Planted Tank with Seahorses

AquaCave

minorhero

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 12, 2021
Messages
134
Reaction score
185
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Maryland
Hello folks!

This is going to be a bit different from most of the saltwater tanks on here and elsewhere because when I say it's a planted tank, I do not mean macro algae. This will be a true planted tank with Manatee Grass (Syringodium filiforme), Shoal Grass (Halodule wrightii), and Red Mangroves (Rhizophora mangle). The livestock will be a pair of seahorses (Hippocampus erectus) plus a pretty extensive clean up crew.

I have been waiting on doing this thread until I got my tank situation resolved. Originally I planned to literally make the tank myself. And in fact I did just that. The results however are horrific ;P I thought I could do a good job with the silicone but... not so much. So yesterday I ordered the tank from Glass Cages. The tank will be rimless and 24"x18"x24"H with black silicone. I went with Glass Cages mostly because of all the positive recent reviews with their changes in quality control and customer service. So with the tank situation sorted it was time to start this build journal.

As a bit about me, I have decades of experience with freshwater tanks but zero experience with saltwater. So this whole thing will be an adventure for me. I have always admired saltwater tanks but the idea of actually taking care of the corals has not (and still does not) appeal to me. Freshwater planted tanks on the other hand have been a passion of mine for the last few years.

So when I was at the Baltimore Aquarium last year and saw an exhibit consisting of seahorses with live seagrass, I was completely entranced. I took a few pictures, but you can't really see the seagrass other then a field of green in the background:

3GmAixn.jpg


LwFtSZ6.jpg


The exhibit really stuck in my mind, and after some research, I decided I wanted to replicate the idea, but make it even better.

First thing to consider was placement. I wanted the tank to go into my office next to my Freshwater High Tech Newt Tank. This is why the Seahorse tank has the 24x18x24 dimensions. I wanted it to match the footprint of the Newt Tank but with more vertical space for the Seahorses (since they are apparently one of those weird fish that actually prefer vertical space over horizontal). The Newt Tank is sitting on a 40 gallon petco metal stand that I heavily modified. In order for the Seahorse tank to match I needed to replicate the stand.

After purchasing the stand and assembly, I drilled and tapped holes in the bottom of the stand and used grade 8 bolts and steel brackets to attach steel C channel to run the width of the stand. This will be the support for a shelf that will hold the sump. I also attached plywood to the sides for both aesthetic and subsequent plumbing attachment purposes. The door I made is held on with magnets so its pretty easy to remove.

wsaUxqh.jpg


NMvdxC3.jpg


The stand is designed for a rimmed 40 breeder to sit directly on top. But the Seahorse tank, like the Newt Tank, is a rimless tank and has a smaller footprint. So I needed to make a top for it.

For the Newt Tank I made a poured concrete top, and that's what I did for the Seahorse tank as well. First thing to do was make the form out of 3/4 melamine.

RbzfnyI.jpg


Then I mixed up a batch of Rapidset Mortar Mix, added some color, and poured it.

i7XswKw.jpg


Somewhere along the way my maths were all messed up. I thought 3/4 of a bag of mortar would be enough for the whole thing but it was a bit short. So I needed to very quickly mix up another partial bag and pour that as well (the stuff sets up in like 20 minutes). In my rush I did not mix in enough coloring agent so the result was a very ugly top ;P I decided to fix the issue by painting it.

cs5Hd00.jpg


And here is the whole stand next to the Newt Tank.

G81hc5H.jpg


As far as the rest of the equipment plan. Well I have ordered a LOT of stuff and its trickling in now:

kfe44UX.jpg


The plan for the filtration will be a diy sump which will just be a regular Aqueon 20H. It will have a roller filter (hopefully the new Red Sea ReefMat when it is released) and 2 return pumps. One return pump will go directly to the tank. The other will have a bypass which will include a CO2 Reactor (for all the plants) and a 15w Aqua Ultraviolet UV Sterilizer. I'll have a ball valve on the bypass and the main line to control flow through the reactor/uv.

