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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I got into aquariums just as COVD started in the US and its been a fantastic experience. I started out with a 28g bowfront with fake plants and some tiger barbs. Slowly I transitioned over to a planted low tech setup and expanded my livestock to include a beautiful bolivian ram, some serpae tetras, and a host of mystery and nerite snails. A couple of months ago I started a high tech desktop nano shrimp tank that is absolutely thriving. My wife and I are moving at the end of the month and I've decided I'd like to jump into a large planted tank. So, thus begins my 75 gallon planted tank journey.

We have about a month until we move and another month after that where we have both apartments. This allows me to slowly acquire the supplies for the new setup and then slowly assemble the initial scape and transition my livestock.

Here's what I have so far (I'll update this as I go)

Tank:

  • Marineland 75g standard dimensions
  • Marineland majesty stand.
  • Purchased on FB marketplace for $250 with included light, a SunSun 704b canister filter, and 20lbs of lava rock.
Filtration and Heating:
  • SunSun 704b canister filter
    • 4 media trays (bottom-to-top): coarse sponge with floss -> medium sponge with floss -> fine sponge with floss -> assorted generic ceramic biomedia and matrix.
  • Aquatop FZ6 canister filter
    • Purchased for $40 on FB marketplace.
    • 4 trays (bottom-to-top): medium spong with floss -> crushed lava rock -> bioballs -> filter floss. This is intended to be high flow as its what my eventual Co2 reactor will be connected to.
  • Aquaclear 50 HOB filter
    • Currently on my 28g tank and will be added once I move the livestock over.
  • Aquatop Titanium Heater 200w x2
    • Will probably get a second one of these. I'd prefer two heaters rather than one for safety and redundancy purposes.
Lighting:
Right now I'm just planning on using a single light, but I may eventually have to purchase a second fixture to help get even front to back coverage. This is one of the drawbacks to the 18in deep 75g dimensions. I went with the Fluval over the chihiros WRGB 2 for the warranty and availability. The chihiros is more powerful but still has the same front to back spread issues as the fluval. In the end it will be cheaper to get two fluvals than two chihiros.
  • Fluval Planted 3.0 48"
    • Purchased for $185 at my LFS which is $35 under retail.
CO2:
  • 5lb CO2 tank
    • Purchased for $25 locally on FB marketplace. Hydro is expired in a few months but AirGas should exchange it without issue.
  • CO2 Art Pro-SE series regulator and CO2 Art bazooka diffuser.
    • Purchased 05/10/21 for $154 total using a 15% off coupon provided by CO2 Art.
  • Sera Flore 500 CO2 reactor hooked up to the Aquatop canister filter.

Here's the items that are still outstanding

  • CO2 diffuser and drop checker. I'm leaning toward the CO2 Art cylindrical diffuser to help get a wider distribution.
  • Hardscape: I'm a big fan of spider wood but would like to find a nice piece or two of large driftwood as well. Probably going to use dragon stone along with the lava rocks that I snagged with the tank as the primary rocks.
  • Substrate: I'll discuss this a bit below.
  • Egg crate for the bottom of my tank since I'll be using smaller rocks to create elevation and depth.
  • Additional heater
Livestock

Existing livestock being transferred from 28g:

  • Tiger barb x9 (they're not the biggest demons and with the additional space in the 75g I'm hoping all goes as well)
  • Bolivian ram x1
  • Serpae tetra x5
  • Mystery snail x6
  • Nerite snail x2
Potential Additional Livestock:
  • Cories
  • Rummy nosed tetras
  • Neon or cardinal tetras
  • Another Bolivian ram
  • Odessa barbs or another similarly sized schooling barb
  • Celestial pearl danios
  • An additional shoal of schooling fish
  • Another showy fish (either a group or a solo)
Plants

Update:
my current plants are as follows.
  • Dwarf sag
  • Ludwigia super red
  • altherna reineckii
  • Java ferns
  • Purple cabomba
  • Ludwigia ovalis
  • Rotundifolia
  • Rotundifolia H'ra
  • Limnophila hippuroides
  • Wallichii
  • Mayaca fluviatilis
I'm not too certain which plants I would prefer at this time. I have dwarf sag thriving in my shrimp tank and may try to populate the foreground with this. I'd like to create a wide U shape that allows for a good portion of the center foreground to be bare sand. This would let the cories and the rams naturally sift through the sand for food. I have two crypts that have been thriving in my current tank and would like to find a spot for them in the new tank if they fit.

