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First planted Teddly tank

966 Views 6 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Teddy372
I'd like to start by saying, I spend a couple hours a night looking up plants and such and often feel overwhelmed. This being said, i'm not asking anyone to do all the work for me, just give me some suggestions and i'll happily look into it because I'd rather learn from others before making my own expensive mistakes. (long winded rant after picture)

This is my 75 Gal tank.

Details -

Tank: 75 Gallon - 48" x 21" x 18"
Substrate: Black Flourite (125 lbs)
Lights: 60watt fluorescent lamp
Filtration: Fluval 404
Electronics: EHEIM Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater 150W



So I started this tank in march 2014 and here May, i've only really bought Flourite, added some rocks for decoration, researched a ton of stat numbers on plants the store says I should avoid, researched what I found to be amazing looking fish but can't really find a good Top/middle/bottom mix I like yet.

Since i'm really just starting, i've been in a cycle of being side tracked. I thought i'd start with the replacing of electronics. I bought a used tank with all kinds of goodies but the LFS suggested most of it might be too old to work reliably. I have read a little on the Finnex 48" LED plant+ and its getting good reviews, but since i've not chosen plants yet, not sure if I should go for something with High light and cost me a ton or just get the plant+ one and see what happens. researching options. My filter had a bad gasket and leaked, ordered new parts for about $20, before spending $200+ for a new canister filter. Then I wondered if I even needed that much filter? hence the side track. Shrimp are neat, require specific water conditions, but really only need a bubble foam filter and lots of water changes. Well, I can find plants that don't like a lot of current, and fish the same. Side track again. picked out some nice looking plants, head to LFS and they say "you don't want to start with these, try these ones". I like that they want me to succeed, but I'd almost rather they approached me like this "we can get you those, here's what you'll need to be successful with these kinds of plants". Already being talked out of something you like is irritating. So I moved onto fish idea's. Community tank or species...I liked the idea of lots of little fish, then the headache of aggression kicked in. I liked the celestial pearl danios colors, but the tetra's I liked were easily dbl their size. The bottom cats I liked would grow too big and eat the danios in their sleep. But its ok at the LFS to house them all together when their smaller. So I get more confused and they show me how big some of the fish I liked will actually get so I have an idea of what to expect and avoid losing my little expensive fish. Now i'm debating a whole tank of semi aggressive fish just so they will be the same sizes but there appears to be no guarantee that they'll get along. Back to the idea of a species tank and maybe breeding, thought it would be fun and kids would like it but I have no idea if its a good idea. Back to plants then. I get the feeling I should buy a nice light, and cross fingers I get a good enough one to get down the 18" of water and my plants will be partly happy no matter what I buy. CO2, in a 75G. Didn't look like a cheap or easy idea. Someone suggested I use the 5gal water bottle and try copy the DIY and have tube run into the intake of my filter. might work if I don't do a bubble sponge filter, but i'm not sure that much work is for me. I'd rather put a hose in, have each of my 7 kids take turns blowing air into the tube and try adding CO2 that

I feel like the kid who wants a puppy without knowing how much work its going to be.

So here is what I think my next step is, and you guys feel free to let me know what I should focus on. Filter parts are in mail, gotta see if it will stop leaking, I know it works but it leaked.

Things i'm considering: haven't started cycling tank. How important is RO water? LFS is pushing it. I have well water with high general hardness and tons of minerals. Just getting equipment and conditions right are my concern. I can add plants and fish later, i'm in no hurry.
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I appreciate the level of research you're willing to do before making decisions. Patience is one of the more important virtues for planted tank fans.

I only started keeping plants three or so years ago, but I've had fish for a long time. Just my opinion, but a peaceful planted community tank is preferable to one with aggression. That being said, there is no reason you can't breed multiple species of fish in one tank. My black tetras and pygmy corys have both bred very successfully with a little help.

My water is also on the hard side. The fish are fine and so are the plants. I do supplement my tap water with cool soft rainwater from my rain barrel, which always makes the corys spawn. Your water should be fine.

As far as plants, my suggestion for a new tank is to get a lot of fast growing cheap stem plants. You can use these to make sure everything is balanced in your tank. As you progress and replace these with species more to your liking you can sell or give away the initial plants on this forum. Part of the fun in keeping a planted tank is the constant change- in plant size, in species, and in layout. It's a hobby, not a static picture on your wall!

As far as the timeline: just go ahead and get plants now. They don't need a filter. Get a LOT of plant biomass. When you get your filtration set up to your satisfaction, start adding ammonia or fish food to get the cycle going.

While there is quite a bit to think about in setting up a new tank, it is supposed to be fun and exciting most of all.

Good luck, I'm looking forward to see how it turns out!
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Never thought of using rain water. What about filtered or distilled? I like your fast growing stem idea. Swapping stuff out never occurred to me. Just adding more and removing dead. Plus pruning. Is there any toxic buildup I should worry about with 5-6" of flourite?
The lfs wants to sell you water to make a profit. If you want to use filtered or distilled water you can install a home reverse osmosis system for less than $100 that will make you a large quantity of basically pure water for pennies on the gallon.

