My new (to me) 100 gallon tank! 100 Gallon Tank

Discussion in 'Freshwater Tank Equipment' started by Musey, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. MuseyWell Known MemberMember

    So I picked up my 100 gallon tank today which is now plopped rather inconveniently in the middle of my office. I think I got a good deal... I got the tank, the stand, the canister filter (filstar xp3), two additional HOB filters, heater, glass tops, 48" light w/ 3 additional bulbs, 2 air pumps, and a ton of decorations (that I will NEVER use LOL) for $400. The tank and stand is in really good condition (though a little dusty). The filter needs some new tubing, filter media and some elbow grease, but otherwise seems to be in good shape. The rest of the equipment all seems to be working fine.


    Over the next few days (and even the next couple of weeks) I will be working on setting up this tank as my main display tank. My current 55 gallon tank will be moving into my office. I'll post some updates and pictures as I go along if you guys would like to see the progress.

    In case anyone is interested, I'll be attempting a planted tank with dirt. Yes, I said dirt. :eek: If you don't know anything about dirted tanks then check out youtube and look for Dustin's videos. Everyone told him he was crazy but his tanks look awesome! There still seems to be a great deal of controversy over this method of planting a tank but I have read just about EVERYTHING I can find on the subject and I have decided it is worth giving a try. If it doesn't work out, I can always redo it with gravel later.

    Here is my grand master plan for this tank:

    -Organic topsoil mixed with some API First Layer Pure Laterite and some gavel for the bottom of the substrate which will then be capped with 1.5 inches of black sand.
    -Heavily planted (plants still to be determined).
    -Black vinyl static cling background.
    -Dual T5HO lighting.
    -Pressurized CO2 injection*
    -Dry fert. dosing with PPS-Pro method*
    -Driftwood decorations.

    * CO2 and Dry Ferts may not be needed... at least not for some time after initial set up in a dirted tank. But I have them in case I need them.

    Stocking plan:

    - Blue Marbled Widefin Angelfish
    - German Blue Rams
    - Neon Dwarf Rainbowfish
    - Zebra Loaches
    - Cardinal Tetras

    So that is about it. Wish me luck on this big new project... I think I am going to need it. :p If you have any tips, advice, suggestions or other words of wisdom... please feel free to share!

  2. AmazonPassionModeratorModerator Member

    Congrats on the 100 gallon tank and welcome to the dirt club. My 100 gallon is also a dirted tank.

  3. MuseyWell Known MemberMember

    Woohoo! That means I know who's brains to pick when the dirt hits the fan... :p

  4. RogueAgent94Fishlore VIPMember

    Congrats on the new tank! I've dirted a couple tanks in my time. Loved them all! I'm actually planning another lol. But it's just a 20g lol.

    Black sand wise, I recommend using the Black Diamond sand from Tractor Supply. Nice and cheap :). I have it in my tank. Needs some cleaning though, but what sand doesn't.

    Stocking wise, skip the loaches and replace with kuhlis or corries. Most loaches like Zebras, Yo-yos and such will pester Angelfish if they get the chance. Some do it and some don't. Hm.. that's confusing. Let's put it this way. In Discus tanks you don't want plecos because sometimes plecos develop a taste for the Discus's body slime. Same thing with loaches and Angelfish fins. Doesn't happen all the time but there is a chance.
  5. MuseyWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks for the loach tip! Maybe I will go with some of these guys instead?

    As for the black sand... Tractor Supply was already the first stop on my shopping list for tomorrow. Great minds think alike!!!

    Thanks for the help and input! Every little bit counts.
  6. RogueAgent94Fishlore VIPMember

    Sure, those work. But you'd need a largish group if you wanted them to stand out :).
  7. MuseyWell Known MemberMember

    Okay then... what is a good bottom feeder fish (that isn't too big or too small), that will go with (or at least not clash with) my blue fish theme. :p

    There aren't any blue iridescent cories are there??? LOL!
  8. RogueAgent94Fishlore VIPMember

    Corydoras nattereri is sort of blue. There is a purplish kind but I can't think of the name...
  9. MuseyWell Known MemberMember

    Yeah those are cute and have a little bit of a blue tint to them. The trick will be finding some for sale somewhere. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. I haven't even got the tank set up yet.

