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This is my very first post after months of research and so much confusion I have finally dove in and this weekend go to pick up my first ordered aquarium in the hopes of creating a beautiful underwater oasis of unique plants and fish/critters that thrive and interact with each other in their own little aquatic world.

Here is what I have picked out for purchase In the coming days

* 60 gal marineland 48 in long x 13 inch wide x 24 inch deep with two 24 inch flourescents and with beautiful modern black stand
* Fluval canister filter 75 gal capacity --- may buy the 100 gal capacity...thoughts here?
* Finnex planted plus 24/7 48 inch LED light
* 300 watt Aquatop submersible heater
* Four 20 lb bags of Caribsea Eco Complete in black
* API freshwater aquarium master test kit
* Seachem Flourish Excel 500 ml
- Am I missing other starting essentials?

I am wanting to do mid to high light planted aquarium with Discuss, and schooling fish, and potentially rainbows, also wanting to have shrimp interacting in moss beds and want to use Malaysian Driftwood to create gnarled trees and roots in which I will incorporate plants into and caves with....

Please let me know what else I should be buying and what steps I should take to get all of this running and cycled in this next month
......also what should I keep as fillers in the three cartridges in my frugal canister filter to maximize growth...... Please keep in mind I am trying hard to stay away from CO2 because of the cost
 

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If this is your first tank, do not get discus. Stick with rainbows. I can't help with anything other then that. It looks good to me, but I'll let someone more experienced chime in.
 

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I agree with fishy,discus have special needs that would be hard to meet with this set up and if money is an issue keep in mind that quality discus run about 90.00 to 120..00 apiece.Do some research on discus...
 

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You can't use high light without also using pressurized CO2, and using the optimum level of CO2 in the water. Excel is very good for low medium lighted tanks, but isn't good enough for high light tanks.

If you start out with a low medium light tank, and use that to gain experience in maintaining the tank, fertilizing the plants, aquascaping, etc. you will then be in a much more likely position to succeed with high light. In addition you will have tried more than one scheme for keeping a planted tank, and will have learned a lot more about the various plants that are available for planted tanks. Then you will still have the opportunity to go to high light and learn still more. When you start out with high light there is a much too big an opportunity to end up with an endless battle with algae, which may sour you on the whole planted tank experience.
 

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Like hoppy said high light and no co2=algae. I would consider raising the light above the tank. Even a few inches can help. Start low on light and slowly increase intensity (lowering the light). With rainbows and discus I would not choose dwarf shrimp like cherries and crystals, they will likely become lunch. I would go with amanos. They are larger and less likely to become lunch and I would say are probably better than the others at eating algae. When using excell start your dose lower and slowly increase. Excell will kill algae as well as your plants if you over dose. You need to acclimate your plants to it.
 
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