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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been wanting a bigger tank for a long time. When I bought my 36g tank, the wife was not happy, so it's taken me a while to convince her to let me get something bigger. But I finally have it. I got a 75g on sale at Petco and have been working the last couple of months to get it up and going.

My first task was to build a stand for it. I don't really like how flimsy the store stands seem and I like a project that is a little challenging. So I looked up a lot of DIY designs for custom stands and mostly followed what was out there. I didn't take many pictures of the original build, but here are a couple.

I also really wanted to do T5HO lighting on this tank, but I knew hanging them, or any other unasthetic mounting option was not going to fly. So I decided to build a custom hood as well, so it could all be hidden inside. I looked around and found
@Greggz had built one that looked really nice and was very functional as well. As always, he was more than happy to help out and gave me lots of information and pictures of his build, that I was able to use to build mine.

I decided to paint it black, just because I like black. Here's the final product.

I spent a while trying to decide on a T5HO fixture that wouldn't break the bank. I was going to buy 4 Sunblasters. I had them in the cart and was about to hit the purchase button. And then I though to check the dimensions. They were 48" long and I only had 48.5" to work with. That would have been fine, except the power connection to them is on the end. So I had to find something else. I ended up buying 2 AgroFlex T5HO 42 fixtures. I knew with the reflectors they would be too wide to fit in the hood, but I figured I could make some modifications. I also had to get creative with the mounting as they didn't have any way to mount them flush to the hood.

As you can see I had to trim down the reflector on the one side of each fixture, essentially making it into one big refelector. And then for the mounting, I punched holes in the reflector and drilled holes through the top of the hood so that i could run a wire across the fixture and up through the hood where I secured it to some screws. Not the most elegant solution, but none of it will really be seen.

Finally got it moved into the house last week. This will be it's final home.

For hardscape, I really wanted some nice interesting pieces of wood. I was able to find some nice Malaysian driftwood at my local LFS. For rock, I went with some local black lava rock I was able to gather. In the past I've used BDBS as my substrate, which I've really liked, but with the dark wood and black rocks, I just didn't think it would look great. And I've always loved the look of the lighter sand. So I went with pool filter sand. I may hate myself later when it requires more maintenance to keep looking clean, but i like the way it looks. I played around with the wood and rock and came up with many different options for the scape. But here is the one I finally settled on.

Finally filled the tank up a couple of days ago. Got the heater, filter (SunSun 304b), and powerhead for flow setup. Moved media over from my other filter to hopefully get the cycle done quickly. I had planned on moving most of the plants from my previous tank over, since I will have to take it down eventually. But that tank is filled with Malaysian trumpet snails.....thousands of them. And I really don't want them in this tank if I can help it. So last night I pulled out a few stems of everything and put them in an Alum dip for several hours. Luckily MTS are livebearers so I didn't have to worry about eggs. But the babies can be very small. So, hopefully the Alum did it's job. I did manually inspect them all and removed anything I could find, even if they probably were dead. I rinsed them all off in dechlorinated water and put them in the tank. Didn't really put a lot of thought into where things would go yet. Just kind of threw them in where they seemed to fit for now. I'm sure I will be tinkering with them for months.

The water is a little cloudy and has some tannins in it still from the wood. I'm working on recharging my purigen right now to hopefully help clear it up. Tonight I will hopefully be moving the CO2 setup over to this tank. I've never been really pleased with the way my DIY griggs had worked in the past. I put the co2 input in the middle instead of at the top like it should be. So I figured now was the time to fix that. So I rebuilt it with the co2 up higher towards the top and I made it longer....24" instead of the 18" it was before. Hopefully this will efficiently dissolve the co2 so i can get a good ph drop on this bigger tank. I also have another order of plants coming today that i will be adding. And then I just need to wait until I'm confident the cycle is done so I can move the fish over. I'll try and get a full list of equipment, plants, and stocking put up soon.
Also if anyone has any ideas for a more descriptive interesting title for this journal, please let me know. I don't really know how to describe my tank style.

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Spent some time the last couple of days getting everything else setup in the tank. I moved the co2 over and connected it to my new Griggs reactor. It seems to be doing the job. I also moved the ph controller over. I calibrated it while i was at it, but it was still right on. I'll need to work on getting the co2 dialed in the next couple of days. I also still need to figure out the best location and direction for flow in the tank. The tank is still cycling, despite all the seasoned media I moved over, so no fish yet. Plants are still not exactly where I want them, but I want to give them a chance to get established before I start moving them around. I think they might have a hard time for a little while until I get the balance of lights, co2, and ferts right in the new tank. Oh, also I went to the LFS today and they had a Zoo Med Flora sun bulb for 80% off. So I snatched it up for a mere $4. So I swapped that out tonight in place of the stock 6500k that came with the fixture.

