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Newbe's 75g - what next?

1366 Views 13 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  irishspy
So finally all my plants arrived, the hardscape was done and I was able to fill and plant the 75g. (with a lot of help from my husband!) The filter is working great and all looks good I think! Now what? J

Lighting: Finnex 24-7 – 48”, also the LED light that came with the tank.
Substrate: PFS. I have lava rock underneath the area where it is built up. "The hill”.
Filter: Sunsun304B with: eheim biomech, course and medium sponges, quilt batting, 2 trays of eheim sub pro, purigen in that order, bottom to top.
Plants: Wish I could remember them all, but as you can see I tried to “heavily plant” – too many?
I also have a small bag of eheim pro that was in my sons aquarium for about 10 days that I just threw in.
I’ll check the water chemistry today. No CO2.

Questions I have:

  • What should the photo period be for the tank right now? I want to keep algae at bay if I can but I want at least SOME of my plants to live!
  • Root tabs – should I do that now or wait?
  • Flourish? Yeah or nay?
  • The UV light on the Sunsun – should I leave that on all of the time?
  • Can I put a couple zebra dannios in to speed up the cycling? Or maybe an algae eater?
  • When should I do a water change?
Thank you for any guidance anyone can give me!

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Definitely not too many plants. You've got a good starting point though.

I'd start with a fairly short photoperiod and adjust from there. 5, maybe 6 hours.

Yes, root tabs.

Flourish is composed of micro nutrients. I probably wouldn't dose it more than once a week or once every couple weeks. If you have good root tabs that include both macros & micros, you probably don't need the flourish.

Someone else will have to chime in on the UV light. While I've read a good bit about them I've never used one.

If you want to speed up your cycle, consider getting some ammonia from the grocery store to dose the tank with. Do NOT use fish. Look up "fishless cycle" there have been several posts in the last three days that have covered this in detail, you can probably use the search function with that quote and come up with more info. The media having been in another tank will help, but that's not really a long enough time for it to full develop a healthy colony of beneficial bacteria.


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Definitely not too many plants. You've got a good starting point though.

I'd start with a fairly short photoperiod and adjust from there. 5, maybe 6 hours.

Yes, root tabs.

Flourish is composed of micro nutrients. I probably wouldn't dose it more than once a week or once every couple weeks. If you have good root tabs that include both macros & micros, you probably don't need the flourish.

Someone else will have to chime in on the UV light. While I've read a good bit about them I've never used one.

If you want to speed up your cycle, consider getting some ammonia from the grocery store to dose the tank with. Do NOT use fish. Look up "fishless cycle" there have been several posts in the last three days that have covered this in detail, you can probably use the search function with that quote and come up with more info. The media having been in another tank will help, but that's not really a long enough time for it to full develop a healthy colony of beneficial bacteria.


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Thanks for your suggestions! I think I'll order the osmocote + caps. Do you have suggestions on how many I should use for my 75g? How should I space them? Also, I read that when using purigen it's not advised to dose ammonia - so I guess I'll just have to be very patient! I appreciate your help!
Looks like a good start w/the plants. Don't do a water change until the cycle is done- you should seed ammonia go up first, then nitrites (that takes a while) and when those zero out you'll have lots of nitrates- end product. That's when you do a big water change. If you want to speed up the cycle w/out buying ammonia, I have done it by just putting fish food in- sinking pellets for example. It does get fungus and stink, so nasty to look at- but feeds the bacteria so well, you can stock w/fish when all done- I just did this recently and the day after cycle finished, put 7 fish in the tank there wasn't even a blip of ammonia (i tested every day a few times after to be sure). Good luck!
Looks like a good start w/the plants. Don't do a water change until the cycle is done- you should seed ammonia go up first, then nitrites (that takes a while) and when those zero out you'll have lots of nitrates- end product. That's when you do a big water change. If you want to speed up the cycle w/out buying ammonia, I have done it by just putting fish food in- sinking pellets for example. It does get fungus and stink, so nasty to look at- but feeds the bacteria so well, you can stock w/fish when all done- I just did this recently and the day after cycle finished, put 7 fish in the tank there wasn't even a blip of ammonia (i tested every day a few times after to be sure). Good luck!

I just might try that! This is day four - ammonia at 0. ph came down from 8.0 to 7.4. I'm running the light from 2-7pm. Thanks for your help!
Looks like a good start w/the plants. Don't do a water change until the cycle is done- you should seed ammonia go up first, then nitrites (that takes a while) and when those zero out you'll have lots of nitrates- end product. That's when you do a big water change. If you want to speed up the cycle w/out buying ammonia, I have done it by just putting fish food in- sinking pellets for example. It does get fungus and stink, so nasty to look at- but feeds the bacteria so well, you can stock w/fish when all done- I just did this recently and the day after cycle finished, put 7 fish in the tank there wasn't even a blip of ammonia (i tested every day a few times after to be sure). Good luck!

