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A 75 Gallon Journey ->

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5/29/2016 Latest pic -

Up to date details:

Lighting - 4 bulb T5HO Hydroponic unit. Bulbs are Zoomed Ultra sun, TrueLumen Flora, ATI purple, 3000K Plantmax, about 120 PAR at sub according to Hoppy's meter. 8 hour photo period.

Filtration - Hydor Pro 600 canister, Koralia 425 circulation pump.

CO2 - GLA Gro Series reg, 10lb aluminum tank, DIY reactor. Kicks on 90 minutes before lights, off 1 hour before lights.

Substrate - Black Diamond blasting sand, sparsely supplemented w/Osmocote+

Params -

GH 8-9
KH 5-6
PH 7.6 from tap, ~6.2 at peak CO2

Currently Dosing -

Macros, 3x week
KNO3 - 5 ppm
KH2PO4 - 1 ppm
K2SO4 - 3 ppm

Micros, 3x week
Micros vary as Im currently experimenting, roughly
.0125 ppm(Fe) from csmb + .0125 dtpa 11% + .0125 -.03 Fe gluconate

10 ppm K2SO4, 5 ppm Mg via Epsom salt on water change days. Tap is high in Ca with very little Mg.

~60% water change every 5-7 days

Original Post Below

Hi all, figured I'd do a journal for my 75 gallon. Im experienced with aquariums but never done a bonafied planted tank before, very excited to be starting one now. First have to thank everyone here for the wealth of information and boatload of awesome tanks to look at. been lurking for a while and Ive learned so much from the great folks here.

I began converting this tank from cichlids around mid January. Here it is about a week ago, when I finally stopped moving things around.

Most of the foreground plants are only a few days old here. Other things have been in there a few weeks, but rearranged a lot. There's some Bacopa stems behind the rocks and small Wysteria in the right corner that you really cant see yet, so hopefully the background will fill in nicely before long.

Im not exactly in love with the hardscape or plant arrangement. Basically just threw a bunch of stuff in there to learn how different things grow and look. Gonna try to resist the urge to keep rearranging until it's all had a chance to settle in and grow out a bit.

Details -

Tank: 75 Gallon - 48" x 21" x 18"
Substrate: Black Diamond blasting sand (125 lbs)
Lights: 2 bulb 48" T5HO Hydroponic fixture (1 Coralife 10K, 1 TrueLumen Flora) Fixture came with 2 6500K grow bulbs, they were too "yellow" I didnt like the way it looked.
Filtration: 2 HOBs, a Penguin 350 and a Whisper something or other
Ferts, etc: Daily Excel, Weekly Flourish Comp, heavy application of Osmocote Root tabs, well fed fish. Currently doing 25% water changes once a week. Havent tested any nutrient levels. Tap water is fairly hard, PH mid 7s.

9 Tiger barbs
6 Cherry barbs
5 Ottos
3 Emerald Corys
1 Firemouth Cichlid
1 Candy Cane Tetra (thinks he's a Tiger Barb)

(Approximately Back to Front, Left to Right)
Ludwigia Repens
Compact Corymbosa
Dwarf Lily
Two kinds of Anubius and a Java Fern/Java Moss on the driftwood
Argentine Sword
Crypt wendtii brown and green (I think)
Mermaid Weed
Bacopa monnieri
Java Moss on the rock pile




Thanks for taking a look! I'll will try to update regularly as the tank progresses. Any comments or suggestions are more than welcome... :red_mouth
1 - 20 of 546 Posts

· Planted Tanker
6,139 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Here's a pic of the light that shows what kind of reflector it has. Would prefer it was polished, but it seems to be pretty efficient.

Fabbed up some adjustable brackets out of stainless steel so it would sit on the tank. The scratches arent so noticeable in person unless you look really close. I may polish or paint them at some point. Eh, probably not.

Tools! :bounce:


· Planted Tanker
6,139 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Here's the tank today, about a week after the pics in OP. Added some Corkscrew Val to the right corner last night.

Mermaid Weed is starting to get some color, doesnt seem to be in a big hurry about it though. I may not have enough light to make them turn much. I believe that's a Crypt Willisi to the left? It's doing well, the little one at 4 o'clock is a baby I separated from it.


· Planted Tanker
6,139 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Looking good so far. That moss sure looks nice and fluffy :D
Hah, thanks. The java moss was one of the first things I bought when I decided to change the tank. Had less light at the time, and I wasnt sure exactly what direction everything was headed. Sorta wish now I'd went with a different kind, but the wooly look is starting to grow on to speak :red_mouth

· Planted Tanker
6,139 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
5/1/14 Update

Figured it was about time for a progress report. Plants are doing well. Ive been quite happy with the growth rate of everything. The aim is for steady and healthy, not necessarily fast. Still doing 8 hour photo-period and 25% weekly water change. Ive slowly increased Excel from a 60 gallon dose to 100.