I enjoy the brighter and bushier stem plants so I will likely populate the background with a series of those. I have ludwigia super red, walliichi, rotala h'ra, ludqigia repens, and limnophila aromatica doing pretty well in my shrimp tank. It would be easy to take trimmings from there to start to populate the background of the tank. I could always switch these out down the line with other stems, but this is an economical way to get the plant load up right away in the tank.

I like the idea of having some plants attached to the hardscape in the manner that appears to be popular on this forum and others. Any suggestions in terms of this approach would be wonderful!


Substrate

Update: went with BDBS for the center of the tank and ADA Amazonia II for the planted sections. Expensive but hopefully worth it!

Right now I'm leaning towards using black diamond blasting sand with root tabs. While this is an entirely inert substrate, I'm already planning on dosing the water column regularly and have been using root tabs in my other tanks. Does this sound like a fine approach?

A more expensive alternative would be using a thin layer of aquasoil as a base. I'm not sure this is worth it though.

Outstanding Questions and Concerns:
  • The substrate issue remains but I think I'm nearing a decision to just go with the inert BDBS option.
  • Fish! Does anyone have suggestions for vibrant and exciting schooling fish? I really enjoy the rummy nosed tetras. Ideally I'd have two to three large schools of fish alongside my existing livestock with the rummy nosed tetras being one of them.
  • Plants! Any suggestions for plants to look into? I get most plants from fellow hobbyists so its sometimes a bit of a random affair as to what I can and cannot get at a given time but its almost always more affordable and the plants are always healthier and more hardy.
I'll keep updating this main post as I go, adding and deleting things as I address existing concerns and encounter new ones. Photos will always be in standalone posts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
1029230

75g tank and stand with the lights sitting on top. Temporary location since we'll be moving it into our new townhouse in a little under a month. That's when the fun begins!

1029231

3.7g desktop shrimp tank. Fluval Plant 3.0 nano light with a paintball tank CO2 setup. There's about 30 shrimp in there right now. But I rarely see more than ten at a time. My walliichi isn't doing too hot right now since I just replanted some trimmed tops and moved them around to get better light. I'll probably switch them with the plants on the lefthand side since they won't get bushy without more intense and direct lighting.

1029233

My original 28g bowfront with the barbs, tetras, and bolivian. Just did a massive trim and replanting of tops to try to get more healthy growth out of the stem plants. It should fill in pretty quickly. This tank has no co2 injection but I dose thrive C twice a week. I promised my wife I'd sell this once I got the 75g up and running. We'll see about that!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think this is a general idea of the scape that I'd be interested in. Lots of open area in the middle for the cories. I'm a bit concerned about there being enough breaking in the site lines for the barbs and the ram. I think this could be achieved by bringing the hardscape on either side forward and creating more front-to-back coverage.

This concept will at the very least drive the specific rocks and driftwood piece I search for in the next couple of weeks.

1029239
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Art Display case Glass Fossil Wood


Picked up an excellent piece of eucalyptus root driftwood along with 18lbs of dragon stone at my LFS today. This is my first cut at arranging it in a basicoutline of how I ultimately want it.

I have 20lbs of lava rock in there propping stuff up at the right elevations and angles.

Any advice or suggestions?

How do you suggest I use the lava rock to establish the height and elevations that I want in my scape once I fill in my black diamond substrate?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Getting closer to moving day which means we're close to actually putting this setup in its permanent (for now) home. In the meantime I've been trying to figure out the best way to attach my lily pipes to a rimmed tank. I've come up with the following temporary solution:

1029958
1029959


Most lily pipe mounts are made for rimless tanks. Unfortunately, the rim on a 75g is just too wide to fit these bracket. These brackets really are indispensible as they keep the pipes stable and allow you to control the height of the inflow and outflows. I didn't want to sacrifice these features. So I used some command strips to attach the bracket to the outside of the tank. It seems pretty stable at the point and I'm hoping that it is a good solution for the issue. I may bust out the dremel to remove the portion of the bracket that is intended to go on the rimless tank, but I actually enjoy the pipes being moved backward an inch or so since it keeps them even further out of view.

