75g Build - First major planted endeavor - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 77 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 02:19 AM Thread Starter
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75g Build - First major planted endeavor

Hey there, so been a long time lurker and just ingesting as much information as I can but I am looking for some help to give myself the best chance of success. So first off a bit of background, I have been keeping aquariums now for about 5-6 years and about 3 ish years ago I dabbled into the planted tank world. I've been able to keep a low tech tank with beginner plants pretty easily up until now. In smaller tanks such as my 10 gallon and 29 gallon. That tank I used a Finnex planted + 24/7 and eco complete and the last few months even started down the CO2 road but plants never really took off but didn't really die either.

Well I noticed some pretty bad bubbling in the silicone on my 29 gallon tank and it's xmas time and I managed to score a really cheap new 75 gallon. So I am going to be documenting my build and progression of the tank but I wanted to get some opinions and suggestions.

Tank: Standard Aqueon 75 gallon
Stand: I am building that this week, pretty simple I will try to take some pictures to show that progression.
Light: I am looking for some advice, like I said I've used a Finnex planted + 24/7 previously but didn't see too much growth except my low light plants like anubias, swords, java ferns etc.
I am looking for a good fixture that isn't a complete budget breaker. Some of what I was looking at please let me know thoughts:
- Beamswork is this enough output?
- 4ft 4 bulb T5
- Fluval Planted 3.0?
Substrate: As I mentioned before I've used Eco-complete previously but I think something else may provide more benefit to the plants. I don't want a huge ammonia leech as I will be migrating my current 29g into the 75 pretty quickly. I was thinking on of these:
- Fluval Stratum
- Aquasoil
- Dirted? With sand? But I wasn't sure I want to go that route. (I see myself stirring it up)
- I know black diamond blasting sand is popular but need to supplement with root tabs right?
- Others?
Filter: I was thinking of just running an aquaclear 110 with an additional powerhead to increase the flow a bit but would definitely be open to an affordable canister filter.
CO2: I have a 5lb tank and regulator from GLA that I am currently using on the 29 gallon
Heater: Currently have a 150w Jaeger in the 29, do I need to upgrade for the 75?
Stocking: Not completely set on this yet, I currently have some Candy Cane Tetras but I am thinking of maybe stocking some rainbows or something but not discus or cichlids


Also, I figured I should mention some goals. I would like to do some sort of carpet in the tank. It doesn't have to be something like baby tears but S. repens or like MC would be fine. And I'd also like to possibly keep some of the easier to handle red plants.

I haven't mentioned dosing above but I plan on figuring out how that all works and get some pumps up and going soon. I just figured it out for the reef tank so it should be pretty similiar

Thanks for the help and lets hope I can do this right, this is my biggest tank build yet and decided to go freshwater planted over upgrading my reef

Last edited by money88; 03-28-2019 at 01:14 PM. Reason: edit
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post #2 of 77 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 05:30 AM
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I'm building my new 75g now and as far as substrate BDBS was recommended to me and I really like it thus far, though there is no water in my tank yet. It will require root tabs, but I was used to that with my old SafeTSorb based tank. Lighting I ended up deciding on a pair of Beamswork units, but again, not tested yet.

As far as filters are concerned I think everyone and their brother here will recommend more filtration. I loved my Fluval 406, but if you want to keep to a budget the SunSun seems to be a good choice.

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post #3 of 77 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 12:49 PM
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- I know black diamond blasting sand is popular but need to supplement with root tabs right?
No, BDBS does not need root tabs. Now you can use them, but I would say the vast majority here who use BDBS do not.

And T5HO is a viable option, but will be high light. High light means high CO2/high ferts, more growth, more trimming, more maintenance. So it all depends on your goals for the tank.


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post #4 of 77 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Rush3737 View Post
I'm building my new 75g now and as far as substrate BDBS was recommended to me and I really like it thus far, though there is no water in my tank yet. It will require root tabs, but I was used to that with my old SafeTSorb based tank. Lighting I ended up deciding on a pair of Beamswork units, but again, not tested yet.

