75g Planted v2.0-From Inception to Completion - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 329 (permalink) Old 12-16-2018, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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75g Planted v2.0-From Inception to Completion

Hey folks, first off let me say thank you to everyone here that was a big help the first time I went through all this.

For a bit of a backstory I started with a 29g unplanted tank probably over 10 years ago and eventually got a 75g and attempted a high tech planted tank. I did have good growth and some general success, and thought at its best the tank was really quite nice, though certainly not on the level of some of the works of art seen here. After a few years algae became a rather regular issue and constant problems with the CO2 system became quite an annoyance. So when it came time for a rather unusual move (even though we were going from an "apartment" to our first home we were moving to a MUCH smaller space) I made the decision to sell off everything related to the fish and tanks.

We've been at the new home for over two years now and the itch to start something up again has crept in. My original thought was to simplify and have a tank for Cichlids, which of course would have never worked with the plants or smaller tank previously. But over time it felt as if that was giving up in a way on what I knew could be pretty awesome. So using the lessons learned from the first time around I'm now looking into starting up a new planted tank.

This will be a slow follow for all involved, but I really hope to take any feedback into consideration as this comes together. So far all I've done is put out some offers for a tank and stand on Facebook marketplace and began researching again some other decisions. Here is were some ideas or suggestions would be helpful. This will be a slow journal to follow for awhile, but I hope it makes for a great tank.

1. Substrate - When investigating Cichlids pool filter sand seemed to be really preferred and it seems plants can grow with root tabs but results seemed to be mixed. Last time I used SafeTSorb which was great except it was a massive pain to clean initially and would always cause a lot of fogginess whenever maintenance was done. Which would you use? Something else completely?

2. Lighting - Last time I started with a pair of the Home Depot diamond plated fixtures, and eventually got a BuildMyLED light which was raised above the tank. This time the front runner is this guy: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...TFSIU1LH&psc=1 - Lots of success stories with that here and highly rated despite the low cost. I like that it is nice I can just likely sit it on the tank without any issues. And if it's not quite enough I am hopeful in looking through the lighting section here that I can get another or some other complimentary light if tougher plants don't grow. I would like baby tears or some sort of bottom crawler in the new tank.

3. Filter - Had a Fluval 406 I believe, and ran some HOB units as well. I would really like to simplify things and run a single filtration system this time. I also remember the Fluval hoses being non-standard and a bit of a PITA when I built a PVC diffuser. So ideally I'm looking for something that is powerful enough to handle a 75 gallon planted on its own (even if a powerhead or two is required for extra circulation) and that can hook into a PVC diffuser. If Fluval is the best I'm not opposed to returning as I did like that unit and cleaning was reasonably easy.

4. CO2 - This will probably be the biggest change. Last time I went on ebay or amazon, bought everything separately and built everything myself. Aside form the inline diffuser this time I think I'll get something like this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...2FXZW6GT&psc=1 - and hell, if something goes wrong, just get a new one.

5. Ferts - After some trial and error I ended up getting dry ferts from a user here and mixing them in bottles for easy liquid solution distribution. That was definitely the best at a reasonable price (as opposed to constant Seachem refills) and is certainly the route I'd go again unless there has been some massive development on this front you guys want to tell me about.

6. Specific fish/plants - This is the fun part, no idea, we'll get to that later.

So here is my timeline and vision for things. I'd like to acquire the tank and stand soon as I really can't do anything else without those, but both items are usually cheap and easy 2nd hand and I don't foresee that taking long. Through the remainder of December and January the goal is to get the planted aspects of things running. Add the substrate, lighting, filter, and begin some walks for rocks and wood for a hardscape. No plans on anything specific, so can be creative and think of designs while this is happening. Build my diffuser during this time as well, get a CO2 tank 2nd hand again and buy the other stuff needed as well, bring it all together and start buying plants from folks here. I have vacation Feb. 4-9, so if the plants are setup and doing well at that point I will come back and begin the fishless cycle. That take some time, meaning this is when the fish planning will begin. At this point folks here should have an idea of what the tank will look like as hardscape will be done and plants will be at least partially grown, so hopefully that can inspire some fish choices. I plan to buy my fish from WetSpotTropicalFish again and have them shipped in as they were fantastic last time.

