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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
I'm starting to plan for a 75 gallon for my job. I've done low tech planted aquariums before, but on a much smaller scale (biggest was 20 gallons), so I have lots of questions!

I was looking at a T5 HO 48" dual lamp light - would this be appropriate for this tank? I'm thinking of plants like anubias, java ferns/moss, crypts, and maybe some stem plants for color or vals. We are not planning on adding any sort of CO2 to the tank.

I have always used things like eco-complete or fluorite for my smaller tanks. Are these still suitable for a 75 gallon? According to the substrate calculator, it seemed like I would need about 100 lbs of eco-complete to get a 2" soil base, which seemed pretty reasonable per amazons price. saw that a lot of people use actual soil with a sand cover over it, but I've never done this and it makes me nervous! Is there a lot of rinsing involved in cleaning the sand? I did a play sand tank once and it took forever to rinse all the sand for just a 20 gallon! I can't imagine that on a 75 scale!

Also wondering about filtration. I would think that a canister filter would be the right choice for this size tank, but I've only had experience with HOB filters. Can someone recommend a good brand/size canister? Are canisters relatively straightforward in terms of how easy they are to set up and maintain? They always seemed a little intimidating to me!

I would also need a heater since we're going tropical. Any recommendations?

In terms of fish species, I'm also completely open to suggestions! I want some interesting and eye catching species since this tank will be viewed by the public and I want there to be enough variety to keep people interested. I had been thinking about a largish school of rummynose tetra (I love these guys!), definitely some bristlenose plecos, amano shrimp (15?), kuhli loaches perhaps. We also have a loner clown loach left from the last little tank that was there. I was hoping to keep him and get him some buddies. I think I need a larger "centerpiece" sort of fish too. I had been thinking angels, but I worry about getting a small group and then having aggression once a breeding pair forms.

Anyway, that's all I've got for now! Hoping that you all can help me out. I'm very excited to work on this tank and want it to be as low maintenance as possible!
 

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Rainbows get large enogh in a 75 gallon and are eye catching. They will also mesh with your other fish.

For substrate potting soil capped with eco or florite is a good choice for a low tech low maintanence yank. Sand does work but you have to be more careful when you are working with it to avoid turning the tank into a mud puddle.

For a large tank canisters are the only way to go. Plan on picking up two of them. It makes life easier. Marineland, fluval, and eheim are all reliable brands. I really like my C360.
 

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If your T5 H0's are 39w each, that would be just dandy for a low-tech 75 gal. Even 54 w each would be ok.
Canister filtration would be appropriate and the brands mentioned by THE V would be great.
If you want to cap with sand, consider getting # 20 grade density pool filter sand - little or no rinsing at all will be needed,and this sand is far less fine than most other sands, so there is less risk of the soil & sand getting intermingled to mess up the look you want to achieve.
For heater I'd suggest an Eheim Jaeger - 200 or 300w - very reliable.
 

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Clown Loaches get 10" and will eat everything much smaller or just terrorize it.
From what I've read(not done) pool filter sand works great but use at least 2" of it
over the dirt.
MGOPS Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil often has less Potassium than some plants need(not really sure of which ntrient but fairly so) and you wil need to use ferts
in some cases with it is the main point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the suggestions!

Is there a reason that I would need more than one canister filter? If I get one that is the appropriate size for the tank do you think that's necessary? They seem pretty pricey, and two may not be possible.

Can I just use the Eco-complete, or do I need to have potting soil underneath? If I need to use both, how many inches of each should I have? Is there a certain type of soil that is usually best?

I like the idea of the rainbows. And I'll have to reconsider the clown loach. I don't want him eating anything he shouldn't...
 

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You can only keep one canister if you need it. However two work best as they back each other up. This way your don't have deaths when one breaks down etc. I've had turn one of mine off for two weeks while waiting on new O-rings to arrive.

Your can just use eco-complete if you want. Using potting soil just prevents you from having to fertilize for a few months. It also keeps adds in CEC and pulls the positively charged nutrients out of the water column. Thus is great for heavy root feeders. As for the type of soil I've used both organic and normal potting soil with similar results. Just avoid any with perlite or vermiculite in it. These tend to float.
 

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Ferts are the real issue/w soil. Plants will get more ferts if you use it as they then have access via their root as well as in the water column.
A minimal amount and kind can be grown without adding ferts at all and depending on fish waste to do it for you but anything like a decent amount of plants and for sure certain kinds of them being use and you will need to add ferts to your tank.
The root thing can be gotten around by adding actual good root tabs and in that case no soil would be needed. A word though on soil. It's temporary. BTW no plant "need" root tabs. They all take nutrients from the water.
Put good quality potting soil in any potted plant and for the first three months it does great. But after that you need to fert it because the nutrients are used up.
Same thing/w an aquarium...just last a bit longer. Those who use it(without root tabs)
would need to fill you in on just how long as I'm sure the quality of it factors in on this but I have no exp/w soil sub tanks. I like plain fine gravel only but my last tank I set up I added a thin cap of Flourite to the top of.
This is a picture of the size that I use. I get it at my LFS as they buy the 40lb bags and break it down to 2 lb bags. Most don't do this and if none by you do it is available from a local sand blasting yard(yellow pages/industrial) for like $12 per 40lb. http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/picture.php?albumid=14281&pictureid=52570
Was just called #4 blasting sand when I got it from a yard.
 

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I'm experimenting with soil base and aqua soil cap myself, but can't give advice until things mature more. If you decide to go soil, just make sure you find soil where you can read it's entire contents, and make sure there's NO non-organic fertilizers (those white stones), animal waste is fine.

If you go canister filter, from my research it seems like Eheim seems to be a top pick, mainly due to the water forced to flow through the entire filter media. I'm using an Eheim 2213 for my 15G. The flow is much better than my HOB, because the outlet tube lets you use a variety of custom configurations to suit your needs. I like how you can use a spray bar and create realistic ripples, etc etc etc

If you stay with HOB I would suggest 2x Aquaclear 110's spread apart for proper tank circulation. I like to aim for minimum 4x to turner-over per hour for filtration. Some people even recommend 8-10x.
 
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