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Thread: geektom's 135 gallon adventure

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    SCAPE Member 1000 posts, Semi-Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    geektom's 135 gallon adventure

    Hey all!

    First of all, for those of you who have been in on my big tank drama from the beginning- thanks for all the encouragement! I wouldnt have kept going without this club- seriously. Especially @John7429 who was so instrumental to getting the dream started again.

    For those of you who don't know me, I am an old SCAPE member who has been in and out of the hobby for several years. It has always been a dream to have a large (100g+) planted tank, and after many fits and starts, it looks like it is finally going to happen before the end of this year.

    Please stay tuned for updates and feel free to give your feedback once I am ready to scape it! Initial thoughts are below, and I am saving some spots for future updates.

    For now:

    The tank is a standard glass Visio with black rim: 72" wide x 24" deep by 18" high. It weighs (approximately) 9 million pounds.

    I will be building the stand myself. I have gone from a fairly basic design, to one that will really test my woodworking skills, but has been approved by two different experts to withstand just about anything short of "the big one". It won't have a lot of beauty- but it will be solid as a rock if I can pull it off. It will be shorter than most stands, at only 26" high, in order to meet the wife's request that the entire tank be below the level of the window it will be in front of.

    Right now I am still debating between painting the back black, the same gray as the wall behind it, or going with a frosted backing.

    I will be using 2 FX4's for filtration, due to the reduced height inside the cabinet.

    I will try for an inline heater on one and an inline CO2 reactor on the other.

    Also because of the limited space, I may only be able to get away with a 5lb tank underneath... I am still debating how sensitive/CO2 dependent I want the plants choice to be.

    For lighting, I think I am settled on 3 x AI Prime, suspended from the ceiling. The AI Prime seems to be a good value in performance, customization, and cost- plus as a bonus, they come in white, which will help them blend in to the window behind them.

    In addition to the plants, the stars of the tank will be a substantial school of Bolivian Rams- 9-12 is the current plan. I wanted a fish that was big enough to make an impact in the tank, small enough I could keep several of them, and unusual enough that you don't usually see them in groups.

    I have been collecting rocks and wood every time I see something I like. My desire is to have a pretty good amount of open space with lighter sand in the front and a curvy patch near the middle to create depth and make the Bolivians feel at home. I will be posting a sketch soon, and asking for advice on the best way to build the "wall" between the planted areas and the open sand- I have never done that before. I am thinking to use red lava rock (and moss) for that, as it will fit closest with the palette of the other rocks and natural color gravel I am using. I will not be using any premium substrate, but following the same formula I have always used: soil, fluorite red, Sea Chem "Peace River". Sorry, dark substrate has just never done it for me.

    I think that serves as a good introduction- stay tuned for more!

    *edit* here is where the tank will live. Please ignore the internet mess that needs to be moved. The dimensions are so nice, it doesn’t even look that big, does it? Originally my wife requested that the top of the tank be even with the bottom of the window molding- I was able to negotiate up to the bottom of the window itself. That will make it really easy to work on, at least!



    Last edited by geektom; 08-14-2018 at 06:55 PM.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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    SCAPE Member 1000 posts, Semi-Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    geektom's 135 gallon adventure

    Below are my final plans for the stand. Initially I drew out the standard “DIY Fishkeeper” design, but several people I trust said there just wasn’t enough support vertically, too much stress on the screws, and not enough “wood to wood contact”. So the revised version includes rabbet joints, grooves for the cross rails, and glue and bolts in addition to the screws. Might be over-engineering, and I am pretty intimidated to line up the extra cuts (and keep it square), but at the end I should have something rock solid.

    Last edited by geektom; 08-15-2018 at 05:01 PM.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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    SCAPE Member 1000 posts, Semi-Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    geektom's 135 gallon adventure

    Ok, here are the scaping materials I have today. My idea is to have two significant “stumps” with smaller wood pieces to use as “roots”. I prefer the old school chunky pieces to spider or manzanita, but if you see something amazing, let me know.

