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[AGA Member] New Member, with questions...

Hello -

I am a new subscriber to this list and thought I would introduce myself;

I have raised tropical fish, and also had a love of aquarium plants since I was a wee lad - many years ago!  I currently have multiple tanks, and very much enjoy all aspects of aquatic gardening.  My pride and joy at present is my 125gallon, planted, Discus tank.  The plants are thriving and the Discus and their Apistogramma tankmates are spawning on a regular basis.

However, I really think I would like to change the lighting system that I currently have in place, and was hoping for some knowledgable suggestions and input.

Currently, I have glass tops on the tank.  The tank has two plastic center braces that hold the glass tops on the tank. I have 4, VHO flourescent light fixtures (110 watts per fixture) that rest on top of the glass tops.

My problem is that the weight of the glass tops, and the lighting fixtures, are bending the center braces.  Due to this bending, the glass tops continue to break.  Additionally, in order to perform tank maintenance, I have to remove the fixtures and glass tops, which becomes somewhat burdensome.

I am looking at alternative lighting solutions.  I do have the ability to suspend lights over the tank from the log beams above... weight isn't an issue.  Before making another investment in something that I won't be happy with, or that won't be appropriate, I thought some information on this topic would assist me in making an informed decision.  I intend to keep glass tops on the tank in order to prevent fish from jumping out, rapid evaporation, and an attempt to keep foreign matter (i.e. dog hair!) out of the tank.  Whatever alternative I choose, I would also hope that it is asthetically pleasing, as this tank is something of a show piece in the center of the living room.

Another problem I have is with my CO2 reactor.  I am currently using an in-tank version that uses a Rio water pump to draw water from the tank, into the reactor, mixing the water with the CO2, and then pushes it out through a sponge in the bottom.  It is problematic in that the pump constantly sucks up detritus and either clogs up - restricting water flow into the reactor, or suck detritus into the reactor - clogging up the sponge and restricting water flow / CO2 out of the reactor.  There must be a better method than this, but in researching the topic, I can't seem to find information about the drawbacks of other systems.  I don't want to replace the current system with another equally frustrating one!

What suggestions do other folks have?  Any thoughts on this matter would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

Ken Cheatham

Northern Borders
Border Collie and Sighthound Rescue
PO Box 84193
Fairbanks, Alaska 99708
(907) 457-1407
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