And now, here is the full inventory and information list for the tank:


Aqueon 75 Gallon - 48 1/2 x 18 1/2 x 21 3/8


SunSun 304B 525GPH


Sun JVP-110 528 GPH


5 Gallon tank
Airgas regulator
24" Griggs Reactor
Milwaukee Ph controller


Pool filter sand


Agroflex 42 2 bulb T5HO x2
Mounted in hood ~24" above substrate

Bulbs - Back to Front

Geisemann Super Flora
ATI Purple Plus
Powerveg 660
Zoomed Flora Sun


I'll be following EI for the most part. Maybe a little higher. Front loading Macros. Rolling my own Micros. I'll fill out Greggz spreadsheet after my next water change and post it.

Livestock (to be moved over soon)

German Blue Ram
Bolivian Ram
Australian Rainbow x2
Turquoise Rainbow x2
Boesamani Rainbow x2
Albino Cory x2
Green Cory x2
Julii Cory x2
Panda Cory x2
Ember tetras
Kuhli loaches (1 black, 2 striped)
Otos x2
BN Pleco
Nerite snail x2
YoYo loach
Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami


Cabomba Purple
Blyxa Japonica
Hydrocotyle Verticulata
Fissidens Fontanus
Alternathera Reineckii
Ludwigia brevipes
Ludwigia Red
Hygrophila Pinnatifida
Bacopa Colorata
Rotala H'ra
Limnophila Aromatica
Ammania Senegalensis
Myriophyllum Red Stem
Marsilea Minuta
Cameroon Moss
Microsorum Narrow Leaf
Cryptocoryne Wendtii Brown
Syngonanthus Rio ***** Giant
Hygrophila Pinnatafida[censored]
Helianthum Quadricostatus
Nymphaea Tiger Lotus
Micranthemum Monte Carlo
Rotala Macrandra
Bucephelandra Belindae
Bucephelandra Black Pearl
Bucephelandra Brownie Blue
Bucephelandra Red Blade
Bucephelandra Kedang Mini
Bucephelandra Green
Staurogyne repens
Prospernica Palustris
Valisneria Leopard
Vallisneria Spiralis
Microsorum India
Microsorum Narrow K
Hydrocotyle leucocephala
Lobelia Cardinalis mini

I think that's everything. I may have forgotten something though. I like the way it looks so far. Hopefully I can get everything growing well soon.


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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Excellent start to a new journal.

Stand came out great!

Love all the detail and pics you posted.

Looking forward to seeing where this goes. Subscribed!
Thanks @Greggz. And thanks for your help on the stand.

Really like the layout in this pic and the colors do seem to pop. Only suggestion would be to try a dark / black background on the tank.
Plant list is pretty impressive! Look forward to your progress
Thanks @Immortal1. Yeah there are a lot of plants in there lol. I defintely have collectoritis. I have some new ones in there I've never tried, so I'm sure a few of them won't make it. I already see a little melting. Hopefully I can get the balance figured out soon.

And yeah, I need to do something about the background. In my other tank I had an led backlight that I liked. I may try that and see how I like it. If not I may try black. I don't want anything permanent though because I'm sure I'll change my mind about it eventually.

Bump: Also, I finally filled out Greggz chart for my fert dosing. Here's what I'm going with to start:

I just mixed up new Micros today since i have a new size of tank to work with. If anyone has read my journal for my old 36G, you know that I have been trying to figure out some strange issues with my plants. I would get some bad twisting and curling of leaves, specifically on the Ludwigia Red, Ludwigia Brevipes and Ammania Senegalensis. It always shows up within 24 hours of dosing micros and gets progressively worse as i dose more. And then it clears up very quickly with a water change. I was doing some tests in the last tank to see if I could figure out which micro was causing it. But since I setup this new tank right in the middle of testing, I didn't get too far.