    Right now, it is planned to have some wood break the water surface have terrestrial moss and/or emersed plants.

    A lot of random wood:




    My rocks so far- I love the colors, but some of them are “glass rock” and I don’t like how shiny (and sharp!) they are... going to take a sander to them before they go in the tank. I want to find 1-2 larger pieces, but no luck. The largest one (upper left, red one) is about 8” x 8”.



    Continuing my “reddish” theme: my substrate selection. Fluorite over nutrients, then “Peace River” sand for actual planting. I will use the lighter sand in the open areas, in front of a “wall” of lava rock and moss/something else, and some pebbles in the cracks and crevices for a more natural look.




    Last edited by geektom; 08-15-2018 at 03:11 PM.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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    SCAPE Member 1000 posts, Semi-Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    *Save for Lighting Set Up*
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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    SCAPE Member 1000 posts, Semi-Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    *Save for Filter / CO2 set up*
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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    SCAPE Member 1000 posts, Semi-Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    geektom's 135 gallon adventure

    *Save for initial planting list*

    Not a final list/design- I was just messing around with a sketch based on what I currently have available from the two small tanks- I am pretty confident I can fully plant it on day 1.

    Last edited by geektom; 08-15-2018 at 08:36 PM.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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    Water is Life 5000 posts, Officially addicted to SCAPE! Zenzu's Avatar
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    This will be epic.

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    SCAPE Board Member Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Oh ya! *starts getting popcorn ready*

    Sent from my LGMP260 using Tapatalk
    More Tanks!

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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr kberg2498's Avatar
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    This is going to be awesome. As for the "divider" Personally I would use Plastic Garden Edging cut down and maybe siliconed down depending on how permanent you want to make it. Was going to recommend soil but looks like you got that on your list Soil is magic. I would paint the back black. I've tried frosted and stuff and I always come back to black or super light blue. Only problem with using light blue is sometimes the cheap glass will tint it green. So black is my Goto! I also built the stand on my 120 but I did it very ugly and overkill to the max because my dad is still very shook up from the last earthquake. Can't wait to see the pictures when this thing is up and running!

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    SCAPE Board Member Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Hey Tom, you want some help brushing up on your woodworking skills? I can lend these to you if you want to look through em, I know you'll take care of em.

    Sent from my LGMP260 using Tapatalk
    More Tanks!

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    SCAPE Member 1000 posts, Semi-Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kole85 View Post
    Hey Tom, you want some help brushing up on your woodworking skills? I can lend these to you if you want to look through em, I know you'll take care of em.
    Thanks, Kole- you are awesome! I am good with instructions, and I will have a helper- it is just more advanced than I have done (or planned on). I will post my plans and show you guys the process as it happens.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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    SCAPE Member 1000 posts, Semi-Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kberg2498 View Post
    This is going to be awesome. As for the "divider" Personally I would use Plastic Garden Edging cut down and maybe siliconed down depending on how permanent you want to make it. Was going to recommend soil but looks like you got that on your list Soil is magic. I would paint the back black. I've tried frosted and stuff and I always come back to black or super light blue. Only problem with using light blue is sometimes the cheap glass will tint it green. So black is my Goto! I also built the stand on my 120 but I did it very ugly and overkill to the max because my dad is still very shook up from the last earthquake. Can't wait to see the pictures when this thing is up and running!
    I like the frosted on my 20g- not sure how it would look across such a large footprint. I came up with the idea to do the same color as the wall behind it to make it *look* like it was clear, but still hide the tubes and wires. I like black, too- but I want the overall look to be brighter, and the room is pretty "light" overall... still deciding!
    Last edited by geektom; 08-14-2018 at 02:58 PM.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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    Moderator 2000 posts, Star SCAPEr Nick Shades's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geektom View Post
    *Save for Lighting Set Up*
    Buy those white primes now. Rumor is they are being discontinued, and most suppliers are hitting clearance on them.

    The beautiful thing about primes is that their internals are replaceable for only $75 a puck. Buy two or three of them (replacement pucks) now to insure that you also have those in the future.