    Today I bought a ginormous-sized bag of the Organic Top Soil. I also got a box of Laterite and two bags of the Black Diamond "sand". My black background that I ordered should be here Monday or Tuesday, and later in the week the hoses and misc. items that I ordered for the filter should arrive.

    I'll start working on the substrate tomorrow... after I have moved my 55 into the office. Oh boy, it is going to be lots of fun tomorrow playing musical tanks. First we have to move the new tank OUT of my office. Then we have to move some other furniture around inside the office. Then we can empty the 55 gallon tank (mostly) to move it into the office. Finally the new big tank will be moved into it's permanent location. Geez... I'm tired already just thinking about it! HAHAHA! The sad part of it is, that I'm so short and this tank is so high up I'm going to need to use my step-stool ladder in order to reach inside the tank LOL! What did I get myself into?
  10. RogueAgent94Fishlore VIPMember

    Hahahaha sounds like you have your work cut out for you!!
  11. AmazonPassionModeratorModerator Member

    Will you be mineralizing your soil first since you mentioned that you got Lauerite?
  12. MuseyWell Known MemberMember

    Yes I was going to try to mineralize it. I've read about several methods of doing this... like baking it, boiling it and the good'ole wet/dry/wet/dry/wet/dry method as well. I'm leaning toward the wet/dry method but I also know how impatient I can get. I'm afraid I will just say "to heck with it" after about a week or two. LOL!!!
  13. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Nice thing about a used tank is that no one will know it's used ;)
  14. AmazonPassionModeratorModerator Member

    Here is a good link on how to mineralize topsoil:


    My advice for you, take your time with the process because it will save you heartache and worth it all the way.
  15. MuseyWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks for the link, I already had that one bookmarked. :) My biggest enemy is going to be my impatience. I will be fighting the urge to just fill the darn tank with water every... single... day...
    But I am certainly going to try my best! We'll see how far I actually get!
  16. MuseyWell Known MemberMember

    Well we did it... the tanks are moved. Barely. If I had known how much of a pain in the butt it was going to be to move that 55 gallon tank into my office I'm not sure I would have actually decided to undertake the project.

    Two hours, one aggravated hubby, 30+ stressed out fish, one frantic angelfish, and a huge mess later... the deed is finally done. I still don't have everything put back together yet... air pumps, pressurized CO2, lighting, etc. and the front half of my house looks like a tornado went through it. I had no idea I had that much aquarium stuff!!! I have boxes of stuff EVERYWHERE right now LOL!

    Anyway, I got the 55 gallon into my office, filled and running again. The filters and heater are running and the fish seem to be settling back down. Although they seem to be a bit confused because while I had the tank emptied I moved some of the rocks and driftwood around. Right now the bolvian rams seem to be in territory claiming mode. I haven't seen this much sparing and flaring since I got them months ago.

    The big tank is now in its permanent home although I haven't done anything to it yet. In the morning I will begin mineralizing the soil. Yay!
  17. MuseyWell Known MemberMember

    Thought I would update with a few pictures!

    I decided to put the soil in a plastic bin so that I can fill and begin to cycle the aquarium and filter separately, while the soil undergoes the mineralization process. Also, I can take the bin outside on sunny days for extra drying power. Additionally, I was worried that I may have trouble working the soil with my fingers while I was perched on top of a step stool ladder and bent half way over a 25" tall piece of aquarium glass. By setting the soil bin up on an extra desk in my office, it will allow me to work with it more comfortably, and at waist height.

    Here is my muddy soil... doesn't it look yummy?

    Here is my 55 gallon, now finally installed in my office:

    Any lastly, this is the new 100 gallon, I started filling it just a little to make sure that there are no leaks:

    Tomorrow I'm going to put the new back background on the tank and (assuming I don't wake up tomorrow with several gallons of water on my hard wood floors) I will fill the tank the rest of the way and hook up the canister filter.