Recent developments:

- Ditched the glass tops, they were a pita to keep clean due to very hard tap water. Im loving it being open.

- Removed the Firemouth because he wouldnt leave the Cories alone, constantly harassing them, so I found him a new home in a friends tank.

- Added more Crypts to the mid-foreground about 3 weeks ago.

- Somehow managed to kill both lillies by aggressive pruning. They were getting so big and sending literally a new runner every day to the surface, which blocked a lot of light to other things. So I began cutting the runners off when they reached the top, and also the biggest lower leaves. After about a week of that, within just a couple of days, they both dropped all their leaves and died (or at least looked dead, so I took them out).

- Gave the java moss a good trim, what a nightmare! I used a Python to suck up the clippings as I went, but it still went everywhere.

Onto the pics... :bounce:

For reference, here's the first pic in OP from about 7 weeks ago

Today - 5/1/2014


· Planted Tanker
6,139 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Left Side:

Added some moneywort (I think?) along the glass and a couple stems of L. repens x L. arcuata where the Lily was. Also added a small sword near the back corner, in front of the L repens (cant really see it now) I rescued it from PetCo, it was 80% dead and they gave to me free. Nursed it for a few weeks in another tank then planted it there. Im sure something will have to go in the near future because there wont be room, for now just gonna let it all grow and see what happens.


Pruned the Mermaid Weed and replanted the tops. It had gotten about a foot tall. Moved the sword out some, and put 3 stems of L. glandosa behind it. I really like that plant, hope it does well I'll be spreading it around more places.

Right Side:

Swapped places of the Wisteria and Crokscrew Val. Then added some Ammania gracilis where the Lily was. The Val completely melted off it's existing leaves over the the first couple weeks, likely due to the Excel. Still it began growing immediately and sending out runners of new plants. Everything here is new growth.

Guess that's all for now. Thanks for taking a look! :red_mouth

· Planted Tanker
6,139 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks guys, that's very encouraging!

I actually made the cave with the Firemouth in mind, so he'd have a place to get into. Those are just common local rocks I found in a creek. Tied the moss on with cotton thread. It's well-attached now and most of the thread is gone.

The Firemouth used to hang out in the upper main part. It opens wide in the back and goes all the way through. The Cories all like to sleep in the two lower openings. They are almost closed in, except one has a small crack big enough for a fish their size to swim through. Now that the Firemouth is gone, other fish are constantly swimming through the main part. It's pretty cool to watch.

· Planted Tanker
6,139 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ive actually been thinking about some Rams. German blues would be a nice color variation to the current stock. Ive never had any Rams before, so idk much about them. I understand they are rather peaceful and shy. Would they be OK in there with eleven Tiger Barbs? The arent exactly aggressive but they do like to follow other fish and nip fins. And what would be a good number to have, like 2 or 3, or several?

· Registered
1,202 Posts
I think a couple of rams would be great in this tank. I have never had german rams, but I have had quite a few bolivian rams and they are very entertaining fish. I had a breeding pair in a 46 gallon tank with a bunch of tiger barbs and everyone got along great. The barbs pretty much stayed near the top of the tank and tormented each other while the rams had their space at the bottom. They are very relaxed but entertaining and I found that they breed very easily.

The mound will end up being theirs though so no more cory sleep overs or tetra fly-bys.

· Planted Tanker
6,139 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
The new L. repens x L. arcuata here lost its red almost immediately :( .

Im thinking its a light thing, although the new leaves are a bit crinkled on the very tips, so I may have a deficiency of something. Nothing else is showing any glaring signs of one that I can tell though, so idk. Regardless Im currently researching how to do dry ferts, may begin a moderate EI routine or something.

Little Cory just chillin on the Wysteria like a boss

Still lovin this L. glandosa. It's grown about an inch with some nice color


· Planted Tanker
6,139 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
In that last pic, you can see the tip of the driftwood where the moss is brown. That's from where I heavily spot treated with H2O2, right after the trim. A good portion turned downright yellow after 3 days in a row. It's rebounding now but some of it is still discolored. The moss seems to keep a good bit of bba (or something) in it. That's pretty much the only place I have any algae now. It's not terrible or anything, but it does annoy me :icon_mad:
1 - 20 of 546 Posts
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