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Complexity 06-27-2008 04:22 PM

Complexity Journal: 75g "High Tech" Planted Tank / New pics 8-24-2012!
I've decided to go ahead and make my own journal for my 75g tank. I have pictures and discussions about it in various threads which I want to put in here so my journal includes the tanks modest beginnings and the changes that have taken place over time. So bare with me while I get this journal together.

When I first got my 75g tank, I wasn't ready to go high tech with bright lights, pressurized CO2 and ferts even though I actually had the equipment to do it. I felt too overwhelmed with the whole thing.

So I started out very modestly by using a plain, one bulb 30" lightstrip that comes the those plastic hood/light sets. This is dim lighting at it's best! :icon_lol: With no light, came no live plants. I used silk plants to give the few fish I had at the time a little comfort. I continued this while the tank was cycling and while I was getting my act together.

Complexity 06-27-2008 04:22 PM

The beginnings of my tank's aquascape: The driftwood. I attached these pieces of driftwood to a 6" x 6" square slate tile using SS screws. You can see that I have a few other pieces for my aquascape thrown in there, such as some plants and caves, but the silk plants still ruled the tank.

Fish included at this point was my L204 Pleco that has gone from a 5g tank to my 20Long and then, finally, to my 75g. I also have some male guppies that helped to cycle the tank. And by this point, I had added about 11 cardinal tetras that I had in another tank.

Complexity 06-27-2008 04:35 PM

Once I decided on my driftwood design, the next step was to attach some Fissidens fontanus to the driftwood. At this point, I also removed all of my silk plants. The plants in the tank are not actually planted. They're still in their pots or were just dropped in. It's a start!

Also, I forgot that by this time I also had about 40 amano shrimp in the tank, a blue german ram and an apisto cockatoo. I was trying the ram and apisto to see if they could handle my 8.0 pH water. The answer: yes, they can! The guy at the LFS said if my water could handle Cardinal Tetras, then the rams and apistos would be fine. It helps that the fish I buy has already been acclimated to our high pH by having been in the LFS tanks for at least 10 days.

My canopy is not on the tank. It's on my floor! I'm rigging up the lighting.

Complexity 06-27-2008 04:43 PM

I started out with an Eheim 2128 filter which I like. But I wanted to add a second filter. My choice was to add a Rena XP4. Since I already know I will be overstocking this tank, filtration is very important to me.

The big question for me was where to place the filter intakes and outputs! Having good filters doesn't matter if you don't create a good filtration circulation in the water. So I created a few diagrams to ask others what they thought. Nobody liked idea #1! #4 turned out to be the most popular.

I purchased two of the Customflo kits to be able to design a customized intake/output system. Each intake and output connection comes with its own flow control so you can ensure they all work together. For example, to ensure the second intake screen had enough pressure to actually suck in water, you turn the first one down. This way, both intake screens suck in the same amount of water equally.

Complexity 06-27-2008 05:02 PM

At this point, I have managed to get the pressurized CO2 working, using a rex reactor custom made for me by Orlando (thanks again!). It's connected to the Rena XP4.

I've bought a bunch of java fern and anubias to serve as my basic plants for my tank. I did this because they would help me go through the transition from a low light tank to a high light one; plus, they would work as my backbone plants to lower my overall plant maintenance since they need so little care. I intend to add stems to add color and texture to the whole design. But the stems won't be added until I get my lighting set up the way I want.

I also have new fish! I very recently had the incredible surprise of finding lots of my favorite fish at one of my LFSs! They had a large selection of Pelvicachromis taeniatus available. They had so many different ones, it was very hard to decide which to get! I decided on three pairs: Kienke (my definite favorites!), Moliwe and Nigerian Red. I decided on the Nigerian Red because they reminded me of the old fashioned, regular Kribensis that I had over 30 years ago. Their overall pattern and fin shape is a little different from the other P. taeniatus.

I also added 10 Torpedo Barbs, Puntius denisonii. They are also known as Roseline Sharks, Red Line Sharks, and Denison's Barbs. Whatever name people use, these fish are incredible! They grow to a fabulous size of 4"-5", like to shoal (but also swim independently, as well) and best of all are peaceful! They are an incredible fish to add to a community tank! Their coloring is outstanding. Very true, very bright and clean red and yellow with a strong black, all of which stands out nicely from their overall silver color. You have to see these fish to believe them!

nate_mcnasty 06-27-2008 05:11 PM

that looks awesome can't wait to see more plants in there

i love planted tanks 06-27-2008 06:37 PM

if you are going to use 2 input and out put i would use the last sketch it is perfect for your tank or i think the way you have it in the real pic is realy good.the out take on the left side of the tank and the intake on the right side of the tank perfect water flow.good luck with your new tank looks nice

Complexity 06-27-2008 06:52 PM

So this brings me up to now.