When I get the tank from Glass Cages I will drill it for use with a 1200 g/h Modular Marine overflow as well as two 3/4" returns. The overflow will have bean animal style plumbing. For the returns I purchased a pair of random flow generators.

In order to light the tank I will be building a bracket on the wall that will overhang the tank out of 3/8" galvanized steel pipe. The light itself will be a used Viparspectra I will be buying from an acquaintance.

The ATO will be a 5 gallon plastic jerry can (I am going to have space issues) and a gravity fed float valve installed with an over the rim hanging bracket.

Another weird thing about this tank, I am going to be dosing fertilizer. The plants need a good mix of macro and micro nutrients to stay healthy. Most historical threads I have found using seagrass have solved this issue through fish poop, deep sand beds, and sometimes mud. The freshwater community used to solve their plant food issues this way as well. But more modern methods in freshwater has led to the formulation of fertilizers which have proved more successful and significantly cleaner. I am going to be dosing those fertilizers here. Specifically I will be using Nicolg Thrive dry salts and dosed according to the PPS-PRO method. My dosing bottles are Voss Water Bottles. I found that bike water bottle holders will hold these Voss bottles really well and will be using a pair to hold the dosing bottles on the side of the stand. The doser is a Jebao 3.4 WIFI Doser. I have this model doser on a freshwater tank and have found it to do a great job. The only problem is the wifi setup is truly atrocious. I had to create (and still keep) a guest 2.4ghz wifi in my house named.. WIFI, just to make it work. It's pretty annoying but once it was setup, its run without issue for more then 2 years now.

For heating... nothing. Seahorses apparently do better in the cold. Ideal temperature range is 68 to 72 degrees F. The room they are in runs in that same range year round. If anything I will be worried about my 2 dc pumps heating the water too much. If I can't keep it under 72 I will install a small fan over the sump to turn on when the temperature gets too hot. I use a small fan over the newt tank currently and let it run 24/7. It reduces the newt tank temperature to the mid 60s year round.

For water, I originally was going to just use tap water. But after a lot of thinking, and a bit of research, I decided to bite the bullet and get a RODI system. I bought the 5 stage water saver on BRS. I am on the Baltimore water system despite being 30 minutes outside of the city, and my water is surface water from a reservoir. My water is relatively soft with a TDS of 80-120 but its constantly changing with the seasons. So I figured better to be safe and just get a RODI.

My storage tanks are two 32 gallon BRUTE trash cans on wheels. I actually think my RODI is coming today so I'll take pictures of the setup once I get it installed.

And... I think that brings this up to current. I am pretty excited about this build and looking forward to learning more about saltwater as I go. I won't be rushing to add the seahorses either. After I get the tank up and running I will bring in the clean-up crew and get the hang of saltwater for a bit. After a few months of running the tank nice and stable, then I will bring in the seahorses.
 
REEFTIDE

Peace River

Thrive Master
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2014
Messages
17,182
Reaction score
131,478
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Central Florida, USA
I love this adventure - sea grasses, macro algae, seahorses, and mangroves! This sounds like a piece of Tampa Bay!!!
 
OP
minorhero

minorhero

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 12, 2021
Messages
134
Reaction score
185
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Maryland
Looks great so far!
Thank you!
I love this adventure - sea grasses, macro algae, seahorses, and mangroves! This sounds like a piece of Tampa Bay!!!

Thank you! I am aiming for look similar to shallow protected water near the edge of a swamp or mangrove forest. So basically the part most snorkelers would swim past to get to the reef ;P
 

Joe Glass Cages

Passionate Glass Cages’s Team Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 13, 2019
Messages
903
Reaction score
4,429
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Dickson, TN
Hello folks!

