So this brings me up to now.
- Eheim Pro II 2128 — I regret getting the version with the heater because the electrical and temperature probe cords are connected to the filter base and not the top like normal. This means I cannot remove the top and pick up the base without having to deal with cords. I have to unplug the probe and heater electrical cord and drag these around whenever I move the filter base. While I don't need to move the base very often, it's just an extra hassle I would have avoided if I had known better. My tank temperature stays around 76°F without a heater so I really didn't even need the heater in the filter. I just thought it would be handy. Turns out, it's more of a hassle than handy.
- Turbo Twist 12X 36w UV Sterilizer — this is setup inline from the output of my Eheim. I replaced my 3X 9w sterilizer for this larger one because of my flow rate from the Eheim. Rather than slow down the flow of the Eheim, I opted to get a much larger sterilizer that can handle the flow.
- Rena XP4 — My second filter to ensure that I had more than overkill for filtration in the tank. It also allows me to clean out one filter while leaving the other running and with undisturbed bacteria. I also think this will be a good idea as the filters age should one filter break down for some reason. I won't have to panic that my tank is left without filtration while I'm fixing one of the filters.
- Rex CO2 Reactor — this was custom made for my by Orlando! I love it! He did a fantastic job of making it. I'm still trying to get the CO2 setup so right now, I'm getting some bubbles, but I think I can clear that up with better experience on my part.
- Customflo kits — I bought two of the complete kits. Obviously, I'm pretty anal regarding filtration. The kits help me, as a beginner, to have enough parts to do just what it says — customize the intake and output flow of the filters. I very much like them! However, I think they are inherently designed with one flaw. The "u" that takes the filters over the tank edge use slip on joints on both sides, the part that goes into the tank and also the part that connects to the filter's output hose. This means that if the output hose gets pulled accidentally, it can very easily become disconnected from the "u" going over the tank edge which would then result in having the output water hose start blowing water all over the room! No way could I live with that risk. So I used JB Weld epoxy to glue the slip joints. Now an accidental tug won't cause my room to become flooded!
- TEK 4 x 54 lighting — What a nice fixture! But I'm not using it yet. I am rigging up my canopy so that the lights will be able to shine down on the tank, as normal, when I'm not working on the tank or am just opening the canopy while feeding the fish, BUT the lights can also be hung on the canopy when it's open! This way, instead of having the lights blinding me in the face when the canopy's open, they will be hung up in a way that allows me to work inside the tank while the lights are up and out of the way, but still shining light into the tank so I can see what I'm doing. When I get this finished, I'll take pictures of how I rigged it and how well it works.
- Giesemann Lamps — I'm running two Giesemann 54W 11000K Aquablue Plus and two 54W 6000K Midday Sun lamps. I can run the fixture with either 2 or 4 lamps turned on so I'll start with just 2 lamps, one of each type.
- Pressurized CO2 — I have a 10 lbs canister with the normal Milwaukee regulator, solenoid, and bubble counter setup. I'm also using the ADG Double Check drop counter to help me learn how much CO2 to put in the tank to reach a good level. I've been scared to setup my pressurized CO2 (my phobia), but lots of really great people on this board have held my hand through each step so that I'm finally becoming comfortable with it.
- Eco-Complete substrate — I chose it mostly because I wanted a black substrate and could not find the black Flourite anywhere! Funny thing is that I got what has been called a "bad batch" of Eco-Complete so it's not completely black. It has pieces of different colors (all dark). Turns out I like the color mix as it looks more natural to me.
- DFW red oak stand and canopy — this rivals the Oceanic red oak stand and canopy, but I actually think it's prettier because it has a lip on the stand that hides the tank's trim. This is made by a company in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex (as if the company's name doesn't give that away). I don't know how far they ship their stands and canopies, but I really recommend them.
- All-Glass brand 75g tank — Not much to say here other than it's a quality tank. I like the 75g size due to its dimensions of 48L x 18W x 21T. The 55g is only 12" wide which limits the footprint for the fish, and the 90g tank is 25" tall which makes it harder for me to reach into for scaping. So the 75g was the perfect choice for me.