    Attached Files:

  18. MuseyWell Known MemberMember

    Another quick update...

    Filled the tank today and set up the filter with the new hoses and media that just arrived this afternoon (along with quite a lot of cycled media from my 55 gallon tank). To me, the filter sounds a little bit loud but appears to be working well. It is certainly not as quiet as my SunSun canister filter. Does anyone have experience with the Filstar XP3? I'm thinking I may take apart and clean out the rotor and impeller assembly tomorrow. See if that helps quiet things down a little. Also, I added a 300W heater.

    Next, I added about 8ml of pure ammonia. I'm REALLY curious to see how long the cycling process takes this time around now that I have generous amounts of extra cycled filter media. Last time it took me 46 days (starting from scratch with no seeding material at all). Anyone want to take a guess as to how long it will take this time? I'll say... hmmm... 11 days?

    I didn't get around to putting up the background yet... because my son came down sick with strep throat. I ended up having to spend several hours this morning/afternoon going into town to see the doctor and then wait at the pharmacy FOREVER! By the time I got home, I only had time to set up the filter and then it was time to make dinner.

    So after I get the background up tomorrow, I'll try to post some more pictures for you guys to have a look.
  19. MuseyWell Known MemberMember


    Been super busy so haven't had a lot of time to post lately, but here is the current status...

    The Fish - I have ordered 12 Angelfish fish from Lee Gordon at   that will be here on February 13. Yay! They will be tiny (about dime size) and I will only be keeping 6 pairs in the end. The rest will be given away or sold after they get bigger.

    The Cycle - My guess about how long it would take to cycle the tank with seeded filter media from my 55 gallon was RIGHT on! It took exactly 11 days. I've been adding about 5mil of ammonia every other day for a while now, just to keep it cycled.

    The Substrate - The dirt is almost finished with the mineralization process. I ended up splitting the dirt into multiple bins because it was taking too long in one bin due to the fact that it was so deep. Once I split it up the wetting and drying process started going really fast. The black sand is here and sitting in my garage.

    The Background - Finally got the background up even thought it was kind of a quick and sloppy job. When I empty the tank to put the substrate in, I will move it out from the wall so I can get behind it and do a better job. But for now, it looks okay.

    The Driftwood - One piece of driftwood has arrived and another one will be here on Monday. The one that is here already (it is sitting inside the tank in the picture above) is the smaller piece that will provide a little covered bridge area and the majority of it will be covered in Riccia. The one coming on Monday will be the main display piece. It has a round stump base, and the length is 30" long from branch to branch. It will be sitting upright on the stump and I will be attempting to attach Christmas Moss to the tips of the branches to create an underwater "tree" effect. I'll post pictures when it arrives, but here is a rough idea of what it looks like:

    The Lights - I will be moving the 48" 108W Dual T5HO light fixture from my 55 gallon to the 100 gallon. I ordered a 48" Dual T5NO light fixture for my 55 gallon. I have found that the High Output light is too much light for my 55 gallon and I have had to reduce the photoperiod down to 5 hours a day just to keep the algae away. However, it should be just right for the 100 gallon. I'm hoping the Normal Output light will be just right for the 55. Both lights will be running one white lamp and one pink lamp.

    The Plants - I have already ordered my plants which should be here on Tuesday or Wednesday. I ordered a lot of plants and I will be taking a large amount out of my 55 gallon as well. I've been playing around in my graphics program to try to come up with a basic layout plan for all the plants and driftwood. This is what I have come up with so far (click image below). If anyone has any suggestions about which plants should be where please chime in! NOTE: It seems I missed a plant on the key... the plant in the top right corner is Anacharis.

    Well I think that is about all for now. I will post again when things start to come together and I can take more pictures!
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  20. gingeroneValued MemberMember

    Wow... I love all your planning! I'll be watching this and can't wait to see your pictures of the finished product!

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