240 Gallon Planted Freshwater Tank Build

Discussion in 'Freshwater Aquarium Builds' started by yoboyjuice, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. yoboyjuice

    yoboyjuiceValued MemberMember

    Hi, I'm 17 and my dad and I(mostly my dad) are setting up a 240 planted tank with a sump. He's always asking me questions and I always tell him to set up a thread/journal on fishlore but he always asks me to so here I am. I'll try to take lot's of picture of whats going on and give a bit of back round. so my dad as a kid had a 100 gallon tank he kept everything in(lots of things he probably shouldnt have) but to name a few he at some point(not all together) had a gar, arrowana, discus, angels, cichlids, archer fish, butterfly fish, and even had the tank brakish for a while. MANY years later me and him set up a 60 gallon tank about 3 years ago. We started off with tetras and rams and then tried discus and now angels. Our 60 gallon is fairly planted and we're really into aquascaping and plants. I'm moving out in a year and I want to transition my 60 gallon tank into something a little easier to maintain. I'm moving the plants and fish out and am gonna have a single fish, maybe a flowerhorn.
    Enough about the past. lets look at this tank build. We bought the tank used idk the price but it was really cheap(according to my dad but he "gets a good deal" on everything) anyway its acrylic and has an over flow with 2 drain holes. There is a sump that we made and is around 80 gallons. The tank will be heavilt planted as well as the sump. We built a stand made out of wood and I'll add more details on how we built the sump and stand later.
    So heres what we still have to do. We need:
    Lighting. we want to build some sort of hood but don't want it to be to obnoxious. The tank is in our family room by the way. We have been looking at these high power led square lights and bought 1 and are using it on a 10 gallon. its working well and grows the plants pretty well. Any ideas on lighting? we want it to be heavily planted.
    Doors. We built the stand but have no doors yet. We are thinking of doing magnetic pannels that we can just pull off.
    CO2 this seems very expensive so we might not put it in right away but we will have it eventually.
    Bracings. We've been having trouble with the sump tank bowing. Ill upload a pic but we seem to have found a solution. We added 2 cross pieces and have started putting acrylic around the perimeter.
    Plumbing. We want the tank to do a drip drain idk what you call it but automatic water changes where the water slowly drips in and drains out.
    Filtration etc. we dont have anything in the sump yet. Idk the exact plans for that but we need to figure that out.
    Hardscape. We want to do driftwood and dragonstone or some other cool rock. we have some long manzaneta already but we want some more. Ill upload a pic later.
    Plants. we've grown lots of plants in the 60 and 10 gallon but we want to grow TONS in the new tank. We can move the plants we have over but that wont even cover 1/8 of the tank.
    Finally fish. We still cant decide on the final stock. We want it to be amazon/south american/central american that area. We are curently thinking Altum Angelfish but we are not decided at all. We also thought about assorted cichlids discus apistogramma rams tetras corries to name a few. We could do Altums with some of theses maybe apisto rams tetras and/or corries. But we are not set on anything.
    In the sump we want to make a sort of refugium and fill it with plants. There is a 40ish gallon section that is open for plants fish and/or shrimp. We have no idea what to put in there.
    I'm starting this as a sort of journal but also to reach out to the fishlore community for help, tips, ideas, and inspiration.
    I first got the idea from @Drummindot and read her entire 260 gallon tank thread. recently I've started reading @jojomo91 's thread too. On youtube I watch massaquariums and me and my dad love diyking we love all his tanks especially his 2000 gallon hes working on.
    ANY ideas or imput is appreciated criticism or concerns are great as well as suggestions or really and thoughts. I'm sorry I dont havee any pictures right now but I'' add some tomorrow. My dad is Dan.
  2. Drummindot

    DrummindotWell Known MemberMember

    Hey Austin!
    Nice to have you here. Thanks for reading through the thread. I honored & humbled by your mention!

