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New planted tank build plans.

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Hi Guys,

I've been out of fish for over 10 years now, and I'm planning on getting back in.

Afterdoing quite a bit of research, I am planning on setting up a heavilyplanted tank –

Tankwill be a Starfire 3 x 2 x 2.25 (one of the short ends will goes to awall as this is a semi-room divider)


The filter will be a couple of layers of dacron, then coarse sponge, fine sponge, a few layers of nylon scourer, jap matt, then Seachem matrix,possible followed with some purigen.


I was looking at a diy substrate, but wasn't particularly happy with the choice of soils available, so I am planning on a multi layered approach, from the bottom up being being up marble chips, then a thin layer of gypsum/ Muriate of Potash (Potassium Chloride),then about a 10 mm layer of sand / laterite mix, Dino Dung balls, then a 20 mm layer of Dupla Ground and then the lot covered with a 25 mm layer of washed sand. Am I missing something here?


I have ordered 2 x 50 watt LED's and these lenses , with some very large HEAT sinks and some dimmable drivers. I will be making a frame that fits over the tank (haven't figured out the details yet) to hold the lights.

I will be decorating the tank with driftwood and stones, starting off heavily planted and using filter media from an existing cycled tank to keep the initial ammonia / nitrates down.

I plan to purchase a CO2 kit for when the kit is first setup, maybe thisCO2PRO S2 0.82L Compact Injection Package or this CO2PRO S2 0.82L Professional Injection Package, although preferably with a larger CO2 tank, these seem like a good idea because of the story about our "dirty power" causing issues, although I am open to other ideas.

Iwould like to add a chiller before next summer ( I think that by the time I get this lot together, this summer will be over ) and I am also considering getting a 36 watt UV to help keep the algae down, but brands and models are all up in the air at this moment. I am also considering using RO water,but am not yet convinced of the advantages.

Fish and plants I have only looked at briefly. The fish should be plant friendly and I would imagine that I wouldn't want fish that get much bigger than about 10cm, either South American or Asian, maybe even a mix of the two if they are compatible, as well as some shrimp. The only thing I have decided on regarding plants is that I would like some fast growing plants when I first set up the tank to take up the waste, with some of it to be replaced later on when the tank is stable by some slower growing / more exotic plants. I would also like to turn some of the driftwood into “trees” with some moss tied to them.

I would appreciate any input from some of the more experienced members of the forum, as I would prefer to avoid any major mistakes.

Thanks in advance


Edited by marno

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Before I go too far, I need to acknowledge swampy1972 as being the brains behind this, I read and re-read his details on

how he set his lights up and mine is going to be using a lot of the same basics. Thanks for sharing swampy1972!!

I received my LED order from China during the week and have put together one of the lights (no lens on it yet)


You can see on the LED where I have marked positive and negative in relation to the + and - that is printed on it.

You need to thread the wire through the hole in the terminal and then solder it. I put thermal pasted under the LED so

there is a good thermal connection (I put too much on, probably like most people who don't use the stuff all the time,

and will need to clean off the excess when I get some acetone). I drilled and tapped (4mm) my heat sink so that I

could screw the LED on, although it probably would have been easier to use a thermal adhesive, but I have never used



This is how it will look from the side when put together. I will be gluing the Lens in place with RTV silicone once I

clean of the excess thermal paste.


I put it together on my work bench, and after ten minutes it was warmer than I would like, so I put a computer fan

on top blowning onto the heatsink, and even after an hour was cool to the touch. I'll see if I can find a smaller quieter

fan to put on it when I get a chance.

I couldn't wait to have the lense on before I used it, so I temporarily set it up on a tank in the garage.


This is taken a minute after I turned the light on, I took a screenshot of the light readings from my Seneye,

Should have waited a little longer, as it was still warming up and some of the readings were getting higher

(but I didn't realise until after I had moved the sensor)


Edited by marno

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Once I had moved the sensor


I got some different readings (taken after about 20 minutes, while I typed this up)


Those of you who understand light readings might tell me if my light is going to be any good,

These readings are taken through grotty lids, they will be used on my display tank with no lids.

I'll take more photo's as I go.

Edited by marno

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