This is going to be a bit different from most of the saltwater tanks on here and elsewhere because when I say it's a planted tank, I do not mean macro algae. This will be a true planted tank with Manatee Grass (Syringodium filiforme), Shoal Grass (Halodule wrightii), and Red Mangroves (Rhizophora mangle). The livestock will be a pair of seahorses (Hippocampus erectus) plus a pretty extensive clean up crew.

I have been waiting on doing this thread until I got my tank situation resolved. Originally I planned to literally make the tank myself. And in fact I did just that. The results however are horrific ;P I thought I could do a good job with the silicone but... not so much. So yesterday I ordered the tank from Glass Cages. The tank will be rimless and 24"x18"x24"H with black silicone. I went with Glass Cages mostly because of all the positive recent reviews with their changes in quality control and customer service. So with the tank situation sorted it was time to start this build journal.

As a bit about me, I have decades of experience with freshwater tanks but zero experience with saltwater. So this whole thing will be an adventure for me. I have always admired saltwater tanks but the idea of actually taking care of the corals has not (and still does not) appeal to me. Freshwater planted tanks on the other hand have been a passion of mine for the last few years.

So when I was at the Baltimore Aquarium last year and saw an exhibit consisting of seahorses with live seagrass, I was completely entranced. I took a few pictures, but you can't really see the seagrass other then a field of green in the background:

3GmAixn.jpg


LwFtSZ6.jpg


The exhibit really stuck in my mind, and after some research, I decided I wanted to replicate the idea, but make it even better.

First thing to consider was placement. I wanted the tank to go into my office next to my Freshwater High Tech Newt Tank. This is why the Seahorse tank has the 24x18x24 dimensions. I wanted it to match the footprint of the Newt Tank but with more vertical space for the Seahorses (since they are apparently one of those weird fish that actually prefer vertical space over horizontal). The Newt Tank is sitting on a 40 gallon petco metal stand that I heavily modified. In order for the Seahorse tank to match I needed to replicate the stand.

After purchasing the stand and assembly, I drilled and tapped holes in the bottom of the stand and used grade 8 bolts and steel brackets to attach steel C channel to run the width of the stand. This will be the support for a shelf that will hold the sump. I also attached plywood to the sides for both aesthetic and subsequent plumbing attachment purposes. The door I made is held on with magnets so its pretty easy to remove.

wsaUxqh.jpg


NMvdxC3.jpg


The stand is designed for a rimmed 40 breeder to sit directly on top. But the Seahorse tank, like the Newt Tank, is a rimless tank and has a smaller footprint. So I needed to make a top for it.

For the Newt Tank I made a poured concrete top, and that's what I did for the Seahorse tank as well. First thing to do was make the form out of 3/4 melamine.

RbzfnyI.jpg


Then I mixed up a batch of Rapidset Mortar Mix, added some color, and poured it.

i7XswKw.jpg


Somewhere along the way my maths were all messed up. I thought 3/4 of a bag of mortar would be enough for the whole thing but it was a bit short. So I needed to very quickly mix up another partial bag and pour that as well (the stuff sets up in like 20 minutes). In my rush I did not mix in enough coloring agent so the result was a very ugly top ;P I decided to fix the issue by painting it.

cs5Hd00.jpg


And here is the whole stand next to the Newt Tank.

G81hc5H.jpg


As far as the rest of the equipment plan. Well I have ordered a LOT of stuff and its trickling in now:

kfe44UX.jpg


The plan for the filtration will be a diy sump which will just be a regular Aqueon 20H. It will have a roller filter (hopefully the new Red Sea ReefMat when it is released) and 2 return pumps. One return pump will go directly to the tank. The other will have a bypass which will include a CO2 Reactor (for all the plants) and a 15w Aqua Ultraviolet UV Sterilizer. I'll have a ball valve on the bypass and the main line to control flow through the reactor/uv.

When I get the tank from Glass Cages I will drill it for use with a 1200 g/h Modular Marine overflow as well as two 3/4" returns. The overflow will have bean animal style plumbing. For the returns I purchased a pair of random flow generators.