As far as filters are concerned I think everyone and their brother here will recommend more filtration. I loved my Fluval 406, but if you want to keep to a budget the SunSun seems to be a good choice.
Cool thanks, yea I was actually just reading through your thread. In terms of BDBS wont it pack down pretty tightly and create pockets? Also, what are you planning for root tabs? I am not sure I want to have to start right away with root tabs even though I know all substrates eventually need some. But I do like the idea of sand specifically because it will be fine grained enough for carpeting and easy to plant in.

Which specific Beamsworks did you go with? And you will have to let me know how that goes.

I've never tried canister filters but would definitely be open to one. I'd have to figure out sizing etc to make an educated purchase.

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No, BDBS does not need root tabs. Now you can use them, but I would say the vast majority here who use BDBS do not.

And T5HO is a viable option, but will be high light. High light means high CO2/high ferts, more growth, more trimming, more maintenance. So it all depends on your goals for the tank.
Why do you say it doesn't need tabs? Because the plant will pick up the nutrients from the water column?

Also for this tank I am thinking closer to the higher end of moderate light vs high light, but high light with the ability to scale back could also be appealing. I am thinking that I want to target a Jungle or Dutch like tank. I will most likely be starting with an EI dosing method and I don't mind trimming weekly or twice a week at most I'd say.
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Last edited by money88; 12-24-2018 at 01:36 PM. Reason: update
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post #5 of 77 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 01:56 PM
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Cool thanks, yea I was actually just reading through your thread. In terms of BDBS wont it pack down pretty tightly and create pockets?

Why do you say it doesn't need tabs? Because the plant will pick up the nutrients from the water column?

Also for this tank I am thinking closer to the higher end of moderate light vs high light, but high light with the ability to scale back could also be appealing. I am thinking that I want to target a Jungle or Dutch like tank. I will most likely be starting with an EI dosing method and I don't mind trimming weekly or twice a week at most I'd say.
I've never heard of BDBS packing down and creating pockets. It's one of the easiest substrates to work with and plant in. And I know a lot of people who use it.

And yes, plants do quite well getting nutrients from the water column. And there are many successful "Dutch like" tanks here using it. I can't think of one that uses many or really any root tabs at all.

And if you are considering going "Dutch like", you should spend some time going over journals of folks with similar set ups to your goals. There is a lot to be learned, and it will be time well spent.
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post #6 of 77 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 02:19 PM
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Hmm, for whatever reason I was under the impression that plants that couldn't pull from the water column would need tabs with BDBS, but I'll defer to the more knowledgeable here on the final answer on that. That said if you do go that route I probably spent $30 or less on a bottle of Oscomote Plus (sp?) and a big bag of the empty capsules, spent maybe an hour watching TV and mindlessly filling and had more root tabs than I'd ever use.

For the lights I will try a combo of the FSPEC and DA 120 6500k .5w fixtures.
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post #7 of 77 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 02:23 PM
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Congrats on the new tank. I have been enjoying my 75g tank for a few years now (build thread listed below).
Agreed, the BDBS does not see to pack down much at all. Possibly due to its irregular texture as opposed to little round stones of weathered sand.
I hear a lot of good things about the Fluval 3.0 light. I have a Fluval 2.0 and prefer it over the Satellite Plus Pro light. I also have a Fluval nano light (3.0 version) and really like the Bluetooth app.
I much prefer canister filters over the HOB type simply because of the amount of filtration I can get with the cansiter. My tank is heavily stocked with rainbow fish so I need all the extra filtration I can get. Also, being as you intend on adding CO2, have you considered how you would get the CO2 into the tank? I am using a reactor which almost requires a canister type filter. A diffuser in the tank works if you don't mind the 7-up look that most produce.
As for a heater - I am running a 250 watt on mine. Could I get by with less, yes. I keep my tank at 77 degrees. I also tend to keep my house close to that temp which means the heater really only runs on water change day.
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post #8 of 77 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm, for whatever reason I was under the impression that plants that couldn't pull from the water column would need tabs with BDBS, but I'll defer to the more knowledgeable here on the final answer on that. That said if you do go that route I probably spent $30 or less on a bottle of Oscomote Plus (sp?) and a big bag of the empty capsules, spent maybe an hour watching TV and mindlessly filling and had more root tabs than I'd ever use.

