quite a fork in the road...
If i decide to go with cichlids, all of that substrate has to come back out.. Which is going to be a pain in my
rear but its doable. I'll still with black sand as i can get it from Menards for $7 a 50lb bag.



For reference... Here is a picture of my high tech 90G set up and a picture of my 125G african show tank
from a few years back.











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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  twocat on Sun Nov 23, 2014 8:00 am

Hang in there.

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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  DavidZ on Sun Nov 23, 2014 2:46 pm



Mark would be the guy to go to for Discus questions. I believe they need pretty soft, warm, very clean water. I've never had much success with them as my water is pretty hard.

Good luck.

DavidZ
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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  SeanSS on Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:40 pm

Well, if you can believe this, the 180G is currently sitting completely empty.
Nothing but 2 pieces of driftwood sitting in it. Wink



Change of plans, no longer doing a high tech planted tank.



Still tossing around the idea of Discus though.. What im thinking is just a bunch of driftwood, Vallisneria spiralis and other tall
grass like plants.

No plant specific substrate. Just sand and root tabs.
I really dont have the time to maintain a high tech planted tank.
This one being so large, the work it would require would simply be too much for me at the moment.


So its either a bunch of driftwood, low maintenance plants between about 2-3 species with Discus,
or lots of rock and a african show tank.


Either way.. All of the hard work i put into the substrate i tossed out the door.
I used it to fill a pot hole in front of our house. lol


My mind is crazy


Im also thinking about trying to trade off the FX5.
As days go by, i just hate the damn thing. lol

I just bought a brand new Rena XP4 (XL now).
Would be interested in trading it for another new XP4 or 2 used XP4's.
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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  ilroost on Wed Nov 26, 2014 12:45 am

I remember the 125. Still wish you would of sold me the strawberry peacock. That was a nice fish!
I have a few starts of Anubias plants if you want some
Bob

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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  DavidZ on Wed Nov 26, 2014 11:54 am


This is why all of my tanks are small. i change my mind waaaaayyyyy too often.

Thinking about doing a nice planted 55 though.

If I can get the RO unit I'm thinking about I might give Discus another try.

I have some Amazon Swords if you need some.

Good luck

DZ
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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  SeanSS on Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:18 pm

Chiming in!


Ive made some changes.
Have spent alot of money of freakin driftwood...
Have plans to go look for some after winter, but thats just too far away. I cant wait.
Wanting to get most of my scaping done soon.


So, whats new, I picked up a brand new Rena XL (XP4) from ebay and i also bought a Fluval FX6 on black Friday.
So for filtration ive got a FX5, FX6 and a XP4... lol! Not going to be using everything. Im wanting to check out there
FX5 but i still need to buy a few replacement parts for it. (What a nitemare purchase)
And before i can try out the FX5, ive got some plumbing to do.
Im going to run some 1" PVC pipe from the FX5 up to my aquarium. There will be a vinyl hose from the canister
to a barbed fitting which will thread into the PVC. At the other end of the PVC will be another barbed fitting.
I'll run the Fluval hoses from there over the edge and into my aquarium.

Well, thats the plan, i might plumb the PVC all the way into the tank and figure out what to do about an
venturi/ input for flow into the aquarium.
For the intake i had planned on using the Fluval parts, might make my own pickup/strainer though.


The plans is still on for light, low maintenance plants.
Going to be quite a bit of tall grass like plants in this tank.
Hopefully i can get by without CO2.

My Substrate is pretty simple.
Its mostly a 50/50 mix of Flourite red and CaribSea Flora Max. I put down maybe a half an inch of that
and then capped it with black magic. Black magic is a black sand blasting media. I bought the black max
from Menards for about $7 a bag and the Flourite and Flora Max came from Petsmart and was $15-$20 a bag.
I used 2 full bags and about 2/3rds of a 3rd bag of the plant substrate.
And for the black magic i used 2 bags and about 1/4 of a 3rd bag.

Here are a few pictures ive taken since about the 26th of November.






The last picture, i just took it today.
Waiting to fill the tank up the rest of the way with water until the wood absorbs some more water and becomes a bit more heavy.
So far the only piece that has come up is the piece to the far left.
Ive got rocks mounted to the bottom of each piece. Hoping that later down the road i can remove the rocks or atleast replace them with
smaller, low profile rocks.
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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  SeanSS on Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:23 pm

So what is going on next..


Right now im waiting on 2 more pieces of wood and my heater.
I bought a Finnex 500w adjustable heater.
Really wanted to do something external and inline..
Has anyone seen the DIY PVC pipe heater holder things to make your glass/titanium heater an inline heater?
I might give it a shot..



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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  DavidZ on Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:38 pm


Looking great Sean - You'll have to host a meeting once you get it all put together! Yea, I just invited us all over. Shocked

Haven't seen that particular DIY project, but I'm sure if you Google it you'll find 100 of them.

Continued good luck.

DavidZ
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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  SeanSS on Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:37 pm

Hey, thats a possibility.
I wouldnt mind.

I would say i have enough room comfortably for about 10-12 people if we scatter off between the livingroom and dining room.



Heater came today, just got that bad boy placed in the tank and its getting things warmed up. 500W! Never owned a heater with this many watts.
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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  ilroost on Thu Dec 11, 2014 2:52 pm

cool looking tank. 500 watt heater is alot.
In my 125 i use 2 250 watt heaters.
I think you know where they came from lol
Bob

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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  DavidZ on Thu Dec 11, 2014 3:18 pm


Two schools of thought on heaters.

