Build Thread 1000 Gallon High Tech Planted Tank

RickyV

Community Member
Jul 23, 2023
38
126
Texas
Hey Scapecrunch! I posted a journal of this tank on UKAPS but I wanted to share this tank here as well as I think this is a pretty cool build.

I got an amazing opportunity to turn a 1000 gallon tank into a high tech planted tank. I am in the planning phase right now so I wanted to share what I am thinking.
20230522_145327.jpg
This is the tank currently. The turtle and the all of the fish will be moved to a different setup and a new stocking will be picked for this tank. Someone else will be in charge of fixing up the rock work to make it look nicer and cover the exposed/damaged areas. The tank is 96 in in length, 48 in front to back, and 48 in deep. The filtration on the tank is a sump that is about 200 gallons but it is only halfway full so it contributes about 100 gallons.

I am not sure on what to choose for lighting, but I am leaning towards 4 Chihiro's WRGB II 90 pro. 2 Rows of lights to cover the middle section (Maybe 3 rows of 2?). I wont be having plants near the front, mostly the back half to leave room for a diver to do maintenance. Would this be enough light with how deep the tank is? I am planning to elevate the back half of the substrate pretty high to make sure enough light gets to the plants.

The tank will be having CO2. I am thinking of doing 2 20lb tanks and dual CO2 reactors. I am just not sure how big I will need to make them. I'm aware it will be difficult to get 100% dissolution with how much CO2 I will be needing to inject, so I am okay with having a light mist. I'm sure it will be beneficial for the plants anyways as that's what I see in a lot of ADA tanks. Anyone have an idea of how big I should make these reactors for such a massive tank?

I will use lava rock in the bottom with gravel on top to create the height for the back half of the tank that will have the plants. It will be like a terraced island. The gravel will have a layer of aqua soil on top for the plants (probably ADA or tropica). Outside of the island will be a layer of sand since there wont be plants outside of the island.

Fertilization will be EI dosing, but not full EI because of how much fertilizer that would require. Likely half or a third EI, especially with the aqua soil releasing lots of nutrients anyways for the first months.

I'm working on some sketches of how the layout will be. I am really excited for this project!
 
I am not the best at using this software but I was using it to brainstorm a little. I was thinking maybe sloping the substrate up to where the stump is and sloping down from the stump the right. I was thinking of covering the left rock structure with bolbitis or some other epiphytes. The main bush I am thinking of ludwigia super red and the other bush down the slope being rotala rotundifolia or something similar. This isn't an exact design just a rough idea. I will be coming up with more designs, just trying to figure out how to use that rock work. rainbowsDesign1.png
This is the tank from the side 20230528_203458.jpg
This is the tank from above. I decided on 2 rows of Chihiro's WRGB II 90 pros. They are closer to the backs since that is where all the plants will be concentrated. 20230523_185931.jpg
For the CO2 reactor I will be using 4 20 in water filter housings run in series. They will be fed to the return pumps in the sump. 20230523_193617.jpg
@Yugang suggested my reactor design here would likely not be sufficient for such a large tank so he helped come up with a design for a Yugang horizontal reactor.
 
rainbowsCO2Reactor.jpg
This is the final design me and Yugang ended up with.
I am using 2 153cm (60 in) PVC pipe with 4 in diameter sitting next to each other (not stacked) as the reactor. I'll have a 2500 - 4000 lph pump controlling the flow either with a controller or a ball valve. The output of the reactor goes to the sump return pump. I'll be stabilizing the CO2 using lots of gas exchange from the sump overflow and surface agitation. I will use a pH controller as a failsafe.

Yugang mentioned having 2 CO2 tanks/needle valves may make it a little difficult to dial in the CO2. I am thinking if I will continue with the 2 tanks approach. The idea behind using two tanks was that it was easier to work with two 20lb tanks as opposed to a 50lb tank. I am considering using only one tank for the reactor and having the second tank inject into a diffuser in the tank before the lights are on just to bring help reach the peak CO2 faster similar to how Zeus. does it. Except that I will use one reactor and a CO2 diffuser. The reactor would maintain the CO2 for the day. My thinking was to cover the plants in CO2 bubbles for the day since I've noticed they will stick to the the plants for a good portion of the day. This was just a thought, I may stick with what I have in the diagram.
 