So today is day 7 on my set up. I planted some osmocote+ root tabs today - that was fun - anywhere the sub wasn't too deep they kept getting away and floating up to the surface! Some of my sag grass is melting. I did put some fish pellets in a couple days ago. Ammonia is still 0. I'm leaving the lights on about 5 hours. Anyway - the water is a little "cloudy" - not horrible but certainly not crystal clear. Is that normal at this stage of the game? Anything I should be doing different? I don't really know what to expect in setting up a new tank and what is normal when cycling and what isn't. I'd appreciate your thoughts and suggestions!
Cloudy water is normal. May even see some biofilm on wood, plants and surface.
Sag melt is normal. I've had small sags and vals melt away to nothing then grow back strong a month later.

If you want to speed up your cycle, consider getting some ammonia from the grocery store to dose the tank with. Do NOT use fish. Look up "fishless cycle" there have been several posts in the last three days that have covered this in detail, you can probably use the search function with that quote and come up with more info. The media having been in another tank will help, but that's not really a long enough time for it to full develop a healthy colony of beneficial bacteria.

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Stay patient and keep testing. As johnson18 mention, dosing ammonia is a great way to cycle. Get some with no surfactants Ace 1qt Ammonia (10183A) - Industrial Cleaners - Ace Hardware.
I just don't know if I'm seeing your first pic incorrectly, but the plant that is closest to the front corner... does it still have it's rubber bands in place? It just looks like it has soemthign wrapped around the base.

Definitely will want to add teh root tabs, especially near the swords in the back of the tank. They're heavy root feeders.

As frenziedpace stated, adding ammonia - with NO surfactants - would greatly speed up your tank's cycle. I would also suggest that if you have filters from other tanks, you could use the biomedia from them to seed your tank.
How's your cycle progressing?

I just saw your latest post. I think it's common for the water to get cloudy w/the extra organics. It might also get stinky. When you do the final big water change should clear that up.
I just don't know if I'm seeing your first pic incorrectly, but the plant that is closest to the front corner... does it still have it's rubber bands in place? It just looks like it has soemthign wrapped around the base.

Definitely will want to add teh root tabs, especially near the swords in the back of the tank. They're heavy root feeders.

As frenziedpace stated, adding ammonia - with NO surfactants - would greatly speed up your tank's cycle. I would also suggest that if you have filters from other tanks, you could use the biomedia from them to seed your tank.

Overall I think things are going well! Some plants are showing progress - especially the hornwort! Ammonia is .50 Nitrite 0. Lights on for 5 hours. I'd like to try the ammonia, but I keep thinking about the purigen I put in the filter and whether I should do that or not. If I decide to use the ammonia, how much should I put in a 75g? Can you suggest a dosing schedule/amount? The anubias are the only plants that are rubber banded to rocks, other than some mosses. The front left plant is the crinum calamistratum and the bulb is showing. Maybe it should be deeper? I saw some very tiny snails - didn't really want those. I dipped all the plants in a bleach solution but guess they found their way in anyway...... Thanks for your response and help!
How's your cycle progressing?

I just saw your latest post. I think it's common for the water to get cloudy w/the extra organics. It might also get stinky. When you do the final big water change should clear that up.



I think things are still going well. I "borrowed" some filter media from my son's tank and threw it in overnight thinking it might give it a "boost". This mornings readings are: KH 5, GH 9, Ammonia .50, Nitrite .50. This is the first time I have seen nitrite. I also set up a 10g quarantine tank this morning. I just moved the borrowed media into the QT tank and hope to get it to cycle quickly. Am I on the right track? My hope is that I can quarantine a few fish in the QT while waiting for the display tank to finish cycling. I will continue testing both tanks everyday and see what transpires. I appreciate any thoughts and suggestions you or anyone may have!
Nitrite should spike a lot higher before you finally see Nitrates and are done- at least, that's how it was for me.
New tank

Keep temp upper 70's low 80's. I would not do any water changes for quite a while as you want your water to keep what little nutrients it got. Fertilizer like Flourish is fine or you can make your own to save money such as MMN. Adding filter media from your sons tank was a great idea. Adding zebra dannios to jump start is another fine idea. Photoperiod, I would simulate the daylight where you live; if algae becomes a problem, cut back but by all means keep any tank away from any windows. Expect your plants to initially grow well but they are living off their reserves so adding nutrients is good, just don't overdue it. Now its time to kick back and let nature do it thing.
For landscape ideas use Rule of Thirds, use in composing pictures or designing your tank.
Lookin good!
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I think you're off to a great start. Myself, I start with 6-8 hours of light and adjust from there. Just have some patience and you'll have a lot of fun.
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