The pipes themselves are FZone stainless steel lily pipes with surface skimmer. I got them on Amazon with a 10% off coupon for around forty dollars. I was deadset on stainless steel over glass for two reasons. One, I don't have to worry about breaking them like I would with glass pipes. Two, they just look better day-to-day as they don't show all the algae buildup occurring inside the pipes and thus require less frequent cleaning.

For anyone considering these pipes (or the other export variants available for other sellers) you absolutely need to spend the $2 on some stainless steel screw clamps to make sure your filter tubes actually seal to the lily pipes themselves. These pipes are slightly smaller than what would be required to get a water tight seal between the pipe and tubes. Crank those guys down and don't worry again about a catastrophic failure occurring!
1029961
 

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I just found this thread. I have a SunSun704b on a 75g tank with a SunSun 302b. With a Griggs reactor on the 302, this is just barely enough filtration for this tank. I also have an in tank UV filter w/ pump running 24/7. With the additional water flow from the UV, I am able to get slight swaying movement of all plants in the tank.

There is plenty of media in the canisters, but the SunSuns don't have alot of water flow, and a reactor will reduce flow even more. If you are planning to build a reactor (which I recommend) I would also recommend a second canister. A 704b by itself in a 75 will work fine for normal fish tank, but I don't believe it has enough flow for front/back water movement in a 75.

Two 704s in a 75 would be a good match. I don't really recommend a HOB in a high tech tank as this will offgas much of your CO2.

Good luck, I look forward to more updates.
 

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I would encourage you to go with 100% active substrate if you really want to grow plants, not just a layer at the bottom. Landen Soil is a little less expensive if you want to save some money.

2+ years ago I started with an inert substrate, but didnt get the healthy growth I wanted until switching to active.

Sent from my SM-A205U using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I just found this thread. I have a SunSun704b on a 75g tank with a SunSun 302b. With a Griggs reactor on the 302, this is just barely enough filtration for this tank. I also have an in tank UV filter w/ pump running 24/7. With the additional water flow from the UV, I am able to get slight swaying movement of all plants in the tank.

There is plenty of media in the canisters, but the SunSuns don't have alot of water flow, and a reactor will reduce flow even more. If you are planning to build a reactor (which I recommend) I would also recommend a second canister. A 704b by itself in a 75 will work fine for normal fish tank, but I don't believe it has enough flow for front/back water movement in a 75.

Two 704s in a 75 would be a good match. I don't really recommend a HOB in a high tech tank as this will offgas much of your CO2.

Good luck, I look forward to more updates.
Thanks for the advice! The SunSun 704b came with the tank second hand and I've yet to run it on this tank with media in it so its great to hear about any potential flow issues. Since it was free I figured why not incorporate it. I'll almost certainly add a reactor along with a second canister filter to power it once I get everything installed. I've been slowly building up everything I'll need for this setup one step at a time. The in-tank ceramic diffuser and 704b should be enough for the first few weeks before transferring in my existing livestock.

Do you really think that a pair of HOBs would contribute to that much off-gassing? I've been running HOBs in my other CO2-equipped tanks without any issues maintaining sufficient levels. I'll have to keep an eye on this the first few weeks in case it does end up being a problem. That may incentivize me to invest in the second canister sooner instead of a second HOB to pair with my existing one.

I would encourage you to go with 100% active substrate if you really want to grow plants, not just a layer at the bottom. Landen Soil is a little less expensive if you want to save some money.

2+ years ago I started with an inert substrate, but didnt get the healthy growth I wanted until switching to active.

Sent from my SM-A205U using Tapatalk
I've done a lot of thinking about active vs inert substrates and each time land on the affordability and simplicity of inert blasting sand. It would cost close to $500 to go with a completely active substrate. With BDBS it cost $20 for 100lbs and I will add root tabs into the substrate like I do with my other tanks. I'm willing to trade off some of the benefits of aquasoils to save a few hundred dollars!
 