    As for the sump bowing if you try euro bracing (Google it) it could simply get in the way when you go to do maintenance. You may want to build a rim for it. If it's acrylic (which it is if I read it right) you could make a rim for it with thicker acrylic. I don't always describe things well so I hope you understand. But there's always more than one way to do things!

    I tried magnetic panels on the sides when we rebuilt our stand. They didn't work out very well but I'm also in a rural area and can't always get my hands on the best materials. We used magnetic cabinet latches and they just weren't strong enough. I ended up putting one screw in each side panel to hold them in place and that assists the magnets enough.

    I'll think on your other issues a bit and post later. I was about to go to bed when I got a notice about your post. I wanted to answer you so I would be sure to get notifications when someone posted in your thread.

    I got the bug for aquariums when I was 13 or 14 and I've never been without one since! Glad to have you in the hobby!
  3. jojomo91

    jojomo91Well Known MemberMember

    Saw your post about heating. So far, I can't comment on my heater. I only installed one, and it kicks on very little as the filters must be generating heat, keeping the tank at about 76. I won't truly know if the one if good enough until winter when things get chilly, but I really don't see it being an issue.

  4. OP

    yoboyjuiceValued MemberMember

    I can take pictures now but sorry if the quality is bad it's taken on my iPhone. Here is a picture of the sump. We wanted to see if this much bracing was enough before we did a full euro brace and it's holding up fine but we might to a euro brace anyway
    There's 3 drains that will go right through the wall outside
    Here's the pump
    Water will travel left to right and there's a large open section we'll likely fill with plants
    Here is the main tank there is the overflow on the left and the black acrylic box will fit around it to hide the pipes
    Its 8 feet long. The wall that it's against connects to a bathroom so we'll drill right through the wall
    The background is this translucent screen that we're trying out it's a bit hard to see in the pic
    Here's the stand we built. We still need doors/panels

    We're thinking of have a sort of control pannel on the left for lights co2 etc
    Here's the light we're testing out. It's a full spectrum led flood light

    The tank needs some cleaning

    They're super bright and only 50 bucks
    Here's my 60 gallon I'm redoing

    Btw if you guys are curious we live in California and our tap water ph is like 8.4 so we usually mix it with ro water and put peetmoss in our tanks. We want tap water for the plants but ro water for the low ph for the fish. It's a balancing act. We could do ro water and add supplements but that gets expensive.
    Also @Drummindot I remember you made a water leak detecter and we were thinking of doing that maybe.
    My dad said he's planning on doing 1 300 watt heater. Hopefully that's enough. Or LFS sells dragon stone for 5 bucks a pound put we found a store in San Diego that will sell it in bulk to us for 2 bucks a pound and we're going out there for a friends wedding in about a month. We haven't figured out any lids yet. I keep looking at these amazing flowerhorns online and I want one for my 60 gallon but my LFS has none. I might pick one up in San Diego at this fish store check them out in ig if you want I think they're fishspotsd they ship all over. Here is the driftwood we have already.

    The manzaneta we got really lucky and found while hiking. The other piece my dad got for 50 bucks.
    So here's what we've been thinking about and need some help on
    1. Doors/panels
    2. Lids
    3.ro water or tap water
    4. How to transport a fish in a car for about 4 hours
    5. Where do we get Altums?
    6. Any guides on the leak checker things?
    7. If we add co2 later will it mess up our tank chemistry?
    8 substrate. We've looked at turface I think it's called and other stuff. We just can't really afford a 240 gallon planted tank worth of fluoride or ecocomplete and we've never used dirt or peetmoss to plant in.
    9. Lighting we have some ideas but we need to figure out how to build a good or rack or have it hang or something
    As always thanks for all the input and fell free to share any ideas suggestions or concerns
    Ps it says 10 pictures max so I have to split this up sorry if the pics are out of order