For the lights I will try a combo of the FSPEC and DA 120 6500k .5w fixtures.
Thanks yea, I will pick some of those up. Sounds like blasting sand is the way to go it looks really slick and sand will be really nice to plant in.

I saw people mentioning the 1w fixtures over the .5w is that if you were only running one do you know?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Immortal1 View Post
Congrats on the new tank. I have been enjoying my 75g tank for a few years now (build thread listed below).
Agreed, the BDBS does not see to pack down much at all. Possibly due to its irregular texture as opposed to little round stones of weathered sand.
I hear a lot of good things about the Fluval 3.0 light. I have a Fluval 2.0 and prefer it over the Satellite Plus Pro light. I also have a Fluval nano light (3.0 version) and really like the Bluetooth app.
I much prefer canister filters over the HOB type simply because of the amount of filtration I can get with the cansiter. My tank is heavily stocked with rainbow fish so I need all the extra filtration I can get. Also, being as you intend on adding CO2, have you considered how you would get the CO2 into the tank? I am using a reactor which almost requires a canister type filter. A diffuser in the tank works if you don't mind the 7-up look that most produce.
As for a heater - I am running a 250 watt on mine. Could I get by with less, yes. I keep my tank at 77 degrees. I also tend to keep my house close to that temp which means the heater really only runs on water change day.
Thanks, I am really excited to get the tank going. Like I said overall the biggest single tank I've had so it should be fun!

Would the Fluval 3.0 Planted be sufficient par? It looks like this video only
has it at about 30 par at the substrate level.

So today I am just using a simple diffuser in the tank for my Co2 which I don't mind the small bubbles especially because most of the time it's hidden behind plants. If I did end up going the Canister filter route I would try to add an inline diffuser and tie that into the return line.

As for heater, yea it is most likely worth upgrading as well as it's prolly time to anyway as its been running for about a year. It seems to be functioning great still so I will have a backup for my reef tank because I use 2 150w Jager heaters in there. Something to note, I have had 1 of my 150w Jager heaters get stuck on, luckily on my reef tank I have a temp controller and I was alerted. That heater was straight garbage though as I tried use it for mixing water and it would heat the water to 90 degrees.

In terms of canister filters though I don't know much about them at all so I am a bit skeptical as well. Seems like an arm and a leg for an auto priming one to start back up after a power outage.
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post #9 of 77 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 03:46 PM
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Hmm, for whatever reason I was under the impression that plants that couldn't pull from the water column would need tabs with BDBS, but I'll defer to the more knowledgeable here on the final answer on that. That said if you do go that route I probably spent $30 or less on a bottle of Oscomote Plus (sp?) and a big bag of the empty capsules, spent maybe an hour watching TV and mindlessly filling and had more root tabs than I'd ever use.
Well here's my take on that. There is water in the substrate. It's the same water dosed to your parameters in the water column.

And as soon as the tabs start releasing ferts, it's in the water column. Problem is, it's uncontrolled.

I have seen some folks saturate the substrate with root tabs, and later their parameters are a mess.

And not saying it can't be helpful in certain circumstances. But in a high tech planted with lots of stems, I personally have never seen any benefit. In fact, many times it's a detriment.

IMO, to be used very sparingly or not at all.


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post #10 of 77 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 04:07 PM
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Well there you have it. That's $30 and one hour less of work for me on my tank.
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post #11 of 77 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Well good to know. Would this blasting sand be okay? https://www.menards.com/main/buildin...scription=true

I don't have a close supply of Black Diamond blasting sand. If needed I can drive 45 minutes to pick some up. What version do people usually get? Coal or Iron Slag? And what grade?
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post #12 of 77 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 04:37 PM
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There are so many people on this forum with advanced tanks with inert substrate. My last tank was sand over soil and never again.

I did an experiment with AR, planted some in a soil pot, let other grow in sand, and I saw no difference. I don't doubt that some plants will do better with high CEC substrate, but its probably not for the reason that we think.