Today I found out the source water for this tank is RO and here are the water parameters after testing; pH: 6.3 (with API drops) KH: 0 GH:0 NO3: 0.4 PO4 : 0.12 NO2: 0.002 NH3: 0.00
The return outlets to the tank also have a little bypass I can use to connect to the reactor inlet. The only potential problem I see with this is that the the reactor outlet would be going back into this return line, but I don't think it should be a problem since most of the water will still be getting returned to the tank. Here is what I am talking about: 20230603_142924.jpg
One problem we have though is a a big acrylic center brace. 20230603_155207.jpg 20230603_155302.jpg
The brace is 51 cm in width and 2.5 cm thick in the center and 5 cm thick in those outer parts you can see in the picture. I will need to figure out how to arrange the lighting with this big brace in the middle. I was planning on using 6 rgb vivids II with 2 in the middle, but the thick acrylic may block a significant portion of the light.

I am also trying to figure out how to make the CO2 system as safe as possible. This facility has had some bad experiences running CO2 so I want to give them some peace of mind. The one failsafe I already have was using the pH controller to shut off the solenoids after pH raises above a certain threshold. I will rely on heavy gas exchange to keep the CO2 stable without the pH controller, only using the controller as a failsafe. Another idea I have is putting a big air stone on a timer to come on as soon as the lights turn off and come off as soon as the CO2 comes on.
 

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I finally began setting up the tank last week and got it aquascaped and filled with plants. IMG_20230801_181849.jpg
Here is the 600 lbs of lava rock used to create the height.

For lighting according to the budget and the owners preferences we went with 6 48 in fluval plant 3.0 and we kept the 2 previous 48 in aquatop LED lights. The owner will consider upgrading to more expensive lights after seeing how the tank is doing after a few months. 20230714_093257.jpg
I was originally concerned with these being enough light considering they are hung 24 in (60 cm) above the tank and the tank is 48 in (120 cm) deep. But it's only been a few days and the plants are already growing a bunch.

So after months of waiting and planning this tank it has finally been done.

As I have said earlier I went with 2 20lb CO2 tanks that are fed into a Yugang Reactor (horizontal reactor). The reactor is massive it is 165 cm (65 in) in length using 10 cm (4 in) diameter industrial PVC pipe. The CO2 reactor input comes from the chiller reactor output. Then the CO2 reactor output goes through about 450 cm (14.5 ft) vinyl tubing to the sump return pump. The sump return pump goes to a 120 cm (48 in) tall pleated filter canister which then gets returned to the display tank. So we almost have a second reactor with the pleated filter canister since it's pretty big.
20230729_114317.jpg
Here is a little video of the setup, I need to clean the cobwebs back there lol.

The substrate we went with was 120L of flourite black and 600lbs of lava rock to create the height. The cosmetic sand is caribsea super naturals. For the hardscape I kept the stump but moved it to a different angle.

After 12 hours of being inside the tank scaping it, this is what I came up with.

20230803_200218.jpg


After another hour of filling the tank and waiting a few days for the water to clear up here is the tank today. 20230807_161038.jpg
Still not sure on the schooling fish, rainbowfish and tetras have been mentioned though. I have however made a list of other livestock for the tank. I haven't looked at the compatibility of everything on this list yet I was just brainstorming. I definitely want to add a lot of little nano fish.