Tank Equipment:
  • 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 76F 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.

Current Plants: This list isn't complete, but these are the most significant plants in the tank at the moment.
  • 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!

Fish and Inverts:
  • 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! :D

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.

Complexity 06-27-2008 07:04 PM


Originally Posted by nate_mcnasty (Post 633009)
that looks awesome can't wait to see more plants in there

Thanks! I can't wait for more plants, too, especially some colorful stems. I'm getting much closer to being able to add them. I might be able to get my lights rigged up today which just leaves getting ferts and figuring out how to use them correctly. Then, bring on the stems! :D


Originally Posted by i love planted tanks (Post 633060)
if you are going to use 2 input and out put i would use the last sketch it is perfect for your tank or i think the way you have it in the real pic is realy good.the out take on the left side of the tank and the intake on the right side of the tank perfect water flow.good luck with your new tank looks nice

Yeah, that last one is what most people suggested so that's what I'm using right now (on my XP4; I haven't changed my Eheim to use the Customflo kit yet).

One of the advantages of the Customflo kits is that you really can customize your filtration circulation. I can add intake screens at the bottom of my tank by just piping it down there and using an elbow. The kit also comes with 2 spray bars for each filter so I can have a spray bar at the top and middle, at the top and bottom or at the top and horizontal to form a long, "upside down L" design.

Right now, I have what's pictured in the last design pictured except the intake does not have another intake screen at the bottom (just two in the middle) and the output not only has the spray bar at the top, but I also have a flexible output "bar" of sorts that I can point to any direction to add to the flow at the middle part of the tank.

What I really like is that this gives me a lot of really nice, gentle flow throughout the tank so I can avoid dead spots, but not have any currents that blow over the plants. The kits are not perfect, but they work great for someone like me who's wanting something beyond what's supplied with the canisters, but is not advanced enough to start creating their own using pvc piping from the local hardware store.

mott 06-27-2008 08:10 PM

Great journal! nice and detailed, can't wait to see it all come together.

Complexity 06-27-2008 09:58 PM

Thanks, mott! I was afraid it was way too detailed! I just wish I had taken more pictures of it all along.

MikeyP 06-27-2008 10:29 PM

Damn, for some reason those pics look fake!! Its something about the coloring and there like perfect!!! I call BLUFF on this tank......




. ahhhahahaaaa Just joking man. tank is looking REALLY nice. But some of the pics really do look fake for some reason (maybe its my screen on the laptop)!!! And thats also some detailed info you go going there, see my ADD doesnt allow me enough time to read all of it tho :D Great job and keep it up doooooooooooooooood....

Complexity 06-27-2008 10:35 PM

LOL! Not fake, I guaranty you. But I did not adjust the colors in the pics so the tank looks much too red. When I took those pics, I was only using them to show the way the driftwood was shaped.

I'll be posting more pics soon, and then I'll concern myself with the colors more.

BTW, what's that big brown thing that keeps following your posts? Is that a dollhouse miniature?


Complexity 06-27-2008 10:41 PM


Originally Posted by Fishdood25 (Post 633210)
And thats also some detailed info you go going there, see my ADD doesnt allow me enough time to read all of it tho :D

Yeah, I knew that would happen. It's there for those who want to read it while others can skip it. This is a "take what you want and leave the rest" thread. :D

BTW, as you can see, I'm a highly focused and detailed person. Now imagine this: my husband and both children have ADD! :eek: There are times in which we all drive each other nuts! :icon_lol:

MikeyP 06-27-2008 10:41 PM

Ohh Im just busting your nards......WAIT a min, Vicki aye......hmmm well I cant bust those than :D:D Im just messing with you, dont take any offence ;)........BUT lets talk about this "brown thing" thats following me around, now I had a long day and to the life of me cant figure out wat in the heck you are talking about unless you mean that turd of a tank thats in my sig!!! YES YES over my head for sure!! LOL

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