As for my personal preferences I loved having a Koi Angelfish as a centerpiece last time, so that's certainly one thing to consider. A bristlenose pleco almost seems like a must, and while I had many barbs between the two tanks I never did get any Odessa barbs so they'll certainly be a front runner as well. The only fish that I'll probably have no matter what is a school of Dwarf Chain Loaches. They are so small they don't make much of a hit against the tank capacity and are very cool and unusual fish to have. So unless I get my heart set on tank mates that would harm them they are all but locked in. But all that is far off, for now help with the early stages is appreciated, and hopefully soon there will be pictures of a tank that marks the true beginnings of everything.
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TPT says I'm an algae grower... I'd like to think of myself as one hell of a Cabomba farmer.
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post #2 of 329 (permalink) Old 12-16-2018, 06:07 PM
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1. Black diamond blasting sand seem to be pretty cost effective substrate.
2. That is a pretty decent light. A second light might be a good option to give a better distribution of light power.
3. I am currently running an AquaTOP CF500 filter on my overstocked 75g tank. The SunSun version of similar size is also a good choice. FYI, I am running a different tray filling arrangement than what is supplied.
4. My biggest complaint on the noted CO2 regulator would be the needle valve (likely not very consistent). On the other hand, there are many on here running their regulator needle valve wide open and controlling the CO2 flow using a Dwyer flow meter - ask @Greggz.
5. Most of us are dosing dry ferts for Macros and many of us are running some form of custom Micro mix. Large thread on the custom micro mix in the Fert section.
6. Rainbow fish are always a good choice but then again, I am a bit biased there.
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post #3 of 329 (permalink) Old 12-16-2018, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Well, positive development. Getting a tank and stand today for $120, and the stand color matches the room it's going in well.

And also something I forgot to note, the one good thing about where we moved, for this at least, is that we don't have a basement. So basically anywhere I put the tank on the first floor it's sitting on a giant slab of concrete, so never any worries about the structural strength underneath.
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TPT says I'm an algae grower... I'd like to think of myself as one hell of a Cabomba farmer.
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post #4 of 329 (permalink) Old 12-16-2018, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Immortal1 View Post
1. Black diamond blasting sand seem to be pretty cost effective substrate.
2. That is a pretty decent light. A second light might be a good option to give a better distribution of light power.
3. I am currently running an AquaTOP CF500 filter on my overstocked 75g tank. The SunSun version of similar size is also a good choice. FYI, I am running a different tray filling arrangement than what is supplied.
4. My biggest complaint on the noted CO2 regulator would be the needle valve (likely not very consistent). On the other hand, there are many on here running their regulator needle valve wide open and controlling the CO2 flow using a Dwyer flow meter - ask @Greggz.
5. Most of us are dosing dry ferts for Macros and many of us are running some form of custom Micro mix. Large thread on the custom micro mix in the Fert section.
6. Rainbow fish are always a good choice but then again, I am a bit biased there.
1. Interesting, seems like it is similar to the SafeTSorb but with less rinsing required. Probably a bit more work than the pool sand but also appears nicer looking. And I'm already prepared to use root tabs if needed. I also have a Tractor Supply nearby so I may very well go this route.

2. Cool, I figured it would be easy to get a second one. In an additional hiccup the new tank has a permanent piece of glass running across the middle of the tank, perhaps a foot wide total. That will cut down on light in so getting two will almost certainly happen at some point for good distribution.

3. Will look into that, and yeah, I always used a custom media config.

4. Running out to get some foam for between tank and stand shortly, but will look into that meter when I return.

5. Another large thread, can't wait lol.

6. Will keep them in mind!

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TPT says I'm an algae grower... I'd like to think of myself as one hell of a Cabomba farmer.
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post #5 of 329 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
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Today's work:









Got the stand in, reinforced it a little bit, took out some bowing in the bottom thin plywood and added a shelf to one side. Got it in place and then made and put the foam layer down, and finally put the tank on top after the girlfriend added some black backing to the back and one side. Next on the agenda is getting the remaining debris out and cleaning the inside.

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Last edited by Rush3737; 12-17-2018 at 05:22 PM. Reason: Photo adding
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post #6 of 329 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 02:23 AM
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Interesting - see what you mean about the middle brace. Curious what brand tank that is - different than most that I see.


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post #7 of 329 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 02:50 AM Thread Starter
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Interesting - see what you mean about the middle brace. Curious what brand tank that is - different than most that I see.
Certainly different than my old one, was just told it was very old.