Cherry shrimp
Amano shrimp
African filter shrimp/bamboo shrimp?
Asian Stone catfish
Siamese algae eaters
Otocinclus
Nerite snails
Corydoras
Khuli loaches
Pearl gourami
Dwarf mexican crayfish
Peacock gudgeon
African butterfly fish

It has been a few days since being filled and the plants are already showing a lot of new growth. In fact according to the water quality they consumed 0.7 ppm PO4 and 1.2 ppm NO3 in the last 24 hours. 20230807_094447.jpg
The water quality is tested using a Hach spectrophotometer. The first test was 36 hours after filling and dosing 8 ppm NO3 and 2 ppm PO4. I was surprised by how low the NO3 was do I did another dose of macros and tested the following day. NO3 increased a bit but not to what I expected. PO4 increased like expected. I tested again today to see how much the NO3 and PO4 decreased in 1 day. The concrete rock structure has been slowly increasing the pH the last few days which has been a little concerning. As you can see above the KH went from 2 to 6 in 2 days. The RO water the tank was filled with has a KH and GH of 0. I believe the pH was 7.0. Calcium is currently 41.

The Yugang reactor has been working amazing. I achieved a 1.0 drop in 38 minutes and the pH stabilized after about 54 minutes. I am very surprised from how fast the pH drop is on this tank, I originally thought it would take hours with how big it is. But I guess its because the tank has such a high off gassing rate from the 120 cm tall overflow and the water violently pouring into the sump. This has helped keep a very stable pH and a very fast pH drop. I am curious how long the CO2 tanks will last with the amount of CO2 I'm injecting. Here is the most recent pH profile. Screenshot_20230807_172658_Sheets.jpg
I am very excited to shape this tank and see it mature! It looks way bigger in person. I definitely want to have one of my own one day lol.
 
I am also trying to figure out how to make the CO2 system as safe as possible. This facility has had some bad experiences running CO2 so I want to give them some peace of mind. The one failsafe I already have was using the pH controller to shut off the solenoids after pH raises above a certain threshold. I will rely on heavy gas exchange to keep the CO2 stable without the pH controller, only using the controller as a failsafe. Another idea I have is putting a big air stone on a timer to come on as soon as the lights turn off and come off as soon as the CO2 comes on.
I use my controller for this reason. If anything goes out of the range I set, it send me an alarm and turns off the CO2 to prevent accidental deaths in the tank. I also run an air stone every hour for 5 mins.
 
I too love the monster tanks. You can really take the natural look to the next level. Well done so far!

Where is this tank? An aquarium?
 
I use my controller for this reason. If anything goes out of the range I set, it send me an alarm and turns off the CO2 to prevent accidental deaths in the tank. I also run an air stone every hour for 5 mins.
Indeed, the system seems pretty safe right mow with the heavy gas exchange and controller failsafe. What Is the thinking behind the airstone?

I too love the monster tanks. You can really take the natural look to the next level. Well done so far!

Where is this tank? An aquarium?
Me too they're really amazing! Thanks!

Yes this is at a public aquarium.
 
Today I found out the source water for this tank is RO and here are the water parameters after testing; pH: 6.3 (with API drops) KH: 0 GH:0 NO3: 0.4 PO4 : 0.12 NO2: 0.002 NH3: 0.00
The return outlets to the tank also have a little bypass I can use to connect to the reactor inlet. The only potential problem I see with this is that the the reactor outlet would be going back into this return line, but I don't think it should be a problem since most of the water will still be getting returned to the tank. Here is what I am talking about:View attachment 2664
One problem we have though is a a big acrylic center brace.View attachment 2666View attachment 2667
The brace is 51 cm in width and 2.5 cm thick in the center and 5 cm thick in those outer parts you can see in the picture. I will need to figure out how to arrange the lighting with this big brace in the middle. I was planning on using 6 rgb vivids II with 2 in the middle, but the thick acrylic may block a significant portion of the light.

