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Mr.G's 75 Gallon South American

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Hello everyone!

I used to peruse the site way back when I was in highschool and had a super minimal budget, now I've got a big boy job (science teacher!) and can finally afford to spend some serious money on a tank. I've been keeping fish since I was 13 when I made the mistake of getting into goldfish. I still love them but I have never been able to keep them healthy beyond 4 or so years. I've had everything from dodgy high-tech planted tanks, to a dodgey saltwater tank that consumed every dollar of my minimum wage job in college and still looked like a swamp.

My goal with this tank is to have something that I am proud of, and to be the centerpiece of my living room. I am planning to start off low tech but at some point transition to high tech by adding pressurized CO2. The tank will not be a true biotope, but I am planning on keeping only south American species as far as the fish.

Everything below will be updated as I go if you dont want to read the whole thread!

Equipment:
  • Standard 75 gallon rimmed tank
  • Fluval FX4 canister filter
  • 77lbs of Florite dark
  • 2 x AI prime 16 Freshwater LEDs
  • fluval m300 heater
Stocking:
  • 13 x Neon Tetra
  • 4 x Green Neon Tetra
  • 12 x Rummy Nosed Tetra
  • 10 x Lemon Tetra
  • Pair of German Blue Rams
  • 1 x koi angle fish
  • 1 x L134 lepord frog pleco
  • 2 x "neon" apistogramma (unsure of the sex or species unfortunetly)
  • 8 x sterbai corydoras
  • 6 x silver hatchet fish
  • 8 x red eye monk tetra
  • 14 x silver tip tetra
  • 10 x blue emperor tetra
  • 8 x nerite snails
  • 5 x Amano shrimp
Plants:
  • Chain swords
  • Rosey red sword
  • "Flame" sword
  • Super red ludwigia
  • "Opal" ludwigia
  • no name ludwigia
  • Rotala
  • "Italian" Val
  • corkscrew val
  • Java fern
  • Red tiger lotus
  • Anubius nana
  • Subwassertang
  • Java moss
Current FTS:
Water Plant Pet supply Wood Aquatic plant

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Just some stuff I didn't want to have in my main post!

Currently I am rocking a 30 tall as a mixed community tank. It's probably overstocked but the fish have been doing well in there for the last 2 years so it can't be too bad. Most of them are moving over to the 75 but all the non South American species will be going to a new tank I am starting in my classroom.

At the moment I think this tank looks okay but it has looked much better in the past. My cryps and taller stems died back after a move and they really made the tank and haven't recovered yet.

Looking forward to moving from a mega budget tank to a more bougie setup, and I am sure my fish will appreciate the space!

30 tall in its current state

Plant Green Water Terrestrial plant Aquatic plant
 

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6g office nano, 20g cube, 29g cherry shrimp, 2 x 40g breeder community and 75g in the works
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Looking forward to seeing what you do with the 75. I have a new one sitting on the floor waiting for me to make the stand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Looking forward to seeing what you do with the 75. I have a new one sitting on the floor waiting for me to make the stand.
It's been so fun getting a big tank for the first time but so expensive as well! Currently trying to find some hardcape, probably what I'm gonna be doing this weekend.

Good luck building the stand! I'm handy enough to build something that would support the weight but not enough to make something I would want to see in my living room lol.
 

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6g office nano, 20g cube, 29g cherry shrimp, 2 x 40g breeder community and 75g in the works
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It's been so fun getting a big tank for the first time but so expensive as well! Currently trying to find some hardcape, probably what I'm gonna be doing this weekend.

Good luck building the stand! I'm handy enough to build something that would support the weight but not enough to make something I would want to see in my living room lol.
Ahhh. Yes hardscape.The most fun and most frustrating part of scaping.

I know all about the expense! lol two weeks ago I picked up 3 large pagoda stone rocks and it set me back almost $200. I still don’t have any driftwood yet either.
 

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I had a lot fun figuring out a scape for my 75 when I got it. I’m fortunate enough that we have many forms scaping materials available outside where I live. I even used decomposed granite as my substrate. It was cool finding it for free at local lake. There’s even a bunch of free plants in there too. I was able to get my whole tank thrown together after one trip to the lake in the fall after the water levels had dropped.
I’ve never understood peoples silly desires for manzanita ‘sticks’. I guess it’s because I have access to the whole tree. I attached a photo of the stump I found.
Erosion happens around the edges of man made lakes. Mountain valleys are where they put them most of the time. Manzanita lives on the sides of those hills. I’ve found several spots where the whole trees are falling victim to that erosion. For some reason, the Forest service piles these pieces up on the edges of the lake. - whoops - started going off on a tangent there…