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View attachment 1029439

Picked up an excellent piece of eucalyptus root driftwood along with 18lbs of dragon stone at my LFS today. This is my first cut at arranging it in a basicoutline of how I ultimately want it.

I have 20lbs of lava rock in there propping stuff up at the right elevations and angles.

Any advice or suggestions?

How do you suggest I use the lava rock to establish the height and elevations that I want in my scape once I fill in my black diamond substrate?

View attachment 1029439

Picked up an excellent piece of eucalyptus root driftwood along with 18lbs of dragon stone at my LFS today. This is my first cut at arranging it in a basicoutline of how I ultimately want it.

I have 20lbs of lava rock in there propping stuff up at the right elevations and angles.

Any advice or suggestions?

How do you suggest I use the lava rock to establish the height and elevations that I want in my scape once I fill in my black diamond substrate?
I love all the progress you have been making. I am considering upgrading my 38g to a similar sized tank but we'll see how that goes. Here are a few thoughts I had about your set up.

Substrate: Your life will be 10X easier if you use active substrate. To cut down on costs, you can simply use it in the back only (where you will be planting) and continue to use the black diamond sand in the front. I actually think the black sand goes really well with the black rim and stand. I would also suggest that you go with a black background as well as it will make your plants pop.

Scape: For the left hand side, I like how you have the driftwood positioned! It would enhance it even further if you add smaller pieces of the same wood jutting out from the base of the larger piece. For the right hand side, you may need to play with it a lot more. One idea is to set it up as a slope with the higher side starting from the right, sloping downwards to the left (propped up by the lava rock). Or, as all of your rocks are the same size, you may want to see if you can find a larger dragon stone rock and shape the scape around that larger piece and adding smaller sized pieces too around the base.

Plant: Wow, there are so many possibilities! I like what you have picked out so far. Again, all of these are going to do much better in active substrate. For epiphytes attached to the hardscape, I would recommend adding some java fern (I like trident or windelov) -- you can attach them to the base of the driftwood and maybe going half way up the driftwood. Since they are slow growing you could add them to your 28g now to get them acclimated so that they are ready to go when you flood the 75g. You can also attach some of the moss from your 3.7g to the tips of your driftwood. I also really like hydrophilia pinnifitada but I have never had luck with it in any of my tanks. :-( But maybe you will! For the dragon stone, you could add smaller epiphytes, like annubias and bucephelandra into the nooks and crannies -- just be sure they are in shady spots since they are susceptible to algae under high light.

Stocking: For livestock, I worry about the tiger barbs as they can be bullies, so you will want a schooling fish that can handle their own. Therefore, I would stay away from the CPDs or smaller tetras. But how about congo tetras? I definitely like your idea of adding cories too.

Best of luck! I will be following to see your progress.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I suppose you can run HOBs if you inject alot of CO2. IME, it offgasses a ton of co2. Like, you have to run 2-3x as much.
Based on your suggestion I went onto Facebook marketplace to see if there were any canister filters available near me. Ended up snagging the Aquatop FZ6 for $40 locally. It’s Aquatop’s version of the SunSun and should pair well. I’ll load it up with bio balls and some filter floss and eventually attach a CO2 reactor to it.

Thanks for the tips!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Big update! Finally moved in to our new place and got right to setting up the new tank.

Spent the first couple of days messing around with the hardscape placement. I picked up some additional pine spiderwood at my local aquascaping shop to add to the existing eucalyptus root that I got a couple of months ago. What I ended up settling on was a design that allowed for a substantial amount of sand to be featured in the front for visual purposes and for the benefit of my future cories. I did opt to use ADA Amazonia II in areas where there would be plants.

1030287


I used filter bags filled with BBQ lava rocks from Home Depot to create some elevation in the back of the tank. This worked relatively well, but there has been some caving in of the substrate after flooding as the aquasoil fills in the gaps between the bags. I tried to counteract this ahead of time with some sand but I definitely did not have enough in there to prevent this entirely.

1030288


To prevent too much run-off of the aquasoil down the slope I added extra lava rocks to the slope in order to prevent too much erosion or mixing with the sand.

1030289


I got my dwarf sag, altherna reineckii, and java ferns added before flooding. The first problem occurred at this stage. Despite soaking my eucalyptus root for three weeks it wasn't water logged enough to stay submerged. This caused the entire wood structure to float up, ruining much of the careful detailing that I had put into that side of the tank before flooding.