I don't think there is anything magical about BDBS from a growing perspective; any sand will work. IMO the reason to avoid play sand and choose BDBS or PFS is the larger more uniform granules. They are large enough that they don't get sucked up during cleaning. That said, play sand is so cheap you could keep replacing any that gets sucked up and I've been doing that in one of my tanks.
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post #13 of 77 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 06:32 PM
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I'm currently running a 75 G. I used to have a fluval 3.0 and finnex 24/7 (original) for a while and it grew plants fairly well. No real complaints. I had aesthetic issues with them because it looked quite ugly sitting directly on the top of the tank and also created a shadow from the middle brace. I since converted to a T5HO fixture 48" Agrobrite. 3 standard bulbs, and i have a 4000K bulb from Homedepot in there too. I'll eventually upgrade to 2 Giesemann SuperFloras but really the color looks fairly good without them. More light, and better spread than the other LED setup.

For filtration i have 2 canister filters. an Eheim Pro 4e+350 and a Hydor 350 on opposite sides. I like the lower flow but more consistent flow all around the tank instead of one strong filter on one side. I could have done it with a power head, but I prefer to have the extra filtration as a bonus.
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post #14 of 77 (permalink) Old 12-24-2018, 06:54 PM
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There are so many people on this forum with advanced tanks with inert substrate. My last tank was sand over soil and never again.

I did an experiment with AR, planted some in a soil pot, let other grow in sand, and I saw no difference. I don't doubt that some plants will do better with high CEC substrate, but its probably not for the reason that we think.

I don't think there is anything magical about BDBS from a growing perspective; any sand will work. IMO the reason to avoid play sand and choose BDBS or PFS is the larger more uniform granules. They are large enough that they don't get sucked up during cleaning. That said, play sand is so cheap you could keep replacing any that gets sucked up and I've been doing that in one of my tanks.
Yes - BDBS works as well as any sand, I use Pool Filter sand in my two larger tanks and it is similar to BDBS in how it feels and takes plants, however the white color does not look at all natural to me with plants and seems to take away from how the plants look. The black color of the BDBS, while not natural, does look better IMO than the white, and the plants and fish really pop out from it. Basically, it stealing a trick from the theatre where anything they don't want you to focus on is painted black. This makes one really able to focus on what is important. Same reason that I went with a black frame, paint the back of my tanks black.

From experience, play sand is vile. Spend 3 or 4 hours rinsing it, then it still clouds the tank forever.
It does look nice though. FWIW, there are at least two grades of BDBS, I have the medium in my 90, but have the fine in a 20. The fine is much closer to playsand in size and feel.
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post #15 of 77 (permalink) Old 12-25-2018, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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There are so many people on this forum with advanced tanks with inert substrate. My last tank was sand over soil and never again.

I did an experiment with AR, planted some in a soil pot, let other grow in sand, and I saw no difference. I don't doubt that some plants will do better with high CEC substrate, but its probably not for the reason that we think.

I don't think there is anything magical about BDBS from a growing perspective; any sand will work. IMO the reason to avoid play sand and choose BDBS or PFS is the larger more uniform granules. They are large enough that they don't get sucked up during cleaning. That said, play sand is so cheap you could keep replacing any that gets sucked up and I've been doing that in one of my tanks.
Yes - BDBS works as well as any sand, I use Pool Filter sand in my two larger tanks and it is similar to BDBS in how it feels and takes plants, however the white color does not look at all natural to me with plants and seems to take away from how the plants look. The black color of the BDBS, while not natural, does look better IMO than the white, and the plants and fish really pop out from it. Basically, it stealing a trick from the theatre where anything they don't want you to focus on is painted black. This makes one really able to focus on what is important. Same reason that I went with a black frame, paint the back of my tanks black.

From experience, play sand is vile. Spend 3 or 4 hours rinsing it, then it still clouds the tank forever. <a href="https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/images/smilie/icon_smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" >:-)</a>
It does look nice though. FWIW, there are at least two grades of BDBS, I have the medium in my 90, but have the fine in a 20. The fine is much closer to playsand in size and feel.
Thanks for the advice. I think that's the plan then going to drive out to pick up some blasting sand from a tractor supply or something.

Now I need to figure out light and filter. And get to building the stand the later half of this week


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