120gallon planted tank - tips or suggestions? - GTA Aquaria Forum - Aquarium Fish & Plants serving the Greater Toronto Area.
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Old 08-03-2020, 10:48 PM   #1
QWC
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Talking 120gallon planted tank - tips or suggestions?

Hey all, hope you're doing well. Been cooped up at home, and shifted my aquariums around!

So I recently shut down my 90 gallon and got a 120, 4x2x2 tank that I want to build into a med-high tech setup. I still consider myself a rookie, especially in the planted world so I wanted to share my thoughts. Hopefully some of you can give me some feedback!

The plant list I'm thinking about so far is:
Echinodorus cordifolius 'Fluitans'
Ludwigia repens 'Rubin'
Lobelia cardinalis
Bacopa caroliniana
Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo'
Any comments or suggestions about these picks?

I don't have a plant source yet but I've been looking around. I know some of you have plant stock.

I might actually rip up my 28 gallon tank and transplant the carpet, though the snails are an issue. Haven't decided yet.

Lighting
48" Lifegard Aquatics full spectrum LED aquarium light - Apparently 6500k - 1240 Lumens - 20 Watts
I've had this light for three years.

Considering the Fluval 3.0 light, 48-60" 59 Watts.
Anyone have experience with this? Would this coupled with my other light be enough or too much? For the plants listed above.
Would these two lights together be considered a high light set up?

Substrate
Caribsea Eco-complete 60lbs - seemed most affordable option, not sure if it's enough.
Any comments about this substrate? or suggestions for other options?

May add another 20-40lbs of sand in the scape. Planning to build up a base a little with an old canister tray and eggcrate.

CO2 - Yay or nay?
I've never used it, just keep hearing that I gotta use it lol. I did read about it over the weekend, seems like a 10lb tank would be the way to go. The price point made me a little wary, since I'm just reading into it now. I do want this to be my main display tank for a long while so I want to do it right.

Is a 10lb tank good enough? I was considering 20lb, but it wouldn't exactly fit comfortably under the tank.

New vs. used co2 tank? Sources?

Ista External CO2 Ceramic Reactor Diffuser.
In-line diffusion the best? Thoughts on this product? This would be hooked up to a canister filter with a spray bar. I know surface agitation isn't optimal for CO2..

CO2 Regulator/solenoid/needle valve etc.
This one I'm more concerned about. Single/dual stage? GLA regulators from Florida looked good, but those are $200-400USD plus shipping.. any comparable local options?


I know all this is going to run about $1000-1500, so I want to pick your brains before I commit to it. Looking forward to the discussion, or maybe this will just be a journal!
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Old 08-04-2020, 08:47 PM   #2
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Not sure I can comment on your plant choices, however I recently picked up a couple of the Fluval 3.0 lights. To my surprise, I actually quite like them. Using the default settings, I really like the colour of the light they produce. Make sure you download the app and update the firmware. I did that right off and I didn't see any of the issues people have complained about.

I also really like the auto dimming feature. I used to have an Arowana that would go bananas if you entered the room within 15 minutes of the lights turning on. Pretty sure these lights would have solved that problem.

I haven't had them long enough to be able to judge how well they grow plants. I do mostly crypts and I think for that they will be do fine.

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Old 08-05-2020, 11:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QWC View Post
Echinodorus cordifolius 'Fluitans'
Ludwigia repens 'Rubin'
Lobelia cardinalis
Bacopa caroliniana
Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo'
These plants will be fine in eco-complete. I use eco-complete in one of my planted tanks with no issues. I do fertilize the water column though which is something you haven't mentioned and I'm assuming you'll do especially if you add CO2. My monte carlo actually grows on moss ledge so it isn't even touching the substrate. Stem plants will need regular trimming in a well-lit tank with CO2. You might want to consider some space fillers that aren't stems e.g. needle leaf Java Fern.

Quote:
Originally Posted by QWC View Post
Caribsea Eco-complete 60lbs - seemed most affordable option, not sure if it's enough.
Any comments about this substrate? or suggestions for other options?

May add another 20-40lbs of sand in the scape. Planning to build up a base a little with an old canister tray and eggcrate.
If you can find substrate that you like the look of and skip the cap, I'd do that. Then you won't have to worry about the two mixing especially as you move plants around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by QWC View Post
CO2 - Yay or nay?
I've never used it, just keep hearing that I gotta use it lol. I did read about it over the weekend, seems like a 10lb tank would be the way to go. The price point made me a little wary, since I'm just reading into it now. I do want this to be my main display tank for a long while so I want to do it right.

Is a 10lb tank good enough? I was considering 20lb, but it wouldn't exactly fit comfortably under the tank.
Yay if growing plants is a big interest. I use a 10lbs cylinder to "feed" two 45 gallon aquariums. It runs for a few months, but how long it lasts will depend on how high a CO2 level you want. Camcarb is where I go for refills. They also sell cylinders, but they're probably not the cheapest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by QWC View Post
Ista External CO2 Ceramic Reactor Diffuser.
In-line diffusion the best? Thoughts on this product? This would be hooked up to a canister filter with a spray bar. I know surface agitation isn't optimal for CO2..
I use a standard in-tank diffuser and put it close to the intake of my Fluval canisters which have spraybars. Most of the bubbles are sucked into the canister and it seems to work well. I've done this for about 3 years now with no ill effects noticed. I thought about a reactor, but in the end I decided it was just another thing to clean and a potential leak.

Quote:
Originally Posted by QWC View Post
This one I'm more concerned about. Single/dual stage? GLA regulators from Florida looked good, but those are $200-400USD plus shipping.. any comparable local options?
I lucked out and found a used GLA. I added a second manifold afterwards. It works well although the bubble counter lasts for just a week or so before the water in it evaporates.
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