I am also trying to figure out how to make the CO2 system as safe as possible. This facility has had some bad experiences running CO2 so I want to give them some peace of mind. The one failsafe I already have was using the pH controller to shut off the solenoids after pH raises above a certain threshold. I will rely on heavy gas exchange to keep the CO2 stable without the pH controller, only using the controller as a failsafe. Another idea I have is putting a big air stone on a timer to come on as soon as the lights turn off and come off as soon as the CO2 comes on.
You can reduce the length of your reactor so that it starts purging bubbles when a certain pH drop / CO2 ppm threshold is reached. I called that 'overflow mode' (may have to post a more detailed description on this forum later). I am using my reactor in overflow mode, it hits a 1.5 pH drop and every few minutes or so some small CO2 bubbles escape which tells me the reactor is exactly at its maximum. When I would increase the flow from the CO2 regulator, it just leads to more bubbles purging, but the capacity of the reactor is limited and fish cannot be gassed. Used in overflow mode I don't need a precision regulator (as the reactor geometry guarantees stability of CO2 injection), but in your case you could use it to configure an inherently safe system.
 
For this size tank I think a big school of rainbows would be spectacular. Nano fish wise, I think you’ll need a tremendous amount of whatever you decide to get the desired effect and with that comes cost. I can vouch for gudgeons, beautiful fish. They tend to remain in the lower half of the tank so keep that in mind.
 
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Here is the tank a week and a half later after setting up. So far doing good. All of the plants are growing a bunch despite the tank having relatively underpowered lights for such a deep tank. I have started noticing some diatoms and staghorn, however it's been exclusively growing on the old emerged growth. I've also noticed so many malaysian trumpet snails which I'm assuming came with the plants. I'm pretty happy about them. Hopefully I can also add some ramshorns later.

I've also noticed what looks like iron deficiency on some plants. Luckily it's only happening in a few spots near the top where the light is the brightest. I'm guessing it must be Fe deficiency considering the pH is 8.0 degassed. I drop it to 7.0 during the photoperiod.
20230810_084716.jpg

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It's especially bad on that amazon sword that's growing almost white.

This is the dosing regimen.
Dosed once a week after water change.
Macronutrients:
NO3 : 8 ppm (40 grams of KNO3)
PO4 : 2 ppm (9 grams of KH2PO4)
K : 11 ppm (34 grams of K2SO4)

Split into three dosed on MWF
Micronutrients:
Fe Gluconate: 0.1 ppm (3grams)
Fe DTPA 11%: 0.2 ppm (3grams)

(12 grams of Planted CSM+B Adds Below)
Fe EDTA: 0.25 ppm
Mn:0.074 ppm
Cu:0.004 ppm
Mg:0.015 ppm
Mo:0.002 ppm
B:0.032 ppm
dGH: 0.013
 
View attachment 2725
Here is the tank a week and a half later after setting up. So far doing good. All of the plants are growing a bunch despite the tank having relatively underpowered lights for such a deep tank. I have started noticing some diatoms and staghorn, however it's been exclusively growing on the old emerged growth. I've also noticed so many malaysian trumpet snails which I'm assuming came with the plants. I'm pretty happy about them. Hopefully I can also add some ramshorns later.

I've also noticed what looks like iron deficiency on some plants. Luckily it's only happening in a few spots near the top where the light is the brightest. I'm guessing it must be Fe deficiency considering the pH is 8.0 degassed. I drop it to 7.0 during the photoperiod.
20230810_084716.jpg

20230810_084704.jpg


It's especially bad on that amazon sword that's growing almost white.

This is the dosing regimen.
Dosed once a week after water change.
Macronutrients:
NO3 : 8 ppm (40 grams of KNO3)
PO4 : 2 ppm (9 grams of KH2PO4)
K : 11 ppm (34 grams of K2SO4)

Split into three dosed on MWF
Micronutrients:
Fe Gluconate: 0.1 ppm (3grams)
Fe DTPA 11%: 0.2 ppm (3grams)

(12 grams of Planted CSM+B Adds Below)
Fe EDTA: 0.25 ppm
Mn:0.074 ppm
Cu:0.004 ppm
Mg:0.015 ppm
Mo:0.002 ppm
B:0.032 ppm
dGH: 0.013
Most likely culprit for the chlorosis is usually iron, but it could also be Manganese, especially given you’re dosing it chelated by EDTA. You may want to consider using unchelated micros at those PHs.
 
I'm late to the party but just have to say that I love this project! Very ambitious, that is for sure.