1030290


I temporarily solved this issue in two ways. First, I zip tied the two pieces of wood together to prevent them from moving around too much, deviating from the placement I set them in initially. Second, I had to find a way to keep the wood submerged and stable. To do so I moved the black lava rock propping the structure up to prevent it from falling backward and added some red lava rock behind the back left corner of it to stabilize it further. I wedged a large piece of dragon stone within the structure to keep it submerged. I'll find a use for this stone once the structure is entirely water logged I hope!

I've added the following plants initially:
  • Dwarf sag
  • Ludwigia super red
  • altherna reineckii
  • Java ferns
  • Purple cabomba
  • Ludwigia ovalis
  • Rotundifolia
  • Rotundifolia H'ra
  • Limnophila hippuroides
  • Wallichii
  • Mayaca fluviatilis

The wallichii and mayaca are in there just to see if they can do better in these soft/low ph conditions. They were struggling in my other tank that has a higher pH and harder water. I also added lots of floaters and some hornwort to try to add additional plant mass as the tank goes through its initial start-up fits.

Unfortunately, I didn't help things because some of the plants I transferred from another tank already had some algae issues. I added a large amount of cycled media on day three to speed up the cycling process, allowing me to get a clean-up crew in sooner than later. Unfortunately, with such a low pH, it will take a while for the BB colony to multiply enough to really control the aquasoil's ammonia leeching. Though at such a low pH, the ammonia is less harmful to the fish. I should be able to add some oto's this weekend around day ten.

I did not do water changes the first three days because I got distracted with moving and did not have time to start daily changes. Those began yesterday. The water parameters have been what one would expect at this stage. I did test nitrates for the first time today and was surprised to see a large concentration of them. This means that my BB are doing some work, but the presence of ammonia indicates that the BB are not yet able to out compete the the aquasoil just yet. (The chart below doesn't indicate it, but I did get a pH reading of 6 before changing the water this morning, I've since changed the entry.)

1030291


I only have one canister filter going right now. My lily pipes are 5/8" ID and both canister filters are 3/4" ID. I ordered a set of reducers which will arrive Friday. Luckily I was able to get a solid enough seal for the first canister to allow it to run leak free. Once those arrive I'll begin exploring the best positioning for the dual filtration inlet and outlets. Right now I have a good flow with my CO2 diffuser positioned below the inlet and the outlet creates enough downward flow across the tank to disperse the gas nicely. This will probably change with the addition of the second canister and I'll certainly have to reposition the diffuser.

Here's my first candidate positioning which I'll be evaluating over the weekend:
1030292

Arrows indicate inflow and outflow for filters one and two.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
In the last week we've added the first two schools of fish to the aquarium.

First in were eleven otos to form the backbone of the cleanup crew alongside a growing colony of ramshorn snails. The otos have gone to town--absolutely covering my substrate in poop! Unfortunately, we did lose one in the first 48 hours. They are a sensitive fish and the aquarium is still new so this is not necessarily surprising. Since this tank is relatively soft water and low pH we have been drip acclimating all new additions for 45-60 minutes before introduction.

The second school was added a few days later and consisted of a dozen Colombian Tetras. This school will be a feature of this tank and I'm so excited to have gotten them. They colored up nicely overnight in the new tank and are starting to gain a bright blue back and deep red fins.

Next up later this week will be the third school. This will either be a school of 10-12 cardinal tetras or 20 rummy nosed tetras. Both will eventually end up in the tank, but the order is dependent on stocking at the LFS.

1030495


I've been battling the usual start-up algae issues. Brown hair algae came first and accumulated on the stem plants, wood, and aquasoil. The otos have taken care of that on the plants and wood but have not yet turned themselves to the substrate. Most concerning has been the appearance of BBA on my java ferns. I've removed this with tweezers as its grown but I forsee this being a longterm back and forth. Hopefully I can stay ahead of it. The java ferns themselves are not necessarily looking the healthiest but I am still attributing this to their acclimation to new tank conditions. My limnophila and cabomba are thriving and will need a trim in the next week or two. I added 25 stems each of rotala green and h'ra to start to fill out the plant mass. My dwarf sag is still melting badly, this may be unsalvageable but we'll have to wait a few more days to see. If so, I'll swap it for some hairgrass.

