Chanyi's 55 Gallon Planted Tank

Chanyi

Member
Hey FishLore, I’ve been sitting idle for the better part of 2 years without a main display tank. I’ve only being running small nano tanks to keep a few things alive while I waited. Life had gotten really busy rebuilding a 150 year old home, moving in, getting settled, changing jobs and gathering up everything I wanted to set up another tank. Luckily for me, my old man held on to a 45 gallon tank + stand and gave it to me for free. I had enough filter and lighting supplies sitting in my basement to get me started, and I figured I could use this tank as an excuse to gather up the rest of the equipment I want to run a larger 4’ tank ~100 gallons or so in the future.

Feel free to watch the video at the end of this post, there's a few time lapses of me setting it up. I’ll try to keep consistent uploads to that YouTube channel following along with this tank.

45 gallon standard tank with black trim. 48”x12”x18” (44 gallons total water volume, measured upon initial setup).
DIY stand made from Melamine and 2x4’s glued / screwed – skinned with sealed + painted pine.

Filtration / Inline Equipment:
2 x Eheim 2217 (mechanical filtration only).
1 x Eheim 2215 (mechanical filtration only).
1 x 22” Griggs style reactor with nothing inside.
1 x Hydor 200W inline heater (only if I need it, my house sits in the high 60’s).

Lighting:
1 x 48” Aquatic Life T5-HO 2 x 54W with 2 x ZooMed FloraSun bulbs.
1 x 48” Fluval Fresh and Plant 2.0.
1 x 36” Aquatic Life 15W 50% 10,000K 50% Actinic.

CO2:
1 x American Marine Pinpoint CO2 regulator with bubble counter and solenoid.
1 x 10lb CO2 tank.
1 x (Dwyer Flow Meter to come eventually).
1 x pH pen.
1 x Drop Checker with 4dkH solution.

Smart Tech:
1 x Marine Magic auto doser with 3 dosing pumps.
1 x Kasa smart power strip (3 outlet version).

Substrate:
27L ADA Amazonia V2, gentle slope towards back.
ADA Bacter 100.
Sprinkle of Osmocote Plus and 10-50-0+S & Zn.

Water:
100% RO remineralized with CaSO4 and MgSO4.

Fertilizers:
KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4, Flourish Iron, Burr’s Micro package with DTPA 11% Fe, Osmocote Plus and my personal collection of various granular fertilizers.

Water changes:
68% weekly.

Plants:
TBD.

Inverts:
Tangerine Tiger Shrimp.
Blue Velvet Shrimp.
Amano Shrimp.

Fish:
Oto cats.
Hillstream Loach.
Chili Rasbora.
Celestial Pearl Danio.
Pseudomugil luminatus or Pseudomugil paskai (depending on availability).
Pygmy Corydoras.

Hardscape:
None.

Theme:
No theme – possibly “Dutch Inspired” but by no means am I following any guidelines or rules to a particular tank theme.


Let’s start with the hardware:


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Time to refurbish the old stand:


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Much better:


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Substrate going in:


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Prepping plants:


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Marked exactly 18.9L on this jug with tape, so I know exactly how much water I’m putting into the tank with each jug. I also have tape on the rear, least visible corner of the tank with 18.9L increments:


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Some of the plants in:


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Final plants in (for now) and all the lights on:


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For now, the filters are stuffed with a bunch of fine filter floss to help clear up the dusts. A lot of the dust in those photo’s are from the CaSO4 and MgSO4 I dumped in just prior to taking the pictures. One Eheim 2217 is rattling quite bad, so I’m going to have to try and lube / replace the internals. I had 1 double tap valve leak on me, I had 1 spare, so it wasn’t too bad.

Initial tank parameters:

CO2: on 2.5 hours before lights.
Lights: 5 our photo period, no ramp up / ramp down, Fluval LED will be at 50% power.

