I started this build early last year, finally got water in it about 10 weeks ago. This is my first major foray into a fast growing, challenging (to me) and stem plant dominated setup. I'm using it mainly as a learning experience, testing, making changes and observing to try to expand my knowledge and simply to confirm/ deny my current beliefs. I've been keeping planted tank since I was 14, so about a decade now but I have generally kept easy to keep species and slow growing species. I love the jungle look using crypts, anubias, fernts, etc. and have found it difficult to source uncommon species in Canada, so this tank also doubles as my collection. I try my best to spread around species as much as I can.
The tank is about 160 gallons, 72"x24"x22" (lxwxh) with a 54 gallon breeder sump.
Current Equipment List:
Eheim 1262 Return pump
Eheim Universal 1260 for closed loop (635 GPH)
Eheim 1250 with modded impeller for needle wheel co2 injection
DIY LED Fixture (Build thread)
Aquajunior Contoller with DC8, ph and temp probes (Just for monitoring and heat control)
Linde Redline Regulator with Swagelok fitting, 2x 10# CO2 tank (Still building this setup. GLA setup currently)
Bubble Magnus Triple Pump Doser (EI daily)
54 Breeder open sump
2x Ebo Jager 200 watt (76-77 Fahrenheit)
9 x 9L ADA Amazonia NEW
Gnarled Manzanita (Tom Barr)
Seiryu Stone (PC1)
I built the fixture myself using an old fixture from an office building reno. The shell was an 8' aluminum housing I ripped down to 6' including end caps. I need to make some changed to the leds to change the spectrum, but so far it's working well. It's much more powerful than needed so I have it dimmed quite a bit. It's also about 42" off the substrate, just below my ceiling. I assembled the rest of the fixture and used custom drivers and controllers from a friend on plantedtank.net, O2Surplus.
The tank was bought used from a local reefer (corals, not drugs ) and then I tore it apart. I tracked down the original builder who CNC'd the end pane to add an external overflow and two 3/4" returns. He also replaced the front as I chipped it breaking the tank down. I also had two 3/4" holes added to the bottom for a closed loop. You can see the old internal overflow drains in the picture.
The sump is pretty basic. I tried out a wet/dry but it was a bit undersized and could not handle the back flow of water during a power outage. I swapped it for a 54 breeder so the setup is pretty basic. I have been slowly transitioning from bags of bio balls to small bags of matrix. I took one bag out but left the other in there. That's why you see it in the pics.
The setup is pretty simple. The left side is where the drain dumps. I had a wet/dry tower before this open sump so I need to do a bit of plumbing. I wanted to add a filter sock but they clog really fast so I instead added some foam I got from Tom. I will just extend the 90 and support the pipe rather than laying it there. Also in the left section are my ph/temp probes and the doser lines. I have them strapped up higher but I'm going to make an acrylic holder for them.
The water flows through two baffles of plastic filter media. It's similar to foam but sturdy enough to use as baffles. I think it may be matten filter but I'm not sure. Next is the matrix, all in small bags so I can rotate it and clean a small portion at a time. I have 7 or 8 small bags that pack perfectly to fill the space. On top is bio balls but they will be replaced with another row of matrix in the future.
Next there is another plastic baffle. The last section houses two heaters, my Eheim 1262 return pump with a downturned elbow and an Eheim 1250. I modded the 1250 to have a DIY needle wheel. The co2 line feeds into the intake cover plate and it spits out the tubing just outside the return pump intake. I had the nw return feeding into the return pump, but the gas airlocks the return pump if the power goes out and my solenoid sticks. Unlikely, but it's happened once, so it won't be happening again.
Pretty simple stuff. I don't need to seal anything to prevent co2 loss and there is lots of dwell time for the water in the media. It's also a dirt cheap sump. The tank was free and the baffle media was $30 for the whole sheet (I cut it into thirds).