This week's project is adding the CO2 reactor to my second canister filter. I test ran the second canister and it was way too much flow, hopefully the reactor will slow the flow down a little to make it more manageable. I plan tohave both outlets next to eachother on the same side to create a moderate river-esque current rather than going for a circular flow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Last night I added my bolivian ram to the community tank. It was the centerpiece fish for my 28g. Conditions in my 28g are less stable without me constantly around to monitor it during the transition to our new residence so I wanted to get my most sensitive fish moved out of there ASAP. I think the Amazon-esque low pH soft water conditions of this 75g community tank should suit the ram perfectly.

I did a 2 hour drip acclimation before introducing the fish due to the significant difference in pH. It was not happy about being driven across town and tossed into a new environment but within a couple of hours it started to stake out its territory and chase after the Colombians a bit. Good!

This morning it was colored up nicely and swimming about the various nooks and crannies that should make a great home for a dwarf cichlid.

Any idea of the sex of this fish? I'd like to get a mate/friend but need to confidently sex it first.

1030545
 

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Big update! Finally moved in to our new place and got right to setting up the new tank.


Here's my first candidate positioning which I'll be evaluating over the weekend:
View attachment 1030292
Arrows indicate inflow and outflow for filters one and two.
Your tank looks great already. It appears that most of your plant mass is central which should help with flow. In my tank, its difficult to get flow in the back and front corners. It seems like unless there is a really strong source of flow, the water doesn't move there easily.

I've recently ordered another SunSun 304b, so I will have two of them and a 302b on my 75g.

What I've found seems to work is to have the inlet tubes both located centrally (hidden by stems), and have the outtakes on the sides, pointed down and back towards the glass. This creates plant movement in the sides and back of the tank ,where muck and algae forms. With the second 304b I am doubling down on this and I will be able to do this more effectively on both sides of the tank.

If you don't plant in the back corners, flow gets much easier.

Edit: I just realized you pic is a top view. Will that create a circular flow?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Your tank looks great already. It appears that most of your plant mass is central which should help with flow. In my tank, its difficult to get flow in the back and front corners. It seems like unless there is a really strong source of flow, the water doesn't move there easily.

I've recently ordered another SunSun 304b, so I will have two of them and a 302b on my 75g.

What I've found seems to work is to have the inlet tubes both located centrally (hidden by stems), and have the outtakes on the sides, pointed down and back towards the glass. This creates plant movement in the sides and back of the tank ,where muck and algae forms. With the second 304b I am doubling down on this and I will be able to do this more effectively on both sides of the tank.

If you don't plant in the back corners, flow gets much easier.

Edit: I just realized you pic is a top view. Will that create a circular flow?
I ended up placing both outlets on one side and both inlets opposite them to create a flow similar to a stream or river moving in one direction. It does hit the opposite side of the tank and circle back around the rear of the tank through the bulk of my stem plants. its actually substantial enough to cause them to bend over as the plant mass increases to withstand the flow (hopefully). I am monitoring the effects of low flow on the plants below the outlets. That's a bed of dwarf sag and AR mini that gets next to no flow. My only solution there might be to add a small powerhead pointed their direction at a lower level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Stocking update:

24 rummy nosed tetras were added five days ago. I intended for a school of 20 but the LFS sells 24 at the same price as 20 so I figured why not. Plus with the concerns regarding early attrition in rummies, it helps to have a few extra. being quite a sensitive fish I had been observing this shipment at the LFS for over two weeks. By the time I purchased them the fish had been there for a few weeks already and I figured they were hardy enough to survive transport and acclimation. After 2.5 hours of slow drip acclimation I added them to the tank. We are on day six of them being stocked and I have not yet seen any deaths.

5 serpae tetras were also transferred over from the 28g that I am breaking down. These fish were a pain to catch and seemed quite stressed when introduced. After a short acclimation period they seem to be just fine. I'm considering beefing up this school a bit if they are available at the LFS today. As with each transfer from my old tank, additional seeded media was added alongside to fish to avoid any ammonia spikes and allow for a quicker expansion of the BB in my canisters.