No NO3 or Micro dosing.
No KH boosting.
25ppm Ca
12.5ppm Mg
25ppm K
10ppm PO4 (I expect this to be taken up the substrate rather quickly)

Next steps:

Dial in my auto doser for daily micro dosing – going to look through some tank journals on here using active substrates and come up with some values to start off with.

Dial in a lime green Drop Checker.

I have a 54W Sunblater T5-HO in shipping, I may or may not run it, space is limited atop a 12” tank, those LED bulbs look promising and should save me space.

Start large water changes every other day (68% by my math’s).

Watch PO4 levels / dose more if the substrate is eating it up.

Build a front door panel for the stand.

Build a canopy to house lighting (possibly, as the Fluval LED gets HOT and would need a fan).

Get my hands on a 29 gallon or so quarantine tank.

Assess my shrimp inventory in my 10 gallon tank and begin taking it down.


Initial Setup:

 

Basil

Member
Wow! That’s quite the process! Excited to watch it mature.
And congrats on the house! The original part of my house is only 120 years old. We are still working on reversing the renovations done over the years. And no tanks in that section as the gorgeous original fir floors are too uneven.
 
  • Thread Starter

Chanyi

Member
Basil said:
Wow! That’s quite the process! Excited to watch it mature.
And congrats on the house! The original part of my house is only 120 years old. We are still working on reversing the renovations done over the years. And no tanks in that section as the gorgeous original fir floors are too uneven.
Thank you! It was quite a process rebuilding my place, took 10 months of construction and then another few months to button everything up.

My floors aren't level at all either, I have the tank stand up on a bunch of shims to get it plumb and level, it's sturdy as can be.
 

A201

Member
I'm sure you'll have many newbie aqua gardeners and more than a few seasoned veterans following the progression of the new tank. Great video.
 
  • Thread Starter

Chanyi

Member
Did some math while performing a water change - The tank is actually a 45 gallon long - oops, it was sold to my dad as a 55 gallon, and I just assumed that's what it was when he offered it up to me, oh well!
 

StarGirl

Member
Well you don't look nothing like I imagined...lol Following because you have some really great looking tanks. So jealous! Wanna see how it goes!
 

CTYankee79

Member
Beautiful, looking forward to the progress!
When you get a chance could you list all the plants you put in?
 
  • Thread Starter

Chanyi

Member
CTYankee79 said:
When you get a chance could you list all the plants you put in?
Initial Plant stock:

Didiplis diandra
Anubias nana ‘Petite’
Ludwigia peruensis
Crypt ‘Flamingo’
Ludwigia repens ‘Rubin’
Rotala Macrandra
Rotala wallichii
Mayaca fluviatilis
Rotala indica ‘Bonsai'
Proserpinaca palustris
Ludwigia ovalis
Echinodorus aflame
Ludwigia palustris
Alternanthera reineckii 'Cardinalis'
Blyxa japonica
Microsorum windelov
Crypt lutea ‘Hobbit’
Lagenandra meeboldii red
Myriophyllum tuberculatum
Cabomba piauhyensis
Ludwigia arcuata
Tonina fluviatilis
Lindernia rotundifolia 'variegated'
 
  • Thread Starter

Chanyi

Member
A few plants are in rough shape, just barely hanging on - I'll try and nurse them back as best I can.
Green Eheim intake's need to go, still waiting on glassware to be in stock at my preferred LFS.
Micro mix solution has been made, now I need to calibrate my auto doser but I won't have time until next week likely. Manual doses starting tomorrow.
Dosed the full tank with another 10ppm PO4.
Dosed the incoming water up to 25ppm K (taking into account K from dosing the full tank volume with KH2PO4) and 25ppm Ca, 12.5ppm Mg.

