Re: Don's monster aquarium


>1.  Does what I have so far seem like a reasonable plan?

Yeah, it sounds pretty ok to me, save for the lighting part.
>2.  Will this lighting be enough or should I consider metal halide, and if so, 
>how much?

Given the extreme depth of your tank, I'm pretty sure there's no other
option but metal halide. Flourescents are mercury vapours will not be able
to penetrate depths of 30".A good rule of the thumb will be about 120-200
lumens per gallon, and since yours is a monster, well, you'll need about
400W worth of metal halides at least. I suggest you get 3x150W for maximum
coverage. Remember to get the 5500K bulb ones. Now, that's gonna be hurting
ya pockets ain't it? :)

>3.  What would be the recommended plants for starting up this tank?  How
>Due to the 30" depth, plant types that will grow tall fairly quickly would be 
>helpful.  Easy to grow plants due to my lack of experience and the number that 
>will need to be purchased seems like a good idea.

OK, get plants which grow really fast. Break in your tank with these easy to
grow ones, and add in the exotics later. Some plants you can try will be any
of the Hygrophila species, Echindorus, Vallisneria (eel grass), and cabomba.
Avoid crypts at this moment as they take a long time to break in. How many
would be rather subjective. Would you like your tank to be a jungle or like
a neat plantation? 

>4.  How much laterite and how many watts of undergravel heating will be 

given the size of your tank, I'd guess you may need as much as 3kg! I dunno
how cold Texas gets, and hence I'm unable to advise on heating. BTW, I'm
from the tropics in SIngapore, and I do not use substrate heating at all for
my tanks, which are at a constant 29-30 celsius.
>5.  How many SAE's and black mollies or other algae eating fish would be 

I have 4 SAEs for my 75 gallon. So I guess a dozen of these cuties should be
ok for yours. About blcak mollies, I never have any success with livebearers
in my tanks. I've heard that the water must be slightly brackish to maintain
for long (i.e. >4 months). All my livebearers perish for no reason within 2
months!!!! YOu may like to try the Otocinlus affenis if it's available in
your aquarium shop (it's not available in mine). Avoid the Chinese algae
eater (Gyrinochelius aymonieri) at all costs if you do intend to keep Discus
fish in your tank.

Don't forget to add fertiliser to your water too, and avoid the use of
algaecides at ALL costs, as I've realised recently to my detriment.

Happy fish rearing.
Calvin Chin