    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  5. OP

    yoboyjuiceValued MemberMember

    Here are the last 5 pics 2ce56f332d9145e9e4a8398d4e8d5319.jpg
  6. OP

    yoboyjuiceValued MemberMember

    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  7. OP

    yoboyjuiceValued MemberMember

    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  8. OP

    yoboyjuiceValued MemberMember

    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
  9. OP

    yoboyjuiceValued MemberMember

    Sorry it glitched out and multi posted if someone can delete the duplicated ones that would be great
  10. OP

    yoboyjuiceValued MemberMember

    Or show me how
  11. OP

    yoboyjuiceValued MemberMember

    Here is a declorinator we made. We will fill it with carbon. This is where the water will drip in from the tap. We'll cut holes in the bottom for water to come out with and have the drip hose enter on the top. We're a little worried that if it clogs it will spill out the top. However it's just a drip line so that shouldn't be a problem

    This is the section we'll put filter floss and maybe bioballs or carbon. There are acrylic holders we build and "eggcrate" trays that lay on them that we can remove for cleaning. e996f45b5ca106a093e42422d19368d3.jpg
    Our LFS sells filterfloss in bulk
    These big bags are 5 bucks a piece and one bag is good for my 60 gallon for like 2 years
    This is the bag like half full

    I think we're gonna get a new gate valve. This one is to easy to adjust. We want one that screws in and out.

    We're thinking a lot about lighting. We're thinking of doing a pole on brackets so we can adjust the height of the light during maintenance
    Something like this but without the shelf
    We're just trying to figure out a way for it to look better.
    We need make a drip plate too
  12. OP

    yoboyjuiceValued MemberMember

    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
  13. OP

    yoboyjuiceValued MemberMember

    Sorry it keeps double posting I'm not sure why
  14. Stephen HiattWell Known MemberMember

    How about a large cichlid community? You can use any size of aquarium for a planted tank, but it's only when you have a large tank that you have the opportunity to keep large fish.

    A few to consider are Vieja Synspilum, Vieja Coatzacoalcos, Vieja Zonatus (in case you can't tell, there's a theme here), Oscura Heterospila, and Hoplarchus psittacus (Jeff Rapps currently has them for $18 each, a steal for how rare they are).

    Polypterus are interesting fish that make great tankmates with cichlids, and in a 240 you could keep any species.
  15. OP

    yoboyjuiceValued MemberMember

    Oh wow they are pretty big. I don't think they would work well with plants. Very cool fish though. Maybe some smaller types would work potentially.
  16. Stephen HiattWell Known MemberMember

    Viejas are herbivores, so no they wouldn't work with plants. You could still get the same look with fake plants though. They're also cheaper than live plants, and you don't have to get an expensive light.

    There aren't smaller species. Big tanks tend to be for big fish.
  17. Stephen HiattWell Known MemberMember

    I forgot to mention this earlier; you did a great job on the sump. It looks very professional.
  18. mbkempWell Known MemberMember

    A big planted tank would love huge schools of cardinals and rummynose tetras. Sterbia Cory, leopoldi angels and a bunch of hatchets at the top
  19. OP

    yoboyjuiceValued MemberMember

    first, I'm sorry about the double posting. everytime I post from my iphone it does that but I figured out how to edit it so it atleast takes less space.
    Anyway, we're pretty set on a planted tank. We're really into aquascaping and love "thegreenmachine" on youtube. he has some really cool tanks like "nature's chaos" "crimson Sky" and "continuity" to name a few. I love the big south/central American chiclids but I just don't think they'll work in this tank. Thanks for the suggestions though. Maybe some smaller will work like rams or apistogramma or maybe even the mid sized ones like firemouth keyhole or
    Thorichthys ellioti could work. I really like the bigger ones thats why I want to get a flowerhorn. I know its a hybrid and some people are aggainst that but I don't mind much. Jaguar chiclids are really cool to but way to big. The only big ones that I know don't eat plants for sure are discus and Angels.
    BTW thanks for the compliment on the sump. Its the first tank we built so we were very nervous. It turns out we don't need a drip plate. the filterfloss spreads the water enough. If we put an "eggcrate" underneath the acrylic slots it holds the floss down. I'll add a pic later.
    The post about tetras, We love tetras and we hear smaller fish emphisize the the size of the tank in an aquascape put we really want to try try some new bigger fish too. We might put some tetras in to but we've kinda gotten a little tired of the traditional neons and cardinals. I absolutly love congo tetras but have never had a tank they would work in. i forgot their parameters. Does anyone know if they work with south/central american chiclids.
    @Stephen Hiatt
    Thanks for the ideas