In order to light the tank I will be building a bracket on the wall that will overhang the tank out of 3/8" galvanized steel pipe. The light itself will be a used Viparspectra I will be buying from an acquaintance.

The ATO will be a 5 gallon plastic jerry can (I am going to have space issues) and a gravity fed float valve installed with an over the rim hanging bracket.

Another weird thing about this tank, I am going to be dosing fertilizer. The plants need a good mix of macro and micro nutrients to stay healthy. Most historical threads I have found using seagrass have solved this issue through fish poop, deep sand beds, and sometimes mud. The freshwater community used to solve their plant food issues this way as well. But more modern methods in freshwater has led to the formulation of fertilizers which have proved more successful and significantly cleaner. I am going to be dosing those fertilizers here. Specifically I will be using Nicolg Thrive dry salts and dosed according to the PPS-PRO method. My dosing bottles are Voss Water Bottles. I found that bike water bottle holders will hold these Voss bottles really well and will be using a pair to hold the dosing bottles on the side of the stand. The doser is a Jebao 3.4 WIFI Doser. I have this model doser on a freshwater tank and have found it to do a great job. The only problem is the wifi setup is truly atrocious. I had to create (and still keep) a guest 2.4ghz wifi in my house named.. WIFI, just to make it work. It's pretty annoying but once it was setup, its run without issue for more then 2 years now.

For heating... nothing. Seahorses apparently do better in the cold. Ideal temperature range is 68 to 72 degrees F. The room they are in runs in that same range year round. If anything I will be worried about my 2 dc pumps heating the water too much. If I can't keep it under 72 I will install a small fan over the sump to turn on when the temperature gets too hot. I use a small fan over the newt tank currently and let it run 24/7. It reduces the newt tank temperature to the mid 60s year round.

For water, I originally was going to just use tap water. But after a lot of thinking, and a bit of research, I decided to bite the bullet and get a RODI system. I bought the 5 stage water saver on BRS. I am on the Baltimore water system despite being 30 minutes outside of the city, and my water is surface water from a reservoir. My water is relatively soft with a TDS of 80-120 but its constantly changing with the seasons. So I figured better to be safe and just get a RODI.

My storage tanks are two 32 gallon BRUTE trash cans on wheels. I actually think my RODI is coming today so I'll take pictures of the setup once I get it installed.

And... I think that brings this up to current. I am pretty excited about this build and looking forward to learning more about saltwater as I go. I won't be rushing to add the seahorses either. After I get the tank up and running I will bring in the clean-up crew and get the hang of saltwater for a bit. After a few months of running the tank nice and stable, then I will bring in the seahorses.
@minorhero, thanks so much for sharing about your experience and build. We are honored to be a small piece of your journey. you have total support by the team and me. Looking forward to see how things come together. Thanks again.
 
Click to join now!
OP
minorhero

minorhero

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 12, 2021
Messages
134
Reaction score
185
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Maryland
For sure following. Keep us updated please.
Thank you! Speaking of updates, here is a small one.

I received in my Aqua Ultraviolet UV and my BRS RODI. The UV is WAY bigger then I thought it would be. I am already redesigning my plumbing to account for it's size. I got one with a wiper, so that further complicates placement. I originally wanted a way to remove and replace the bulb without having to disconnect it from the plumbing but that is definitely not happening at this point.

In other news I spent the better part of 2 hours drilling two holes in cinderblock. Its been years since I needed to drill cinderblock and I forgot how much I hate it. These were foundation blocks from the 60s so I think they are thicker then most as well. I eventually got a couple of holes in them and was able to hang the first half of the french cleat system I purchased for the RODI.

fMjhV7h.jpg


After that was on the wall it was easy to attach the other half of the cleat to a 2x6, and then hang the RODI from the 2x6.

BKk4R9t.jpg


Meanwhile, I have begun work on the light hanging mechanism. The room the tank is in has a funky cieling. Its like the previous own of the house wanted a drop cieling but was unable to commit to it. So its got some kind of weird foamy tile up there that is barely held in place. Bottom line is I don't want to attach anything to the cieling because if I make a hole in it I will never be able to repair it.

