Budget 75 gallon planted tank. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
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Question Budget 75 gallon planted tank.

Is this a realistic idea? I want a 75 gallon peaceful community planted tank. For less than 500 dollars. It will be low light low tech with java fern, Anubias, water wisteria, nana val., salvinia minima, and cryptocorene wendtii with driftwood and a sandy substrate. I need ideas on equipment and what I don't really need.

Would a light be necessary?

The livestock will be neon tetras, honey gouramis(all female), and corydoras(not sure what kind yet).

Also, what cory catfish would be good? I was thinking panda corys, but i am not sure yet. Anyway, they will be added last so I can choose what type based on whether i need more colors or not.

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 06:44 PM
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2 x 48" SunBlaster T5-HO with NanoTech reflectors would work out nicely... easy on the wallet.

1 or 2 Beamswork LED's are also easy on the wallet...

Mineralized topsoil / Safe-T-Sorb / Pool / blasting sand as substrate... O+ root tabs... dry ferts.

Your biggest expense is the tank/stand and the filter / heater....
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 07:12 PM
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Petco is running their summer tank sale starting Sunday July 7th - Saturday August 24th. The 75 gallons will be 1/2 off. Good time to pick up a new tank. But, you may be able to find one even cheaper through Craigslist.

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 07:52 PM
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You'll struggle to pull it off under $500, even if that is just the budget for equipment. Then add budget for hardscape, plants, livestock. If you don't already have a system, don't forget maintenance equipment - buckets/siphon tube or Python system, a net, dechlorinator, food, power strips (with switches is more expensive, but makes maintenance so much easier), that sort of thing. Plan to take things slow to avoid buying test kits, and hope your fish don't get sick to avoid buying meds.

Try to buy tank/stand/lid used or it will eat up a huge chunk of your budget. You may be best off buying a complete planted system used if possible to stay in budget.

You'll need a light. Think chinese LED fixtures. You can get a Beamswork DA Fspec (48" long) for about $65. Add another $13 for a timer/dimmer/controller (I like the S2-Pro you can buy on Aliexpress).

For substrate, look for the big cheap bags of sand/clay (Black diamond blasting sand, pool sand, Safe-T-Sorb).

Looking at my cost spreadsheet, I managed to spend about $500 on my 20G budget tank (including hardscape, plants, livestock). And that was with a dollar-per-gallon tank and no stand because it was going on a sturdy desk, probably about $80 of stuff I either didn't need or could have accomplished cheaper, and a bunch of stuff I did need on very good sales, plus cheap plants bought at my local club. I did DIY yeast CO2 (used this for over a year, at a total cost of around $15 over the whole time period). I was careful about power usage too, and probably spend about $90/year in power costs, plus $20/year in food, replacement filter sponges, and dechlorinator.

That's not counting the impulse aquarium buys (online plants, a used paintball CO2 system to replace my DIY system, unneeded shrimp food but it's so fun to feed them, etc) over the last 18 months that have probably added another $250 to my total.

I recommend doing a spreadsheet of expected costs for your setup if you buy the parts new. Look at hardscape/plant/livestock costs at your LFS (or local club, if you are so lucky) and factor those in. I remember power being dirt cheap in Oregon, but calculate your expected power use too.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquanerd13 View Post
Is this a realistic idea? I want a 75 gallon peaceful community planted tank. For less than 500 dollars. It will be low light low tech with java fern, Anubias, water wisteria, nana val., salvinia minima, and cryptocorene wendtii with driftwood and a sandy substrate. I need ideas on equipment and what I don't really need.

Would a light be necessary?

The livestock will be neon tetras, honey gouramis(all female), and corydoras(not sure what kind yet).

Also, what cory catfish would be good? I was thinking panda corys, but i am not sure yet. Anyway, they will be added last so I can choose what type based on whether i need more colors or not.
Dude, I am just working on setting up a 75Gallon too and boy everything is quiet expensive but and I can tell you that 500$ is the bare minimum. You are really looking to something between 500-700$.

At this point I spent:
150$ on used aquarium with stand from OfferUp (kind of like craigslist)
130$ on two SunSun 402B filters from EBay
30$ on medium coarse sand substrate
70$ on Beamswork LED but I might need one more + 15$ time controller.
30$ heater
70$ on miscellaneous stuff like test kits, fertilizer, declorinator etc.