Anyway, I went for a South American theme too. I mainly had larger fish in mind in the beginning. I’m gonna tell you right now, unless your talking Discus or Angles, probably don’t. They just aren’t very scape friendly. I was also pretty disappointed with what actual native plants I had access to or cared for. That being said, I was also aiming for low light/maintenance. Biotope themed tanks are fun to figure out but it’s been my experience that I tend to like certain plants way more than others and I was in constant conflict not feeling like I could toss in a crypt or two and still feel like I had a ‘South American’ theme going.
Do you have a list of plants that had in mind yet? What species of fish were you thinking?
I opted for a fluval 3.0 instead of the light set-up you chose. I’m envious of those AI pods. I haven’t been able to see them in person yet and am very curious to see a tank with those running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I had a lot fun figuring out a scape for my 75 when I got it. I’m fortunate enough that we have many forms scaping materials available outside where I live. I even used decomposed granite as my substrate. It was cool finding it for free at local lake. There’s even a bunch of free plants in there too. I was able to get my whole tank thrown together after one trip to the lake in the fall after the water levels had dropped.
I’ve never understood peoples silly desires for manzanita ‘sticks’. I guess it’s because I have access to the whole tree. I attached a photo of the stump I found.
Erosion happens around the edges of man made lakes. Mountain valleys are where they put them most of the time. Manzanita lives on the sides of those hills. I’ve found several spots where the whole trees are falling victim to that erosion. For some reason, the Forest service piles these pieces up on the edges of the lake. - whoops - started going off on a tangent there…

Anyway, I went for a South American theme too. I mainly had larger fish in mind in the beginning. I’m gonna tell you right now, unless your talking Discus or Angles, probably don’t. They just aren’t very scape friendly. I was also pretty disappointed with what actual native plants I had access to or cared for. That being said, I was also aiming for low light/maintenance. Biotope themed tanks are fun to figure out but it’s been my experience that I tend to like certain plants way more than others and I was in constant conflict not feeling like I could toss in a crypt or two and still feel like I had a ‘South American’ theme going.
Do you have a list of plants that had in mind yet? What species of fish were you thinking?
I opted for a fluval 3.0 instead of the light set-up you chose. I’m envious of those AI pods. I haven’t been able to see them in person yet and am very curious to see a tank with those running.
That's a super cool piece of wood you found! I thought about going around looking for things to scape with but I really don't want to deal with wood floating and having to sterilize a big piece or leach tannins out for a long time.

I'm only looking to stay South American with the fish. The plants I am just going to go with what ever I think looks good. I haven't figured out a Stocking list for plants yet, I usually just get things locally but for this tank I might purchase online as well. Fish I am sticking with smaller species, i love big groups of tetras. I already have a lone angle that I will probably move over but I don't like that he will try and eat my smaller fish like noens one day. I am also planning to go with some of the smaller SA cichlids, I already have a GBR pair, and I need to do more research to see if I can add some other like apistos. I think in this size tank it would work out, but I don't want my tank to turn into the thunder dome.

The lights are incredible, I just got them set up the other day. I've noticed that saltwater lights tend to be way more high quality and with more features than most freshwater lights. So the ai freshwater was perfect, definitely pricy though, over $600 for the two lights and mounts.

I don't have a background yet and the tank is mostly empty but here's a shot with the lights on. I love the shimmer you get with these.

Light Hood Rectangle Shade Wood
 

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I didn’t bother sterilizing the stump. I figured it was too big anyway. It died a long time ago and had been at some point soaking in the lake. It was bone dry when I took it home. I just scrubbed it really good and put some rocks on roots to keep it from floating. I didn’t have any problems with tannins disease. However, I did have ants leaving in it that I wasn’t aware of. It took about a week for them to leave. 😅

Cant wait to see what you come up with!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Turns out I'm kind of lazy about posting updates.

Like I mentioned I started the tank up and used seachems bottled bacteria along with prime to get the tank running and add fish. I waited 2 days after starting to dose before I added any fish and then over the next week I slowly moved over most of my SA species to this tank. After the week of dosing was over I tested the water and had no ammonia or nitrate, and about 10 ppm nitrite. All of my fish are doing well even my "sensitive" species like the GBR. It definitely felt weird to add fish so soon but it seems like the products work exactly as advertised.

Since then I have been doing normal tank maintenance. Im still testing all the parameters and doing 15-20 gallon water changes once a week mainly to clear up the water. I like the look of the flourite but it is mega dusty and my tank is only just about cleared up. Probably going to fall back to water changes every two weeks soon.

I've also added a group of 10 stirbais Cory's. 8 red eye monk tetras, and 14 silver tip tetras. At this point the tank is about as stocked as I think is reasonable. Also added quite a few more plants that I will update later. The only thing I really want is something larger to act as a centerpiece. Unfortunetly larger fish will eat most of my other inhabitants. I would love more angels but I don't want to deal with them getting territorial.

Water Plant Pet supply Wood Aquatic plant
 
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