This means that I can either attach a stand for the light to the tank stand, or to the wall. I am unwilling to put more stuff hanging off of or around the tank stand, so the wall it is!

I went and purchased a bunch of galvanized 1/2 inch pipe fittings today to make the part the light will actually hang from. But those pieces need to get attached to the wall somehow. My previous experience leads me to want a base of wood for those components and that wood I can then attach to studs in the wall. This will give me the largest area of secure attachment points. To that end I glued up some scrap cherry boards I had lying around (and yes, I know they are not aligned, its going to be 'rustic', in other words, I am pretending laziness is a style choice).

c6NqQbz.jpg


If all goes well I will have the light hanging appratus complete tomorrow.
 
Last edited:

reeftwincities

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Sep 19, 2021
Messages
67
Reaction score
90
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
SD
This looks great already! Excited to see your tank take shape! I am also curious to follow your journey into saltwater aquariums through the lens of a freshwater planted enthusiast. For example, the idea of fertilization isn't totally new in the saltwater game, but I wonder if you will discover if you really need it with seahorses since they are generally pigs. :) Good luck!
 
OP
minorhero

minorhero

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 12, 2021
Messages
134
Reaction score
185
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Maryland
This looks great already! Excited to see your tank take shape! I am also curious to follow your journey into saltwater aquariums through the lens of a freshwater planted enthusiast. For example, the idea of fertilization isn't totally new in the saltwater game, but I wonder if you will discover if you really need it with seahorses since they are generally pigs. :) Good luck!
Thank you!

So far the thing that is constantly surprising me is the diversity of life in saltwater as compared to freshwater. In freshwater we have a few different types of shrimp, a bunch of species of snails, and with only a few exceptions, thats it for what can be safely kept with fish. While there some species of freshwater crabs, generally you don't keep them with fish you actually want to keep around. And hitchhikers in freshwater are generally limited to invertebrates that are quite small.

In saltwater there are people constantly finding LARGE animals hitchhiking into their tanks. Plus the idea of keeping hermit crabs, snails, a crab, starfish, sea slugs, all in the same tank with fish... its pretty amazing!
 
OP
minorhero

minorhero

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 12, 2021
Messages
134
Reaction score
185
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Maryland
Update:

Less progress then I hoped but still some progress.

I had to take time off from working on the tank to pick up The Wife's new cat. As many a married man can attest, marriage is about compromise. Also its about negotiation and straight up horse trading. Or in my case, I got to get a brand new saltwater tank to put seahorses in, and The Wife got a new cat. I thought we would go to a shelter and get a cat because that's how I was brought up. The Wife was brought up to want 'breeds' of animals.

So our new cat is a Russian Blue. Which was flown to us from Russia.

I mean, I really don't have a leg to stand on in this one. Her cat costs a lot of money, but I will probably equal or exceed the cost of the cat with this seahorse tank by the time I'm done.

Picture of the cat for those who like cats:

kWJzGvL.jpg


Anyway, concerning the tank.

I got the wooden backsplash or whatever you want to call it for the lights sanded smooth ish (while still leaving it very rough), and put a good coating of tung oil on it. I then got it hung on the wall with the pipework attached.

KnqBH4Z.jpg


Messy work space being messy:

1htTix1.jpg


Overall pretty happy with the light hanging system. I think it sticks out a bit too far so I will swap one of the pipe pieces for a smaller one. Otherwise this will let me hang whatever I want to hang over the tank.

In other news I got in my ATO resevior. It's a 5 gallon scepter water can and it is sooo much better then I thought it would be. Its incredibly rigid which should make for a good storage vessel for my gravity fed auto top off.

rCvggBy.jpg


That's all for now. I'll probably start doing some of the plumbing for the sump, reactor, and uv next.
 