You can already see where all this is going and this doesn't account the plants and the fish which I am expecting another 100$. I am just not there yet.
post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-07-2019, 05:39 AM Thread Starter
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I realized 500 is not realistic. I have a plan for about 650.

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I remember power being dirt cheap in Oregon, but calculate your expected power use too.
I am too young to live in my own house so my parents pay the bills (hee hee). I will not use much power though.

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'The best way to observe a fish is to become a fish' -(unknown)
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-07-2019, 03:29 PM
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Being cost aware is often an item that we don't learn until we make a few mistakes. Just not something we are taught until it becomes a real issue!
But part of saving money has to be learning how to shop and that doesn't often happen when we are spending money that comes easy. Learning to wait and watch for bargains will take time but it's always a good thing to practice, even when we have money right now. A working full blown planted 75 is certainly possible in many places, depending on how the area works and how well you shop. My first pressure CO2 system came about, not because I wanted it, but because I bought a used 75 gallon tank, stand and cover for $200 and the CO2 came with it! It was a bargain and it doesn't happen every day, every market but I live in a major college town where kids have tons of money to throw down and then almost give things away when they graduate! They're $60,000 in debt but give things away because it won't fit in the car!
Common sense is not a college course! It has to be learned on your own. Take your time, shop used, and don't feel too "proud" to go look at the thrift stores and garage sales as there are certainly bargains out there if you are willing to do a little scrubbing and work at things.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-07-2019, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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I know how to shop(I think). I have been doing research to see if I really need certain things, and I have decided not to buy a few things. Today I went to petco because they were having a huge sale, and when I saw the 75 gallon aquariums, I realized that I was planning on getting WAY to much driftwood! I am second guessing my plant selection to now.

Here are the plants I was thinking of getting. Does this seem like too much?

2x cryptocoryne wendtii

2x anubias

1x anubias narrow leaf

2x nana val.

2x water wisteria

salvinia minima

For driftwood was thinking of getting a 24 inch branch, a 6 inch piece of wood, and three pieces that are more or less 9 inches.

The stock would be 20 neon tetras, 10 panda corys, 6 honey gouramis, and some shrimp. I know the shrimp would get eaten, but in that densely planted tank they could reproduce so I wouldn't have to feed the Honey Gouramis as much.

'Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light' -Albus Dumbledore


'Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you have to keep moving' -Albert Einstein


'When in doubt, water change it out' -Nikolaus(Fishlore)


'Give me a fish and I eat for a day. Teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime.' -(unknown)


'The best way to observe a fish is to become a fish' -(unknown)
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 02:19 PM
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I bought my 75 gal + light, stand, canister filter, gravel, rocks for $300 from someone online. If you are lucky and have the time, looking around online for second hand aquariums will save a lot of money. See if there is a dedicated aquarium forum for your city and check Kijiji, Craigslist etc.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 04:09 PM
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Decor is a place to save a fair amount if willing to do some work to pick your own. Keep in mind that the wood in shops is very much the same wood as many of us can find except somebody else has done the work of sorting, picking and dragging it back! So some times spent learning what is right and what is not, will often pay major bucks saved. Oregon is full of wood and some is good while others are not good at all, so some study is needed as it is not worthwhile to pick a bunch of softwood which still has too much sap/moisture in it.
The good, super old, dry wood is there as well as some of the hardwoods which are often better choices but give some thought to picking the wood, perhaps. Also consider looking the used items for wood as it often shows up in strange places---like who wants to haul my brush pile? If they are willing to pay to have it hauled off, they are almost certain to be glad to have you come pick some for free and junk wood piles are often a stack of really good dry stuff!
The trick to getting free wood is not that it isn't there, but often more a matter of us not seeing the potential.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by united natures View Post
I bought my 75 gal + light, stand, canister filter, gravel, rocks for $300 from someone online. If you are lucky and have the time, looking around online for second hand aquariums will save a lot of money. See if there is a dedicated aquarium forum for your city and check Kijiji, Craigslist etc.
I am looking on craigslist and offerup for good deals. I found one for $325 that has a penn plax canister filter which cost $150+, a tank, a stand, a heater, hood and lights, more filters i think, river rocks(I would take these out though) etc.

