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Shallow tank project - Help appreciated

Marios

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14 Sep 2021
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Cyprus
Hi!

First of all, please excuse my English, as it is not my first language.
I need a bit of help with the equipment to be used in setting up a medium to heavily planted tank.

The tank, which will be custom made, will have the following dimensions Width: 140 cm x Depth: 40 cm x Height 30 cm. (55in x 15.7in x 11.8in). The actual volume of water minus the scaping and substrate will be approximately 120 liter (32 gallons).

The stand/ cabinet will also be custom made but have a limitation with the height. Maximum I can go is 52cm (19.69in). Effectively, this will leave me with approximately 46 cm interior height for the equipment.
My goal is to have as little visible equipment as possible.

Filtration
Due to the cabinet’s height limitation, and the tank’s width, I am a bit concerned with the filtration and water circulation. What would be better,
  • one large cannister filter that can barely fit in the cabinet, for example the Oase BioMaster Thermo 350, Eheim professionel 4+350T, which have a maximum flow rate of approximately 1100l/h (290 gph) and maybe add a powerhead for better water circulation.
  • Two smaller cannister filters, for example two BioMaster Thermo 250.
  • Possibly a sump. I do not particularly like the idea of having the overflow system inside or on the back of the aquarium.
  • Any other suggestions?
Co2
What would be the best set up configuration? Inline or in-tank diffuser? Would I have a problem with how shallow the tank would be?

Light
Would appreciate some good light recommendations for this set up, taking into account the width of the tank and the height (shallow). The plants that will be used would be carpet and some medium to high demand.

RO System
Currently my tap water is very high. Would an RO System be mandatory?

Other
Any other equipment that I might have forgotten would be appreciated.

Many thanks,
Marios
 

Geoffrey Rea

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First of all, please excuse my English, as it is not my first language.

Hello @Marios .

Your English is superb, so no need to worry about that! 😉

The plants that will be used would be carpet and some medium to high demand.

Before moving on to anything else, do you know which species of plants you want to grow?

Also, this is a shallow tank relative to other dimensions. Is it your intention to have growth coming out of the water emersed?
 

Marios

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Hello Geoffrey and many thanks for your speedy response!

Haven't really decided on what species of plants I would like to grow not even on the hardscape to be honest.
My only "concern" is that I do not want to have limited options on which plant I can use.

I am leaning into these kinds of scapes.

Don't mind on having emersed grow as well, provided that the plants can tolerate my climate. (I am living in Cyprus)
 

Geoffrey Rea

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My only "concern" is that I do not want to have limited options on which plant I can use.

This relates to what design of equipment you choose to use. Pretty sure others will join in with suggestions on specific equipment, but will start with desirable features of lighting.

Light
Would appreciate some good light recommendations for this set up, taking into account the width of the tank and the height (shallow). The plants that will be used would be carpet and some medium to high demand.

Given this is a shallow tank, with the potential for growth above the water, it would be desirable to have the light adjustable in height above the tank. This allows room for them to grow to height.

A second feature that would help is being able to adjust the light intensity. Your tank dimensions; Width: 140 cm x Depth: 40 cm x Height 30 cm. (55in x 15.7in x 11.8in) mean that light isn’t penetrating too deep. 30cm is maximum down to the base glass. Once soil/sand is in place we are really only talking about 25cm depth at most.

Being able to adjust your lighting, both electronically by a controller and by height above the tank would be very useful.
 

Marios

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Given this is a shallow tank, with the potential for growth above the water, it would be desirable to have the light adjustable in height above the tank. This allows room for them to grow to height.
The problem with the height above the tank is that I am again somewhat limited by space. Have about 30 cm to play with.

A second feature that would help is being able to adjust the light intensity. Your tank dimensions; Width: 140 cm x Depth: 40 cm x Height 30 cm. (55in x 15.7in x 11.8in) mean that light isn’t penetrating too deep. 30cm is maximum down to the base glass. Once soil/sand is in place we are really only talking about 25cm depth at most.
Definitely. Any light recommendations for these specific dimensions?
 

Geoffrey Rea

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The problem with the height above the tank is that I am again somewhat limited by space. Have about 30 cm to play with.

