Okay so here goes nothing! (75 Gallon Planted/Community)
Best tank size to start with, congrats
I don't know what I'm doing but I've been cracked out on reading and learning and shopping.
I would suggest doing the shopping second! Do it right or do it twice.
Dutch planted hybrid/mixed with river rock, and Pacific Madrone branches. Trying to blend hardscape in with plants and fish, so it may be hard to balance.
At this point, I chalk it up to just a tank. Dutch is a style but what you described really doesn't fall into dutch. I see a lot of 'dutchish' tanks. But to me, it is just good aquascaping.
~Tank: 75 Gallon Aqueon $187 new from The Wet Spot (Portland OR)
Pretty sure I have a similar tank and it comes with a very nifty warranty. Check into that and keep records. Mine was a lifetime warranty.
~Heater: EHEIM Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater 150W new for $25 only got one to start with since its summer pretty much and I do plan on getting another one.
Two things right off the bat:
1. Definitely get another heater like you planned or
2. Go inline! You'll love it. The hydor inline 300w heater will heat your tank much more evenly (all the flow goes through it) and will not clutter the tank. Plus, no wet hand to adjust the heater and you don't have to turn it off during water changes. A heater outside of water is bad news.
~CO2 diffuser: S.T. International Aquarium CO2 Glass Diffuser, Tall, 25mm for $11. I do plan on upgrading, as this is just stop gap start up thing.
Look into a 'reactor'. They are the best since every CO2 bubble that hits the surface is lost CO2. Plus, it can be ran inline so you have less equipment in the tank for the 'Dutch' look.
~C02 Counter: Fluval 88g-CO2 Bubble Counter - 3.1 Ounces $3.39! once again most likely junk but w/e I will upgrade soon enough.
I actually like these... You don't have to worry about a check valve failing and dropping fluid into your needle valve.
~C02 Regulator: Premium AQUATEK CO2 Regulator with Integrated COOL TOUCH Solenoid(kit) $89 new. Seems to be pretty decent I'm happy about buying it. Time will tell.
This seems to be, from my research, one of the better cheap regulators. Expect it to last a few years and work alright along the way. But you may want to start piecing together a good dual stage victor based regulator. It may take awhile for a good deal to crop up, but a custom built regulator will last a life time, stomp the competition, and cost about $150.
~ Light #1 : 48"-60"Current-USA Satellite Freshwater LED Fixture for $41 (refurbed from current) this only has blue and white led's, not happy about it but hopefully it at least helps get me to highlight.
A decent light. Definitely not enough par at this level. Maybe tone it down and use it as a good moonlight to break up the intensity of the main lights clicking on.
~Light #2 : (havent bought it yet) Aquatic Life Marquis Freshwater 48 Inch Dual Lamp T5 HO Light Fixture with geismans or w/e. Hoping these two lights put me at or near highlight. I've read alot at there is conflicting reports theres that graph that says it is but from reading up this would only be med light. Should I go with this LED and a quad T5 instead?
Opinions vary on T5s, I don't care for them. For $150 you can get a Finnex Ray2 which will put out enough par to grow anything and is a LED light.
~Filter: (havent bought it yet) Eheim Classic Canister Filter with Media - 2217 around $150 That being said I at some point plan on getting another filter so I'd have two. But starting out I'm going to run a powerhead and this and see if I can manage. If it works well I will not buy another one.
Eheims are great. If you run things inline, expect to need more flow because the restriction will cut down on the rated GPH considerably.
~Powerhead : Um dont know ... havent read up on them yet! any ideas?
I suggest a hydor nano. I have a 240 in my 75g but the next step up would be better most likely. I have a large return flow already.
~Substrate: Im lost on this still. I had my mind made up i was going with amazonia. Then I read a lot about people.including Tom Barr who said they had problems with it. Now I'm lost. I don't want dirt, and i don't want sand or fluorite. I want a supplemented top of the line substrate with no issues.. ???? which one is that? Eco complete? Also here in Portland people have had success with Black blasting sand or something like that. I'm concerned with going with a substrate like this because I may mess up supplementing. I just want nutrient rich soil i don't have to mess with for years and Ei's will cover the rest.
Every substrate becomes inert over time. I suggest sand with root tabs every 6 months. You can buy root tabs premade or make them yourself. Gel capsules are like $5 for 1,000 on fleabay and Osmocote+ is $13 for like a pound of it at home improvement stores. You can even just lay down a thin layer of oscmocote+ tabs when putting the substrate down. I did it without any noticeable issues.
Top of the line substrates often release ammonia into the water and do wear out over time. The price is enough to deter me. $22 for 200 lbs of black diamond did my 75g. That may get you a bag of top of the line substrate shipped to your door.
~Ferts: Dont know but I'm going to do Ei's.
Nicolg or something like that on here sells fair dry ferts.
~Stand: Junk one from petsmart for like 160 or something. May build my own but it may cost the same since I don't have tools atm. Plus I'm very very inpatient and I want to get going.
Buying is best if you are impatient without tools. But building is cheaper and customizable.
This is 100% preference since CO2 and medium light can grow almost anything.
~Fish: will come later. But i kind of wont several species of Gouramis, tetras, barbs, Rams, paradise, sick lil dwarf pleco, shrimp, maybe clams or mussels?
Larger gouramis do become aggressive. Blue gouramis in particular from what I have read. Tetras are generally all safe. Barbs can be aggressive depending on species. If you stick with cherry barbs or denisons, I know they are peaceful community fish. I have no input on paradise fish or plecos. Shrimp become snacks very often and clams are super cool.
Cool man thxs
I'm so excited. Next check I'm buying the soil u mentioned, the stand, and filter. What is DHG? Also with out plants can I start the cycling process?
