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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This post may be slightly rambly. I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read it!

I have been planning a 75 Gallon Low-Tech tank for about a month, lurking on this and other forums, trying to learn as much as I can. I had the tank filled and running as I was making sure my newly finished DIY background was not affecting the water / didn't leak. Last week, the planning got slightly off track'd as I needed to rehome some fish, and the only place I could put them was in my 75G.

View from my office chair (Goldfish are gone, light temporarily on an angle)....



Here are some details:

Lighting
Current Satellite Freshwater+ 48"
If needed I have Two 24" T8 sitting unsused I could add for more light

Substrate
Safe-T-Sorb (mine is more gray than red?), still looks good!
17-20 inches from light, depending on where the fish dig holes in it. Also, a couple of ledges built into the background

Filtration
Emperor 400
Marineland Magnum 330
9W UV Filter (got it free, so why not!)
*Note: I also have the equipment for an overhead sump (you can see the powerhead in the photo, its not currently on) and planned on removing the Emperor 400. I had the Emperor just sitting around and put it on as I wasn't expecting fish just yet and haven't assembled the overhead sump

Livestock ( Definitely subject to change, as I said, needed to rehome asap! )

2 Convict Cichlids
2 Ram Cichlids (unknown strain)
5 Bleeding Heart Tetras
2 Green Glo Tetras (being given to a friend)
7 Black Mollies (probably going)
2 Golden Mystery Snails

Intended Plants
Water Wisteria - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/myPlants.php?do=view&p=170&n=Water_Wisteria_Hygrophila_difformis
Java Fern - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/myPlants.php?do=view&p=4&n=Java_Fern_Microsorum_pteropus
Anubias barteri - http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=768+1630+810&pcatid=810
Amazon Sword - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/myPlants.php?do=view&p=15&n=Amazon_Sword_Echinodorus_amazonicus


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I put in some fake plants for the fish for the time being. The first night after having fish in there, the entire substrate had been rearranged. And not just a little bit either. There were places where I had it 5 inches deep against the backdrop, and they have completely excavated the area down to the glass. They've built a 7 inch high mountain in the center of the tank. None of this occurs during the day, so I don't know which fish is doing it! If I had planted it, it would be a total mess. :redface: My best guess would be the convicts chasing each other at night, but I don't see how that could change things that dramatically.

Some questions!

1.) Thoughts on the substrate and the fish rearranging it?
2.) Enough light for the selected plants?
3.) I was planning on root tabs, as I want to keep this lower maintenance.
4.) I'm wishy washy on moss on the background. Opinions?
5.) Overhead sump ... also thought about planting that as there is currently a big open space above the tank. Thoughts?

Thank you all for reading and any help you are willing to provide. This is a great site with lots of information!
 

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I think everything is OK, but the Cichlids... they may tear up the plants.
I think the lighting should be sufficient because all the plants you want are low light to mediumish light plants. Just make sure you have the right kelvin and spectrum of light. If you want more information about lights on a planted tank, just check out the forum(s) or Google it.
For substrate, I would recommend Eco complete. It has TONS of minerals and will help nourish your plants. You can use dirt, but that can be a little messy.
As for root tabs, the Amazon sword would benefit from root tabs but it is not ABSOLUTELY necessary.
 

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I think you are going to have to make a decision between the plants and the cichlids. Cichlids are great fish and I've kept many different ones before but they do like to rearrange the tank to their liking. Their natural habitat is primarily rock, sand, & gravel of the African rift lakes. There are some plants that you can use with them. Those that are free floating and/or those that are tied off to rock and wood. You can intersperse plastic plants too but even those we used to have to glue into holes in the rocks to keep them in place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the advice all. I haven't made any decisions yet.

aquariumrookie - I'll be sticking with the Safe-T-Sorb substrate. Lots of good discussion on it, and it cost $4 for the bag. :D

As far as lighting, I was / am mostly concerned about the water depth VS the Sat+ light, but it sounds like I am making a wise choice about the species of plants for the amount of light.

Thanks for your thoughts!

*Side note: Figured out they are Bolivian Rams. Great fish.
 

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This post may be slightly rambly. I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read it!

I have been planning a 75 Gallon Low-Tech tank for about a month, lurking on this and other forums, trying to learn as much as I can. I had the tank filled and running as I was making sure my newly finished DIY background was not affecting the water / didn't leak. Last week, the planning got slightly off track'd as I needed to rehome some fish, and the only place I could put them was in my 75G.

View from my office chair (Goldfish are gone, light temporarily on an angle)....