This list isn't complete, but these are the most significant plants in the tank at the moment.
Fish and Inverts:
- Anubias barteri 'barteri' - a super large plant I got from the swap-n-shop (SNS) forum here. It arrived with BBA on it (which I knew when I bought it) which I have treated with a 1:20 ratio of bleach for 2 minutes. The plant is left with a white beard on the leaves which I'm hoping will disintegrate over time. Some of the leaves have turned yellow, especially around the bottom, but that's because it hasn't received CO2 or ferts since I got it. The CO2 is now turned on so I just have to figure out the ferts which I know will really help this plant.
- Anubias barteri 'nana' — received from same person as the 'barteri' above. Same BBA, same bleach treatment, same results. But the plants are HUGE for being nanas so I think they are still worth having.
- Anubias barteri 'coffeefolia' - I found a very nice specimen at a LFS. I'd like to add a few more.
- Cryptocoryne willisii 'lucens' - Three nice pots of this from a LFS. Not planted yet. They're being held in the tank while still in their pots. They've been doing great that way for over a month.
- Microsorum pteropus (Java Fern) - just a few small plants that I removed from another tank.
- Microsorum pteropus 'Windelov' (Windelov Java Fern) - a really nice, large, well shaped plant I got from the SNS here.
- Microsorum pteropus "needle leaves" (Needle Leaf Java Fern) — I have a LOT of this! Again, from a SNS deal. Unfortunately, one of the large plants was damaged when I had to stop working on it while I was in the middle of rinsing it in plain untreated water. Then the plant stayed like that for 3 days. So the leaves aren't as wonderful as they were when I first got them. But my kids needed my attention so the plant lost out. It's still very healthy so it'll do well once I clean it up and give it some CO2 and ferts.
- Vallisneria — I don't know what kind it is. It's not corkscrew because the leaves are straight. They're pretty long so it's a tall variety. I got this as a freebie in a SNS deal. Right now, they're bundled together and weighted to keep them alive, but they are not planted yet.
- Fissidens fontanus — Yet another great buy from the SNS here. I have it tied to my driftwood. Very pretty plant!
- Pelvicachromis taeniatus 'Kienke' — I have a fabulous pair that I think was already paired off at the LFS's tank. They coupled together instantly and are already showing lots of breeding signs. These are absolutely beautiful fish!
- Pelvicachromis taeniatus 'Moliwe' — Another fabulous pair of dwarf cichlids. The Kienkes have taken over the entire front of the tank so I don't see my Moiliwes as much. When I actually get my tank scaped, I will do what I can to break things up so each Pelvicachromis pair has it's own territory. If this doesn't work, I can always move a pair to my 20Long (which I'll be changing out for a 29g tank).
- Pelvicachromis taeniatus 'Nigerian Red' — My 3rd pair of what I sometimes refer to "fancy Kribensis" (Kribensis is supposed to be used only for the old, traditional Pelvicachromis pulcher, but most people seem to know all of the Pelvicachromis species better if you just say Kribs). While these were the most expensive of my three pairs, they are not the fanciest by pattern or color. They are more like the old, traditional Kribs which is one reason why I got them. The male's tail will be pointed and both sexes will have the traditional black spot markings. So I got them since they bring back fond memories from my first set of Kribs over 30 years ago.
- Puntius denisonii (Torpedo Barbs) — How many common names can a fish have? They are also called Roseline Sharks, Red Line Torpedo Barbs and Denison's Barbs. Geeez! By whatever name, these are absolutely incredible fish! I have 10 of them. They grow to about 4"-5", have outstandingly bright and pure red, yellow and black markings on a shiny silver body, and they will schoal together and swim independently. They are always in motion, usually in the middle of the tank, but they'll go up and down, as well. But the best part of these fish is that they are peaceful! They make a great addition to a community tank. Definitely a star among fish!
- Apistogramma cacatuoides (Apisto Cockatoo) — I finally got one to see if I could have one in my high 8.0 pH water. The answer is YES! Unfortunately, he scraped himself when I was adding rocks into the tank so he's currently in a H/T (hospital tank) being treated until his wound heals. He's doing really great in his H/T. I think he likes having the whole tank to himself!