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TPT says I'm an algae grower... I'd like to think of myself as one hell of a Cabomba farmer.
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post #8 of 329 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 03:06 AM
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Certainly different than my old one, was just told it was very old.

Likely is very old. On the other hand, there are enough "newer" tanks that leak after a year or 2. Think I would rather have an old tank that has met the test of time.
There is a LFS here that has several old tanks with 1/2" thick glass - been in service for more than 20 years!


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post #9 of 329 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 03:58 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah, this is certainly thicker than the old tank, should hopefully hold up with no issues.

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post #10 of 329 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 03:30 PM
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Just some thoughts based on my experience:

1- I do really like the BDBS. Clean, easy, and inexpensive. It is also very nice for moving plants around often; I do not really ever create a large mess!

2- As for lighting, I run the Beasmwork DHL 6500k 1W (you are linked to the .5W one), along with the DA FSPEC and I really enjoy them. THe DHL puts out a softer, calmer color, and the FSPEC makes things pop a bit more (IMO). Had them ~ a year now and so far no issues and seems to be good value. Running together I estimated ~100 PAR at substrate on my 55 gallon (never measured thought...), however they absolutely put a lot of light together, both for the plants and to the eye. In the past (and I am sure again the the future) I have run JUST the DHL 1W and had great growth. Just make sure you research Beamsworks really well because there are so many different models out there!

3- I am running two SunSun filters (a 303B and a 304B). I have had minor annoyances in the past, but mainly user error with them. They do have built in UV which is nice for any green water issues you may encounter, however the long UV tube can make opening the filters a bit annoying but not the end of the world by any means. There are lots of great options out there, but I do recommend getting two canisters for that size tank if you can swing it!

4- Tons of options out there. My only experience is with the Aquatek regulator. It works fine for me so far, no complaints, it does its job. Some spend multiple hundreds of dollars, others a hundred. Where I invested was a Dwyer flow meter with valve (RMA 151 SSV). I leave my needle valve wide open and use the flow meter to control the amount of gas I let into my reactor (DIY Cerges). This makes it much easier (especially on a larger tank) to know how much CO2 is going in, and if my measurement is consistent. The raw number is not as important as the relative number to your tank (20 cc/min for me it not the same as for someone else). One of my favorite investments so far!

5- I use dry dosing for Macros, and front load a weeks worth right after a water change. For micros I have invested in custom blending them based on the work @immortal mentioned earlier. Pretty simple and overall cost effective IM).

6- Loaded question- Rainbowfish ;-) haha

Good luck, and looking forward to following along.
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post #11 of 329 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Just some thoughts based on my experience:

1- I do really like the BDBS. Clean, easy, and inexpensive. It is also very nice for moving plants around often; I do not really ever create a large mess!

2- As for lighting, I run the Beasmwork DHL 6500k 1W (you are linked to the .5W one), along with the DA FSPEC and I really enjoy them. THe DHL puts out a softer, calmer color, and the FSPEC makes things pop a bit more (IMO). Had them ~ a year now and so far no issues and seems to be good value. Running together I estimated ~100 PAR at substrate on my 55 gallon (never measured thought...), however they absolutely put a lot of light together, both for the plants and to the eye. In the past (and I am sure again the the future) I have run JUST the DHL 1W and had great growth. Just make sure you research Beamsworks really well because there are so many different models out there!

3- I am running two SunSun filters (a 303B and a 304B). I have had minor annoyances in the past, but mainly user error with them. They do have built in UV which is nice for any green water issues you may encounter, however the long UV tube can make opening the filters a bit annoying but not the end of the world by any means. There are lots of great options out there, but I do recommend getting two canisters for that size tank if you can swing it!

4- Tons of options out there. My only experience is with the Aquatek regulator. It works fine for me so far, no complaints, it does its job. Some spend multiple hundreds of dollars, others a hundred. Where I invested was a Dwyer flow meter with valve (RMA 151 SSV). I leave my needle valve wide open and use the flow meter to control the amount of gas I let into my reactor (DIY Cerges). This makes it much easier (especially on a larger tank) to know how much CO2 is going in, and if my measurement is consistent. The raw number is not as important as the relative number to your tank (20 cc/min for me it not the same as for someone else). One of my favorite investments so far!