Rain water is a little riskier, since it's coming off your roof and may dissolve atmospheric contaminants. There are ways to mitigate the risks which I'd be happy to elaborate on.

Fluorite is relatively large and irregular in shape, so it's less likely to suffer from anoxia than something like sand. If you really want to be safe, either use 3-4" or get some malaysian trumpet snails (mts). They'll burrow and introduce oxygen.

Swap out plants to your heart's delight! Check out the WTB/RAOK and For sale subforums on this site to see what other people do with trimmings or plants they no longer want. Maybe you can even get some this way.
set back

heater, and 2 replacement parts arrived for Filter. Wouldn't ya know it i'd break the ceramic shaft for the impeller motor. Who design's these things? Its hard enough to get the things apart without breaking all the plastic pieces and I manage to snap ceramic while its all hooked up to test it. Going on two weeks of soaking some mopani drift wood I bought. Started with hot water in a 5gal bucket and change it daily, then got the bright idea to take my wife's very large stainless steel pot she makes chili and soups in and boil it. Left quite a large brown sappy ring around it. boiled it for an hour and scrubbed the pot for just as long with steel wool to remove evidence ;) NO one needs to spill the beans either. She'd probably not use it again if she knew. She already bought a new food grinder from when I tried to make homemade stink bait...diff story.

I have been looking at a Spectrapure brand RO unit, just not sure where to put it if i buy one. My wife thinks i should splurge on the unit with a drinking water 3lb tank and install it in the basement and some how get enough hose to run it to the kitchen sink. I'm not sure if this is possible. I'm more likely to attach it to the laundry room wall. I can buy a Y adapter for the washing machine cold water and hook into that. there is a drain there if I chose to waste the water. Not sure where i'd store about 25gal of RO water though. maybe put a lid on it and run a small tube into the basement. yeah, not really sure where i'd put the water at all and its no where near the fish tank. I'd hate hauling it up and down stairs from basement too. She's not going to be a happy lady, a big blue barrel right next to the aquarium would be nice but she would complain it doesn't match the room decor...sigh. Do people keep heaters in their RO water? water changes I would think cause extra stress.

I haven't stumbled upon the plant trading yet. going to order new spindle, look at snails you mentioned, then tomorrow, read about stem plants. I think I've removed them from my trolling motor before. do they grow roots or just clip and bury cuttings to multiply. i'll look it up. always have a ton of questions. I think the LFS dreads seeing me walk in, ask questions for an hour and leave with my research list and not buy anything.
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this weekends thoughts.

[/URL][/IMG]Filter fixed, heater installed but not on, going to be looking for a power strip with a timer I think. filled tank up with tap water for now with filter going. cleaned up the tank a bit, some surface film exists but i think i can just wipe it off the glass edges with paper towel a few times till it is mostly gone. pond across the street keeps tempting me with all the little growth. Afraid of the tiny critters I don't see swimming in it, other wise I'd love free plants in the I feel like $200 equipment purchases should last a long time and you want to buy the best you can. Hesitant on buying a new light fixture when I know 6 months from now might be something a ton better in LEDs.
Thinking about starting the cycling part of the tank but I also thought it would be better to drain most of the water out when I plant it and try getting the water chemistry right. not sure. Guess i'll keep getting the electrical ready, plan to install the power strip under the cabinet, directly to the wood up higher. allows for the drip loop in cord. my wall socket isn't a GFCI, someone said it would be a good idea to have one. I think I seen an adapter like a mini extension cord GFCI of some kind. If you have a power strip with the breakers built in, would a GFCI just be a redundancy?

Almost feel the driftwood is ready, water getting clearer every change. Starting to be less picky about plants and just want to toss what ever I can find in there. CO2 options in back of my mind, ease of use vrs cost has me hesitant. I did find that looked super easy to use, costly refills, and i'm not sure the best way to keep the ph balanced with it. so many options to consider :).

heater placement on my research list. pet store suggested horizontal in middle of water column. someone else suggested near my filters exit tube back into tank. my wife thinks I should put it near the intake tube just to hide it some. Any thoughts out there on this?
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First plants

So, started cycling the tank, added 2 different kinds of Anubias to get started. Don't have a good light yet and read these were not very demanding. Debating planting the Hastifolia in the substrait, so i haven't chopped its roots. The Barteri v. looks nice though. Wife and I are still trying to see whats the best place to put water storage for RO. She says the basement, so i'd have to carry up 20gal = 168lb of water each water change max. Do I need a heater for my stored water? thats a lot of work lol. My bright idea so far was to put a rain barrel upstairs, add a hose and let gravity work for me to add water to the main floor tank. She really wants this out of sight but i'm trying to find whats easiest for me. I'd do the basement if I could run a hose and pump the water to me....something to figure out. LFS tried to talk me out of a finnex. I know he wants to make money but suggested a more name brand would have better customer service if I run into any issues. I'm not sure this is true but for the price, they are very attractive. Several on amazon now 20-30% off retail cost.
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