Toemoss's 75g planted - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-28-2014, 03:14 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Raleigh, NC
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Toemoss's 75g planted

Hi everyone! I've been reading this site religiously in preparation for my planted tank build. So, first of all, thank you for all the helpful advice you've already given me unknowingly, and of course for any of your tips and comments in this thread.

I used to have a 75g reef tank that crashed. (I blame my foolhardy attempt at keeping a clam ). I was living in an apartment and unemployed at the time, so I never worked up the courage to get it back up and running.

But now that I've bought a house and have the perfect spot in my living room, I'd like to get the old girl running as a planted tank.

Before I get into my progress so far, I'll give you an idea of the direction I'm leaning towards. I plan to use the tank, stand, and light fixture I already have. 75 gallon with overflow and a 48" nova extreme pro light fixture (T5HO). I'd like to keep it low tech for now, as I'm wary of getting into anything like the complexities of the reef tank. This means no CO2, and only running two bulbs on the 6 bulb light fixture. From what I've read, a 6700k and a 10000k. I also plan on suspending the lights over the tank so the height can be adjusted if necessary.

For substrate, I'm going to do MGOCPM with Black Diamond blasting sand cap. 1.5" of each

For a filter, I have an XP4 FILSTAR arriving on Friday, as well as two "Large" pieces of driftwood from Foster & Smith. No idea what they look like, so fingers crossed.

For plants, I like the idea of:
Jungle Vals
Java Ferns

For fish, neons/cardinals are a must, and I'd love some other tight schooling fish. Some mix of:
Congo Tetras
Serpae Tetras

But now's the time to make suggestions, so if you have any favorites, I'd love to hear about them

Now onto the pictures so far. The silicone on the tank wasn't looking great. I thought about doing a leak test, but knew that if the remaining silicone was enough to hold it, I'd convince myself it was good enough. So I skipped the initial leak test and decided to go ahead and remove all the original silicone. The tank originally had an overflow, which I'm not planning to use (was never able to get it to run quietly) so that was already removed by the time I started taking pictures.

Stripping this out took a few hours. Not fun

All taped up and ready to be sealed!

Sealed with RTV103 ordered from Amazon. I let this cure for 5 days in the garage. It's summer in NC, so hopefully the heat and humidty helped that along. A word of warning.. This stuff sets VERY quickly, and even with my girlfriend's help it peeled away a little when we removed the tape.

The moment of truth! I'm not planning to use the holes, so bought new bulkheads and plugged them eith pvc plugs and great white pipe dope. I did fill it all the way up and let it sit for 24 hours.

I also decided to paint the back black while it was in the garage. Hoping it looks good with the black tank, stand, and substrate

I plan on adding the substrate and doing a fishless cycle with storebought ammonia once I have the filter. Plants may follow after a week or so if everything looks good.

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by toemoss; 08-28-2014 at 03:39 AM. Reason: details
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-31-2014, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 15
The mopani arrived on Friday, and I went in search of some river rocks today to start working on my hardscape. Everything still needs to be soaked/sterilized to go in the tank, but I'd like your thoughts on my first attempt. The pieces of wood look fairly different, so I went with two focal points. I'm glad I picked a variety of rock sizes, but I'm not sure that I have enough.

Let me know what you think...

Bonus shot of a froggy in the river

Last edited by toemoss; 08-31-2014 at 06:43 PM. Reason: Overhead shot
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-31-2014, 10:03 PM
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Can't wait to see it all set up!
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-31-2014, 10:05 PM
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Great looking start.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 12:46 AM
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I'm setting up my 75 gallon at the same time. Had to re-silicone it as well. I passed the leak test and stuffs. Now i'm just waitting on other stuffs being shipped over. Gonna use dirt with black diamond sand as well. Will be watching your journal along!
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-02-2014, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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I'll be watching your tank too Zetvi. It'll be interesting to see how much of an effect your CO2 has when compared to mine

So... I took the plunge yesterday and filled the tank up. After letting the filter run for a few hours, I took some baseline water readings.
PH 7.6
Ammonia 2ppm
Nitrites 0
Nitrates 0

I haven't added any ammonia myself, so I was surprised to see 2ppm. I assume this is from the soil. The water is also fairly cloudy, and I'm not sure if that's dust or a bacterial bloom, but it was just as cloudy this morning.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-17-2014, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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Hi everyone. I'm still cycling, but I have a question about this powdery stuff that's shown up recently. Underneath, the water is tannin stained from the driftwood, but otherwise clear/not cloudy.

It's an open tank until I can get a new top (the versa top I bought online didn't fit this tank), so it could be dust from the air, but it's a pretty thick layer that's built up in a week or so and my place isn't that dusty..I am using Fluval Biomax which might be releasing some dust, but I rinsed it off before adding to the filter and it didn't seem too dusty out of the box. I'm also dosing with Austin's clear ammonia. No bubbles when i shake it, but could that be precipitating something?

Even if this goes away on it's own, any suggestions on how to skim the surface with a canister filter and no HOB? I don't like the trickle from HOBs, so I'm trying to avoid that.

Water parameters
Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: >>5
Nitrates: 20
PH: 6.4

Thanks in advance..

Last edited by toemoss; 09-17-2014 at 10:45 PM. Reason: parameters
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-18-2014, 05:07 AM
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Get a surface skimmer that will attach to the canister filter intake. get it cheap off ebay or some source!
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-04-2014, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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I think I'm done with my cycle, so I added some plants yesterday. Just adding these gives the tank some life and colour. Really excited to add some fish. I was thinking a small school of serpae tetras to start with

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-18-2014, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
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Time for an update!

My plants came today, so I have some before and after pictures. I've also added serpae tetras, congo tetras, and a dwarf gourami since the last post.

Here's the before picture. The swords and wisteria have definitely grown, and even the wide leaf sag seems to be doing well.

My girlfriend name this little guy Shea after the mets stadium because he's blue and orange

The tetras will school together sometimes

Here's the delivery. Anubias nana (excited that some are flowering), moneywort, jungle vals, dwarf sag, and cabomba

Here's how it looks after refilling. Some bits floating around, but not too bad

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