Welcome to PT! Glad to have you here!
First of all, is cost a concern to you? Because most of the equipment can be quickly bought for a lot of money, but when price is an issue, many of us aquarists turn to DIY projects
. If cost is not an issue, do all the research necessary, and buy the good products which will last, and will not need to be upgraded.
I totally hear you on the price of the hobby. It ain't cheap! However if I had saved up all the money I spent, and invested in the right equipment to begin with, I would've spent Less Money
all together. Thats the problem with this hobby, is that you learn as you go along. But I'm glad you're here consulting with us first, so we can guide you.
You can pick up Eheim classic 2217 (not sure if theres a difference) for cheaper here
And it has the same GPH and filter capacity as far as I understand. You also could consider getting a smaller aquarium (a 29Gal perhaps) and putting it under the main tank to be used as a sump. There you can custom create any media arrangement you like. *remember not to use activated carbon...it absorbs the ferts you put in for the plants
Next, you should look around for a better light fixture, or make one. 108W for a 70G planted is low. You should aim for at least 1.5-2 WPG. If you're good with wood, you could consider making a canopy, and housing an AH Supply PC kit. If you're not, you could get an Aqualight
. That should give you almost 2WPG. That should be enough to grow low-med light plants.
I'd get 2 heaters if I were you, and put them on either end. Makes it a bit safer. You could hide the two heaters in your sump/filter if you go that route. Also a sump would keep your water level constant (and the aquarium looking more beautiful).
Don't really need an air pump, unless you want one just for emergencies. If there will be no co2, some people say it will actually help dissolve the background co2 into the water. Thermometer is good, but I would get a coupe of regular glass thermometers as well though, so you could get a gradient reading in the tank, and maybe the sump. IOW don't rely on technology too much.
Get ready to soak that driftwood for a couple of weeks at least... It will most likely leech lots of tanins and make a "tea soup".
Seachem ferts are good, but expensive. Get the largest bottles if you're going that route, as it will save you money in the long run. You won't really need pressurized co2 if you have 2WPG or less, but you can have it if you can afford it. It WILL help, and the plants will look good.
I don't really clean my substrate, as I try not to overfeed (and if I ever do, my cory's take care of the mess
). Fish poop is good (aka fertilizer) so I let nature do its thing
Make sure you have a good water conditioner (Seachem Prime?) or let the water sit in buckets or a drum (garbage container) a couple of days. And co2 and o2 test kits are a must!
I agree with Orlando on the heater cables...waste of money.
All in all, you're off to an excellent start! Looks like you've done your HW, and believe me it will pay off. Just remember to study water chemistry really well to make sure you don't make life more difficult for yourself. For example, most pH adjusters are useless (harmful) IMO. I don't use any. But remember, most of what I wrote here are my opinions. Feel free to disagree, or ask others. Good Luck and keep us updated!