Here are some details:

Lighting
Current Satellite Freshwater+ 48"
If needed I have Two 24" T8 sitting unsused I could add for more light

Substrate
Safe-T-Sorb (mine is more gray than red?), still looks good!
17-20 inches from light, depending on where the fish dig holes in it. Also, a couple of ledges built into the background

Filtration
Emperor 400
Marineland Magnum 330
9W UV Filter (got it free, so why not!)
*Note: I also have the equipment for an overhead sump (you can see the powerhead in the photo, its not currently on) and planned on removing the Emperor 400. I had the Emperor just sitting around and put it on as I wasn't expecting fish just yet and haven't assembled the overhead sump

Livestock ( Definitely subject to change, as I said, needed to rehome asap! )

2 Convict Cichlids
2 Ram Cichlids (unknown strain)
5 Bleeding Heart Tetras
2 Green Glo Tetras (being given to a friend)
7 Black Mollies (probably going)
2 Golden Mystery Snails

Intended Plants
Water Wisteria - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/myPlants.php?do=view&p=170&n=Water_Wisteria_Hygrophila_difformis
Java Fern - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/myPlants.php?do=view&p=4&n=Java_Fern_Microsorum_pteropus
Anubias barteri - http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=768+1630+810&pcatid=810
Amazon Sword - http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/myPlants.php?do=view&p=15&n=Amazon_Sword_Echinodorus_amazonicus


------------------------------------------------------------

I put in some fake plants for the fish for the time being. The first night after having fish in there, the entire substrate had been rearranged. And not just a little bit either. There were places where I had it 5 inches deep against the backdrop, and they have completely excavated the area down to the glass. They've built a 7 inch high mountain in the center of the tank. None of this occurs during the day, so I don't know which fish is doing it! If I had planted it, it would be a total mess. :redface: My best guess would be the convicts chasing each other at night, but I don't see how that could change things that dramatically.

Some questions!

1.) Thoughts on the substrate and the fish rearranging it?
2.) Enough light for the selected plants?
3.) I was planning on root tabs, as I want to keep this lower maintenance.
4.) I'm wishy washy on moss on the background. Opinions?
5.) Overhead sump ... also thought about planting that as there is currently a big open space above the tank. Thoughts?

Thank you all for reading and any help you are willing to provide. This is a great site with lots of information!

If you are planning a low tech tank:
-I wouldn't put a really strong light over the top (not saying that you have one) because in my experience, really high light without co2 will contribute to many forms of algae. You will have a longer algae cycle and yes algae does have a cycle. (Some algae do end and will never come back) Only switch to a high light when you understand balance.
- Convicts will pick at your plants like stated before and in my previous low tech tank, growth was really stale until the plants started going. With fish picking at slow growth rate, :confused1: I can only imagine how one would feel. If you like cichlids you should go for angelfish and apistogramma etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Great looking background.
Thanks! Seeing someone else's DIY background actually took me from "having a tank" to "into the hobby". This was my first background, and it came out fairly good. I am excited to do another at some point as I learned a lot and would take more time on the next one, integrating the filtration into it and going for a more randomized approach.
 

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Idk, personally, I think I'd actually try out convicts in a low tech tank. More cichlids are chill with plants than most people realize.

However, I will say this, it is possible that the convicts would target specific plant species or potentially dig a little. I have rainbow cichlids which are a similar sized and moderately similar behaved fish and they only really dug the one time the male wanted to breed (and totally got dejected, poor guy). I will say though, they did eat a few of the plants I've tried...namely Linderia sp. India and Wisteria...however the leave a LOT of other things alone, so you potentially will be playing a bit of a pick and choose game with plant species if you decide to keep the convicts.

Also, on a side note, if those convicts are male and female, they will probably decimate everything in their path, other fish included, and you will have more fry than you know what to do with. They might also be a little too rough on the rams, especially if those are the only cichlid species in the tank.

I would also recommend, regardless, getting more bleeding heart tetras, and getting a school of another type of tetra as well, do like 10 or 12 of each. Especially with cichlids, its good to have a lot of schooling fish that divert attention away from each other and break lines of sight.
 

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Better double check the actual species on your Mystery snails to be sure they're one of the Apple snails that won't eat plants. http://www.applesnail.net/ is a good resource for that.

+1 for you'll need to lose the Convicts if you want a planted or a community tank.

Your plant choices sound good. Some additional options include most Crypts and Anubias species, mosses, chain swords and Sagittarias. Do your homework really well and be sure you can identify these plants on sight if you're planning on getting them from an LFS rather than here in the Swap and Shop, as these are all VERY commonly mis-labelled and mixed up with plants that are NOT aquatic, especially by the big chain stores.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The two Convicts are both males that have been together since they were tiny. They are both fully grown. They don't seem to harass any of the other fish. The dominant convict does chase the other convict occasionally.

My problem with the substrate movement seems to have stopped. Everyone must have it to their liking now? :D Its not exactly the aquascape I was going for.

Aquarium budget ran out for this month unfortunately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok, here is the current stocking list of plants:

Water Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis)
Red Ludwigia
Corkscrew Valisneria
Unknown Sword :D
Sunset Hygro
Scarlet Hygro
Anubias (Larger, unknown strain)
Anubias Nana
Anubias Nana Petite
Alt Reneicki (Mini)
Ludwigia Repens
Micro Sword
Lobelia Cardinalis
Bacopa Caroliniana


Yes, quite different than my original intended list, mostly due to a giant package from a forum member on here. The downside of this is that I am a bit under-researched on all these plants.

I'd like to try to keep as many of these going as I can. Can anyone help me pick some basic ferts? I was going to try to keep away from them, but I believe this selection of plants might benefit.

I'd post a pic of the tank, but as much as I love having the live plants, it does look more than a bit disheveled at the moment. :D
 
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