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Setting Up New 125 Gallon Planted Tank

Discussion in 'Tropical Discussion' started by civilalloy, Feb 7, 2019.

  1. civilalloy

    civilalloy New Member

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    I just got a 125 gallon tank for super cheap (it just had a small leak I neeed to seal). The largest tank I have right now is only 20 gallons, so this is sure to be a completely different beast. I have a few general ideas on what I want to do with this tank, and was hoping for a few suggestions, with regards to lighting, planting, scaping, maintenance, stocking, etc.

    First of all, my tank is approximately 48" tall x 36" wide x 16" thick, and has a slightly bowed front.

    I would LOVE for this to be a planted tank. I understand that this may be a bit expensive, but from what I've seen, should be doable. From my research, the biggest hurdle would be having usable light reach the bottom of the tank. Would something like this work? Would I need more than one? If not, what would you guys suggest? Does anyone know a good LED solution?

    For planting, assuming I can get an acceptable lighting solution, HOW ON EARTH am I going to plant stuff? Do they make a super long version of the standard aquascaping tools? Or will I actually have to climb inside of this thing? :lol: Would I need to use CO2 or fertilizer? Any recommendations for substrate?

    I was thinking of using some lava rock and some driftwood, possibly using suction cups since the tank is so tall? Has anyone done this?

    I was thinking of modifying my gravel vac with some PVC to make it long enough, do you think this would work?

    Lastly, what kind of fish would you guys recommend? My wife and I are planning to combine most of three 20 gallons we already have (guppies, an oranda goldfish, mollies, a school of bloodfin tetra). We wanted to add two or three angels, a couple red tailed sharks, african dwarf frogs (is the tank too deep for them, since they have to surface for air?), hopefully some kind of crustacean that wouldn't be eaten, but also wouldn't eat any fish?

    Thank you for any suggestions!
     
    #1 civilalloy, Feb 7, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Are those tank dimensions correct, 4 foot high x 3 foot long (left to right) x 16 inches wide (front to back)?
    If yes, how thick is the glass?

    If the tank is that size, I would give it away and get something more user friendly. That is a horrible tank to set up or work in.

    If you want to keep it, then use a glass aquarium silicon to patch the leak. Apply a lot of silicon to the leak. Don't inhale the fumes from the silicon because you will pass out and can die if you don't get fresh air. No idea how you're going to seal it if the leak is at the bottom of the tank.

    After you have sealed the leak, wait a week and then fill the tank up outside. Monitor it for a week and if there is no leaks, then drain it and set it up in the house.

    You should probably check the seams where the silicon joins the glass. Make sure there are no bubbles in the silicon and the silicon is not white or cream. Press the silicon with your finger/ thumb and see if it feels hard and brittle or soft and squishy. It should be soft but firm and a little squishy.

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    I wouldn't use CO2 and if you want to grow plants in the substrate you will need 300+ watt spotlights to penetrate the depth of water. You might be better off using tall pieces of driftwood and attaching Java Fern, Java Moss and Bolbitis to the upper parts of the wood so they are close to the light. And have some floating plants like Water Sprite on the surface. Then you won't need high wattage spotlights because the plants will be in the top half of the tank.

    I would not add big rocks to the tank because it will be hard to lower them in without dropping them and cracking the base. I would have a thin layer of sand or gravel over the bottom and use driftwood.

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    You can make a gravel cleaner with pvc pipe or just use a 2 litre plastic drink bottle. Cut the bottom off the bottle and remove the cap. Throw those bits away. Stick a garden hose in the top of the bottle and run it out the door. Use the bottle as the gravel cleaner.

    If you use 4 inch diameter pvc pipe and an end cap with an adaptor, you could use that with a garden hose or length of clear plastic hose, but you won't be able to see what is in the pvc pipe.
     
  3. civilalloy

    civilalloy New Member

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    Yes, those are the measurements... It's not ideal, I know, but we have such a perfect spot for the tank, and it'll free up so much space from the other tanks, and let us expand just a little bit all at the same time. The glass is around half an inch thick, and I already found and patched the leak (I actually had to crawl almost entirely into the thing). It was full for about a week and it's definitely fixed now.

    Any clue how deep would the fixture I linked to penetrate the water? Any recommendations on a better fixture? Any recommendations on a spotlight? I figure maybe instead of a tank completely teeming with plants, we could have one or maybe two spots on the bottom, and everything else could be up higher like you suggested. I just wonder if the lighting would look good to the observer? How much darker would the bottom of the tank be?

    I was definitely not planning on adding large rocks for that same reason. I was mostly thinking like the 3 to 5 inch lava rocks you can get at Home Depot, and then any larger driftwood I can get my hands on.

    I have an existing gravel vac with a 50' hose, I was thinking of just extending it with PVC, but I definitely am gonna try to find a clear tube to extend with, as I would like to make sure I can see anything sucked up into the tube.
     
  4. Byron

    Byron Member

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    The lighting would have to be very intense in order to provide sufficient light for plants other than floating. I cannot suggest options for the light as I have never had (nor ever would) consider doing this, which brings me to what I would consider for a tank of these dimensions. And that is an authentic Amazon-type biotope.

    Before getting to details, a couple other points. This tank is large but not in length, which means no active swimming species are really suitable. The light intensity for lower plants would be so high that any fish would have severe issues from the light.

    A sand substrate (play sand works well), and lots of branches. Floating plants, with suitable light. The fish will look more colourful as this is providing a natural habitat.

    We do not have water parameters mentioned, for the source water. If the water is soft or very soft, you have almost unending options. Characins (tetras, pencilfish, hatchetfish) in largish groups of the species, various catfish like whiptails, and/or Farlowella. If the water parameters are on thee moderately hard to hard side, rainbowfish, or livebearers. African rift lake cichlids with rock rather than wood branches could also work; you can construct artificial rock walls which would not be so heavy as to risk the tank breaking.
     

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