5- I use dry dosing for Macros, and front load a weeks worth right after a water change. For micros I have invested in custom blending them based on the work @immortal mentioned earlier. Pretty simple and overall cost effective IM).

6- Loaded question- Rainbowfish ;-) haha

Good luck, and looking forward to following along.
1. Alright, BSDS it is.

2. I know, almost an annoying amount of choice when there is no actual manufacturer page to consult. I've seen multiple good tanks with 2x the one I linked, so I'm leaning that way but may reconsider.

3. I *really* want to avoid the hassle of multiple filters if possible. What about an FX4? Surely that would be more than enough if not overkill? I actually had a big SunSun filter offered to me for $40 when I bought the tank, but not being familiar with them I declined, and on Amazon at least they don't seem as highly rated as Eheim or Fluval.

4. My reactor would be the same, and as for the RMA 151 SSV, what's the best place to buy those?

5. I'm not at the point yet but will look more into ferts soon. One thing I liked about my prior system is I'd have one time making up my bottles of mixed ferts and then for a month or two doing them was super easy.
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post #12 of 329 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 05:55 PM
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3. I *really* want to avoid the hassle of multiple filters if possible. What about an FX4? Surely that would be more than enough if not overkill? I actually had a big SunSun filter offered to me for $40 when I bought the tank, but not being familiar with them I declined, and on Amazon at least they don't seem as highly rated as Eheim or Fluval.
Multiple filters do have some advantages. Biggest one being if something fails and you need to get parts, you are not in a panic. One can keep the tank going no problem while you wait. Worth it if you end up with an expensive and hard to replace fish stocking.

Also more flow, and more ways to direct that flow. Can also use one filter to drive CO2 reactor without worrying much about reducing flow. Just a thought.

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4. My reactor would be the same, and as for the RMA 151 SSV, what's the best place to buy those?
You can shop around or get it directly from Dwyer. Here is a link to their site. On the left hand side, select 2" Scale (RMA) with Stainless Steel Valve and then scroll down to select filter.

https://www.dwyer-inst.com/Product/F...eArea/SeriesRM

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5. I'm not at the point yet but will look more into ferts soon. One thing I liked about my prior system is I'd have one time making up my bottles of mixed ferts and then for a month or two doing them was super easy.
Personally I would dry dose, at least to start. The thing is, when you get started your dosing strategy may vary quite a bit as you try to find the sweet spot for you tank. Going for a few months out of the gate with the same exact dosing is pretty optimistic.

Also, many of us are front loading macros for the week. To me dry dosing once a week would be a lot easier than making up solutions. It's a long story but there is some reasoning behind it. Here is a link where I try to explain where I was going with it.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...l#post10904241

And nice start to your journal. Looking forward to seeing how things develop for you.

Oh, and, +1 on the Rainbows!!
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post #13 of 329 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 06:03 PM
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@Rush3737, @Greggz pretty much sums up what my answers would be to the questions you asked me! A lot of what I have learned have been from him and other forum members!
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post #14 of 329 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, so let's say I breakdown and go with two filters. For ease of familiarity I'd go with two identical canister filters. What two identical filters would you recommend for a 75g well planted?

Also having built a Cerges reactor last time I'm confident in my ability to do inline heat this time. Probably going to order a Jager 250w tonight along with the special Heyco fitting for it. I'd like to get my PVC built and installing in the back before I get too far along. So my question is if I go with two filters I think I'd do the following: Two inputs, flow past heater, flow past reactor, two outputs. My theory is if one filter breaks or is down for cleaning everything is still flowing past the heater and reactor, and additionally it would flow from two points in the tank promoting flow.

Any drawbacks to this idea?

And I will take a greater look into ferts for sure as that step approaches, just buried under so much other info at the moment. But if I only have to do macros once a week that would seem to simplify things for sure. If I recall before I did them 3 times a week before.
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post #15 of 329 (permalink) Old 12-17-2018, 06:56 PM
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And I will take a greater look into ferts for sure as that step approaches, just buried under so much other info at the moment. But if I only have to do macros once a week that would seem to simplify things for sure. If I recall before I did them 3 times a week before.
Front loading macros just means you'll be dosing micros everyday!
It's never easy.

I'd recommend NilocG.com for ferts.
Dosing can be easy to start with, recipes are on this site too.


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Growing is not that difficult.
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