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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm pretty new to having a planted tank. I've had plants in my 29 gallon off and on again but the tank was not set up with plants in mind and as such they never thrived.

I'm also not sure what defines a 'low tech' setup but I would have to think mine certainly qualified for that.

I just got bought a used 75 gallon and it came with the following:

Marineland double bright LED (48")
Aquatop CF500-UV canister filter
150W submersible heater (two, temp at 79)

I also added:
100# Carib Sea Eco Complete
Seachem Flourish Excel (dose daily)
Seachem Flourish (dose weekly)
Seachem plant tabs (about 15)

My pH has always held at about 7 - 7.2, ammonia and nitrites at 0 and nitrates currently at about 5 - 10.

For fish I have the following:

Clown loaches (two at 25 years old and three at about 2 years)
Upside down catfish (one at about 10, one at about 5)
Zebra loaches (three at about 3 years)
Otocinclus (three, brand new)
Some hatchet fish and white clouds round everything out.

From what I've read my Marineland double bright LED is not going to cut it for plants. I plan on getting a Finnex 24/7. For a 75 gallon tank measuring 17" from the water surface to the bottom of the gravel would that be a good choice? Would that be low, medium, or a high light level? If I get the Finnex should I keep the Marineland double bright on the tank also or would it not really be doing much?

Is my dosing schedule with the Seachem ferts on par with what I should be doing? I was not planning on continually adding the plant tabs, I had them left over and thought it would be a good idea to add them to the fresh substrate. My assumption is that as the tank ages the accumulated fish mulm and any uneaten food will eventually suffice (although I'm careful not to overfeed).

I currently have two Amazon Swords and something that looks like Blyxa japonica (Japanese rush) that I moved over from my 29. I regret to say I bought them without really knowing what they were but they seem to be doing OK, not great, but OK. I also have a Java Fern that I've attached to a piece of driftwood and three Cryptocoryne walkeri, both of these are new.

Any thoughts or advice or how to move forward would be greatly appreciated. Am I making the right choice in choosing the new light, with my fert dosing, and if so, plants that would do well in this setup.

I'm thrilled to finally have the tank of my dreams, to finally give my clown loaches the home they deserve, and to have the room to do some nice aquascaping!
 

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The 24/7 will give medium light at full intensity, the 24/7 mode will probably be low light most of the time. My 55g is the same size except narrower, and i use a Ray 2, which is high light and i use co2. Fert dosing will be dependent on the light intensity you decide on. Flourish is OK, but gets expensive quickly. Just a side though; How large are the clown loaches?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The clown loaches are about 6" each, for the older ones, the younger ones are obviously smaller.

Would the Ray 2 be the better LED for me? How do the two compare? I'll do some research to determine but I would appreciate any advice.
 

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The clown loaches are about 6" each, for the older ones, the younger ones are obviously smaller.

Would the Ray 2 be the better LED for me? How do the two compare? I'll do some research to determine but I would appreciate any advice.
Do you want to invest in co2? Do you plan a high light/high-tech tank? The ray 2 is not dimmable, so you will have to have co2 from the beginning. The Ray 2 is Finnex's most powerful light to date. Have you read about PAR? You may have heard about WPG, that is outdated. PAR is the new measure of light.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't want to inject CO2, the most I would do via CO2 is Flourish Excel. I'm not really looking for a high tech tank so I guess the 24/7 would be more along the lines of what I'm looking for. I have looked at PAR, still learning.

You say you're a 15 year old facing parental opposition to this hobby. I'm a 51 year old facing spousal opposition to this hobby. Looks like we're about even!

The clown loaches are my babies. Some people have dogs (which I love), or cats (which I don't), I have my clown loaches.
 

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The 24/7 at max par, only about 3 hours a day on 24/7 mode is only medium light, so you should be good with that, if it is too much on the 24/7 mode, it is dimmable. I would dose a cut-down version of EI, it provides NPK and CSM+B, and flourish only provides the latter.
I would prefer spousal opposition to parental personally, you can compromise or even disregard a spouse, whereas parents are like dictators, they dont compromise or change their minds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Disregard a spouse? I can see you've never tried that!

I appreciate the advice on the LEDs. I think I'll go with the 24/7 as I'll be low tech. Any advice on the Marineland double? Should I leave it on the tank or out it aside?
 

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HAHA disregard a spouse?!? You've never met a dictator until you've met a wife (I'm a wife, I can say that.). Happy wife, happy life. :icon_wink A husband can't just be disregarded either, of course...

Is my dosing schedule with the Seachem ferts on par with what I should be doing? I was not planning on continually adding the plant tabs, I had them left over and thought it would be a good idea to add them to the fresh substrate. My assumption is that as the tank ages the accumulated fish mulm and any uneaten food will eventually suffice (although I'm careful not to overfeed).
You might enjoy learning about Tom Barr's non-CO2 dosing. It's in a few places among the Web, like this one: Tom Barr's Non-CO2 method

I use dry ferts. They are cheap and will probably last me years since I'm dosing at such low levels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Great articles, thanks for pointing them out. I added a lot of plants last night. Of course the clown loaches decided to uproot a bunch of them over night. They uproot, I replant, that will be the daily game till they take root.

Thanks for all the good advice.
 
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