So when I mixed up my micros today I made 4 different bottles. One with Fe, Cu, and Mo. I consider these the least likely suspects. And then a bottle each for B, Mn, and Zn. This week I'm going to dose all of them according to the PPM's above. I should see the symptoms pretty quickly. Starting next week I'll just use the process of elimination, leaving out one fert at a time, and see what happens. Hopefully I'll figure it out.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I haven't done a tank update in a while. I haven't had a lot of time because of the holidays. But I had some time today in the lull between holidays so I thought I'd take some pictures and give an update.

First things first.... I tried using a backlight on this tank. They just aren't bright enough to really show up when they have to compete with the T5HO from the tank. I'd have to buy some much more expensive ones and even then I don't know. So I just decided to add some blackout window film to the back. I think I like it. It does make the colors of the plants stand out more. Secondly.... All of the fish are finally moved over. The tank has fully cycled and they are all enjoying their new home.

In my last post I mentioned that I mixed up new Micros including separate bottles of Mn, B, and ZN so that I could make individual changes to those nutrients. That was the intention. But because of the holidays I knew I wouldn't be around to dose fully or to observe. So I just dosed the full amounts of everything the first week. This week I started with one full dose of micros and then was planning on being out of town for the rest of the week. But plans changed and I ended up staying home. So the rest of the week I have been dosing full, minus the Zn. I also started dosing .2 ppm of just Fe on off days since I started noticing some deficiency issues in the plants. Weekly .6 ppm Fe was obviously not enough.

My first observation is that this is a completely different tank. Things don't seem to be behaving the same way. I have seen some of the same symptoms I used to see.....curling and twisting leaves. But it's not happening at the same time as it used to. I've noticed it more on the mornings before I dose micros. And then after I've dosed it seems to clear up for the most part. So I think I can't just pick up where I left off with the old. I need some more observation to really see patterns. My second observation is that this is a completely different tank lol. I'm seeing issues I haven't seen in years..... namely the dreaded BBA. I'm hoping it's just because of an imbalance in the beginning while i was trying to dial in co2 and get ferts going.... or maybe a flow issue. Not really sure. I'm guessing it's higher light than I've had in the past, so being slightly off on co2 could cause issues. I wish I had a PAR meter to test but I don't want to pay the $200 price tag just to test once. And none of the LFS around here have one to rent. Oh well.

On to the pictures. Let's start with the good......

Ludwigia Red looks as red as I've ever seen it now that its getting closer to the top. And for the most part the leaves are fairly flat. Definitely not the extreme twisting I've seen in the past.

The Ammania Senegelensis is looking really good. It's gotten huge. One stem takes up as much as two or three of the others. The leaves are probably 3 inches at the top. And the coloring is just beautiful. You can see a few twisted leaves in the front. I believe those were from the early days of the tank as well but the newer growth has not had issues. This is the best this plant has ever looked.

Bacopa colorata is growing nicely and the tops are coloring up quite well. I will be thickening this group up through propogation. I've got a few smaller stems growing down there at the bottom. You can also see the Ludwigia Brevipes. The leaves are pretty flat on this one as well, not curled as they have been in the past.

And now the FTS. It really doesn't look too bad..... from a distance.

Now for all the dirty ugly parts.....

The AR is looking ok on top. I think it's starting to do better. The lower leaves have a lot of BBA on the tips. Most of the plants in tank have BBA on the older leaves. I'm hoping this will get better as I trim away the old leaves. I have to let everything grow out enough to do that though. So I have to suffer looking at it until then. You can also see it in the Monte Carlo on the bottom right. The Syngonanthus Rio ***** Giant is really not looking great either. This is my second try at this plant. The first time it completely melted away. So far it seems to be doing the same on the bottom. The top is still green though so I'm hoping to salvage it. But that remains to be seen.

The Blyxa Japonica almost melted away completely. This is a touchy plant in my experience. My first try it melted away completely. The second try it was touch and go, and then it took off and almost took over the tank. And then when I got frustrated and stopped dosing ferts for a few weeks, even the huge bushes of it melted away completely. Luckily this is all new growth. So it seems to be surviving for now. You can see it's sort of yellowish though, i'm guessing from lack of Fe. One of the reasons I started adding more.

Now for the really bad..... all of the BBA. I have it all over the place. Especially on the slower growing plants and older leaves.

You can see here though that the Staurogyne Repens that was completely and heavily covered is throwing out some new clean growth. I'm taking that as a good sign. I tried using some H202 on it to maybe slow the growth a little. That's normally my go to for hair algae, but that didn't touch it. Excel did though. You can see it turning red. It probably doesn't really matter. I'm going to have to trim it off eventually anyway once it grows out enough. It's hard to see it and not do anything though.