Reef Chasers Aquaculture

Reefing102

Valuable Member
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 25, 2021
Messages
1,678
Reaction score
1,925
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
Location
Central Ohio
It looks great and well thought out. My only question, please excuse my ignorance, but is CO2 really needed? I know the concept for freshwater aquariums, but my thought is the CO2 could cause significant PH issues unless I’m missing something
 
OP
minorhero

minorhero

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 12, 2021
Messages
134
Reaction score
185
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Maryland
It looks great and well thought out. My only question, please excuse my ignorance, but is CO2 really needed? I know the concept for freshwater aquariums, but my thought is the CO2 could cause significant PH issues unless I’m missing something

This is a very good question. And I too am interested in the answer ;P

Soooooooo I'm going to give you the little bit I've read, the little bit I know, and my theory. That's about all I can give you right now since I have never run a saltwater tank before.

There are very few resources in planted saltwater tanks, basically a couple of articles, and a double handful of forum threads (almost all of which are for tanks no longer around). One of the articles mentioned that injected co2 was very helpful for plant growth. This should not be surprising since all plants need co2 for photosythesis. Another old thread mentioned that when seagrass was not being supplied with injected co2, the plants took carbonate from the water, and this greatly affected alkilinity. Once co2 was supplied alkilinity stabilized.

This too makes sense. Plants need carbon and many can take it from more then one source, but they prefer to get it from co2. So once a better source was supplied, they switched to that source.

While I have no experience with saltwater, I do run several high tech freshwater tanks and have been injecting co2 into one or more tanks for the last few years.

Most high tech freshwater tanks are run with co2 levels pretty high. The goal being about a 1.0 ph drop from co2 introduction. This is generally pretty close to the level where all fish get gassed to death and frankly some sensitive shrimp can not even survive this level.

BUT

You do not actually need that much co2 to make plants grow. They will get a boost from much lower levels of co2. I personally run my tanks pretty light on co2. My 30 gallon tank gets around 1 bubble every 4 seconds. Most people would run a tank like this at a rate of 3 - 4 bubbles per second. As a result I barely see a .1 drop in ph from co2 injection.

My plan is to run this seagrass tank in a similar manner with light co2 injection. I'll know if its working if my alkilinity is stable and my plants are growing rapidly. BUT I won't know if this plan is truly feasible until I actually do it, soooo... /shrug
 

Reefing102

Valuable Member
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Apr 25, 2021
Messages
1,678
Reaction score
1,925
Review score
+1 /0 /-0
Location
Central Ohio
Hmm I never thought of it like that. I’ll tag @Randy Holmes-Farley to see if he can give some insight to it.

That said the argument presented makes sense, plants are going to get their carbon from somewhere. I’m not sure how significant of a drop in alk it would be if you were planning regular water changes. I also am not sure how differently CO2 effects freshwater vs saltwater. So say your 1 bubble every 4 seconds does .1 in freshwater. Would it equate to the same in saltwater or be more or less significant?

I do know that saltwater tanks do best with stable parameters so I wouldn’t just monitor the alk but definitely the PH as well, which I’m sure you were already planning but yea
 

Nebunu

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Messages
94
Reaction score
144
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Plovdiv, BG
For sure you cannot compare CO2 addition in fresh water and salt water. Like most uf us I started as well with fresh. Pretty much achieved everything in fresh water. My best one was a planted aquarium with 2 bottles CO2, brutal lighting and big quantities of fertiliser. My point is that in fresh water the amount of CO2 added was proportional with the speed of plant growing you want or to be more exact the amount of light and fertiliser. The more, the more growth you get. I am actually very interested to see whats the efect of CO2 in salt water, so still following.
 
Click to join now!
OP
minorhero

minorhero

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 12, 2021
Messages
134
Reaction score
185
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Maryland
Hmm I never thought of it like that. I’ll tag @Randy Holmes-Farley to see if he can give some insight to it.