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    SCAPE Member Just Planted CaliGold's Avatar
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    Oh wow, I am definitely looking forward to the updates on this thread! Good luck with the carpentry, Tom!

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    SCAPE Member 1000 posts, Semi-Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Shades View Post
    Buy those white primes now. Rumor is they are being discontinued, and most suppliers are hitting clearance on them.

    The beautiful thing about primes is that their internals are replaceable for only $75 a puck. Buy two or three of them (replacement pucks) now to insure that you also have those in the future.
    Thanks for the tip!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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    Sergeant of Marines 3000 posts, Grand Master SCAPER John7429's Avatar
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    I'm so happy to see this happening.

    Just a couple thoughts. Of course budget will dictate but there's no need to do "everything" from the beginning:
    - CO2 is a must. Whether you go with plants that "need" it or not, get it. EVERY planted tank can benefit from CO2.
    - Consider using UV.
    - Keeping separated substrate and sand areas is a MAJOR PITA. I've done it a couple times and recommend people avoid it. But of course... it's one of those things everyone should try to see how annoying it is. haha


    As always, if you need anything, check with me first!!!!!!!



    New Tank Build Thread!


    Dont insult me with your low-balls


    Currently running: 270g monster fish, 180g monster fish, 180g planted (coming soon!), 90g community, 75g cichlid, 2x 7g planted, 6.7g planted, 2g planted, 2.5g opae

    Reptiles: 15+ turtles/tortoises, 1x uromastyx

    Birds: 1x African grey, 2x double yellow headed amazons, 1x umbrella cockatoo, 1x sun conure

    1x dog

  29. #17
    SCAPE Member 1000 posts, Semi-Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John7429 View Post
    I'm so happy to see this happening.

    Just a couple thoughts. Of course budget will dictate but there's no need to do "everything" from the beginning:
    - CO2 is a must. Whether you go with plants that "need" it or not, get it. EVERY planted tank can benefit from CO2.
    - Consider using UV.
    - Keeping separated substrate and sand areas is a MAJOR PITA. I've done it a couple times and recommend people avoid it. But of course... it's one of those things everyone should try to see how annoying it is. haha


    As always, if you need anything, check with me first!!!!!!!
    Thanks, John! Yes, I can see where it will be a pain, but I do want to try it. I think having an actual “wall” will help. We’ll see!

    I would love to use UV- I am concerned about how much vertical room I will have under the tank. With the length I can get away with having some components secured horizontally, though. That is my plan for the CO2 reactor.

    To be clear, I will definitely have CO2- just thinking though how often I will have to fill the tank if I go “all out” with only room for a 5lb. I could always keep the tank outside of the stand, but I like the aesthetic of everything concealed.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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    SCAPE Member 1000 posts, Semi-Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    I don’t know if the thread gets updated as “unread” if I add content or edit where the plc holders are. If you haven’t checked this thread in a couple of days, you might want to go back to the 1st page and see if I have added pictures, etc.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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    Sergeant of Marines 3000 posts, Grand Master SCAPER John7429's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geektom View Post
    I don’t know if the thread gets updated as “unread” if I add content or edit where the plc holders are. If you haven’t checked this thread in a couple of days, you might want to go back to the 1st page and see if I have added pictures, etc.
    Do us a favor and post that you updated/edited an old post so we get the notification.


    =)



    New Tank Build Thread!


    Dont insult me with your low-balls


    Currently running: 270g monster fish, 180g monster fish, 180g planted (coming soon!), 90g community, 75g cichlid, 2x 7g planted, 6.7g planted, 2g planted, 2.5g opae

    Reptiles: 15+ turtles/tortoises, 1x uromastyx

    Birds: 1x African grey, 2x double yellow headed amazons, 1x umbrella cockatoo, 1x sun conure

    1x dog

  34. #20
    SCAPE Member 1000 posts, Semi-Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John7429 View Post
    Do us a favor and post that you updated/edited an old post so we get the notification.


    =)
    Thank you, sir!

    Just updated with pictures of where the tank will be and the hardscape I have so far.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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