And one last picture of some fish. It's fun to see these guys schooling around a little more now that they have some open space.

Anyway.....I probably won't try to change to much this week. I think consistency is the best thing right now until I get a baseline for the tank. I'm hoping the BBA doesn't spread. If it does, i don't know what the cause is. Maybe flow? I do notice a lot of floating stuff in the tank. Maybe I need more flow or better flow? Maybe additional filtering. I was trying to get away with just one filter, but maybe that's not a good idea. We'll see I guess.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Interesting, I had similar issues when I started dosing micros, but not quite as bad. I ended up dropping the dosing levels down and the issues went away. See post #1230 here for my Nov 2 and Dec 2 recipes. The Nov 2 is the one I had issues with, and the Dec 2 made the issues go away
Hey Ken..... yeah I read your journal and posts in the Custom Micro Mix thread a week or two ago. And I did do some comparisons between your dosing and some of the other the guys just to see the differences. I didn't think much of it at the time because I hadn't had problems with BBA in a long time. But now it is much more relevant. Although this is a new tank and scape, the majority of my plants came from my old tank where they had been receiving basically the same amounts of micros for almost a year. So it shouldn't be much of a change for them. But you never know. I'll keep that in mind if I don't see a change in the near future.

I really like your aquascape! Its a nice traditional scape with lots of color.

IME, BBA seems somehow linked to flow. Both high flow and low flow areas seem susceptible. You might try a wavemaker on the side glass aimed across the tank bottom.

Also, the relatively low plant mass can make things more difficult. You might try adding a large fast growing, "cycling" plant to increase plant mass, that will be removed later on.

If you get the dosing correct for low plant mass, when the plants grow out you will be off target. Planted tanks are not easy! (But you are doing great so far.)
Thanks Chris! I appreciate the compliment. I'm still trying to figure out the best flow for the tank. In the beginning I put a 800 GPH wavemaker in the corner blowing across the tank. It was a lot of flow. It even created ripples and dunes in the sand. I felt like it was too much though and wondered if it might be contributing to the problems. Especially since my Jungle Val which was right next to it had some of the worst BBA. So instead I put in two smaller wavemakers on either side of the filter outflow to give milder flow in the ends of the tank. All of the flow is pointed slightly up towards the surface to give some rippling and towards the front glass. Hoping this will help.

Also, i hadn't really thought about plant mass. It feels like I have a lot but comparatively it's probably not much. So maybe as i get more growth and density, these issues will go away on their own.

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Also..... look at the difference in my Ludwigias this morning.....

You can see the exact same stems in the pictures above that were taken last night. I really don't know what is causing such a drastic difference in such a short time. But you can see how twisted and curled the leaves are.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Your tank is beautiful! I'll be interested to see how you tackle BBA. It doesn't effect my stems, but my poor anubias nana, seems like I tear off half of the leaves every week. I don't mind it on the rocks or wood, but the anubias look like they went through a war zone.
Thanks! Things do appear to be looking up. I haven't seen any new bba growth in the last few days. The plan really is just to hope I've got everything in balance so it doesn't grown anymore. Then just trim the plants to remove it. I really don't like having it anywhere. I'd probably like it even less on rocks and wood though. It's easy to trim off leaves and affected parts of plants, but it's a pain to scrape off hardscape. It does suck to have on those slow growing plants though. The don't recover as quickly.

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just a small update. Have kept dosing the same for the most part. Tried adding 15 ppm Mg this week, based on the results of others, to see if it makes a difference. Everything else is the same. I may try decreasing K too since it appears that has been successful for others as well.

I'm still dealing with a lot of algae issues. BBA on older leaves of plants and growing heavily on the hardscape now. A little GSA on glass and hardscape. And some pretty bad diatoms on the substrate. I've been trimming off leaves with lots of BBA and vacuuming the sub to try and remove as much of the diatoms as possible. I've also been using a combo of H202 and Excel on the hardscape to try and kill the BBA. I've had mixed results so far. I've removed the Zoomed bulb for now just to reduce PAR a little to help. I've been worried about excess organics as a possible cause so I added a second filter, SunSun 303b. So now I should be over 10x filtering on this tank. Hopefully that helps.

