GoodwillTKE 75g first planted tank (new pics 1/26/11)
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:29 PM   #1
GoodwillTKE
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GoodwillTKE 75g first planted tank (new pics 1/26/11)


Hey all.

First off, let me say I have been lurking here for a while absorbing all the great info. You all are a true wealth of information for the un-initiated.

I was given control of my wife's 75L aquarium after her bearded dragon headed out for the big desert in the sky this past November. While Frank Sinatra Jr. will be missed, I am really excited to start up a planted tank. I had the standard 10 gallon fish cemetery tank when I was a child, and for years have dreamed about trying to really do things right as so many of you have. So, today I picked up my equipment, and got started assembling things. Here is what I have

75L tank and stand
2x Emperor 280 power filters
2x Stealth Pro 200w heaters
1x SolarmaxHE 248 double T5 light system (2x 28watts)

I have some driftwood I've been soaking for about a week and am almost done rinsing my gravel/flourite mix I will be using as a substrate.

My goal here is a simple planted community tank. I wanted to have the option of getting into CO2 sometime in the future, but decided to start simple to learn first. I plan on getting some simple hardy plants and fish and working up from there as I gain experience.

I have one question about heater set up. I got 2 heaters so as to keep temps balanced in the tank. I am planning on setting one on each side of the tank near the bottom. Is this a good idea, or would they be better set along the back wall? I am going to try to stick in a picture here, we will see if it works.



Thanks for any advice, I look forward to spending some time in the lights here now instead of just lurking in the shadows. =)

Last edited by GoodwillTKE; 01-27-2011 at 01:12 AM..
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Old 01-02-2011, 10:49 PM   #2
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Welcome to the greener side of the tank! I don't know if it really matters where you place the heaters. I have always place mine on the back wall, but I think it comes down to preference. Sorry to hear about Frank Jr. However, it is great to have a new face on the forums.
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:58 AM   #3
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Thanks. I was just thinking about the most efficient circulation of water, but I guess with the power filters going, thermal currents are going to be pretty negligible. We will see when I start getting my goodies in, because one side of the tank will be pretty visible.

Got it mostly filled with water now, enough for the filters to run. I am hoping over night the heaters will get the water temp up. A buddy of mine is going to hook me up with some used filter medium and a few gallons of his tank water to help me seed my bacteria, so it would be nice to have them at a comfortable temperature.

Hopefully in a few days things will be nice temp wise and I can get some plants going in.

My test kit should be here Tuesday, so then I will have a better idea who my new friends will be!
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:04 AM   #4
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Tank water does not hold bacteria (be careful of disease). Correct me if I'm wrong but in a well established tank, the bacteria lives in the substrate, hardscape, glass, and filter media.

You need something to keep those bacteria alive and I am assuming you are doing a fishless cycle. Just add some fish food/a raw shrimp/ or ammonia.

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Old 01-03-2011, 02:41 AM   #5
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Well, I was thinking with some of his filter media and substrate vacuumed debris would be enough to get me started.

If that is too risky from a pathogen angle, then maybe I'll just wait it out until I have a water temp high enough for plants. The plants at the fish store are all kept in tanks with fish, so they should have a bacterial coating no? I just assumed his stable tank couldn't be any more risky than the plants from the aquatic supply store.
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:03 AM   #6
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The water should be okay as long as your friends tank is free of disease. I wouldn't worry too much about it. It is not uncommon for stuff/fish/plants from lfs and large chain stores (petsmart/petco) to have disease.

I don't understand what you mean by high water temp.
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:35 PM   #7
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By high water temp, I just meant to get the tank up into the 70s (F) instead of the high 50s (F) so i wouldn't be putting new plants in to drastically colder water. Also so it is more comfortable for my arm! Sitting at about 75 (F) this morning, so that is taken care of. The heaters are set at 78 (F) so I will keep an eye on them today and see how accurate they are.

I noticed when setting up my filters they have some carbon in the preloaded cartridges. Should I cut them open and take that out? I remember reading that carbon can remove nutrients from the water that the plants need.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:05 PM   #8
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I've heard arguments on either side of the carbon fence, but really the carbon doesn't remain active long enough to have any long-term impact. It also acts as a media for your bacteria.


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Old 01-04-2011, 11:46 AM   #9
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Well, pretty excited now. I had a busy day Sunday and Monday getting my hardscape items into place, putting a black background up across the back of the tank, and then last night getting my first set of plants.

The water was a bit cloudy still from all the commotion, so I will post some pictures when I get home from work. From memory, I put in the following plants:

Wisteria and Moneywort - a few plants each, wisteria on the left side and moneywort on the right.

Java Fern - tied on my driftwood and a rock. I have to trim the thread after I pick up some tank scissors. My wife would kill me if I had used her nice cross stitch scissors. =)

Jungle vals - they are pretty small, but set up along the rear wall of the tank.

So, now I can't wait to get home and stare at them, willing them to grow.
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Old 01-04-2011, 11:57 AM   #10
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If you can get some used filter media from a trusted tank you can essentially avoid any sort of cycle in your tank as long as you don't stock things too quickly. Just slowly build up the population of the tank after adding the used media.

Good luck with things. I got back into the hobby about 3yrs ago after not having a tank for about 20yrs. I couldn't get over how much things have changed.

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Old 01-04-2011, 01:15 PM   #11
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I forgot to mention that I had gotten some active filter media from a friend. So that is taken care of as well. I want to let things settle a few days, and then get some fish maybe weeks end.

I was going to start with some schoolers, but I am not sure if 6 smallish tetras is starting slow enough. I eventually am thinking about having schools of Harlequins and Blue Flame tetras, maybe 12 of each. I don't want to add them in numbers so low they are stressed, but also don't want to add them too fast that they are stressed.

Eventually I plan to get a school of Cory Cats and 5 or 6 Redline Barbs. and some Black Phantom tetras. My wife really likes the long finned Black Skirt tetras, but I am not too sure. But that is all down the line once my tank is all settled in nicely. Slow and stready right?

Delicate balancing act for being all new again. =)
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Old 01-04-2011, 04:11 PM   #12
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Personally, I'd wait until you can verify that your initial amonia spike has subsided (cycle is well underway) before adding any fish. Now that you have the active filter media in there, just drop a shrimp from the seafood counter and let it "feed the bacteria". Once the shrimp starts to look nasty or smell, pull it out. Start taking amonia readings. Once you see the amonia drop to near zero then add a few hardy fish since you verified that your cycle is well under way.

Don't worry too much about transfering diseases from another person's or even the pet stores tank if you do a fishless cycle for a few weeks because the disease pathogens need fish to feed off and if there are any, they will starve.
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Old 01-04-2011, 09:50 PM   #13
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Well, here are a few photos of my work so far. I did a pretty poor job tying on the java fern, but after poking around a bit on the forums, I think I am going to try some super glue instead.

I had to take the pictures with my phone because my camera has dead batteries. So please excuse the poor quality, and the dirty glass...








OK, well, I think it is time to poor myself a nice scotch and get out the super glue...
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Old 01-05-2011, 02:25 AM   #14
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Well, 1/3 bottle of scotch and one viewing of "Tombstone" later, and here is the difference.



I like this much better. I just hope it works itself out.
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:19 AM   #15
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Much better. I like the driftwood that has all the java fern on it.
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