A couple of thoughts. If your dKH is fluctuating then a CO2 controller is pretty much useless. They really only work well with a stable dKH.

As to Fe, is the DTPA 0.20 weekly? Or three times a week? The EDTA is really not contributing anything if your pH is on the high side.

How are you going to trim this tank? Based on the dimensions I am wondering how you will be able to reach everything? Scuba gear?? :D :D

Once again a really great interesting build. I am looking forward to seeing where this goes from here.
 
If your dKH is fluctuating then a CO2 controller is pretty much useless. They really only work well with a stable dKH.
The dKH was slowly increasing in the first days but it looks to have stabilized. I'm guessing due to the decreased solubility of the CaCO3 at the higher pH.
As to Fe, is the DTPA 0.20 weekly? Or three times a week? The EDTA is really not contributing anything if your pH is on the high side.
I meant to put 0.1 ppm. But it is the total weekly dose, but I split the 0.1 ppm into three doses on MWF. I'm going to try making the micros/iron dosing a daily thing to see if that helps. Will probably also increase the dtpa and gluconate. I'm trying to stay away from EDDHA if I can since I'm not a fan of the tint and don't think the owner would be either. But if this doesn't work I'll just reduce the light intensity in the back since that's where the chlorosis is happening, but not under the thick brace or the front 3/4ths of the tank.

How are you going to trim this tank? Based on the dimensions I am wondering how you will be able to reach everything? Scuba gear?? :D :D
Will figure out later lol 😆 Just kidding, the top half is actually pretty easy to access using regular trimming scissors. As for the bottom half I've experimented using a long tong with the scissors attached. I'll have to take a picture of it. It worked okay. Otherwise some scuba gear will be used. Probably something like in this video at 9:13
 
Yes this is at a public aquarium.
Amazing looking scape. Surly an inspiration to budding future planted tank aqua scapers. Who knows this tank may pave the way for a future George Farmer or a Dennis Wong. 😊
Seldom do we see public planted aquariums that are inspirational. Many start off as "wow!" and after a few months or years it ends up as "meh"
Hope it will be maintained in the same state as now for the long term.
 
Amazing looking scape. Surly an inspiration to budding future planted tank aqua scapers. Who knows this tank may pave the way for a future George Farmer or a Dennis Wong. 😊
Thank you! Yes that is one of my greatest joys in this job. I love seeing the kids and adults just staring at the tank without it even having fish yet. Seeing tanks like this inspired me when I was a kid.

Hope it will be maintained in the same state as now for the long term.
I will try my best! I'll be taking care of it the first year before leaving and passing the torch.
 
Today the tank had its first trimming session, I totally forgot to take a picture before trimming but this is after.
20230827_160525.jpg
As you can see the rockwork has turned a darker brown from all the diatoms. Luckily still no algae on any new plant growth.

There's a crazy amount of malaysian trumpet snails all over the tank but either they aren't the best algae eaters or the diatoms are growing that fast.
I added some hydrocotyle tripartita here in front of the trimmed wallichii. You can see a bunch of the trumpet snails on the wood there.
20230827_160539.jpg

Also received some anubias nana petite and bucephapandras that were out of stock the first time I ordered plants. 20230826_124928.jpg 20230826_124933.jpg

I began dosing micros daily and increased the total weekly dosage to 0.4 ppm Fe gluconate and 0.2 ppm Fe DTPA. The rotalas didn't look much better but it's only been about a week and a half so I will wait and see. The chlorosis is looking much better on the Amazon sword. Before and after.
20230827_084558.jpg 20230810_084716.jpg

We received 2 darter fish mixed in with a feeder shrimp shipment so I went ahead and added our first fish. Of course I rarely see them lol. But they have all that tank to themselves.
20230814_152228.jpg 20230819_081823.jpg
Some red cherry shrimp and amano shrimps are on the way but unsure on when they'll arrive. Fish will be quarantined before being introduced to the tank so the shrimps will get a few weeks to establish themselves.

I recorded a top view of the surface agitation on the tank and the overflow that's been keeping the pH very stable.
 
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