1st water change, hard to believe this is what 68% total water volume looks like:


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RO being transferred from storage tote into mixing tote:


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All filled back up, don't mind the yellowy colour, I haven't got the lights set just right yet:


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PAMCo3A.jpg
 

CTYankee79

Member
Chanyi said:
Initial Plant stock:

Didiplis diandra
Anubias nana ‘Petite’
Ludwigia peruensis
Crypt ‘Flamingo’
Ludwigia repens ‘Rubin’
Rotala Macrandra
Rotala wallichii
Mayaca fluviatilis
Rotala indica ‘Bonsai'
Proserpinaca palustris
Ludwigia ovalis
Echinodorus aflame
Ludwigia palustris
Alternanthera reineckii 'Cardinalis'
Blyxa japonica
Microsorum windelov
Crypt lutea ‘Hobbit’
Lagenandra meeboldii red
Myriophyllum tuberculatum
Cabomba piauhyensis
Ludwigia arcuata
Tonina fluviatilis
Lindernia rotundifolia 'variegated'
Very nice assortment, where are you getting your plants from?
 

86 ssinit

Member
Great looking tank and interesting set up. Why so much filtration? And such a big water change?
 
  • Thread Starter

Chanyi

Member
86 ssinit said:
Great looking tank and interesting set up. Why so much filtration? And such a big water change?
Thank you!

It's not that much filtration if you look at the actual flow rates of these Eheim filters -- I'm right around to 10x per hour turnover rate taking into account the actual tank volume and the measured amount of flow drop from restriction and media from the filters. I also have a large inline reactor and a flow valve to decrease flow after the reactor, increasing back pressure in the reactor which increases the amount of CO2 I am able to dissolve.

68% water changes aren't that big... and it's a must using soils like Amazonia to control ammonia and tannins to limit early algae planted tanks are prone to.

It's also set so my max NO3 accumulation is set much lower than traditional EI dosing. I daily dose micros so I need to keep their accumulation in check and the tank will be overstocked eventually too, so I should get in the habit of large water changes from the get-go.

Also, it's my first time with a water storage and transfer pump system build right into my home, so I'm taking advantage of easy, larger water changes.

And finally, I need the large amount of flow because some of my tank in the past have had flow related CO2 and nutrient availability issues causing stem rot and other issues with plants not getting enough supply of CO2 and nutrient rich water.


CTYankee79 said:
Very nice assortment, where are you getting your plants from?
Some I've collected over the past 4 years and have kept alive, some are from local hobbyists and some are from retailers across Canada, I usually use the same 6 or so. Once I get everything together, I may use my quarantine tank as a plant storage tank and sell / import plants if life isn't too busy.
 

86 ssinit

Member
Thing with ehiem filters is their listed flow rate is with media in it. There the only ones that do this. So your turning over 15+ times the tank. Seems like over kill because bb will only grow to the amount of waste supplied. To move water you could use wave makers/power heads. The recomended turnover with a canister is about 5x the hob is about 10x. Much more media in a canister. So just 1 2117 would be needed for a 45g. If you used that and the 2113 you’d still have over what you need and an extra 2117.
 

Josie12012

Member
Wow! Thanks for sharing, love all of your plants. This is my first time giving live plants a try, it has been a challenge but worth it, I love the natural look and environment for my fish! Congrats on the new set up!
 
  • Thread Starter

Chanyi

Member
86 ssinit said:
Thing with ehiem filters is their listed flow rate is with media in it. There the only ones that do this. So your turning over 15+ times the tank. Seems like over kill because bb will only grow to the amount of waste supplied. To move water you could use wave makers/power heads. The recomended turnover with a canister is about 5x the hob is about 10x. Much more media in a canister. So just 1 2117 would be needed for a 45g. If you used that and the 2113 you’d still have over what you need and an extra 2117.
I know that's how Eheim rates their flow. I used actual, measured flow rates of the filter - not listed rates. The actual flow rates are still less than Eheim's claimed flow rates with media in it. I have one of the 2217's turned down and a large inline reactor further slowing flow down. So it's closer to 10x turnover, not 15x. I should specify that I'm not looking for traditional filtration, I'm looking to solve specific problems I have experienced in the past by turning over more water.