One is to use two, each half the recommended size. That way if one fails, it takes much longer to boil or freeze things. Down side is that its very hard to accurately balence them, one always works much harder than the other. One is trying to keep the tank at 78, and the other is trying to get it to 78.8. So the one heater is trying to get all that water a degree higher by itself.

The other is to just use 5 watts per gallon and be done with it. Down side of that if that if this heater fails on, you have boiled fish pretty quickly. If it fails off, you have fish sticks.

I typically just use one.

DZ
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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  SeanSS on Thu Dec 11, 2014 7:54 pm

Oh you'll never find 2 heaters heating this tank. lol

I simply do not want the clutter.
Im upset enough that the heater is an internal heater, and may have to remain that way until i swap to a heater that does not have
to be completely submerged.

Had i known that this one had to remain completely submerged, i wouldnt of bought it.
If i decided to try out a DIY Inline heater setup, i'll have to do it with another heater.

To do the DIY inline heater, the top of the heater needs to remain out of water.
Just like any other in tank heater, where ya sometimes keep the temp control knob visible.
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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  SeanSS on Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:53 am

ilroost wrote:cool looking tank. 500 watt heater is alot.
In my 125 i use 2 250 watt heaters.
I think you know where they came from lol
Bob

BOB! Lol i forgot you were on here.
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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  SeanSS on Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:57 pm

Slow going..For a short while i about lost interest.
But here's an update



Looks like a mess, im definitely not satisfied with its current layout.
However, i cannot become satisfied with what i have to work with.








Bought 80+ Val the other day.
Have another 20+ coming to finish the left side.
Going to plant some crypts in the front, add some moss to the limbs
and attach a few anubias here and there to some of the wood.
Need to find some easy plants that dont require Co2 and stay short for the front.


Ignore the dirty glass if you can. I had just finished.
Water is a bit cloudy from stirring up the substrate of course.
I'll grab another picture today.

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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  SeanSS on Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:11 pm

New picture.
How is it looking?


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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  DavidZ on Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:53 pm



Looks great - if we're voting - I vote Discus.

Good job.

DZ
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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  SeanSS on Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:19 pm

lol

Thats the plan.
I picked up a Gourami a little while ago.
Named him Chester, Chester the tester.
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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  SeanSS on Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:51 pm

Just lovely..


I picked up a pair of 6 lamp T5HO fixtures form ebay.. Just today, one of them has decided to half way take a crap.
Its been about 3 months since i bought them, and one is already defective? Oh my..

Ive emailed the seller, waiting to hear back.

Probably going to end up downsizing to 4 lamp fixtures and buy from Odyssea.
Always have had great luck with that company, just wanted 6 lamp fixtures and Odyssea does not offer any.
Just my luck..

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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  SeanSS on Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:40 pm

So, contacted the ebay seller. Did not expect to hear back from them but they actually responded.
I just forwarded a video to them on the problem that i am having.



On a little bit better note...
We have fish!


However, i did not do a water test and we have lost 1 of them as of today.


I picked up a Gourami as a tester. If he survives, great. Great tank mate for our planned fishies.
Well, he survived. So i named his Chester The Tester.
The next day, we picked up 12 black skirt tetras and 4 german blue rams.
1 of the rams didnt make it, after a water test done today, i know why.
Everything is perfect but out PH. its sky high. 7.8.
So, going to work on that now.
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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  SeanSS on Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:50 pm

So aggravating..

So the seller on ebay got back to me.. Wanted pictures of the problem.
Instead of a picture, i took a video.
Video shows my light fixture that works great, i go through the sequence of the lights turning on and off.
I pan to the right and move onto the fixture that does not work properly.
I turn on 1 set of lights, and attempt to turn on the other and they do not come on.
Forward the video to the seller, seller replies.. Wants me to swap the 3 bulbs, with the other 3 bulbs. 6 bulb fixture.
Ive already done this. I tell the seller i have done this, and i can take a video of me doing it again to clear that up.
Next reply from the seller, offering me $45 to keep the fixture and buy new bulbs. Evil or Very Mad Wait...What?!
So.. My reply was quite angry like.. And so i guess im stuck with this defective fixture that is only 3 months old.

Cliff notes... Buy electrical aquarium stuff, from the actual supplier. And not some ebay pile of crap seller.
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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  DavidZ on Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:01 pm


Ebay has the evaluation system and they will intervene with problems with stuff you buy from them. I'd get eBay involved and tell the seller you are doing so.

Then nail him on the rating system..

DZ
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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  SeanSS on Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:57 pm

Probably scratching the plans for Discus..

I really dont have the time for the amount of care they require.
I just recently started a new job.. @ 9 1/2 hours a day for 6 days, im pooped.

Considering tearing down the tank, replacing the substrate with just black magic and going back to a african show tank.
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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  twocat on Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:00 am

Did you ever resolve the issue with the stuff you purchase on ebay?

Mark

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Re: Getting back into the swing of things with a 180G

Post  SeanSS on Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:42 am

The seller refunded me $70 and that was it..

Paid a little over $100 for the fixture.
It is what it is.. Im moving on.

Picking up some Odyssea fixtures
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