DHG is Dwarf Hair Grass. As for cycling, yes. You can start cycling with a filter in a bucket in your garage without a light.
I don't like the idea of having flow in my tank as it will disturb my Gouramis. I hope to some how have them breed and then remove the fry/bubble nest into a breeder tank with dad. They don't like flow, but with co2 you kind of have to distribute it.
Flow and distribution aren't difficult to achieve independent of each other. A spray bar doesn't really disrupt the fish much but distributes water across a large area. This will take some finesse on your end in tweaking return feeds.
Another thing is I've been reading that heaters fail, turn on max heat and keep on going until everything is dead. I hope this never happens...
Get a finnex heater controller for $30 on amazon. It will cut power to the heater if the water exceeds 'x' degrees, set by you.
I'm contemplating going with that Sand thank you for making it easier to make that choice if I do.
It is easy to plant in and usually cheap
Also thank you for the power head suggestion. I may pick that up. I will look into it and see if its adjustable.
Adjustable power heads are generally $50+. I would probably undersize it to be safe or go all out and get an actual adjustable power head.
OH yeah I forgot to mention the Milwaukie MH126? ph controler thing. Should i get one of those?
IMO, no. It is a ton of money for something that I don't see as necessary.
Also what things do I need to start up, declorinater, and a testing kit? The whole Kh Gh or w/e thing seems to be important. Whats the best way to monitor those. I don't want a cheap kit from petco (unless its works well) I'd like a good digital one. I read somewhere that they're 500 plus!!!! But that cant be cuz i see ppl giving their readings all the time.
A digital one is probably expensive. Most people use the cheap API drop test kits, myself included. Master test kit plus the GH/KH tests is $30 and will last until they expire. Most important for initial set up. After the tank is running, you will rarely use any of them.
Also any experience with Gouramis in a community tank would be great. I have seen videos where they can be aggressive. I have 3 in 2.5 gallon nano tank
but they are happy and one male seems to show signs of wanting to be aggressive but the other one just ignores him. They are also not interested in the females advances, contrary to what I've heard and read. She has actually tried to breed with them and they wont. Prolly cuz the tank is not ideal and they don't want to build a bubble nest.
I hope those are dwarf gouramis because regular gourami species get quite large
Fish are animals and they have personalities, some may dispute this. Their temperament isn't something you can pull up on a spec sheet and take for granted. They are going to be different. Your mileage may vary is a common quote with fish advice.
Sweet thanks, your the man. I seen a video with a guy who had the apex system and that thing is super nice. I will work towards getting everything automated for sure. Looks like I'll be buying test kits from petsmart/petco then. Once again thank you so much. Its one thing to read about stuff and another to hear it straight from someone with experience. Helps solidify decisions that I wasn't to confident to make.
Apex systems are nice, but they are super expensive. If you are delving into them I would suggest stepping up the quality across the board along with it since your budget is going through the roof!
The regular test kits work fine.
Light #2 : Catalina Aquarium 48' T5HO 4 bulb moonlight for $140!!!!!!!!!< I'm kind of excited about it. Jim is throwing in legs, splash guard, and bulbs for free. I don't think you can beat that. Better quality than Coralife, Aquaticlife, ZooMed, for less money. ( Opinions I've came to with out any experience might I add)
This is up to you, but if you haven't bought it I do suggest looking into the Ray2 by Finnex. You won't be replacing LEDs every 6-12 months.
Turface Grey for like $25 to $50. I got lucky and found a guy with some. I like that it has a high cec and has more texture than sand. I'm thinking about mixing in 5percent BDBS, and a bag of Amazonia. Kind of mix it up. I dont know how to supply ferts to this substrate. Either tabs, osmocote plus, or plants sticks. I'm not sure.
Cec is above my understanding of the hobby. Do whatever looks best. Adding ferts to the substrate is easy. 1,000 gel caps cost about $5 on ebay and you can buy a large container of oscmocote for $10 at a hardware store. That or buy them premade by members on here. If you are setting up the tank, you can sprinkle O+ itself then add the substrate. The gel caps are there to get the O+ through a filled tank. The cap just melts away after being buried.
Will be an eheim 2217, but I'm leaning towards giving a few sunsuns a shot. Either way I'm pulling the trigger Friday night.
A couple sunsuns will give you more even flow and you can run things inline on separate canisters. They will last awhile. But if you plan on going with an apex controller, I would get an eheim canister for the build quality. If you are toning the budget down, Sunsuns are solid
I have/had one and it did just fine for me.
So money is not a concern so things will move forward now. I'm going to buy the plants soon. Not sure where, I've looked around but I cant figure out which place is best. Any help on anything I posted would be great.
I have bought zero plants online outside of this forum. I haven't had any issues with anyone on here and shipping is overpriced elsewhere. I would post a WTB thread and check the for sale area. Many people farm out plants regularly.
Just got back from Home Depot with the wood for my stand.
Glad you went this way! Where are you getting tools from?
I've also found a TPT member who has most of if not all of the plants I need.
Congrats, best advice I could give was buying the from members here.
I will be buying ferts from someone on here, i cant remember their name atm.
I also remembered I need to buy some tools: scissors and such, and PH drop checker.
I have had good luck with amazon and ebay stainless steel tools. The PH drop checker should be available on those sites too.
I'm completely cracked out on this; it has become my new obsession. I haven't been this happy about something in a long time. Kind of weird tbh.
It is more common than you think!
I went from a 5g tank in the corner for glow fish to a 75g with a 55g sump in 6 months. It is quite an enthralling hobby. I feel bad for the fish at the store and want to adopt them all, but I don't have a tank big enough...yet.