Still dealing with a Co2 issue since switching to the Sera Flore 500 reactor. My pH pen arrived yesterday and I got a reading of 6.05 midway into the CO2 injection period. I'll leave this water sample out for 24 hours and test tomorrow to see what the size of my pH drop is. The reactor itself is putting out a good amount of bubbles, I am told this is because the flow through the reactor is too high. Since I don't want to sacrifice the flow and turnover it provides, I'll be see what adding a coarse filter sponge to the reactor does to mitigate the bubbles.
 

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Last night I added my bolivian ram to the community tank. It was the centerpiece fish for my 28g. Conditions in my 28g are less stable without me constantly around to monitor it during the transition to our new residence so I wanted to get my most sensitive fish moved out of there ASAP. I think the Amazon-esque low pH soft water conditions of this 75g community tank should suit the ram perfectly.

I did a 2 hour drip acclimation before introducing the fish due to the significant difference in pH. It was not happy about being driven across town and tossed into a new environment but within a couple of hours it started to stake out its territory and chase after the Colombians a bit. Good!

This morning it was colored up nicely and swimming about the various nooks and crannies that should make a great home for a dwarf cichlid.

Any idea of the sex of this fish? I'd like to get a mate/friend but need to confidently sex it first.

View attachment 1030545
Looks like male to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just about time for the first significant trimming of the plants. My stocking is nearly complete, just waiting on the tank to mature a bit more before adding a school of cories to round out the tank.

I currently have:
  • 1 Bolivian ram
  • 24 Rummynose tetras
  • 12 Colombian tetras
  • 12 Neon tetras
  • 5 Serpae tetras
  • 10 otos
  • 9 Tiger barbs
  • 5 mystery snails and a nice little colony of ramshorns

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I've been dealing with a lot of issues getting my java ferns to get going. The three that I initially attached to the hardscape have all but disintegrated. They are showing signs of some new growth and one did release a plantlet that attached itself nearby and is growing its first leaf. I was able to get my hands on a 20in tall well-established java fern and added that to the tank.Even that though is going through some issues. The java ferns are also the only plants that have had BBA issues. The rest of the tank is dealing with the usual brown hair and staghorn algae.

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The rest of the plants seem to be doing quite well. My rotala h'ra has not yet gotten any dip coloration but it is getting ever so slightly more red/orange near the tips. I'm most impressed with the growth of my limnophilia, which has really created quite the dense bush in amongst my other stems. I had a couple of well established crypts in my old tank that I separated out into four or five smaller plants and added those into the midground. They were grown in low light conditions, so it will take some time for them to grow shorter and more compact under the higher lights.

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I have two forms of AR red in amongst some ludwigia super red and dwarf sag. This area of the tank is the toughest to get any flow to. This has led to lots of hair algae but lately the snails have taken care of most of that and the sag has really taken off. I have a bed of hydrocotyle japan that I picked up at my local aquascaping shop this weekend that I was considering replacing the sag with, but I'm now thinking that I'll keep it in the wire bed and save it for another tank I'll be setting up. Once again, the reds in these plants are not yet popping. My ludwigia came from a tank where it was deeply blood red but in this tank it is starting to lose its color.

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I decided to change up the fertilizing regimen in order to generate more reds in my plants. I susepct that the combination of a heavily stocked tank and an all-in-one fert with moderate nitrate levels led to nitrate levels too high to truly bring out the red in rotala or ludwigia. I picked up a small bottle of APT Zero and will give that a shot for two weeks before investing in the bulk container of it. I would not have opted for APT Zero over APT Complete if the tank were not so heavily stocked. But given the naturally occuring levels of nitrate it made sense. Hopefully this brings out more red in the plants! If my plant mass really increases I will consider switching to APT Complete--this would be preferred since my other tanks need APT Complete with their lower stocking levels. I picked up a pothos plant at Ikea the other day which I'll be adding to the tank tonight, its very likely this thing can suck up the nitrates that APT complete would introduce and keep my levels still low enough to bring out the red in my plants. I'll post an update with this addition a couple weeks after its roots (hopefully) start to grow out.
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