I decided to post this Journal prior to starting a rescape on my 75g. I will be breaking this tank down as soon as I have a place to put its tenants. I will post progress pictures as I go and will be looking for any pointers or help from anyone along the way.
Background on this tank
; I started it December 2015. I wanted to get into the hobby and heard a larger tank was the way to go, I had the room so we decided on the 75 and ran with it. This is my first tank aside from a 7.5g beta tank I had which held a $0.05 goldfish my wife "saved" from a stag and doe from a guy who was supposed to eat it. Needless to say that tank was not the right size, I knew nothing about anything and eventually he ended up dying. I did not listen to the countless warnings about taking your time and going slow for this first large build. My wife and I prepared a couple bags of organic potting soil, slapped it in the middle, capped it off with a couple bags of blasting sand, set the couple pieces of decor we picked out and filled it up. We attempted to place a beautiful white pathway under the trees which we almost immediately regretted, you will see how nice that looks now when we get to the "present" pictures.
The tank and lights were bought from a LFS about 45 minutes from where we live, our true LFS's around here are embarrassing to say the least with the worst customer service, advice and store cleanliness you can ask for. This adds to our problem of not getting the right advice when we need it. It is a marineland standard measurement 75g with store bought stand. There is a SunSun 304b running down below with a 750-850GPH Hydro Koralia Evolution circulation pump to help move it all around. The light is a AquaticLife Marquis Dual 54W T5HO and I still to this day have no idea what levels of light I am getting as I have not found a straight answer out there for this. I also have no where to borrow a PAR meter to find out exactly for myself. It has a new 6500K "tropic" bulb and a new "super flora" bulb which I just installed. I have a 20# CO2 tank behind the wall with a CO2Art dual stage reg from the UK which is running well consistently. I made a inline CO2 reactor from a photo taken off the internet somewhere and it seems to do the job, still random micro bubbles here and there. I have the CO2 running so fast that the bubble counter is pointless so that may be causing the bubbles but it is the only way I can keep a decent CO2 level inside the tank.
Once we added the CO2 to the tank I started adding EI ferts. Prior to this I was dosing Excel and Comprehensive as per the label which was OK. The CO2 and EI caused a growth explosion in the tank, everything was propagating and was super green and healthy. Somewhere in there I ended up with BBA. Now I thought at first some of it looked OK, I was not sure exactly what the blue and green fuzz was so I let it go a little bit. Once it attached itself to everything in the tank and started to run ramped I realized how much of a mistake I made. Once the CO2 bottle needed to be refilled I stopped the CO2 and EI ferts as to not exacerbate the BBA issue.
You will notice in the following pictures I still have some in my tank. There is also some brown diatom algae on some of the broad leaf plants, again this would be from the lack of plant maintenance and bulb changing that needed to be done. I removed an absolute ton of the BBA a few days ago, hooked the CO2 back up and began again with the ferts. I want to beef the plants up as best as I can and get the healthiest specimens out of there for the new scape. Here it is today, in all its glory...
So there it is, sorry for the run on here, just wanted to give you an idea of what I have and how the first year has gone.
The future plan
is for a complete and total rescape starting by removing the dirted bottom and replacing with an ADA Aquasoil, I am torn between that and the BDBS. I would like some shape to the substrate and am not sure how BDBS will do even with supports in place. I am would like to increase the filtration, I am open to suggestion here, I really like the look and reviews of the Fluval FX6 (and it comes with a free Aquavac) however am afraid that will be mega overkill and the price is insane. Another topic I would love some input on is the lights. I am not sure if I should be adding a second set of 2 T5HO's up there. I was going to go LED until I binge read all of @burr740
's journals and now will be sticking to T5HO. I will post the list of plants I plan on trying to acquire, I will most likely be ordering them as the LFS's around here do not have much selection at all.
Thanks for taking the time to check in and thanks in advance for any advice!