I've lost a few plants as well. My blyxa struggled with the algae, but I thought it got back on the right track. Unfortunately the fish decided it looked like a good snack and ate the last good growth until it was gone. Will have to get some more at some point. The staurogyne repens has struggled as well. It got some heavy bba essentially covering it. I removed what I could and attempted to kill the rest. Some of it still died. I only have 2 stems left that are holding on. And the Syngonanthus is struggling too. It took some heavy algae. It's still there for now but not looking good.

Most everything else is actually growing pretty well and the tops all look great. Once I get the algae under control I think it will start to look pretty good. Here's the FTS after the last water change and trim.


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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thought I'd post another update. I'm happy to report that my BBA problem is gone. I spot treated it very heavily with H2O2 followed quickly by Excel. And when I say heavily, I mean it. I used about 10 ml of each per rock or area with BBA. So in total it was probably over 100ml of each. And this was all done within a 20 minute time frame. I was just sick of looking at it. But it definitely did the trick. It all turned light grey or red from the excel. Not sure whether it just disappeared of the fish ate it, but i was completely gone within a few days afterward. It makes me very happy. And so far no signs of it coming back. So I must have fixed the root cause of the problem as well. My bet is on the added filtration.

The diatoms on the substrate seem to be lessening as well. It still starts to look a little brownish towards the end of the week in some places but a gravel vac with the water change takes care of that. And I had some BGA that was getting worse so I put in some Chemiclean, which seems to have fixed that as well. So now there is only a little bit of GSA to deal with.

The plants are mostly growing very well too. The Ammania has gotten huge and very colorful. The Bacopa Colorata is filling in and getting big and colorful too. And the Ludwigia Repens has really taken off this week as well getting big leaves and darker color. On the negative side, I haven't been able to get the Staurogyne repens to recover. For some reason I have struggled with this plant. I really don't know why as it should be an easy plant. My syngonanthus has never recovered from the algae. It's still there but slowly dying. I will probably try again in the future. Also the Mermaid weed has really not thrived in this tank for some reason. It did really well in the old tank getting big leaves and getting a yellow tint to it. It's just sort of small and lackluster in this tank.

As for my dosing, I've been slowly lowering Macros. I've really cut back on K but have also been lowering N as well. Last week I was at 25 ppm N, 5 ppm P, and K at around 19 ppm (only from KNO3, and KH2PO4 dosing). This week I lowered to 20 ppm N and 4.5 ppm P, which gives about 15 ppm K. So we'll see how this goes. So far everything is going well. I've kept my micros the same from the beginning. I haven't really noticed the same issues in the plants from my last tank so I haven't seen any reason to mess with them.

Now for the pictures......


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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The lighting is amazing.
Cool at the top of the aquarium and a burst of warmth at the bottom with plants and fish.
How do you do that?
It must be that advanced skill I haven't learned yet.

Definitely a tank I would aspire to when "I grow up, lol!" ;)
I think it's just the reflection of the ATI Purple bulb off the black background that gives it the cool look at the top. Nothing I've done on purpose, that's for sure. But I appreciate the compliment. And I still feel like I'm in the toddler stages of growing up lol.

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Your fish are very nice as well. What kind of Gourami is that? Do you have any aggression problems between the Rainbows and Gourami?
It's a powder blue dwarf gourami. And I have never seen any agressive from it or the rainbows. I had a dwarf gourami in the past that was pretty agressive but this one hasn't been at all.

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
It's been a long while so I thought I should post an update. For the longest time I wanted to try Discus in my tank. I was always put off by the time, effort and money that has always been associated with them. But I couldn't help myself and finally made the leap about a year ago.

As part of that, I decided to stop using CO2 and change to a more low tech setup, with easier plants. I was not willing to abandon plants altogether though and go bare bottom like the discus purists preach. I also knew it would not be possible to keep up with daily water changes, even twice a week would be hard. I was determined to try though even if I failed miserably.

Here is the tank today....

Water Vertebrate Plant Purple Pet supply

I'm sure discus people will be able to find growth deficiencies with my fish. And the plants definitely aren't the healthiest. But I feel pretty happy with both my fish and the overall aesthetics of the tank. And I did it my way, with a maintenance schedule that I can make work. So for me it's a success.

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Beautiful tank and fish! Is that a goldfish in there too?
Thanks! Yeah my daughter's preschool teacher sent her home with a tiny goldfish one day and of course it had to go in the tank. It was around the same time I got my young discus so the goldfish got the 5x a day diet as well. And now it's even bigger than they are. It's pretty but if it were up to me I'd give it away. It's her fish though so it's in there for the foreseeable future.

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