5x turnover with canister vs 10x with HOB is not my goal at all - I'm after flow and mechanical filtration not biological filtration, so media capacity was never a thought of mine. I'm purposely not running any biological media to limit the amount of ammonia processing capability of BB - plants prefer ammonia as a nitrogen source and I want to explore that further. I doubt this will ever amount to much because Aquasoil has so much surface area for BB to live on, it won't matter that I don't have any biological media in the filters.

I ran a single 2217 on a 25 gallon tank, overkill to many people. I also ran a single Rena XP3 rated up to a 165 gallon tank on that same 25 gallon tank, again - overkill to most people. However, I had less than adequate flow in amongst the plant mass regardless of which filter outlet configuration I used. I could physically feel the temperature difference when I was cleaning the tank - the water was warm out in the open, and cold deep within the plant mass - I experience stem rots and deficiencies related to insufficient CO2 and nutrient availability from lack of flow even though these filters are way "overkill" for a little 25 gallon tank.

Even though the total volume is only 45 gallons, the filters still need to physically push water around a 48" tank. That's no easy task for a single filter.

I didn't use filtration guidelines at all when I determined what I wanted to do with this tank. I wanted increased flow compared to my previous tanks, and I I prefer less equipment in the tank. I prefer all my equipment tucked away in the stand, not sitting in the tank - eventually I'll get glass intakes / outputs to further "hide" the presence of equipment in the tank. Circulation pumps / wavemakers were never in consideration.

I gain no value from having 2 filters sitting in my basement aquaria storage cabinet, not being used - If I have them, I should be using them, they haven't cost me anything in the long term, but they will continue to gain for me as I use them.
 

86 ssinit

Member
I understand but me I’m always looking to reduce electric. Those 2117 have been around for 30-40yrs with the if it ain’t broke don’t fix mentality. A pair of wave makers would run cheaper and because of there rotation they would move more water. When aimed they could circulate the water to move everywhere. More reach.
 
  • Thread Starter

Chanyi

Member
86 ssinit said:
I understand but me I’m always looking to reduce electric. Those 2117 have been around for 30-40yrs with the if it ain’t broke don’t fix mentality. A pair of wave makers would run cheaper and because of there rotation they would move more water. When aimed they could circulate the water to move everywhere. More reach.
But they are very unsightly inside the tank IMHO.

In the opening post of this journal, I stated this tank will be used to accumulate the equipment needed for a larger, rimless tank in the 100 gallon range sometime in the future. At that point, I'll really want to limit the amount of equipment in the tank - I'm planning on having it completely open topped, with pendent style lighting, full access to the tank visually. I want the least amount of visible equipment as possible. At that point, I'll consider larger filters with more output to limit the amount of intakes / outputs visible.
 
  • Thread Starter

Chanyi

Member
Stand has been finished.

Every other day 68% water changes to control ammonia. dosing 10ppm of phosphate every other day. Incoming water has a target of:

25ppm K
25ppm Ca
12.5ppm Mg
0.0 degrees KH

Current tank TDS is 185ppm.


Measured pH, sitting at 4.75 from CO2, perfect baseline to build off of. I have a flow meter coming in the mail so I can maintain a consistent pH drop throughout the photo period. Current photoperiod is 5 hours, 3.5 hours with all 5 T5-HO's running.

Changed up the lighting, the Fluval touch button get triggered when exposed to T5-HO electromagnetic interference, so instead I am going to all T5-HO's.

Plants took a good beating from ammonia early on, but are on full recovery now. I've done 1 major trim so far.

All 3 filters got their first cleaning, they were spotless.

Next steps - Confirm pH drop from CO2, install flow meter, increase photoperiod to 5 hours with all 5 T5-HO's, monitor fishless cycle.

Back to Front:

Zoomed Florasun
Full Spectrum + UV
420
660
Zoomed Florasun


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TheFISH12

Member
Wow this is really cool! Even though I don't have the money for a high tech tank it's fun watching threads like these. Also I would up the water changes by 1% from 68%, no reason
 

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