- Mikrogeophagus ramirezi (Blue German Ram) — Another fish I was testing to see if it can handle my high pH. Yes, he can! And he's so beautiful. I'm not sure if I'll give him a mate or not. He is a bit more shy with all the Pelvicachromis fish in there, but he seems to be coming around. He also seems to miss his buddy, my apisto that I mentioned above. I'm hoping that when his friend rejoins the tank, the two will keep each other company, helping to ease the stress for them both. If not, then I'll move one or both to other tanks.
- Paracheirodon axelrodi (Cardinal Tetras) — I've been slowly adding these to be my main small shoaling dither fish. I have 11 in the tank so far with 10 more in Q/T. I'm not sure how many I'll get in total. It'll just depend on how many it takes for them to make a real show of themselves in the tank. I can say that 11 is not enough. We'll see what it looks like when I get the other 10 in there.
- Poecilia reticulata (Guppies) — All male! I started out with just a few, right? Now I have the males and females seperated. Yes, I know the females will continue to give birth, but it will eventually stop with no males around. I like the guppies just as colorful dither fish. But as they die, I won't be replacing them. I just noticed one of my smaller males (from some fry I had) has lost its tail. So I have a bad feeling he got into the Pelvicachromis' territory and did not move out fast enough. This particular male has always been strange. He never socialized very well and grew much slower and smaller than all the rest. So I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that he'd get hurt in that tank. I'll probably euthanize him if his tail is too far gone. Poor guy. But the other guppies are doing well. Kind of a dumb, but happy and colorful dither fish.
- Caridina multidentata/japonica (Amano Shrimp) — Yes, this is the algae eating shrimp made famous by Takashi Amano. I absolutely adore these shrimp! I have about 40 in the tank, 30 of which are thanks to yet another great SNS buy. These shrimp have personality. Not only do they do their job of cleaning, they are so much fun to watch. If you drop an algae wafer in the tank, one shrimp will snatch the wafer right out from underneath a group of fish and then swim off with it! They walk and swim everywhere in the tank. They will even swim upside down at the surface of the tank to catch floating food. They eat anything and everything (except living animals in the tank). I got a few on a lark a long time ago when I saw them for a great price, and ever since then, I've been in love with them. No, they aren't the most colorful shrimp, but what they lack in color, they make up for in personality!
- Panaque sp. (L204 Flash Pleco) — This fish has been with me since early on when I started back into having tanks. He started out as a little guy in a 5g tank and was then moved to my 20Long tank when I got that set up. He finally was placed in his intended home, my 75g tank, when I got it. He was the first fish I put in my 75g tank. If you haven't seen a L204, you're missing out. They are very beautiful with an incredible tail! They are shy and like wood. They can also be territorial when they get older. I have a male who has shown some territorial aggression, but not bad. I only know of one fish he bit, a female guppy in my 20L who was trying to steal his algae wafer. He could also be the one who has bitten off the tail of my male guppy in the tank now, but I doubt it. He doesn't ask for a very large territory which is good. I have a new slate cave I've made for him, and once I decorate the outside so it will look more natural, I'll see if he'll take to it when I scape the tank.
Still on my plans for this tank, other than a LOT of colorful plants, is to add about 5 zebra loaches (Botia striata) and possibly a few SAEs (the true ones). But that's it. The tank is already getting very crowded and overstocked (one reason I'll let the male guppies fade out over time).
Right now, I'm doing my best to finish getting the equipment going and working to have a good environment for plants. Then I can worry about finishing the aquascaping. I have a few ideas that may or may not work, such as using waterfall foam to make clay pots and PVC pipes blend in more naturally into the aquascape. I also want to add some natural rocks to make more natural caves. I think this tank will require A LOT of caves to make it successful. But if I do run into fish conflicts, there's always room for more tanks!
Okay, that brings the journal up to date. I'll edit this thread as things change to keep my equipment, plants and fish lists as up to date as I can.