That said the argument presented makes sense, plants are going to get their carbon from somewhere. I’m not sure how significant of a drop in alk it would be if you were planning regular water changes. I also am not sure how differently CO2 effects freshwater vs saltwater. So say your 1 bubble every 4 seconds does .1 in freshwater. Would it equate to the same in saltwater or be more or less significant?

I do know that saltwater tanks do best with stable parameters so I wouldn’t just monitor the alk but definitely the PH as well, which I’m sure you were already planning but yea

Yes definitely going to be monitoring many parameters, especially when starting it up so I can get a feel for what is happening. And yeah, I have no idea what co2 in saltwater will look like. I suspect at the levels I will be using, it won't look like much ;P but we shall see.

For sure you cannot compare CO2 addition in fresh water and salt water. Like most uf us I started as well with fresh. Pretty much achieved everything in fresh water. My best one was a planted aquarium with 2 bottles CO2, brutal lighting and big quantities of fertiliser. My point is that in fresh water the amount of CO2 added was proportional with the speed of plant growing you want or to be more exact the amount of light and fertiliser. The more, the more growth you get. I am actually very interested to see whats the efect of CO2 in salt water, so still following.

Yeah its going to be a bit of ride. The seagrass likes a LOT of light. As in 250 ppfd! If this were a freshwater tank I would be blasting co2 and ferts at that level. But people have achieved success with seagrass with neither co2 or ferts. So I guess in saltwater its all about the clean up crew? Heh I will be finding out.

Very cool! I like seahorses, plants & especially cats :)

Thank you! Having a new kitten in the house is always fun. At this point I just want the other cats to be a bit more welcoming ;P
 
OP
minorhero

minorhero

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 12, 2021
Messages
134
Reaction score
185
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Maryland
Update:

If the original timeline is maintained, the tank should ship sometime this coming week. I was hoping to have the plumbing basically done before it arrived but since I am using hard pvc I realized this is not really possible since both the intakes and returns will move around based on where I drill the holes. Ohs well.

In the meantime there are SOME things I can do. For one, I can put the sump under the stand and see how I will likely stick everything together.

5QyJSfO.jpg


......................................this was a coming to the light moment.

I knew things were going to be tight, but this went beyond just a bit tight. I don't even have room to hang my voss water bottle dosing containers from the walls in this setup. In order to remove the ATO resevior I would need to pull out the sump thanks to the plumbing for the reactor. I'd also need to hang my UV from the roof since there would be literally nowhere else it could fit and still use the wiper.

Sooo I needed to make some changes. The most obvious change was the sump. I was planning to use the pictured Aqueon 20 Gallon High. But for a 45 gallon tank thats really a bit of overkill. I looked around online for something and considered a lot of random options, from custom, to plastic storage bin. In the end I decided to go with the 'frameless' aqueon cube which is 15x15x15. It's also on sale right now for a little under 70 dollars at petco. It fit decidedly better.

7bBrzQi.jpg


Other then the tank itself, I now have in almost everything I will need to make this come together. I did just order my test kit a couple of days ago from BRS, so I do still need that. After reading some threads on 'what is best', I ended up with a mix of things.

From Hanna I got the Nitrate High Range, Alkalinity, and Phosphorus Ultra Low Range. From Salifert I got PH and Nitrite. From Aquaforest I got Magnesium and Calcium. And from Seachem I got Ammonia. Some of these were not really 'recommended' so much as people saying anything will do. I already own a refractometer from some homebrewing I do, so I think that's everything I need.
 
OP
minorhero

minorhero

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 12, 2021
Messages
134
Reaction score
185
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Maryland
Update!

Got my test kits in.

CRmhPKQ.jpg


Meanwhile I have begun work on what I'm calling the electrical control board. Is there a proper name for these things?