Right so we have a non-negotiable limit here. This is important.

Definitely. Any light recommendations for these specific dimensions?

So if you are able to hang a pendant style light above your tank in that 30cm drop, there will be little to no room for emersed growth. By going with a pendant style light however, rather than the standard sizes of light that sit on standard tank sizes on the glass rim, you can accommodate the full 140cm width with one light of 120cm, with a unit like the Twinstar 1200SP for example:

1631650888039.jpeg

This is a very powerful unit. But it is controllable so you can lower intensity and as it’s a pendant light, the unusual 140cm width is not a problem.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Don't mind on having emersed grow as well, provided that the plants can tolerate my climate. (I am living in Cyprus)

On to the next most pertinent point… Have you considered how you will maintain reasonable temperatures in the tank in Cyprus?

Four months of the year at least, it’s not unreasonable to expect consistent 30C+ air temperatures.
 

Marios

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Right so we have a non-negotiable limit here. This is important.



So if you are able to hang a pendant style light above your tank in that 30cm drop, there will be little to no room for emersed growth. By going with a pendant style light however, rather than the standard sizes of light that sit on standard tank sizes on the glass rim, you can accommodate the full 140cm width with one light of 120cm, with a unit like the Twinstar 1200SP for example:

View attachment 174324
This is a very powerful unit. But it is controllable so you can lower intensity and as it’s a pendant light, the unusual 140cm width is not a problem.
That's a nice looking light, but a bit pricey though. With shipping to Cyprus this is a bit pricey for my budget (around EUR500). Was wondering if there are some decent lights up to EUR300.

I really do like the pendant style, although I might not be able to fix it from the ceiling, I might be able to attach it, as a pendant, to the wall, just beneath the TV using some diy metal brackets.
On to the next most pertinent point… Have you considered how you will maintain reasonable temperatures in the tank in Cyprus?

Four months of year at least, it’s not unreasonable to expect consistent 30C+ air temperatures.
The room that I am planning on placing the tank has a constant AC turned on and maintains a constant 26C temperature. If needed I might install a chiller at a later stage.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Back again @Marios

Sorry to disappear there, had work being done to the house so a delayed reply.

Was wondering if there are some decent lights up to EUR300.

Look around basically, see what comes in at that price. The main thing we’ve established is the 140cm length of your tank can be served with a single 120cm unit hung as a pendant light if growth out of the water is part of the plan.

If emersed growth is less important to you then another option that could sit on the tank glass is the Chihiros WRGB II Slim 120cm-140cm:

1631862393299.jpeg

1631862422691.jpeg

No experience of this light and given your tank is custom, would check the 140cm is indeed 140cm. If the length of the tank is even slightly over, this unit may not sit on the glass properly.

Most importantly, the light intensity on any unit you choose needs to be controllable as the tank is so shallow.

Overall though, a single light unit just means less wires, fewer power outlets needed and a cleaner look for your setup.

Was originally asking questions about the context this setup will be in as if it’s tight on access, a pendant light can’t be knocked into the tank but a sit on top unit can. Most folks who create long shallows position them on a cabinet with a cupboard above/in a custom piece of furniture, as it’s an obvious use for the space:

1631863711717.jpeg


The room that I am planning on placing the tank has a constant AC turned on and maintains a constant 26C temperature. If needed I might install a chiller at a later stage.

Excellent 👍🏽
 

Toby C

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Hi Marios,

just a few thoughts:

- the filters you’ve listed both include heater units, but the tank is going to be in a room with constant A/C. You could save some money and get canisters without built in heaters, as you won’t want the tank warmer than 26 anyway (unless you plan on sticking with specific fish)

- C02 wise it’s a bit of personal taste. In-line often causes a fizzy bubble appearance when you view the tank (when on) but gets better diffusion. A diffuser does this less, but is clutter in the tank. Given you’ve got limited cabinet space a reactor might not be an option.

- if you’re planning co2 it’s probably worth getting a ph meter so you can adjust the amount.

-when mentioning RO units, you said your tap water is ‘high’, did you mean hard?
Does your kettle gets lots of limescale? Or do you have a water report?
 

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