  20. OP

    yoboyjuiceValued MemberMember

    big update
    We plumbed the whole tank so now the sump and main tank are connected, the drain is set up, and a couple other things.
    1st picture. this is the start of the sump, it goes through carbon and then filter floss. I also added a sponge since then.
    2nd picture. This is the pump. it has 10 speeds. we need to set up the cord better
    3rd picture. this is the tank filled with water. the light is temporary. we plan on getting 6 of these. they're 50 bucks each but we found the same one that changes colors for the same price. they're 50 watts each
    4th pic. this is an example of how we might do the lights. imagine the lights are mounted to a 2x4 and then is chained or attached some way to a bar above that attaches to the wall with brackets. we could adjust the height during maintenance. Its hard to explain and we would make it look a lot better.
    5th pic. we're water logging the manzaneta the other piece is already water logged.
    6. here is a pipe that we can attach the gravel vac to and it drains right outside the house.
    7. we added the substrate. Its super cheap. its called turface i think. its clay based so it has a low ph.

    a couple things. We have since bought a sponge that we put in the last baffle on the right so fish and plants don't go over into the pump. we've also bought a 300 watt heater. we're gonna start adding plants and cycling fish soon. I have tons of media from my 60 gallon tank and i might move all my "dirty" substrate from there over too to speed up the cycle. The new substrate just needs some time to balence out.

    Stocking. We're thinking 2 schools of tetras maybe cardinals and rummynose. Maybe 15-20 in each. probably 30ish total.
    We really want Altum Angels. We don't really like the overstocked looks especially my dad. I was thinking 12 but He was thinking less. It depends how many other fish we get and what species of Altum we get.
    Apistogramma and rams. We're thinking around 12 total. maybe 4 rams and 8 apisto.
    Plecos. we want to get the really pretty small ones that stay around 4 inches. They're really expensive though.
    bottom feeders. We don't know what yet. maybe fancy cories. We don't need them because we will have TONS of plants but they could help.
    This is not set at all. We still might swap angels for discus, drop tetras for south american chiclids, no cories, mor Apisto, we still can't decide. For now we're gonna slowly add the fish from my 60 gallon tank in. If you're curious here's what we have. 4 angels, 2 kribs, 1 red tail shark, 8 rummynose, 4 rams, I'm probably forgetting something.

    for the sump we want shrimp but don't know what are compatible with each other.
    if there's and shrimp experts who have ideas on really cool shrimp that can coexist with each other let us know. They would be totally separate from fish and have Tons of plants.

    We still need lights, substrate in the sump, drip system for auto water changes, plants, fish, rock, maybe more wood, shrimp, 20 other things we're probably forgetting.

    As always any thoughts are welcome.

    here's what we're thinking about:
    substrate for the sump. we could do floating plants with black sand
    doors. We were thinking we could make the bottom look super nice and not put doors. this would make mantinence easier and encourage us to make every thing look good.
    Dragon stone, other rocks like river rock, or more drift wood? some are expensive but look a lot better.
    light hood thing.
    how long till we add fish etc? we're going to San Diego in 3 weeks I think do we want to wait so we can get cheaper, higher quality fish and rock/wood?

    hopefully the pictures attached. sorry if this double posts.

    Thanks for any input,

    Attached Files:

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