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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I should be moved in to a new place in Texas in next 30 days and oddly enough my biggest concern is how to finish the setup of my new 90G RR tank.

It was originally slated for a high flow BB reef tank but since I had to get rid of all my marine livestock to make the move Ive been thinking....... which never ends very well.LOL

My new plan is to have a planted community tank. I want a large variety of plants and lots of small, cheap community fish like tiger barbs, tetras, guppies etc, with a lava rock and drift wood scape. I want this thing stuffed with life, color and movement! I also want minimal maintenance so heres some questions:

1) Is this possible in a RR tank

2) What to use for substrate and how to layer it? Some say Eco-complete or Miracle-gro capped with sand then gravel.

3) Would I have to clean ( siphon? ) the substrate or could this be a relatively stand alone natural system?

4) How should my mechanical filtration be designed? What should it include?

5) Should I use my Finnex 39W 10000k/actinic LED or my 2x 165 chinese full spectrum LEDs?

6) Is CO2 a must?
 

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Just some guy, you know?
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Well,.. Allot is opinion and goal.

I did use a 180 RR tank as a planted tank with wild success, I had 6x55W PC's for light and a low level of C02. I did not use a sump to prevent off gassing of Co2 but instead hooked filters up to the overflow and used any splashing sound as a reminder to top off. I always intended to put a auto topoff in the overflow but never did do it.

If you want no c02 then the water splashing down into the sump would be a great benifit, because it would raise 02 and add some CO2 for the plants. A no c02 tank is all about light, you want just enough for slow growth, and not too much that you get algae. I have a 10G no CO2 tank and it is very easy to care for. I keep shrimp, do water changes once every month or so, and never syphon because I'd suck up baby shrimp, but they don't eat much any way. I've had a more typical low tech fish tank that I did syphon every 6 months or so that was low tech as well.

You are also limited on plant speices here, some that do really well are:
Java fern (all types)
Anubius (all types)
Bolbitus
some stems
Most Crypt

Here is a pic of my no CO2 10G
IMG_3633nr by Wiskey2727, on Flickr

Now, if you want faster growth and more plant choice that's where CO2 and high light come in. These tanks are much higher maintaince, require regular fert dosing, and are harder to get ballanced, and keep algae free. Plus weekly trimming is often required.

If it were me, and I had the goals you list, here's what I would probably do:
No C02
Sump you probably already have with filter socks.
I would get ADA Aquasoil for substrate, this will leach ammonia at first, but is fantastic for plant roots, so just cycle for a month.
Weekly 50% water changes at first, with 6 month or more syphon cycle assuming normal fish load, as the tank stabilizes you can decide to cut water changes back to monthly.
I would start with a light that will provide about 30PAR and adjust up and down from there. I would guess that a fairly crummy 2x54 T5 would do that, a nicer one would be too much light.

Woops! I have to go, I'll come back to this later tonight.
 

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I'm back, but I think I covered most of what I wanted to say in the first post now that I read it over.

One last thing though, you can plant during the cycle, the plants don't care about Ammonia, they like it actually. I would plant heavily in the beginning, that always helps a tank find it's balance.

Whiskey
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks whiskey!

My main concern is substrate maintenance! Siphoning sucks! I would like to plant the lower light plants as you suggested. Then just feed fish, trim plants as needed and do WC's. Is not siphoning an option that won't crash a large tank?
 

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Thanks whiskey!

My main concern is substrate maintenance! Siphoning sucks! I would like to plant the lower light plants as you suggested. Then just feed fish, trim plants as needed and do WC's. Is not siphoning an option that won't crash a large tank?
Some people don't, I have had tanks that are 2 years old with no siphoning, but it really depends on how much you feed more than anything. To some extent the poo is really good for the plants, nitrate and phosphate are gobbled up by them like a 4 year old with candy, but at some point it may overwhelm the system.

If you have Discus many say daily water changes with siphoning every day. If you keep tetras and feed a little flake you could go years. If you do dirt you can't syphon.

Whiskey
 

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Pardon me for asking, but what is an RR tank? I have never heard of it before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes. Whisky is correct. It means Reef Ready. Since Reef tanks typically use a sump, tank builders saw a way to serve a niche in the hobby and likely coined the term Reef Ready.
We finally got moved in here in Texas and the wife changed my plans again.... she wants SW tank.

But I do have a 45g shallow ( 12" deep) tank that would look cool with some grasses, lava rock and stocked with neon tetras and/or tiger barbs....?????

Will see what happens after I get the 90g cycling....
 
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