Anyway I was originally just going to attach them right to the wall but after looking at other people's build threads I started to get googly eyes and decided to make my own. I don't have a lot of space, so my requirements were low profile and easy to remove. Here is generally how things will look:

SVKug5v.jpg


The power strip is a smart wifi version by kasa. So I will be able to turn things off with an amazon echo and set a timer for my lights. On my freshwater tanks I have these set in groups so I can tell the echo I am doing a water change and it will turn off the filter, co2, and heater.

Still missing from this picture is my temperature controller which should be arriving today. I bought an inkbird 308 wifi. If anything happens it should be able to send push notifications to my phone alerting me of a temperature issue. That said, I am not expecting temperature to be much of an issue. The temperature in the room (which is in my basement) is 68 to 72 year round which is a good range for the seahorses to be kept. If I notice it climbing higher then 72 I will install a fan and have the inkbird control that.

Here is a picture of the control panel after I drilled it and added screws. Its currently being clamped up while the glue on a side panel dries. This tiny side panel will hide the wires from view when I open the stand for maintenance.

MvJKXeo.jpg


I forgot that I will want to add some finish to this to protect it from casual water splashing. So I will need to remove the dosing bottle holders in a bit.
 
OP
minorhero

minorhero

Active Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Dec 12, 2021
Messages
134
Reaction score
185
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Maryland
Update:

Work on the electric board is essentially complete. I put on a coat of tung oil and then attached the various bits of equipment. I also drilled the voss water bottle tops and also cut some rigid tubing for the fertilizer uptake and used some co2 tubing for the push to connect fittings.

1RzStza.jpg


What I didn't realize until I got it, was that the Inkbird has cords that do not unplug from the main unit. This means only the temperature probe will fit through the 1" hole I drilled. Gone are my dreams of a perfectly clean install ;P

Picture of the back:

ETN7lsK.jpg


And installed:

hxoLBS4.jpg


NYY4HHF.jpg


pMo48Ir.jpg
 
Last edited:

Nikki Polley

Community Member
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
View Badges
Joined
Feb 6, 2022
Messages
41
Reaction score
121
Review score
+0 /0 /-0
Location
Essex
This is a very good question. And I too am interested in the answer ;P

Soooooooo I'm going to give you the little bit I've read, the little bit I know, and my theory. That's about all I can give you right now since I have never run a saltwater tank before.

There are very few resources in planted saltwater tanks, basically a couple of articles, and a double handful of forum threads (almost all of which are for tanks no longer around). One of the articles mentioned that injected co2 was very helpful for plant growth. This should not be surprising since all plants need co2 for photosythesis. Another old thread mentioned that when seagrass was not being supplied with injected co2, the plants took carbonate from the water, and this greatly affected alkilinity. Once co2 was supplied alkilinity stabilized.

This too makes sense. Plants need carbon and many can take it from more then one source, but they prefer to get it from co2. So once a better source was supplied, they switched to that source.

While I have no experience with saltwater, I do run several high tech freshwater tanks and have been injecting co2 into one or more tanks for the last few years.

Most high tech freshwater tanks are run with co2 levels pretty high. The goal being about a 1.0 ph drop from co2 introduction. This is generally pretty close to the level where all fish get gassed to death and frankly some sensitive shrimp can not even survive this level.

BUT

You do not actually need that much co2 to make plants grow. They will get a boost from much lower levels of co2. I personally run my tanks pretty light on co2. My 30 gallon tank gets around 1 bubble every 4 seconds. Most people would run a tank like this at a rate of 3 - 4 bubbles per second. As a result I barely see a .1 drop in ph from co2 injection.

My plan is to run this seagrass tank in a similar manner with light co2 injection. I'll know if its working if my alkilinity is stable and my plants are growing rapidly. BUT I won't know if this plan is truly feasible until I actually do it, soooo... /shrug
Wow
 
AquaCave

How often do you buy coral from other hobbyists?

  • Very Often

    Votes: 78 22.5%
  • Occasionally

    Votes: 118 34.1%
  • Very Rare

    Votes: 69 19.9%
  • Never

    Votes: 69 19.9%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 12 3.5%
FM
Top