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Decor is a place to save a fair amount if willing to do some work to pick your own. Keep in mind that the wood in shops is very much the same wood as many of us can find except somebody else has done the work of sorting, picking and dragging it back! So some times spent learning what is right and what is not, will often pay major bucks saved. Oregon is full of wood and some is good while others are not good at all, so some study is needed as it is not worthwhile to pick a bunch of softwood which still has too much sap/moisture in it.
The good, super old, dry wood is there as well as some of the hardwoods which are often better choices but give some thought to picking the wood, perhaps. Also consider looking the used items for wood as it often shows up in strange places---like who wants to haul my brush pile? If they are willing to pay to have it hauled off, they are almost certain to be glad to have you come pick some for free and junk wood piles are often a stack of really good dry stuff!
The trick to getting free wood is not that it isn't there, but often more a matter of us not seeing the potential.
My family lives on 3 acres that is heavily planted with huge trees(fir, cedar, some maple) and we have a wood stove to heat the house so my dad occasionally cuts down trees and I have to drag brush. Later I will go up to the burn pile to scavenge around. Cedar is terrible because of the pitch but maple is pitch-free and a very dense wood. I don't think we have cut down any maples though. I could take some saplings and re-purpose their trunks because my grandma who lives with us HATES maples. She pays me and my brothers to pick the babies lol.

'Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light' -Albus Dumbledore


'Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you have to keep moving' -Albert Einstein


'When in doubt, water change it out' -Nikolaus(Fishlore)


'Give me a fish and I eat for a day. Teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime.' -(unknown)


'The best way to observe a fish is to become a fish' -(unknown)
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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What is a good carpeting plant? Glosso? I wouldnt have co2 and I would have low light. Should I dose ferts?

'Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light' -Albus Dumbledore


'Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you have to keep moving' -Albert Einstein


'When in doubt, water change it out' -Nikolaus(Fishlore)


'Give me a fish and I eat for a day. Teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime.' -(unknown)


'The best way to observe a fish is to become a fish' -(unknown)
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 08:24 PM
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Another option for getting aquarium plants, tanks, fish, layout materials- local aquarium/aquarium plant societies.
They often have meetings monthly with auctions afterwards.

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 09:53 PM
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Okay, with three acres, it sounds like country that may mean lots more choice. but even three acres can have lots of options. Step one is knowing how to "read" the wood for how dry it is as the sap is what gives problems with color in our water or if we use some of those like cedar that you mention, the sap can be strong enough to actually bother many fish as well as make the water PH/GH/KH hard to manage. So step one for me is to look for the totally dry wood!
It takes a very long time for wood to dry if it is more than a few inches thick as it dries from outer layers to inner. Most wood will have the bark dry first and that often means ist splits and drops off. There may be some hanging on loose but that is not a problem if we can just pull it off. Depends on how cleaned up the three acres but there may be wood piled here and there that has been left for years with the wood up off the ground where it dries and bugs, rot ,etc. don't get to it. Brush piles, bulldozer piles, and things hanging up in trees are good places to look on a place like mentioned. Creeks or places where heavy rains toss wood on into the brush are often good places, if the ground is not flat.
That's where learning to look at things different than we normally look, will help. Maybe you don't find what you want or maybe it saves a bunch of money but usually worth the time to give it a look!
Lots depends on what you like as wood for your tank but I like the really old wood that has that worn out, gnarly look, so things like old fence post can have some interest----if you like that look. Old cedar snags that have been out in the weather for twenty years can also be usable but that do have to be really dry. REALLY dry!!!
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-08-2019, 09:56 PM
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What part of Oregon are you in? I've got some mopano driftwood, NIB Planted+ 24/7 LED light from my 75gal that never got setup. The wood has been soaked and dried so tannins should be minimal and plenty of water wisteria. I'd give you some wisteria for free, and we can work out some deal on the driftwood and light.

Additionally, you can take a trip either east or west and pick up some wood. Oregon has plenty of Manzanita, Rhododendron, Mesquite, Azalea, Rose wood and Madrone.

Last edited by grizzly_a; 07-09-2019 at 02:25 PM. Reason: added more detail
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